Albufeira is the town with the most beaches in Algarve. Its 30km-long coastline (from the border with Armação de Pêra in the west to Vilamoura in the east) has nearly two dozen beaches, including hidden rugged coves only accessible by boat. Half a dozen of the official beaches are in the Old Town and the modern city, while the rest are in the outer districts. Those in the Old Town are the central beaches and are within walking distance of each other (in fact, they’re one single 2km-long stretch of sand divided into four sections), while those in the modern city can be reached by bus. For the others, you’ll need a car or to book a hotel nearby.
The water here tends to be calmer than at the surfing beaches in western Algarve, and is clean (most beaches fly the Blue Flag, indicating water quality and safety). Just remember that this is still the Atlantic and not the Mediterranean, so the water temperature is usually low. For sunbathing, however, it’s usually warm from May to October. Late June to early September is the hottest season.
Most beaches can get quite crowded in July and August, but there are always quieter ones -- you just need to know where to go:
- Praia da Falésia
- Praia de São Rafael
- Praia dos Arrifes
- Praia da Coelha
- Praia de Santa Eulália
- Praia do Castelo
- Praia do Peneco
- Praia dos Pescadores
- Praia do INATEL
- Praia dos Alemães
- Praia da Oura
- Praia dos Salgados
- Praia da Galé
- Praia do Evaristo
- Praia dos Aveiros
- Praia do Ninho de Andorinha
- Praia de Olhos d'Água
- Praia Maria Luísa
- Praia da Rocha Baixinha
- Cove Beaches
It’s one of the most stunning beaches in Algarve and all of Portugal. It’s also one of the longest in the region and with some of the best hotels. It’s found below magnificent red Grand Canyon-like cliffs and there are breathtaking views from above. Even if you don’t plan to spend a day at the beach, you’ll want to come here just for the views, even in winter.
Where to Stay: Epic Sana Algarve
See the Praia da Falésia Guide.
One of Albufeira’s (and the Algarve’s) most famous beaches offers spectacular views from the clifftops, and a number of grottos and caves to explore around its golden rock formations. Although it’s located 4km (2.5 miles) from the center of town, it’s a good place to stay, as it has a few good hotels within walking distance. The beautiful scenery and the sunset views from the cliffs also make it one of the most romantic beaches in the region.
Where to Stay: São Rafael Atlântico
See the Praia de São Rafael Guide.
This small beach is one of Albufeira’s most picturesque, with three imposing rocks in the water. There’s a wonderful view from the cliff when you arrive, and on the days when the tide is low and the water is calm and crystal-clear, this is one of the best beaches in town. Tidal pools are sometimes formed by the rocks, and it’s generally good for snorkeling and paddleboarding. A restaurant overlooks it all.
Where to Stay: São Rafael Holidays
See the Praia dos Arrifes Guide.
Hidden between golden cliffs, this relatively small beach attracts young locals and tourists. Although it has become popular, it’s never as crowded as those in the center of town. It’s about 5km (3 miles) to the west and is worth finding, as it’s surrounded by pristine nature, which makes it one of the most beautiful in the region. It has a restaurant facing the sea, open throughout much of the year, and parasols and loungers for rent in the summer.
Where to Stay: Hotel Baia Grande
See the Praia da Coelha Guide.
Surrounded by cliffs with palm and pine trees, this is one of the greenest and most beautiful beaches in the area. It’s clean and child-friendly, and has a restaurant serving fresh fish. There are also some great hotels with direct access, making it one of the best beaches for a relaxing holiday in Albufeira.
Where to Stay: Grande Real Santa Eulalia Resort & Hotel
See the Praia de Santa Eulália Guide.
No one knows exactly how this beach got its name (“Castle Beach”), but it may have derived from a rock formation or a 16th-century watchtower that’s now in ruins. It’s a very picturesque beach, sheltered by ocher cliffs and rocks, and is just 15 minutes from the center of Albufeira.
Where to Stay: Vila Gale Collection Praia
See the Praia do Castelo Guide.
Accessed through a tunnel from one of the main pedestrian streets in the Old Town or from an elevator that also acts as an observation platform, this is Albufeira’s most central, iconic and popular beach. In the summer, it’s often the stage for special events and has parasols and sunbeds for rent. Although it’s officially named after a rock that rises up from the sand, it’s also known as “Praia do Túnel” or “Beach of the Tunnel.” Behind it are several places to stay, to eat and drink. If you want convenience, this is your beach.
Where to Stay: Rocamar Exclusive Hotel & Spa
See the Praia do Peneco Guide.
Often a stage for live events, during the day and at night, in the summer and on New Year’s Eve, this is Albufeira’s liveliest beach. It’s right in the center of town, with sunshades and sunbeds, and plenty of places to eat and drink. Named after the fishermen who used to bring their boats here, it’s now mostly a beach for tourists who like the convenient location. You may admire a postcard view over it from a viewpoint accessed via an escalator.
Where to Stay: Hotel Sol e Mar
See the Praia dos Pescadores Guide.
Named after Albufeira’s first beach hotel, which stands almost on the sand, this beach is a little quieter than its neighbors to the west. It’s part of the 2km-long stretch of sand in the center of Albufeira, and the Old Town is about a 10-minute walk away. It’s quite a wide beach at low tide, with parasols and loungers for rent in the summer.
Where to Stay: INATEL Albufeira
See the Praia do INATEL Guide.
The easternmost beach in central Albufeira’s long stretch of sand is quieter and less developed, but still has a couple of beachfront restaurants and hotels. In the summer, there are parasols and loungers for rent. It might be called “Germans Beach” (due to a German-owned fish canning factory that once existed above it), but it’s mostly frequented by British and Dutch tourists.
Where to Stay: Alisios Hotel
See the Praia dos Alemães Guide.
Albufeira’s “party beach” is a 5-minute walk from “The Strip,” the town’s nightlife district. It’s the beach where young people spend their day before a night out at the bars. It offers parasols, loungers, boats and watersports equipment for rent, and is overlooked by a restaurant.
Where to Stay: 3HB Golden Beach
See the Praia da Oura Guide.
Albufeira’s westernmost beach stands out for its location by a lagoon. It’s a beach for ecotourists who enjoy birdwatching and for golfers who can walk to an 18-hole course. The lagoon reaches the dunes, and a short walk away is a number of high-end hotels. This is a family-friendly beach and there’s access to the disabled. The water is usually calm but it’s good for water sports. Those who enjoy walks by the sea can go all the way to the beaches of Armação de Pêra, the neighboring town.
Where to Stay: Salgados Dunas Suites
See the Praia dos Salgados Guide.
Divided into two sections (east and west), this beach is popular with Portuguese families. It’s located outside the center of Albufeira, but also attracts tourists, as there are a number of hotels nearby, including one of the most luxurious in Algarve with one of the world’s top 50 restaurants. The access through ramps and the proximity of parking lots makes it a good choice for those with mobility issues.
Where to Stay: Villa Joya
See the Praia da Galé Guide.
Once a secret, this beach became popular among Portuguese celebrities thanks to the restaurant that gave it its name. The restaurant is right on the sand, with large windows offering sea views. More views of the rocky bay can be admired from a path on one of the low ochre cliffs. The rocks don’t make it a good beach for swimming, but on low tide it’s good for snorkeling. Due to its isolated location away from hotels and the center of Albufeira, it’s mostly frequented by locals.
Where to Stay: Hapimag Resort Albufeira
See the Praia do Evaristo Guide.
This relatively hidden and small beach is the quieter alternative to the neighboring “party beach” of Oura. Surrounded by ocher cliffs and rocks, it has tiny coves and rock formations to explore at low tide. Sometimes tidal pools are formed between the rocks. It’s worth staying until sunset.
Where to Stay: Auramar Beach Resort
See the Praia dos Aveiros Guide.
It’s no longer a secret, but only a few make the effort to find it. It’s a romantic hidden cove, attracting couples and young people brave enough to go down the cliff. Most people spend their time looking for the perfect angle for selfies, as there isn’t much space for sunbathing. The crystal-clear water, however, is perfect for a refreshing swim. When the tide is low, this is a popular stop (and a surprising find) on a kayak tour.
Where to Stay: Hotel Baia Grande
See the Praia do Ninho de Andorinha Guide.
Here you can see something not found anywhere else -- freshwater springs gushing up from the ground along the shore. They can only be seen when the tide is low, and that’s the best time to come to this beach. It becomes a relatively small beach at high tide, and part of it is reserved for fishing boats and sunshades. On the promenade behind it are restaurants open throughout much of the year.
Where to Stay: TUI BLUE Falésia
See the Praia de Olhos d'Água Guide.
Nestled by an ochre cliff, this beach is partly taken over by sunshades and sunbeds in the summer. It’s a favorite of Portuguese families and frequented by guests of the hotels in the area, who often rent pedal boats, jet skis and canoeing equipment. A scenic path over the cliff offers views of the beach and leads to the even more popular Praia de Olhos d’Água.
Where to Stay: Hotel Balaia Mar
See the Praia Maria Luísa Guide.
The last beach in Albufeira before you reach Vilamoura is both a party beach and a beach for peace and quiet. On the eastern side it has a couple of bars and restaurants, water sports rentals and parasols and loungers, while the western end merges with Praia da Falésia and is for those looking to relax and admire the natural scenery.
Where to Stay: AP Adriana Beach Resort
See the Praia da Rocha Baixinha Guide.
In between the beaches listed here you’ll find a number of coves, most of them only accessible by boat. The image above shows Praia da Ponta Pequena, photographed from the eastern side of the cliff by Praia do Ninho de Andorinha. To the west is the bigger Praia da Ponta Grande, where many people on boat tours decide to stop for some sunbathing. These and other peaceful beaches are usually sheltered from the winds and are, naturally, among the most relaxing on this coast.
To find the secret beaches, go on a sightseeing cruise.
Most Beautiful Beaches - Praia de São Rafael, Praia da Falésia, Praia dos Arrifes, Praia da Coelha
Romantic Beaches - Praia do Ninho de Andorinha, Praia dos Arrifes, Praia de São Rafael
Party Beaches - Praia da Oura, Praia da Rocha Baixinha
Family-Friendly Beaches - Praia dos Salgados, Praia de Santa Eulália
Most Central Beaches - Praia do Peneco, Praia dos Pescadores, Praia do Inatel, Praia dos Alemães