The 150 kilometres of the southern Algarve coast are one of the most sensational stretches of seaside in the world. You would have no trouble finding a different beach for every day of the year. They cover all sorts of beaches too, something for everyone: long, quiet beaches backed by sand dunes, tiny beaches surrounded by cliffs, resort beaches where the beach bars bang out the tunes to accompany your evening dip, or remote coves where no-one cares if you abandon the bikini.
Praia do Anção, near Quinta do Lago, Vilamoura
Backed by sand dunes, this long stretch of sandy beach is within the Golden Triangle of upmarket resorts and year-round entertainment at the heart of the Algarve. Its position means that this beach is both unspoilt and yet well equipped for a day of good quality eating and drinking along with the sunbathing. It’s a wonderful beach for the family too, with life guards and good facilities. The town of Vilamoura is highly popular with property buyers, with upmarket property surrounding golf courses, spas, high class shopping and excellent nightlife.
Praia da Marinha, Carvoeiro and Lagoa
It has graced a thousand brochures and websites, being that perfect colour combination of turquoise sea, sky of blue and honey-coloured cliffs. The cliffs and coves to the side are a snorkeler’s dream. This isn’t the only amazing beach in the area, and the beach is not the only attraction. It is by the lovely village of Carvoeiro, all white-washed Moorish-style houses, but with plenty of opportunity to buy a modern style property as the village stretches inland and joins the small city of Lagoa (not to be confused with Lagos which is far to the east).
Praia do Amado, Carrapateira
Have you tried surfing yet? Come on now, you’re only young once and you don’t want to wake up in a home aged 95 realising you’ve left it too late! The great thing about surfing is that stick a wetsuit on and you can do it all year. The beach is within a wide bay, with simple beach bars and surf schools. Carrapateira is round the headland on the west coast of the Algarve but is reachable in about 40 minutes from Lagos and even closer to Luz, both popular among overseas property buyers. Lagos is a historic and traditional town, less tourist orientated and lively all year round and surrounded by beautiful countryside.
Praia da Luz, Western Algarve
Just a few kilometres beyond Lagos, Luz is a popular place for family holidays in summer but retains a large expat community all year. It was a fishing village but is more famous now for its long sandy beach. It’s a 100kilometre drive from Faro Airport but this beach is worth it. Light golden sand, backed by cliffs that stretch away into low hills among which the holiday villages and hotels nestle.
Tavira, Eastern Algarve
The beaches of the eastern Algarve are different – they tend to be barrier islands that you have to reach by boat. They are warmer but wilder and emptier too. The town of Tavira is elegant and wealthy, with cobbled streets and 200-year-old mansions. Around it are smaller fishing villages with wonderful restaurants serving up the catch of the day. It is also very handy for the airport either by road or railway. From the city, you get to the beach by water taxi or a ferry costing a couple euros return.
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