This is going to sound rather odd coming from a man who moved to the Algarve five years ago but... I spent many years fairly unimpressed by beaches. 

‘You've moved to the wrong place then’, I hear you cry. But don't cry, it's ok, I am a convert. The mistake I made was to believe beaches are all 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 as a man who has spent my life to date almost constantly on the go this sand-based cyclical temperature adjustment process didn't really appeal. Even now I haven't really learned to sit still. I'd rather run along a beach than stick a towel down and sit on it. But when I'm not running, cycling or playing haphazard golf I regularly head to where the land meets the sea to enjoy the wide variety of beach shenanigans that don't include sunbathing. I've picked out five that are all good for something a little different. The Algarve has 200km of glorious coastline so there were plenty to choose from.




Ok, so I'm cheating with beach one because its 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. I prefer to keep my feet on solid ground along this coastline though as I love taking in the dramatic landscape of high cliffs, rocks and sand dunes.


Somehow the best food I've ever eaten and the most delicious drinks I've ever imbibed 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.


It's perfectly possible that I'm straying away from the true meaning of the word beach here but it's my top five so I'm 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. I have no idea why people want to use gym equipment on the beach but I adore sitting at the bar watching them show off to one another quietly chuckling to myself.


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.


If, like me, you enjoy a more active trip to the seaside this place is going to make you smile. Water skiing, speed boating and jet skiing are my three favourites. For some time I thought I looked rather slick skimming over the sea on skis. But over the years my children and now grandchildren have made it very clear I’m anything but graceful… how charming. Won’t stop me strapping the skis on though!


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