So, you’re thinking about vacationing in Albufeira? This is one of the best holiday destinations in Portugal. It offers over 300 days of sun each year, a rich fishing heritage, a charming old town, and – of course – some of the most jaw-droppingly gorgeous beaches in the country. Nope, scratch that, some of the most jaw-droppingly gorgeous beaches in the world!
The sands really are world-class. They put the Algarve firmly on the map as one of the top places to come for sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling, surfing, and plenty more. We’re talking gold-tinged powder that rolls beneath honey-hued cliffs, dramatic coastal caves, and azure Atlantic waters that shimmer greenish blue.
Albufeira’s best beaches stretch along the south coast of Portugal. Some are neatly placed within walking distance of the resort itself. Others might require a quick bus journey or a jaunt in the hire car. Either way, you can look forward to hitting some of the continent’s more incredible shoreline in a land where the weather is famously fantastic. Let’s take a look…
Praia dos Arrifes
First up is Praia dos Arrifes, one of the smallest beaches in Albufeira. Here, the sand stretches for just 75 meters and is backed by low cliffs, making it extremely sheltered against the winds. The entrance to the hidden bay is down the end of a winding dirt track on the western side of the city.
It’s best known for the unique rock formations that jut straight from the sloshing waves of the Atlantic Ocean. At low tide, you can wade out underneath these natural geological wonders and explore the reef pools. When the water comes in, the same craggy sections of reef help to make Praia dos Arrifes a popular spot for snorkeling, with all sorts of unique marine wildlife appearing in the nooks and crannies there.
Just be warned, this beach can get crowded in the summer months. It’s small, so it doesn’t take long to fill up. It’s best to arrive early to avoid disappointment. That said, visitor numbers are tempered a little because the beach requires a 15-minute drive to reach, or about 1.5 hour’s walking via the buzzy marina area of Albufeira.
Praia de São Rafael
Just one curve of the headland around the coast to the west from Praia dos Arrifes, Praia de São Rafael offers a longer stretch of sand that’s pure Algarvian gorgeousness. A spectacular golden beach with its own twisted rock stacks and sea boulders, it’s consistently been voted among the top top attractions in Albufeira.
There are sun loungers and parasols available for hire, or you can bring your own and set up camp further along the beach. You can also rent water sports gear off the beach. We highly recommend grabbing a kayak and exploring the picturesque caves and rocky outcrops that lie along the shoreline and get filled with crystal clear waters when the tide comes in.
Praia de São Rafael is one of the quieter beaches in the region as it’s further from the town. However, be prepared for some crowds come the summer season when tourists descend on the Algarve en masse. There’s dedicated parking just at the top of the cliffs, followed by a short, sandy trail down to the beach itself.
Praia dos Pescadores
Praia dos Pescadores is considered the main beach of Albufeira. It’s also one of the biggest in the town, running for 225 meters in length from the end of the old town to the suburbs out east. Wooden boardwalks spread across the beach providing an easy way over the sun-baked sands, while taverns serving cold beers and fresh Portuguese seafood lurk on the clifftops just behind.
As this is the main city beach, it’s generally always crowded. There is an assortment of water sports and activities from the beach including jetskiing, parasailing, and even an inflatable water park in the summer. Over on the eastern cliffs is a fantastic viewpoint called Pau da Bandeira, offering panoramics across Praia dos Pescadores and Albufeira Old Town.
This huge stretch of sand also provides access to some slightly smaller and quieter beaches:
- Praia do Túnel – Named after the long rock tunnel that offers direct access to the beach from the Old Town square.
- Praia do Inatel – A Blue-Flag beach with a famous hotel right on the sand.
- Praia dos Alemães – One of the quieter sections of Pescadores, this one’s got a backing of dunes and oat-topped sand hills.
Praia dos Olhos de Agua
Praia dos Olhos de Agua is a perfect beach choice for those who prefer it a bit quieter. Located to the east of central Albufeira, it’s about 15 minutes’ driving from the heart of the resort. Alternatively, you can hike the coastal paths the whole way there through a range of other beaches (that takes about 1.5 hours in all).
What awaits is a small but stunning beach that’s backed by a traditional Algarvian fishing village. There are quite a few rocks on the right side of the beach, so swimming is best over to the left. Just be cautious of strong currents as the beach shelves off quickly into deep, cold water.
Several restaurants overlook the beach. Passaro Azul, La Cigale, and O Caixote all have beautiful sea views and offer a great evening atmosphere with Portuguese country cooking. If you have the time, we’d also recommend spending the night in the town here, as it’s a welcome break from the hedonistic hubbub of Albufeira proper.
Praia da Falesia
Praia da Falesia is surely one of the most impressive beaches in the Algarve. This phenomenal stretch of sand is 3.7 miles long, stretching from Vilamoura in the east all the way to Olhos de Água at Albufeira in the west. The sand is beautifully soft and the water is crystal clear, two factors that have combined to make it one of the most highly rated beaches in the whole of Europe.
However, what really sets Praia da Falesia apart from the crowd is the long bulwark of iconic red cliffs that dominate one side of the beach. They’re dashed with lines of orange, ochre, and vermillion, and offer plenty of shelter and secluded sunbathing spots. There is also a fantastic hiking trail along the top of the cliffs for those feeling a touch more adventurous.
The slight westerly orientation of Praia da Falesia also means it picks up a bit more swell than other parts of the Algarve south coast. It’s not heavy stuff but great for beginners looking to try their hand at surfing for the first time. If that’s you, check out the surf schools in the bay.
Praia dos Alemães
Praia dos Alemães is another town beach that’s popular among tourists, in particular families with children. Like most all of the other Albufeira best beaches, Praia dos Alemães has golden sands and beautiful blue waters lapping at the shore. However, the waves can get rough here outside of the summer season, which is why it’s often at its fullest between May and September.
This is the least developed of the town beaches. But there are still sunbeds for hire and an inflatable play area to keep the kids entertained. The more inquisitive can explore and discover rock pools tucked away in the coves to the eastern side of the beach. Alternatively, settle in one of the shoreline bars and enjoy long lunches of Portuguese seafood and Algarvian wine – the boho fusion bay of NoSoloÁgua Albufeira is particularly good.
Praia da Oura
Praia da Oura is the party beach of Albufeira. This town beach is vibrant and energetic, perfect for anyone who wants to live the nightlife until sunrise.
Oura Beach is in the Areias de São João district of Albufeira. This is a lively center of the town full of bars and restaurants popular with younger crowds. The beach is only 900 meters away from the famous Strip, and often in high season, the party spills out on the beach.
The beach itself is the classic beautiful sand of Albufeira with a calm ocean. There are several caves and coves to discover as well. Just be cautious of the currents if exploring from the water.
Praia de Manuel Lourenço
If you’re after a more tranquil and remote beach in Albufeira, then maybe Praia de Manuel Louenço is the place for you. This is a less-visited and more laid-back beach than the other beaches in Albufeira. Access is from Galé, about 6km west of Albufeira center.
Praia de Manuel Louenço is a small cove nestled in between the cliffs. Unlike neighboring beaches, the cliffs here are covered in vibrant flora, softening the landscape. In Spring, the pine and thyme scents are incredible and you’re guaranteed a peaceful day on the sand.
There is a small restaurant directly on the beach and sunbeds available for hire. Make sure you bring some snorkeling gear along for the day to explore the marine life.
Praia de Santa Eulália
Just 2.5 miles out of the center is one of Albufeira’s most expansive beaches: Praia de Santa Eulália. Surrounded by the iconic Algarve red cliffs and vibrant pine gardens, this one has a certain lushness and greenery to it. You’ll wander down to the sands in the shadow of big royal palms and smell the fragrant aromas of stone pines as you lay your towel on the shoreline.
This beach is clean and well maintained. There are lifeguard patrols throughout the peak season as well as some water sports activities organized from the beach. As you’d expect, the sand is golden and the sea is very clear. The ocean is generally calm, so not the best for surfing, however, it’s ideal for swimming and snorkeling. We’d say it’s a particularly good spot for families who want somewhere with relatively safe swimming and less of a tourist buzz.
Praia da Marinha
No list of the Albufeira best beaches could possibly be complete without at least a mention of the jaw-dropping Praia da Marinha. Okay, so it’s a bit of a drive from the resort itself, being nestled on the rugged run of coastline between Carvoeiro and the town of Armação de Pêra, some 35 minute’s down the highway from Albufeira itself and then a challenging, zigzagging path that navigates the coast hills.
But the trip is most certainly worth it. What awaits here is one of the Algarve’s untapped gems. A symphony of rock-ribbed cliffs, arched caves, shadowy coast grottoes, and arrowhead rock stacks that rise above a green-blue sea, it’s got some seriously good looks – enough to convince CNN to put it among the top 20 beaches on the whole planet, no less!
Aside from the dramatic coastal location and rock formations, Praia da Marinha is known for its very clear water. That makes it a snorkeler’s and sailor’s dream come true, so consider bringing along the goggles or renting a kayak to make the most of it.
Praia da Galé
Boardwalks creep over the wetlands and dunes from the lush golf courses west of Albufeira to take you to the long sands of Praia da Galé. They run for nearly three miles in all, sweeping in an arc up the side of the wavy Atlantic Ocean. There are two main sections of the beach: Leste in the southeast to Oeste further north. The first is rockier, with hidden coves where people like to go to sunbathe in private. The latter is a more open run of blustery powder that’s well served by beach bars on the dunes behind.
Getting to Praia da Galé is a joy in itself. The paths to the bay weave through protected areas of coastal scrub where rare birds and hardy sea plants dot the dunes. In the Leste area, it’s also possible to encounter some ancient fossils in the rocks, along with tide pools that draw in all sorts of intriguing marine life. One downside is the rip currents, which get particularly bad in the stormy winter months.
Wrap Up: Albufeira Best Beaches
So there you have it! The top nine Albufeira best beaches you should visit while in the Algarve. Trust us when we say, you’ll leave a piece of your heart on the golden sands in Albufeira!
What is the main beach in Albufeira?
Praia dos Pescadores is thought of the main beach in Albufeira. It’s easily accessed from the center of the popular fishing town within walking distance of most hotels. There are plenty of sunbeds and water sport activities to keep everyone entertained throughout their stay.
This beach is one of the biggest Albufeira best beaches. It’s 225 meters in length and can reach 100 meters in width on a low tide. Albufeira town has installed wooden boardwalks to allow safe and comfortable access across the hot sand.
What is the best part of Albufeira to stay in?
There are several areas of Albufeira to stay in, all offering different things depending on what sort of holiday you’re after. Old Town is great for first-time visitors and Montechoro is ideal for anyone vacationing on a budget. Areias de São João is the best part of Albufeira if you want to make the most of the nightclubs, while the Marina area is super classy and luxurious.
Is Albufeira worth visiting?
Albufeira is definitely worth visiting! There’s way more to this traditional fishing town than beautiful beaches and a great nightlife scene. However, the Albufeira best beaches sure are a good place to start!