- Spend an afternoon surfing the pristine waters of Praia do Tonel near Sagres. Get your board from Brayan at the righthand side of the beach.
- Spend hours getting lost along the untouched golden sands of Praia da Bordeira.
- Take a day trip to one of the Algarve's most iconic beaches, Praia da Marinha.
- Watch the sunset at Ponta da Piedade, where you'll have a picture perfect view of one of the most beautiful coastlines on Earth.
- Break up your day of sight-seeing around Lagos by catching some rays at Praia Dona Ana
Sun, sand and surf, what more can you ask for? The Algarve is a land of hidden coves and raw rugged coastline, home to one of the only places in Europe where you'll find back-to-back breathtaking beaches around every bend you turn. Combine that with it's year-round mild climate, and you have yourself a summer lover's paradise. The only difficult part about visiting the Algarve is figuring out which beach to choose from.
Ultimately, if you have the resources and time, I'd recommend buying or hiring a car and dedicating AT LEAST 2+ weeks to just cruising along the coast, exploring, hiking and camping. It's one of the best ways to truly experience the Algarve and not only will you enjoy the classic must-see spots, but you'll stumble upon places you won't find on any travel blog. Heck, some of the places I found were even hard to search for on Google. Overall, this is the perfect region to pick up surfing, immerse yourself in nature, and simply get lost.
With that being said, it's still quite common to go on a weekend trip to Lagos, so if you're on more of a time crunch or you're just looking to get a taste of what the Algarve has to offer, here are a few suggestions to consider.
- Praia da Dona Ana - definitely the most photographed and most popular. It's a short 20-minute walk from Lagos city-center. With calm crystal clear waters, bright orange cliffs, and lots of room to snag a spot on the sand, it's a great place to spend the afternoon!
- Ponte de Piedade - known for it's striking cliffs and birds-eye views, this is the place to be for an unforgettable sunset.
- Praia dos Pinheiros - A gorgeous super isolated nudist beach that is the epitome of off the beaten path. A bit of a mission to find and get to, but it's totally worth the hike! I wouldn't recommend going if you are afraid of heights as you have to scale some rocks to get up and down. Also, if nudity makes you uncomfortable, this may not be the beach for you. However, you're in Europe so embrace it!
- Paria do Camilo - two beaches in one! An artificial tunnel connects two coves with each other where you'll be greeted with golden sand and turquoise water on either side. You'll know you're here when you see the long staircase leading you directly to the sand.
- Praia do Tonel - A surfer's paradise. Mellow waves in the summer that get more advanced as the winter swells roll in. Rent a board from Brayan, an awesome local who will hook you up with the best boards.
- Praia Dos Tres Irmaos - Another smaller secluded beach closer to the town of Portimão, with an amazing natural arch that you can walk through during low tide. I would actually only advise to come here during low tide as the water covers up most of the beach at high tide.
- Praia Marinha - One of if not the most iconic beach of the Algarve, this is the place you'll most likely see on postcards. It's truly gorgeous, but a bit stressful to get to especially during high tide as you have to time the waves right to successfully run around a massive rock and access the main beach. A definite hippie hang-out spot.
- Praia da Bordeira - About a 40 minute drive from Lagos on the west coast, this is one of the larger beaches in the Algarve with massive white sand dunes and great surf. It's very California-esque with it's endless shoreline and clear (but chilly!) water. A popular spot for campers and surfers.
After some long days of exploring the coast and soaking up the sun, don't forget to check out Lagos. Goji Café was one of my favourite restaurants where you can find great salads and light bites. Try to find a balcony or rooftop where you can see the town from above because it's definitely stunning! As I'm sure you've heard, people rave about the nightlife here, but I found it to be pretty average with some.. mmm.. interesting Aussie characters. Still worth having a go though!