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11, jul 22 | Reading: 12 min.

Top 10 beaches in the Western Algarve | Casas do Barlavento

How can you not dream of a holiday in the Algarve? Spending the days on the most beautiful beaches of the Western Algarve is the plan of many visitors to this region. As a result, we have compiled a list of beaches you should not miss, ranging from secret paradises to discover, to family-friendly beaches, or even beaches that have marked many people's childhoods. This summer of 2022, discover the beaches of the west of the Algarve and find out which are the best houses to rent for your holiday weeks.


A lifeguard is under a red umbrella, sitting on a chair facing the sea.

Photo by Nick Page – Unsplash



Family-friendly Beaches - Western Algarve


One of the highlights of summer is spending time with the family. It's one of the few times of the year when everyone in the family can be together, so make the most of every second. Choose an appropriate beach for people of all ages, especially children who cannot resist a swim in the water. Find out which beaches are best for the whole family and why.


Two smiling children are hugging on the beach.

Photo by Vitolda Klein – Unsplash


  1. Odeceixe beach

It is one of the many beaches on the Vicentine Coast and is considered one of the most beautiful! It's in the far northeast part of Aljezur, with a stream on one side and the sea on the other. The Seixe stream forms the natural border between the Alentejo and the Algarve and is the main reason why we chose it as one of the best beaches for families. The beach is between tree-covered mountains and offers a paradisiacal setting with calm waters (in the stream area) and rougher waters for surfers (in the sea area). It is undoubtedly a beach for all tastes and all ages.


At a distance of three kilometres is the village of Odeceixe, from where a small tourist train departs several times throughout the day bound for the beach and back. The train can be an excellent alternative to the car, as the car park near the beach is usually full in summer. The ticket for the tourist train costs about €1.50, children under six pay nothing.



  1. Salema Beach

Salema beach is a jewel near Vila do Bispo and has been mentioned several times in international newspapers like The Guardian or The Telegraph. We believe that all written words are not enough to describe the beauty of this beach, but we promise to try to do justice to this treasure.


The memories of a fishing past still cross with the present. In the middle of this beach, you can find boats and fishing gear just like decades ago. Here you can still see the boats going out to sea and returning with fresh fish for the local restaurants and beyond. There are a few restaurants on the beach, one of which has been owned by the same family for three generations, serving lunch to holidaymakers. We are talking about the Boia restaurant.


On the long sandy beach, you can relax, play with the children, rent a SUP board or make yourself even more comfortable on a sun lounger with a parasol. Besides these typical beach activities, you can also observe million-year-old dinosaur footprints. There are three cores with clearly visible footprints, and two of them are directly on the beach. The third is on a path towards Santa Beach.



Choose a spacious holiday home with everything you need to get the rest you deserve. We recommend Casa Papoila, a villa with 3 bedrooms, a swimming pool and a large outdoor area for family meals.


The special beaches - Western Algarve


If you come to the Algarve in summer, you usually have "your" beach. This is the beach where you spend most of your holiday, where you know the owners of the restaurants nearby, the lifeguards and have even made friends. Here are some of the most visited beaches over the years that everyone starts missing the minute they leave them.


Image of D. Ana beach in Lagos seen from the top of the boardwalk leading to the beach.


  1. Ana Beach

Right next to the famous Ponta da Piedade is one of the most beautiful beaches in Lagos. You will remember this view even before you set foot on the sand. From the wooden steps, you can see the rock formations that appear in the horizon, and the translucent turquoise blue of the sea makes you look down at the bottom of it. The cliffs protect the tourists from the winds on this beautiful beach, and the quiet tides allow everyone to dive and swim at their leisure.


For ultimate comfort, rent a sun lounger with a parasol at the beach. If you decide to spend the whole day there, you can have lunch at the Marisol restaurant with a terrace and fantastic sea views. The toilets and showers are also in the same place. To reach this beach, you can walk 20 minutes from the centre of Lagos, take a tourist bus or park your car in the free car park.


It only remains to mention that in 2013, D. Ana beach was named the best beach in the world and the most beautiful beach in the country by Condé Nast Traveller magazine. Two years later, it was TripAdvisor's turn to name it the best beach in Portugal.



  1. Alvor beach

On the west side of the beach, where the dunes cut through the horizon, and the river flows into the sea, the landscape is very natural. This vast beach has something for everyone, from those who enjoy lunch by the sea, to others who prefer the peace of a secluded beach. Everyone is welcome, from kite surfers to those who prefer a stroll on the boardwalks at the back of the beach, overlooking the Monchique mountains.


On the beach, you can still rent a sun lounger or get a Thai massage, not to mention the delicious cream cakes (bolas de berlim) that are "prescribed by the doctor", as the vendor proclaims as he strolls along the beach from one end to the other. There are several restaurants to visit on the west side of Alvor beach, from Restinga to Atlântida. The fresh fish is the flagship of these places, but you can also sit on the terraces and enjoy a cool drink or an ice cream.



Are these your special beaches? Spend your next holiday just a few minutes from D. Ana beach and Alvor beach. In Lagos, you can stay 4 minutes from D. Ana beach in the Praça das Armas apartment in the city centre. In Alvor, stay at Casa Madalena apartment, an 8-minute walk from the beach.



Secret Paradises - Western Algarve


Some beaches should remain anonymous as if they were well-kept treasures, revealed from time to time. They are gems amid nature, where only the bravest venture to enjoy the tranquillity of the lesser-known beaches of the Western Algarve. Have you ever had the pleasure of visiting one of these beaches?


Four canoes in the sea, near the land.

Photo by Artem Zhukov – Unsplash



  1. Barranco do Martinho

The Barranco do Martinho is a small and wild beach, part of the rock formations of Ponta da Piedade in Lagos and, like all lesser-known beaches, is difficult to access. You reach the small sandy beach over rocks and a path bordered by a concrete walkway. The tides wash away the dry sandy spot. Always check the tide tables before going to the beach for your safety.


It is a natural paradise for divers, where you can observe small molluscs trapped in the rocks and some fish. There is no need to carry any heavy diving equipment, only a pair of diving goggles and a desire to learn about the sea. Nudism and pets are tolerated on this beach all year round.



  1. João d'Arens

João d'Arens is "the last window to the sea", as the people of Portimão call this place. A natural area with cliffs looking out to sea, it is one of the last unoccupied lands with these features. The inhabitants want to preserve this unique place, which leads us along dirt roads to the beach with the same name - João d'Arens beach. The path is not easy, but with some bravery and focus, you will quickly arrive at your destination. If you think the path is not for you, you can always rent a SUP board or a Gaivota (a small boat without a motor) at Vau beach, right next to this beach.


The beach or cliffs serve as a meeting place for various recreational fishers, as these shallower waters are rich in some species of fish. This beach is also an open space for naturism like Barranco do Martinho beach.



For the adventurous who like to discover new beaches in the Western Algarve, we have a suggestion for a holiday home. It is only a few minute's drive from these two beaches and is in a secluded location with a swimming pool. Discover Vila Formosa near the municipality of Alvor.


Blue Flag beaches - Western Algarve


The Blue Flag is a quality symbol for beaches and marinas that meet a set of environmental criteria and safety measures and where it provides information on the environmental awareness of users. The Algarve is the leading region in numbers, with 86 flags flying from the eastern to the western Algarve. In addition to the environmental aspects, the flag means that the beach is easily accessible and safe for visitors. To find out which beaches in the Algarve have been awarded the Blue Flag, visit the official Blue Flag website.


Image of Meia Praia from one of the wooden walkways.


  1. Meia Praia

One of the Blue Flag beaches in Lagos, and the largest in the town, is Meia Praia. It stretches from the Bensafrim stream breakwater to the Alvor River breakwater. There are 5 kilometres of sandy beach along the wide Lagos Bay with several accesses via boardwalks, which also helps preserve the low dunes covered with pine trees and barrocal bush.


It is a beach without rocks, where you can practise sports without hindrance. In the middle of the beach, there is a school that teaches windsurfing, kitesurfing, surfing and much more. The sports are easy to learn in these waters because the tides are calm, the beach has favourable winds most days, and you are already far away from bathers in the water due to the vastness of the beach. This beach has several restaurants and free parking nearby.


  1. Porto Mós beach

Before you reach the sandy beach of Porto Mós, from the top of the Atalaia viewpoint, you can see the entire coastline to Sagres. This landscape will remain in your memory for a long time! This beach is protected from the wind by rocks, and wide sand, so you have plenty of space to spend a nice day on the beach.


Outside the beach, there is a free car park and boardwalks leading to the beach. Take advantage of the chance to start your day on this beach and stay for lunch at one of the beach restaurants. Choose between the António restaurant and the Campimar restaurant, where you can enjoy fresh fish or a cool drink. On the sandy beach of Porto Mós, you can rent a sun lounger and a parasol next to one of the restaurants.



Looking for a holiday home near these Blue Flag beaches? Stay in the three-bedroom Al-Gharb apartment, 150 metres from Meia Praia, or at the Ocean Cliffs apartment with incredible sea views, right on Porto Mós beach.


Popular beaches - Western Algarve


We could list all the beaches in the Western Algarve, as they all have a unique beauty that sets them apart from the rest of the country. All the beaches on this side of the Algarve have something unique, from landscapes filled with the ochre colour of the rocks to the turquoise blue sea that lets you see the seabed. If you have not yet visited any of the beaches mentioned in this article, we invite you to start with the next two. Find out the Algarve's best-kept secret.


A view of a natural arch in a rock from inside a cave in Marinha beach.

Photo by kiwihug – Unsplash



  1. Praia da Marinha Beach

The Michelin Guide ranks Marinha Beach as one of the top 100 beaches in the world due to its natural and unrivalled beauty. It is surrounded by high cliffs sculpted by the wind and the sea, and it is from the top of the cliffs you should make your first stop at the 7 Vales Suspensos, a trail that spans down the coast of Lagoa in the Algarve. From there, you can see the golden rocks contrasting with the blue of the sea, which is so transparent that you can see the bottom perfectly.


The wooden steps that lead to the sand are long and keep the crowds away from this beach. If you have time, walk down and enjoy this peaceful beach, designated as a Golden Beach by the Ministry of Environment in Portugal.



  1. Praia da Rocha beach

It is one of the most emblematic beaches of the Algarve, with more than 1 kilometre of sand, and is visited by more and more holidaymakers. A pathway runs down the beach, providing access to the various parts and to the sports area, which has room for basketball, volleyball, and football. On the beach, you can also enjoy the various summer events. Find out about some of these events here.


Spend your holiday steps away from Praia da Rocha and a few minutes by car from Praia da Marinha in Lagoa in this two-bedroom Rocha Prime apartment in the first row of Praia da Rocha.


Now that you know the top 10 beaches in the Western Algarve, plan your well-deserved holiday in our local accommodation apartments and villas. Enter the town where you want to spend a few days in the "Search" section and book directly through our website.