Southern Portugal, known as the Algarve, is a popular destination for its paradisiacal beaches and sun, which can be enjoyed all year round. Besides to the world’s most famous beaches, there are also more discreet corners, away from mass tourism and caves that are worth visiting.
The first time I went there was in June 2014, making a road trip from Lisbon. I loved it so much that I renewed the experience in September 2016, on the occasion of my birthday. The route was a bit different because there were places that I absolutely wanted to see and others where I didn’t necessarily want to return, as in Albufeira for example, a city which is currently more English than Portuguese.
Personally, I’ve never liked places too frequented places but some are really worth seeing and I urge to avoid July/August to get there and go there rather May/June or September/October. You will enjoy more your stay.
Of course you can travel by bus or train but the trip will be longer and less convenient if you want to visit a maximum of things during your stay.
Here is an example of a road trip from Lisbon for weekend adventurers (2-3 days or more) and lovers of beautiful beaches. Don’t miss also the landscapes during your passage in the region of Alentejo.
Praia da Amália (Odemira, Alentejo), it was the beach of the fado singer Amália Rodrigues. You must leave your car near the gate of his old home and walk to the left (facing the gate) which will lead you to a surprising passage to the beach. It’s an uncrowded beach because it’s discreet and less easy to access. You’ll also find magnificent waterfalls. If you ever go wrong and go to a small dirt road, don’t panic it happened to me, in the end you’ll get a great view that will make you forget your little “mistake” !
Travel time: Approx. 2h30 from Lisbon
GPS coordinates N 37 °28’57.32″ W 8°47’8.906″
Praia de Odeceixe (Aljezur), is one of the 7 wonders of Portugal and you’ll quickly understand why ! During low tide, small lagoons form and this gives a very nice result.
Time: Approx. 20min
GPS coordinates N 37 °26’28.69″ W 8°47’53.62″
Ponta da Piedade (Lagos), you have to stop there ! You’ll then be at an extremity of the country where dream beaches are one after the other. Take a walk in the lighthouse area and contemplate the landscape. Go down a bit to observe these impressive rocks (everything is indicated).
Time: Approx. 50min
GPS coordinates N 37°4’50.286″ W 8°40’9.937″
Leave your car and walk along the coast, you’ll find several followed beaches which the view isn’t to be missed ! I recommend you go to the praia dos Pinheiros and then pick up your car to go to praia do Camilo and then to the beach Dona Ana, one of the most famous.
Depending on the time you spend on your visit, either you can stay in Lagos at night and leave the next day or enjoy again for example to swim in the area, visit the city a bit and continue your journey later.
Praia de Benagil, I strongly advise you to go there ! Rather at the end of morning or afternoon. It’s a small beach and is a starting point for visiting the nearby caves. I noticed that tourism has developed well in the space of 2 years, so you may have to wait a bit before you can board if you buy your ticket on site. But be assured, you have a restaurant next door and a few things to do in the meantime if you don’t want to stay tanned.
You’ll see a small slope on the rocks that gives an overview of the beach. If you are curious and adventurous, there is a cave that can be seen from above but few know it. So to do before or after the boat tour, you have to climb a hill from the village and go behind a parking (right side back to the beach). Walk on a dirt track, until you come across a huge “hole” circled for safety (well, I admit I crossed it at my own risk). This cave is closest to the beach where you can also go swimming depending on the tide. You’ll have a breathtaking view from above !
For the boat ride, you can go down into the cave and spend some time taking pictures, swimming if you want and you’ll see a maximum of unusual sea caves and beaches in the area. Depending on the sea and the availability you can also rent a kayak and move yourself by your own means.
More info on the visit here.
Time: Approx. 40min from Lagos
GPS coordinates N 37°5’14.85″ W 8°24’33.604″
Praia da Marinha, just for its magnificent and impressive view thanks to the belvedere! It was even considered in 2015 as one of the best places in Europe.
Time: Approx. 10 minutes
GPS coordinates N 37°5’24” W 8°24’45”
Praia da Albandeira, it’s a small beach that also has small caves and natural pools. A rock separates the two beaches side by side with the beach of Estaquinha. Ideal for swimming in peace of mind.
Time: Approx. 10 minutes
GPS coordinates N 37°5’28” W 8°23’59”
To see also in the Algarve region:
- Praia da Bordeira
- Praia da Carrapateira
- Algar Seco
- Praia do Paraíso
- Cabo de São Vicente
- Praia da Falésia (Albufeira)
- Zoomarine (Albufeira)
- Cacela Velha
- Pego do Inferno (Tavira)
- Ria Formosa
For any request for additional information, please feel free to contact me, I’d be happy to help you !