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Conscious Earth Eco Holidays & Retreats - Glamping in Silves, Algarve, Portugal with Conscious-Earth.com
 

Algarve Beaches

So many beaches, so little time! The Algarve boasts some of the best and most picturesque beaches to be found in Europe with golden sands and azure waters - there are just so many to visit, from long sandy bays where you'll always be able to find a good bit of 'breathing space' even in the height of summer to the numerous secluded rocky coves that dot this spectacular and beautiful coastline. The beaches along the south here have calmer waters than the western Atlantic coast so are just perfect for families with children. Here is just a selection that are an easy drive from Conscious Earth.

•  Beaches near Portimão

Portimão is only 6km / 10 mins drive from Silves and boasts some fantastic beaches. It is a mix of late 19th, early 20th century buildings in the older part of the town, and high rise apartment blocks in various pastel shades of blue, pink and coral around it. The town centre is perfect for those who love to shop. It is packed full of stores, offering a wide choice of clothes, gifts, souvenirs, and plenty of traditional shops selling bargain leather goods, such as handbags and belts. There are also plenty of bars, restaurants and café's where you can sit for a bite to eat or a drink and watch the town carry on around you.

To see the more relaxed side of Portimão, wander down to the river front, where the 'Manuel Bivar' gardens are, and have an ice-cream or a coffee at one of the cafes along the front. The roads in and around Portimão are quite confusing and congested, especially if you end up in the narrow back streets where everyone parks on both sides of the road! There is plenty of car parking around the town, and there is a particularly large car park on the waterfront which is very easy to find if you approach from the marina end and follow the river.

Algarve Beaches - Praia da RochaPraia da Rocha
Praia da Rocha has one of the best and most beautiful coast lines in the Algarve and is just around the corner from Portimão marina. It is truly a beautiful beach with golden sands that we come to expect of Algarve beaches. The beach is long and very wide and even at the height of summer there is plenty of room. It has its own dedicated outdoor sports section on the beach offering football and volley ball. There are also lots of sun loungers and sunshades to rent if you want a more comfortable stay at the beach. Praia da Rocha is a totally flat beach with several access points along its length. Although access at the western end is by way of steep steps there are other access points along its length suitable for disabled access. It is referred to as the "Queen of Algarve's beaches" because of its beauty and historical past. It has a new wooden walkway running the entire length of the beach, with a selection of beach cafés and restaurants behind it, making it easy for families with pushchairs or wheelchairs to access all the facilities, and is a great place to get a taste of beach life in the Algarve. It is geared to tourism in big numbers; its' cosmopolitan and vibrant atmosphere offers open-air cafes, restaurants, nightclubs and souvenir shops.

St Caterina Fort is at the end of the Beach near the Marina. It offers a bird's eye view over the surrounding area. It was built in 1621 on the orders of D. João de Castro (Governor of the Algarvian Kingdom) to protect the City of Silves and Vila Nova de Portimão from Spanish Pirates and Moors. This is one of those places that you can get awesome sunset pictures.

The Marina is another wonderful place for all the family to dine and watch the sun go down. We frequently treat ourselves to Nosolo Italia a great little Pizza restaurant for all the family. Just opposite and new to Portimão in 2007 is the arrival of 'Nikki Beach' in conjunction with Tivoli Hotels, bringing their luxury holiday formula to the Algarve. It's a luxurious treat to watch a sunset here, but well worth the expense.

Algarve Beaches - Praia do VauPraia do Vau
Praia do Vau is a sheltered sandy bay in a peaceful corner of Portimão, just to the west of Praia da Rocha, surrounded by low-rise holiday apartments and complexes. There is quite a good sized area for parking right behind the beach, beach bars for refreshments and meals, sun beds and pedalos for hire. Praia do Vau is supervised during the beach season and is also classed as an 'Accessible Beach'.

for more information visit www.portimaouncovered.com

•  Beaches near Alvor

Just west of Portimão only 15mins drive from our house is the fishing village of Alvor. It's a small picturesque spot with numerous beautiful beaches- small and sheltered or with long sandy shores. There are a couple of reasonable beach bars with friendly helpful staff amd plenty of car parking directly behind the beach offering excellent disabled access - the car park and beach are at the same leve,l so there are no steps. There is also plenty of space to play games and sports, or for anyone who simply wants to relax in the sun and enjoy the beach life there is plenty of choice for where to pitch your towel.

There are two restaurants on Praia de Alvor, one at the entrance and another further along the beach in case you want to have some lunch or drink while you are the beach. There are also lots of sun loungers and sunshades to rent if you want a more comfortable stay at the beach. If you are not a resident at the Penina hotel though, you will have to opt for the sun loungers a bit further away from the entrance to the beach, as the first ones are reserved for residents of the hotel.

Algarve Beaches - Alvor PraiaAlvor Praia
Alvor beach is a lovely long stretch of sand great for sunbathing and swimming with many beach bar/restaurants, if you want to find a more secluded spot, when you get to the beach you turn left and keep walking you get to the best part of Alvor beach. There are large rock formations standing proud offering some great views and fantastic places to explore. A cliff top bar with a lift up to the top of the cliffs which allows you to walk back on the road. Not exactly off the beaten track as the hotel Alvor Praia goes near enough down to this part of the beach and there is a holiday village at the top of the cliffs but it is never that busy and relatively unknown by people staying in Alvor town.

Algarve Beaches - Praia de Três IrmãosPraia de Três Irmãos
Praia de Três Irmãos is the eastern end of the sand in Alvor. There is a restaurant at the start of the beach that signifies the ‘divide' between Praia de Três Irmãos and Praia de Alvor (although it hardly matters when you are faced with gorgeous stretch of golden sand!). Praia de Três Irmãos is a lot more sheltered than Praia de Alvor because of the cliffs and rocks that embrace the beach. As well as offering shelter on a windy day, they provide a truly picturesque setting in which to relax. Alvor is one of those places that you hardly register when you scan a map of the Algarve but we would strongly recommend it. There is also the splendid waterfront promenade, with palms and open-air tables and seating.

Much of what was a thriving fishing village, before the tourist boom, is still here to enjoy. Few buildings loom large enough to obscure the view of the lagoon, and low-rise is the order of the day but much of the character of the place has survived for you to enjoy... the sights, sounds and smells are all part of the experience. Many of the restaurants, especially those specialising in seafood, have much of the cooking and grilling done outside, which does wonders for swelling customer numbers, once the aromas are absorbed.

for more information visit www.alvoruncovered.com

•  Beaches near Lagos

To drive from our house on the A22 West it only takes 30 mins and well worth a visit. It is said that the beaches in Lagos are some of the best in the Algarve, how ever we feel that all the beaches in the Algarve are beautiful in their own special way and Lagos is certainly no exception.

With fine golden sands, magnificent views and gentle waves, the beaches in Lagos can be appreciated by all ages. Here there are many beaches dotted around the centre of Lagos with tiny cove beaches in between. To be honest, which ever beach or cove you choose to explore in Lagos, we assure you that you won't be disappointed.

Algarve Beaches - Porto de MósPorto de Mós
Porto de Mós is the beach furthest from Lagos town centre, is an easily accessible flat beach, with car parking just behind and a couple of restaurants at the entrance. Porto de Mós really is a beautiful beach.

All of the Lagos beaches have sand which is soft and clean and it's very safe for children to play. In summer time it is really popular with residents and tourists, but there is enough space for everyone to enjoy it. If you are feeling energetic and want a great view, walk up to the top of the cliffs on the western side of the beach, from there you can even walk all the way to Luz.

Algarve Beaches - Meia PraiaMeia Praia
Meia Praia has become the most famous of the Lagos beaches; a long sweeping bay that reaches to the Alvor lagoon with wonderfully with clean sand, lots of beach bars and its proximity to the town makes Meia Praia a perfect choice for relaxing into the beach life. We have been told that it has an amazing beach party on the 29th August where literally thousands flock to listen to DJs and dance the night away.

Algarve Beaches - Praia da BatataPraia da Batata
Praia da Batata is the closest beach to Lagos town centre and consequently is known locally as the "town beach". Historically guarded by the Forte Ponta da Bandeira, this forte still remains almost perfectly in tact and offers a magnificent sight as you arrive at Batata beach. Although it's a small beach, especially compared to Meia Praia, Batata beach is wonderfully sheltered and is divided into smaller coves by accessible holes in the rocks. Again we can not stress enough to you how beautiful all the beaches are in the Algarve, there is so much here to explore and appreciate.

There is a beach bar at the main entrance to the beach and another further along, which is also accessible down steps which are quite steep so if you're with children it may be best to enter from the flatter main entrance next to the forte. Praia da Batata, so we are told also plays host to some fantastic beach parties throughout the year (particularly in the Summer), with famous DJ's and people arriving from the rest of the Algarve and from the rest of Portugal. So it looks like we will just have to do some more research on the party scene here arnd get keep you posted with our results!

Algarve Beaches - Praia da Dona AnaPraia da Dona Ana
Praia da Dona Ana is a place you will recognise as soon as you arrive as it's pictured in all of the Algarve guides and resort maps. Embraced by the cliffs, which offer shelter from the sea breeze, protruding rocks breaks up the sand and the sea. It is home to magnificent rock formations that offer a fabulous sight from the beach or the restaurant that overlooks the beach.

There is plenty of parking behind the beach and there are two access points at both ends, down some steps, so it's not suitable for disabled access. As I mentioned before Lagos is only 30mins drive away and all these beaches are 5 mins drive from Lagos, so it's well worth a visit.

Algarve Beaches - Praia do CamiloPraia do Camilo
Praia do Camilo is simply beautiful, admittedly it is a rather small beach and is accessed by a walk down some very steep and long steps. The view though is spectacular, picturesque cliffs embrace the beach itself and when the sun is on the water, it is just wonderful for swimming. The steps down to the beach are challenging and can be difficult if you are with children, but if you have the stamina to climb up and down, it is well worth the effort. If you really can't bring yourself to journey the steps then you might appreciate a more relaxing day, staying at the top of the top of the steps can be which can be just as fulfilling. Here there is a lovely restaurant, which is very popular with local residents, serving local dishes and specialising in freshly caught seafood. You can sit outside, relax and peacefully just take in the view.

for more information visit www.lagosuncovered.com

•  Beaches near Ferragudo

Algarve Beaches - FerragudoFerragudo is only a 15 mins drive East, smaller and more traditional than Portimão. Located across the river estuary of Rio Arade, Ferragudo is a beautiful village and many of the buildings are traditionally fisherman's homes and retain an old-world charm. The buildings in general are lower-rise and the town itself is more relaxed than Portimão.

Ferragudo town is embraced by palm-fringed gardens, which run alongside a narrow river let up to the main cobbled square, Praça Rainha Dona Leonor. This is a lovely square, with lots of café's where you can sit for a delicious pastry and a coffee for a breakfast in a morning, or something more substantial at lunch.

Take a walk around the corner onto the quay and there are some more restaurants with a lovely view across the Arade and offering delicious, fresh fish dishes. Moving away from the town there is a lighthouse down a one-way track towards the coast on Ponta does Altar with a fantastic view of all of Portimão, across the river and the Monchique hills in the background, if you look out to sea you can see for miles.

Algarve Beaches - Praia GrandePraia Grande
Praia Grande, meaning "great beach", and it certainly is a lovely long, sandy beach, located within Portimao`s harbour walls where the river Arade joins the Atlantic Ocean. The water at Praia Grande is perfect for windsurfing because of the seawall that protects the waters from the Atlantic waves, and with Portimão on the opposite bank is a very popular stretch of water for water sports events during the year. The fort of São João de Arade sits on the cliff top overlooking the beach and is really quite an amazing sight. (The fort was turned into a private residence at the beginning of the 20th century). There is plenty of car parking at the entrance to the beach and it is a level, easy access from the road.

Algarve Beaches - Praia do MolhePraia do Molhe
Praia do Molhe is a small beach just along from Praia Grande, just where the harbour wall joins the coastline. It is accessed down quite a long flight of steep steps from a car parking area at the top. There is a popular fresh fish restaurant (O Molhe) on the beach which probably makes it worth the effort! From the top of the steps there are some lovely views across to Praia da Rocha and Portimão marina, a view enjoyed by the rather nice villas on the cliff top.

Algarve Beaches - Praia do PintadinhoPraia do Pintadinho
Located approximately 2km past Praia Grande is Praia do Pintadinho, a lovely sheltered sandy cove beach. Here the waters can be slightly cleaner because it is outside the harbour walls of Portimão, so it's a beautiful spot to take a dip. While you are visiting Praia do Pintadinho try and make sure you go up to the top of the cliffs. If you look over to your left, you will see a lovely little lighthouse on Ponta do Altar and then over to your right you will be able to see all the way over to Ponta da Piedade in Lagos and on a really clear day you may be able to see Sagres.

Praia do Pintadinho is relatively small so the only facility on offer is a small restaurant. There you will be able to get a coffee, ice cream, a snack or something more substantial. Here there is a large car parking area just behind the beach, and some spaces on the road just above the beach. Disabled access is easy because the car park and beach are both at ground level. As with most of the beaches in the Algarve sun beds are for hire.

Algarve Beaches - Praia dos CaneirosPraia dos Caneiros
Praia dos Caneiros is past Ponta do Altar, if you are travelling away from Ferragudo town and are a soft, sandy cove, backed by golden sandstone cliffs. Not a very large beach but truly beautiful, a sheltered bay with sun beds and pedaloes for hire, and a magnificent view. There is a lovely restaurant at the entrance to the beach which stays open in the evenings it is extremely popular and booking is recommended for dinner reservations. There are toilet facilities behind the restaurant for visitors to the beach. There is a small car parking area within a turning circle right behind the beach and when that's full parking continues along the sides of the road! There is also a kiosk for ice-creams and soft drinks by the car park. There are steps down to the beach beside the restaurant, so it is not suitable for disabled access.

for more information visit www.ferragudouncovered.com

•  Beaches near Carvoeiro

Carvoeiro is just 20 min drive on the A22 East and it's certainly a family favourite for us. It was traditionally a small fishing village surviving on the tuna catches. Now it is an international tourist resort buzzing with friendly people and has expanded enormously. The town is full on either side of fantastic bars, restaurants, cafes and shops. We love it here, although you have to get here early if you want to find a place to park close to the centre.

Algarve Beaches - Praia do CarvoeiroPraia do Carvoeiro
Praia do Carvoeiro is also known as the 'town beach' and it is a small sweep of sand sheltered by cliffs on either side. There are on the cliff the remains of the walls of the Fort of Senhora da Conceição dating from the 17th century, inside which is the hermitage of Nossa Senhora da Encarnação (Our Lady of the Incarnation). In 1554 a naval battle took place off Cape Carvoeiro when a Portuguese flotilla attacked the Turkish corsair, Xaramet, and destroyed his fleet.

There are showers and toilet facilities on the beach and a paved area just behind the entrance with easy access for pushchairs and wheelchairs. The cafes here are a real treat both in the day and at night, often in the evening there are artists, fire jugglers and mime acts to entertain you while you relax and enjoy your drinks. There is car parking just behind the beach, but spaces are limited and it can get quite busy in summer, so you may need to park a little further away and walk down.

Algarve Beaches - Praia do CarvalhoPraia do Carvalho
Praia do Carvalho is a small but lovely, curved bay, sheltered by rocks. You can access the beach from both sides; from one side, entrance is down some steep steps cut into the cliff face and on the other side, you can walk down from the car park and go down some steps cut into a tunnel in the rock. Not brilliant for children or wheelchair access and there are no toilet or wash facilities on Praia do Carvalho, you will need to take food and drinks with you.

Algarve Beaches - Praia da MarinhaPraia da Marinha
Praia da Marinha has a big car park at the top with a great picnic area overlooking the sea with spectacular views of the coastline. To get to the beach you follow the attractive tree-lined path, which winds its way to the top of the steps. It is quite a steep access down the steps but there is a handrail all the way down for support. Once again not brilliant for pushchairs or wheel chairs. At the bottom is a restaurant at the entrance to the beach and there are toilet and wash facilities. It's a good-sized beach and at low tide you have the choice of several little bays. However when the tide is high, access to these may be limited.

Algarve Beaches - Praia do ParaisoPraia do Paraiso
This is the next beach along from Praia do Carvoeiro, accessed by driving up the hill on the western side of Praia do Carvoeiro, following the road round to the right, there is a car park on the left hand side, near a restaurant.

This small, sheltered bay is reached down a long, winding flight of steps built into the cliffs. There are no amenities on the beach, but the Restaurant above, is open all year and has a lovely outside terrace to enjoy a meal while looking out over the cliffs. We have spent some memorable evenings here and recommend a visit.

Algarve Beaches - Praia de Vale de CentianesPraia de Vale de Centianes
Praia de Vale de Centianes is a lovely soft sandy bay, sheltered at the back by the cliffs. Access is down a sandy track where there is some car parking directly behind the restaurant and the entrance to the beach. Walk down the side of the restaurant and you will see the beach on your right, as well as a little snack bar selling ice creams and drinks. Although quite a small beach it is incredibly beautiful with rock formations over to the left, where you can sit with the waves lapping in at your feet.

for more information visit www.ferragudouncovered.com

•  'Grotto Tours' by boat

Algarve Beaches - Boat TripsIf you do anything at all in Lagos you simply must take a 'Grotto Tour'. Step aboard a small fishing boat, let your local fisherman be your guide, and witness from the water, the distinctive and magnificent cliffs that surround the Lagos area. It is truly an amazing sight!

Your guide will navigate around and under the intriguing rock formations, take you into caves and point out the many secluded beaches that surround the town. You can take the grotto tour by signing-up with one of the vendors along marble sidewalk in front of town. Alternatively, catch a boat at Praia Dona Ana or at Ponte da Piedad. This tour offers a little variety to your beach day. The fisherman bring the boats right to the beach, and you can generally get a good rate here approx. €10 to €20 per person, based on your starting point.

Algarve Beaches - Boat TripsHowever, the most admired feature around the vicinity of Lagos for its tourists is the unspoiled peninsula called Ponta da Piedade fronting the bay of Lagos. This is a truly wonderful walking area with stunning sea views. It has scenery of matchless beauty with colourful cliffs, caves, arches, rocks and some wonderfully transparent waters. The crystal clear water allows you to see the many and varied underwater rock formations. The rocks full of holes turn these beaches into sheltered coves, protecting them from the North wind that often refreshes Lagos. There are impressive caves located along the coast here with great names... Cathedral; Belas Artes; Living-room; The Shoe and The kitchen. Don't forget to look out for the small entrances in the rockface that allow natural light to create mesmerising reflections on the water, providing a beauty all its own.

There are also Grotto Tour boats which visit the many sea caves along the cliffs around Carvoeiro if you are in that area for the day, leaving from Carvoeiro town beach.

for more information visit www.algarveuncovered.com


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