My Algarve Insider Tips

So step back in time with me, drive west and explore the unspoilt countryside and beaches of the Western Algarve and the Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vincentina.

Discover the natural beauty of the Western Algarve

Discover the natural beauty of the Western Algarve

Discover for yourself the stunning beaches in an area of outstanding natural beauty popular with those who want to chill in a more relaxed and natural environment. There are many activities available including surfing, canoeing, fishing, golfing, walking, horse riding and birdwatching. Even if you are not avid birdwatchers look out for the magnificent white storks soaring overhead or nesting in outcrops of rocks in the sea.

White storks nesting on an outcrop of rocks

White storks nesting on an outcrop of rocks

Many people visiting the Algarve are unaware of the Western Algarve, and although I’m tempted to wax lyrical for pages on end, I will confine myself to recommending my three favourite beaches.

These are my tips for tourists visiting the Algarve

PRAIA DA AMOREIRA

Praia da Amoreira – the Algarves best kept secret!

Praia da Amoreira – the Algarves best kept secret!

Praia da Amoreira is located about 7km just outside the historic town of Aljezur. There is ample parking and a rustic restaurant bar called Paraiso do Mar which serves reasonably priced meals and refreshments.

View from Restaurante Paraiso do Mar, Praia da Amoreira

View from Restaurante Paraiso do Mar, Praia da Amoreira

There are no concession areas providing sun loungers and parasols so remember to bring your own if required. However, don’t panic because supermarkets sell reasonably priced sun parasols and small beach chairs during the summer season which will prove a good investment if you plan to visit the more rural beaches.

Praia da Amoreira, Western Algarve

Praia da Amoreira, Western Algarve

Praia da Amoreira is also popular with local surfers and fishermen. and att low tide you may even see the locals searching for mussels and octopus in the rockpools.

Read more about Praia da Amoreira. Why not make a day of it and stop off in the historic town of Aljezur and visit the moorish castle?

PRAIA DO ZAVIAL

The blue flag beach of Praia do Zavial is “off the beaten track” at Raposiera just before the rustic town of Vila do Bispo on the N125.
There is plenty of parking although in the height of the summer season early arrival at the beach is advised. Access to the beach is via a wooden walkway.

Although there is a small concession area on the beach where sunbeds and parasols are available the beach remains unspoilt by the ravages of mass tourism. You will not find tourist shops only peace and tranquility.

There is a great little café/bar overlooking the beach where you can sample Portuguese cuisine (including the usual burger and chips) served by friendly staff.

Praia do Zavial - view from Zavial Café/Restaurant

Praia do Zavial – view from Zavial Café/Restaurant

Why not take a break from the beach and building sand castles, drop in for an ice-cold beer and enjoy the view?

Read more about Praia do Zavial. It’s well worth a visit!

MEIA PRAIA and LAGOS

The blue flag beach of Meia Praia, flanked by the Marina and the old town of Lagos, has something for everyone. In fact, a day out in Lagos is one of my favourite excursions!

This glorious soft sandy beach is over 5km long, stretching from the old fort in the west…

View across to Meia Praia from the old fort

View across to Meia Praia from the old fort

…to Alvor in the east.

View from Meia Praia towards Alvor

View from Meia Praia towards Alvor

There are several activities for children near the Marina end of the beach, during the summer season. And for those looking for some peace and quiet, walk eastwards along the beach a few 100 metres towards Alvor. There really is something for everyone – even walkers who I’ve observed striding along the shoreline. Or people like myself, who amble along and then pause to collect shells and admire the distant views.

There are several rustic beach bars and restaurants on Meia Praia but my favourite to date is São Roque with its stunning views overlooking the sea and the fisherman’s’ harbour. The staff are welcoming and the food is delicious!

View towards Lagos

View towards Lagos

After a lazy day on the beach why not pause for a sundowner or ice cream sundae in the Amuras Bar at Lagos Marina before you leave. Or wander round the historic town of Lagos itself just a short walk away.

Lagos Marina at sunset

Lagos Marina at sunset

English is spoken in most of the Western Algarve, but why not take your phrase book have fun and practise the lingo?

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my “Insider Tips” but any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me by email, leave a note in the comments section below or sign up to receive regular Algarve updates by email!.

Read more of my beach reviews here

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32 responses to “My Algarve Insider Tips

  1. Lovely photos of a beautiful place!

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  2. I love your oics, but the videos wouldn’t upload on my server. 😦

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  3. great choice in beaches. I have not been to Praia da Amoreira, yet! There are so many other beautiful places to visit in Western Algarve.

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  4. Thanks for sharing Piglet. I must admit I have never been to the Algarve, put off (maybe wrongly) by the heavy tourist market but your pics are wonderful. It looks stunning. The beaches remind me of Cornwall. We are now thinking of maybe visiting the area for a mini holiday in late autumn when the tourists have gone home and our dogs are free to enjoy the beaches. I think the western Algarve will be our first port of call! 🙂

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    • Hi Tosta Mista, Autumn is a great time to visit the Algarve. The busy tourist season is over and the beaches are quiet. The Western Algarve is a real contrast to the places I mentioned above and I hope the pictures give you some idea of how unspoilt the area is.

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  5. What a super post. I must show it to the missus, she will love it.

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  6. We love canoeing up the river at Praia da Amoreira at high tide, seeing the fish, jumping off the rocks, digging for clams then sailing back down with the tide! Missing it already … Odeciexe is good for that too. COLD water! take a jumper! Cath

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    • Hi Cath, I did not realise there were clams as well! I’m always a bit wary of swimming in the estuary because of the current and being swept out to sea.
      We like the beach at Odeciexe but the day we went it was blowing a gale!
      We must return on a calmer day.
      Swam in sea at Meia Praia this week and the sea was warm, much to my surprise!

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      • You are lucky (or brave) to be swimming in October! The sea is never warm to me after living in Singapore, even in summer! The estuary at Amoreira is safer than the see I find. From our experience the current is only strong coming inland so if you time it right, you can float all the way back down (we usually set up camp before you get to the beach on the road in). We didn’t know there were clams there either until we saw it! They are at the end of the river at low tide, stick you hand in the sand and see what you find!

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  7. Gorgeous pics, Pip!

    Love the sunset in the Lagos Marina . . . and the View from Restaurante Paraiso do Mar, Praia da Amoreira is almost a twin to where we had lunch yesterday. 😀

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  8. These beaches look so pristine… I would love to sit under an umbrella and enjoy the waves. 😉

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  9. I love the place!! Alvor for me… please, please!! One day I would like to call it home! 😉

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  10. Great post – the Algfarve is som very much more than golf and urbanisations (rahter like the Costa del Sol) so it´s good to see it!

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    • Thanks Chica, that’s the trouble with a lot of brochures they only show people what they think would be of interest. There is so much more to the Algarve and the problem, like the Costas, it already typecast and many people dismiss it.

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  11. Pingback: Conheça Cabo de Santo Agostinho – Ceará – Brasil | Mundo Aqui

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