The Algarve, Portugal’s southern coastal region, is covered with stunning places to visit. Therefore, it can be hard to pick and choose what beaches to see and which to skip when you have a limited amount of time in this area. During my first trip to the Algarve, we stayed in Lagos and explored the region by car over 6 days. I had heard so many wonderful things about this region, and let me tell you, I was not disappointed. So, without further ado, here were my favorite spots that we visited.
1. Praia do Camilo
Praia do Camilo (shown above) was easily the most picturesque beach that we visited during our time in the Algarve. Located near downtown Lagos, we actually walked to Camilo during our first day (it took about 30 minutes from our Air B&B in Lagos). Once you arrive to this beach, you’ll have to descend about 200 steps to reach the sand. So, please be aware of this for those who may struggle with the stairs. Furthermore, during the high season, be sure to arrive early to secure a spot on this smaller-sized beach.
2. Cabo de São Vicente
Cape St. Vincent (in English) is located in Sagres and is the southwesternmost point in Portugal. From Lagos, it was about a 40-minute drive to reach Cabo de São Vicente. Many tourists choose to visit because of this attraction’s history as well as its stunning cliffs and blue waters. If passing through, the city of Sagres is also a really fun place to check out. It’s a surfer’s town with a chill vibe and plenty of delicious restaurants and coffeeshops.
3. Ponta da Piedade
Although Ponta da Piedade is typically filled with tourists, I still recommend checking it out. In fact, I regret that I didn’t spend more time there! I knew I wanted to do a boat trip during my time in the Algarve, but ended up doing this on Benagil beach (side note: it was super overpriced there). In my opinion, if you’re hoping to see grottos, go on one of the boat tours here at Ponta da Piedade instead of at Praia de Benagil. This location offers activities such as hiking, kayaking, and stand up paddle boarding.
4. Praia da Falésia
In comparison to the smaller Praia do Camilo, Praia da Falésia is actually one of the longest beaches in Portugal, measuring over 3.7 miles (6 kilometers). Due to this beach’s size, it’s probably one of the best places to visit during high season. Furthermore, it’s easy to access as it is located between both Albufeira and Vilamoura. If you’re staying in Lagos, the drive to Praia da Falésia takes around 50 minutes. So, why exactly should you visit this beach? Well, apart from its size, Falésia is actually quite beautiful as well. The beach is surrounded by orange rocks and green pine trees, creating both a relaxing and scenic environment for visitors.
5. Praia de São Rafael
After spending time at Praia da Falésia, we decided to make our way to a smaller beach in the Albufeira area: Praia de São Rafael. Like Camilo, this beach is surrounded by gorgeous rock formations. Although close to Albufeira, we found São Rafael to be much less crowded than the beaches actually located within the famous resort town. Furthermore, there is a nice little café/restaurant directly on the beach where you can eat/grab a drink without actually having to leave the sand!