We spend so much of our holidays on beaches that it is easy to become blinded to their beauty and take them for granted, even become bores of them… wherever they are in the world. Portugal is no exception to this.
It’s easy to make the mistake and believe all beaches are the same and offer little other than lying down until you get too hot followed by a cooling dip in the sea. Perfectly pleasant but if you’re the type of person who is constantly on the go this sand-based cyclical temperature adjustment process might not appeal. If you’d rather run along a beach than stick a towel down and sit on it, opt for a cycling tour or take in a round of haphazard golf, then you probably find yourself regularly heading to where the land meets the sea to enjoy the wide variety of beach shenanigans that don’t include sunbathing. Here we have picked out five beaches that are all good for something a little different. The Algarve has 200km of glorious coastline, so there were plenty to choose from. Narrowing it down was the hard bit.
BEST BEACH FOR…
DRAMATIC LANDSCAPES – THE VICENTINE COAST
Ok, so we’re cheating with beach number one because it’s not one beach, it’s a whole stretch of coast. But there are numerous beaches along this stretch: some sweeping and wide, some small private coves. If you’re a surfer, you probably know this part of Portugal rather well. If you prefer to keep your feet dry along this coastline take in the dramatic landscape of high cliffs, rocks and sand dunes.
SUNDOWNERS – PORTIMÃO
It’s no secret that some of the best meals you’ll have had or better yet, cool, refreshing sundowners cocktails will have been beside the sea. Looking out over the ocean as the sun sets with a decent glass of wine in hand is one of life’s great pleasures. The Alvor waterfront area and Tomas Cabreira Avenue are filled with open-air restaurants bars and cafes in prime position to watch the light fade over the Atlantic.
PEOPLE WATCHING – RIVER BEACH OF PEGO FUNDO
It’s perfectly possible that we’re straying away from the true meaning of the word beach here but it’s in the top five so we’re running with this river beach. On banks of the Guadiana you can see Spain, and at this particular stretch of sand there’s a beach volleyball court, gym equipment and floating beach chairs. We have no idea why people want to use gym equipment on the beach, but there is nothing better of an afternoon than sitting at the bar watching them show off to one another and quietly chuckling to oneself.
WALKING – SOLARIA BEACH
The Barlavento coastline, where this charming little beach can be found, is littered with majestic cliffs and caverns. Rocks and boulders are dotted along a coastline that attracts a wide range of birds, should you be a fan of our feathered friends. Solaria is linked to a whole host of other beaches through tunnels carved out of the rocks, meaning a walk here is hugely entertaining and far more exciting than your average seaside stroll.
WATER SPORTS – VILAMOURA MARINA
If you enjoy a more active trip to the seaside, this place is going to tick a lot of boxes. Water-skiing, speed boating and jet-skiing are just three of our favourites and sometimes a little adrenaline rush is just what you need to properly relax.