Located about 6km (close to 4 miles) east of Albufeira’s Old Town, this beach is popular with Portuguese families and tourists staying at the hotels nearby. Nestled by a cliff, it’s about 1km long (just over half a mile) but can get crowded in July and August.
Half of it has sunshades and sunbeds for rent in the summer, and the other half is for those who bring their own umbrella. You do want to bring your umbrella if you prefer shade, as you shouldn't count on the shade created by the cliffs -- you must keep a safe distance from them, as there can be rockfall. Other rentals include pedal boats, kayaks and jet skis.
The water is usually calm in the summer and is shallow by the shore, so it’s safe for swimming and children. It’s also very clean, just like the golden sand. There are lifeguards on duty in the bathing season.
The rentals are available by a restaurant specializing in grilled fish and offering a view over the beach. It’s open from April to October.
There’s a scenic trail over the cliffs above the beach called “Trilho dos Olhos d’Água” with amazing views over the beach. Just don’t wear flip flops or take children with you, as there are trip hazards and only a small section has wooden steps and boardwalks. As you walk, you pass by pine trees, find small coves, and see interesting rock formations below the ocher cliffs.
Beach for: Families
Bar or Restaurant: Yes
How to Get to Praia Maria Luísa
This beach is not within walking distance of the center of Albufeira. An infrequent bus (number 8, operated by the Vamus company) departs from the bus station to Rocha Baixinha, and stops a short walk from this beach, on Estrada de Albufeira, in about 10 minutes. You’ll see a sign pointing to the beach a few feet from the bus stop (you just need to go down Rua da Praia Maria Luísa and the pedestrian access down to the sand is through the Club Med resort). If you’re driving, there’s parking just before the access to the beach, but it’s often difficult to find a spot in the summer (go early). Alternatively, take a taxi or Uber. To know how to get to and around Albufeira, see our transportation guide.
Beaches by Praia Maria Luísa
Follow the aforementioned trail over the cliffs from Praia Maria Luísa and you reach Praia de Olhos d’Água to the east. If you’re driving, you can reach that beach in less than 5 minutes, or the beautiful Praia da Falésia in about 10. In less than 10 minutes, but in the opposite direction (to the west) you can be at the verdant Praia de Santa Eulália.
To locate these beaches, see the Albufeira beaches map.
Hotels by Praia Maria Luísa
Hotel Balaia Mar
Located by the stop of the bus to Albufeira and just up the street from the beach, this 3-star hotel is a good value. It has classically-styled rooms with balconies, an outdoor swimming pool, a restaurant, and a sports bar with pool tables.
SEE PRICES, AVAILABILITY AND MORE DETAILS HERE: Hotel Balaia Mar
Velamar Boutique Hotel
This highly-rated boutique hotel is a 15-minute walk from the beach. It’s one of the oldest hotels in the area but a renovation has given it a more contemporary interior. Most rooms have a balcony, some of them overlooking the swimming pool surrounded by sunbeds. From the breakfast room is a view of the ocean in the distance.
SEE PRICES, AVAILABILITY AND MORE DETAILS HERE: Velamar Boutique Hotel
Balaia Golf Village
This 4-star resort is a short walk from the beach and features apartments and villas. Facilities include six outdoor pools, two restaurants, four tennis courts, a 9-hole golf course, and a health club with a sauna and fitness center.
SEE PRICES, AVAILABILITY AND MORE DETAILS HERE: Balaia Golf Village