A tunnel at the end of one of the Old Town’s main pedestrian streets leads to this beach that’s officially called Peneco, but is perhaps better known as “Praia do Túnel” or “Beach of the Tunnel.” It’s Albufeira’s most photographed beach, due to its central location and to the large rock (the “peneco” in the name) that stands on the 1km-long stretch of sand. This is actually the western end and the longest section of the 2km stretch in the center of Albufeira that’s divided into four beaches. At high tide (mostly in the winter), however, this part is separated from the rest, as the water reaches a cliff on the eastern end.
The central location also means that this is the most crowded of Albufeira’s beaches, but due to its size, everyone finds a spot reasonably apart from other sunbathers. Many people also pass by just to admire the view from above (from the cliff or from the top of an elevator that takes you down to the sand), and to photograph the white buildings of the town perched on the yellow sandstone cliffs. One of the best times to stop by is at sunset.
The golden sand is soft and clean, and the water quality good (this is a Blue Flag beach). However, you should note that the water gets deep by the shoreline quite quickly, so children and those who can’t swim shouldn’t go very far. The waves may be calm one day and good enough for surfing the next.
In the summer, the beach has lifeguard supervision and parasols and sunbeds for rent. It’s often the stage for live music, sports competitions and other events. Sometimes there’s also an inflatable park for children in the water.
The elevator access means that this is a good beach for the disabled.
There’s a bar for refreshments, and you’ll find plenty of places to eat and drink in the vicinity.
Beach for: Families, Couples
Bar or Restaurant: Yes
Parking: Yes (in town)
How to Get to Praia do Peneco
From the center of the Old Town, this beach is accessed through a tunnel excavated on the cliff at the end of the pedestrian street Rua 5 de Outubro. From the western end of the Old Town, you can use the stone steps down to the beach or use a modern elevator at the end of Rua Latino Coelho. This elevator was inaugurated in 2008 and is also a tourist attraction, as it also has an observation platform. It’s 28 meters (92 feet) high and transports up to 13 people at a time.
To know how to get to Albufeira, see our transportation guide. If you’re driving into town, you’ll find limited parking in the center.
Beaches by Praia do Peneco
Praia do Peneco is the perfect starting point for a walk by the sea, which takes you past three other beaches. The first one to the east (to the left when facing the sea) is Praia dos Pescadores, which is followed by Praia do Inatel and Praia dos Alemães. A short drive from these beaches, to the east, are the beaches of Aveiros and Oura. This last one is known as Albufeira’s “party beach,” as it’s down the road from “The Strip.”
To locate these beaches, see the Albufeira beaches map.
Hotels by Praia do Peneco
Hotel Sol e Mar
Waking up here is like waking up at the beach. It’s right on the beachfront and rooms have balconies with sea views. There are two restaurants and two bars for drinks or meals throughout the day.
SEE PRICES, AVAILABILITY AND MORE DETAILS HERE: Hotel Sol e Mar
Rocamar Exclusive Hotel & Spa
This adults-only hotel stands behind the beach. Many of the rooms have balconies and some offer sea views. It features a terrace with a pool overlooking the beach and a spa for a variety of treatments and massages.
SEE PRICES, AVAILABILITY AND MORE DETAILS HERE: Rocamar Exclusive Hotel & Spa
Featuring a palatial interior, this 3-star hotel faces the beach and its elevator. Every room is different but comfortable, and most have panoramic sea views. It has a shared kitchen where guests may prepare meals, and everyone can get together at the terrace overlooking the ocean.
SEE PRICES, AVAILABILITY AND MORE DETAILS HERE: Al-Buhera Palace
The name literally means “facing the sea,” and it does offer a side view over the beach of Peneco. This is a budget property that in addition to the location also stands out for its cleanliness and welcoming staff. Many of the rooms have balconies.
SEE PRICES, AVAILABILITY AND MORE DETAILS HERE: Frentomar
Vila Algarvia Boutique & Suites
This budget guesthouse is located in the heart of the Old Town, facing two of the main churches and the sea. It’s within walking distance of the beach and has clean, classically-styled rooms, making it a good value.
SEE PRICES, AVAILABILITY AND MORE DETAILS HERE: Vila Algarvia Boutique & Suites