PORTUGAL Road Trip: ALGARVE ~ Beach Hopping
Blessed with a beautiful 200-kilometre coastline, Portugal's Algarve has probably the most stunning beaches I've ever seen. These praias vary from broad endless stretches to small sheltered coves and every single one of them is gorgeous.
Well, that's what I hear anyway. With over 150 named beaches, obviously didn't hit all of them.... we hit about 7 .... and each one of those.... WOW.
PRAIA DO BELICHE
We were actually driving to Cabo de São Vicente (southwesternmost tip of Europe), and we saw quite a few cars parked here, so we stopped. Blew our little minds. Beautiful beach and cliffs, insanely beautiful views from the top. Getting down to the beach is another story – definitely not for the faint of heart as you'll have to make your way down a 140-step very steep and uneven staircase... then of course, make your way back up said stairs. Combine that with the mass of surfers carrying their boards up and down the stairs (the beach is popular with surfers) and the descent and ascent can be a bit challenging. That being said, this beach is the stuff that postcards are made of.
Praia do Beliche – about an hour's drive from Albufeira
Renting is probably better than lugging your equipment up and down those steps
Bet these folks were wishing they'd rented instead of bringing their boards down
Only made it about half way down the steps, far enough for a decent selfie
Taking in the view before heading back up those damn steps
CABO DE SÃO VICENTE
Known to some as the "end of the world", and you can definitely see why it's called that once there, Cabo de São Vicente (Cape St. Vincent) is a must. The views of the surrounding coastline are stunning, and I think best visited when it's windy to see the sea crashing against the rocks. A great place for amazing views of the ocean and cliffs, and watching dudes fishing off the rock face is quite unbelievable.
From Praia do Beliche to Cabo de São Vicente, it's only about a 5-minute drive
People standing on Portugal's southern tip
Lighthouse at Cabo de São Vicente
How in the world is this guy fishing....
... from here! (look closely!)
I could definitely stay here a while
FORTALEZA DO BELICHE
A fort built way back when (original construction dates are unknown, and range from 1587 to 1632), the Beliche Fort was reconstructed in 1960 and I hear was actually a hotel for a while. Now, you can't go inside, but you can go through the walkways to the other side of the walls to get pretty amazing views of the sea.
2-minute drive from the cape to Fortaleza do Beliche
Views from Fortaleza do Beliche
More amazing views from Fortaleza do Beliche
Making my way around the fortress
Nice view of the Cabo lighthouse from here
PRAIA DA MARETA
The largest beach area close to Sagres, Praia da Mareta is fairly remote and quiet, offering a peaceful refuge from the hustle and bustle of the city. Never overly crowded, this 750-metre long beach has quaint shops and restos that where you can sit and view the beach while sampling the Algarve's famous local bread Pasteis de Nata.
From Fortaleza de Belixe, it's only an 8-minute drive to Praia da Mareta
Views at Praia da Mareta
Much less crowded beach, with views of Fortaleza de Sagres
PRAIA DO CAMILO
During high season, this place is waaaaay overcrowded, but you can see why... a stunning beach in a sheltered cove with clear waters and surrounded by gorgeous limestone cliffs and caves.... just beautiful! The views from the top are stunning, and long wooden stairs will take you down to this cozy beach that has all the characteristics of the perfect Algarve beach.
From Praia da Mareta, 45-minute drive to Praia do Camilo
Ok....so this is the spot that the Algarve's postcards are literally made from
Look to your right, and you get this picture-perfect view
Boat rides are offered in and out of all these rock formations here
Look to the left, and you get this view
Look straight down for this view
PRAIA DA ROCHA
One of the Algarve's popular tourist spots, Praia da Rocha is located just 2 kilometres south of Portimão and is probably one of those spots that you'll see in every postcard from the Algarve. I personally prefer the hidden cove beaches, but this is the spot for plenty of entertainment, restaurants, bars, shopping.... you name it.
35-minute drive from Praia do Camilo to Praia da Rocha
Beautiful Praia da Rocha
Not so hidden, and packed with people
But beautiful all the same
PRAIA DE CARVOEIRO
I know I keep saying that each of these praias is the perfect picture postcard spot, but every time I think I've seen the most amazing view, there's always one more.... and Praia de Carvoeiro has the most amazing cliffs and views. The actual town of Carvoeiro is about 10-minute walk from this gorgeous beach that is lined with lost of shops, bars and restaurants. But what you really want to do is walk the paths about 200-feet above the beach and take in the fantastic views.
25-minute drive from Praia da Rocha to Praia de Carvoeiro
Another of those picture-postcard spots
Gorgeous Praia de Carvoeiro
That water looks divine!
PRAIA DOS PESCADORES & PRAIA DO INATEL
These two beaches are right by Old Town Albufeira, and while they don't have the most spectacular scenery, they were super convenient for us as we were staying about a 10-minute walk from here. I know I've barely scratched the surface of all the beaches that the Algarve has.....maybe another road trip is due soon!
Right by Albufeira's Old Town, the beaches of Praia dos Pescadores and Praia do Inatel kind of smoosh together
Praia dos Pescaderos, right by Old Town Albufeira
Plenty of palapas for shade - Praia dos Pescadores
Praia do Inatel
This turned out to be our chill out spot, since it's only a 10-minute walk from the apartment
Always with a pitcher of sangria close by
Photos taken | written by JENNIFER MAHON
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