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The most beautiful beach towns in the Algarve

Updated: May 22

The most beautiful beach towns in the algarve. Burgau
Burgau, Algarve

Looking for the perfect beach town to stay during your Algarve trip? With so many stunning options to choose from, it can be difficult to decide. That's why I've narrowed down the list for you and selected my top picks for the most beautiful beach towns in the Algarve. From sandy beaches to picturesque scenery, these towns have it all. So sit back, start planning your trip, and discover the best beach towns in the Algarve.👇


 


1.

Burgau


A charming and tranquil beach town and my (second 😉) home town is located just a 10-minute drive from Lagos. Nestled in a small bay, Burgau boasts cobbled streets, whitewashed houses, a large sandy beach, and a handful of cute and tasty cafes and restaurants. It's the perfect place to unwind and enjoy a beach holiday while exploring nearby towns like Lagos, Praia da Luz, Sagres, and the old town of Monchique. In addition to the beautiful beach of Burgau, the town is also a great base to rent a car and explore the wild nature of the west coast with big waves and a dramatic sublime rocky coast.


Burgau Beach town
Analog shot of Burgau, Algarve

The best time to visit Burgau

The best time to visit Burgau, in my opinion, is in fall and spring. While winter can be a little too quiet and tranquil for some, it's still lovely for hiking and enjoying some winter sun. Note that most cafes and restaurants are usually closed between December and March, but the weather remains pretty great. Enjoy your morning bica (espresso) under the warm Algarve sun while watching surfers walking down the cobbled streets into the ocean. Summer is also lovely, but it can be more touristy. However, this small town never really gets too busy!


My personal recommendations to stay:




✨ Filha do Pisco ✨

1 bedroom - 1 bathroom



Things do do in Burgau:




 


The most beautiful beach towns in the Algarve
Praia da Luz

2.

Praia da Luz


Located between Lagos and Burgau, Praia da Luz is a beautiful beach town that stole my heart. With an absolutely stunning beach, many restaurants, and beautiful winter waves, it's definitely one of my favorite beach towns in the Algarve. Watch the pink skies and sunset after a big beach day while enjoying a Vino Verde on the boulevard. Praia da Luz is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to the Algarve in search of relaxation and stunning natural beauty.


The best time to visit Praia da Luz

Again, the middle-year months are the nicest with its comfortable temperatures! The best time to visit is between September and May/June as the weather is still nice and it's not too busy. Winters in this beach town are also lovely. Bars and restaurants are generally open and the weather is still great for outdoor activities like climbing, surfing and hiking. For getting around I definitely recommend renting a car when staying in Praia da Luz.


My personal recommendations to stay:





Things do do in Praia da Luz:


 

The most beautiful beach towns in the Algarve
Selema, Algarve

3.

Salema


Like Burgau this is also a tiny fisherman town in a cute bay with clear blue waters. It's ideal for hikes along the beautiful cliffs and to enjoy the local sandy beach. Salema is also perfect to stay if you enjoy some peace and quiet but also if you like to have a few cute restaurants nearby. Lagos and Sagres are both easy to reach within 25 minutes by car. You'll find many of the typical western Algarve beaches to visit around.


The best time to visit Salema

This time is wonderful all year around. It never gets really busy, not even in high season. Winter can be (a little too) quiet though as most cafe's and restaurants are usually closed.


My personal recommendations to stay:



✨ Villa Sol e Mar in Salema ✨

2 bedroom - 1 bathroom



Things to do in Salema:



 

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The most beautiful beach towns in the Algarve, Portugal
Carvoeiro, Algarve

4.

Carvoeiro


A little more east from Salema, close to Portimão, you'll find the still small but definitely larger fisherman town of Carvoeiro. The town has a beautiful main beach but my personal favorite it Praia do Paraiso, just a 15 minute walk west form the main beach. The cliffs here are absolutely stunning. Perfect for hiking and visiting one of the many caves with amazing views. You'll definitely find more bars and restaurants in this town. Perfect to stay if you like a beach holiday, do some cave watching, take day trips to surrounding places and go supping or surfing with nearby surf schools.


Praia dos Tres Castelos, Carvoeiro, Algarve
Secret beach: Praia dos Tres Castelos, Carvoeiro

The best time to visit Carvoeiro

The best time to visit Carvoeiro is between September and June with my favorite months being the middle-year months. The weather is beautiful and it's not too busy in this cute beach town. Winters are usually quiet but with the beautiful weather and most bars, shops and restaurants open, it's still a great place to visit.


My personal recommendations to stay:



✨ Casa Dos Terraços ✨

4 bedroom - 4 bathroom



Things to do in Carvoeiro:

If you're not sure where you'd like to stay in Carvoeiro, make sure to check out my favorite boutique stays with stunning views!



 

the most beautiful beach towns in the Algarve
Ponta de Piedade, Lagos

5.

Lagos


One of the bigger towns in the Algarve. It's famous for the stunning viewing point Ponta de Piedade and its steep wooden steps to the sandy cove of Praia do Camilo. You'll find a beautiful old town with many restaurants, bars, shops, surf schools and boats tours that take you for dolphin and cliff tours. You can go kayaking or supping along the beautiful cliffs or if you're a little less active, hang out at one of the beautiful beaches. There is so much to do here and it's the perfect town to stay if you're in to a little more liveliness.


The best time to visit Lagos

The best time to visit this beautiful beach town in my opinion, is between September and June. The weather is great and it's not too busy. Winter is more quiet but with the beautiful weather and with most bars, shops and restaurants open, this place is great to enjoy some Algarve winter sun. Summer can be very touristy here.



the most beautiful beach towns in the Algarve: Lagis
Lagos (centre), Algarve

My personal recommendations to stay:




Things do do in Lagos:



 


The most beautiful beach towns in the Algarve
Sagres, Algarve

6.

Sagres


The ultimate surfer town. It's a small town with relatively many cute bars, restaurants and (surf)shops. It's very low-key and attracts true ocean and nature lovers. The nature here is wild with huge cliffs and a turbulent ocean. You will find the most amazing views on this most south western point of Europe.


The best time to visit Sagres

It depends a little on what you want to get out of you stay. Sagres can be quiet, windy and empty in winter but you'll find some great waves, especially for more advanced surfers. If you're a beginner, summer is good for learning. Overall my favorite time to visit Sagres is fall and spring. The weather is beautiful, you'll find some good waves and the town is more lively comparing to winter.


My personal recommendations to stay:





✨ Villa Martinhal Resort 46 ✨

3 bedroom - 3 bathroom



Things do do in Sagres:




 


The most beautiful beach towns in the Algarve
Olhão, Algarve

7.

Olhão


This very cute fisherman (yep again) town has a beautiful historic centre. What most stands out about this town is that it is situated on the Ria Formosa lagoon and to visit one of the beautiful beaches you have to take a small ferry to island in front. The Moorish riverfront and town houses result in a unique African feeling in this Algarve village.


The best time to visit Olhão

The middle-year months have beautiful weather with nice comfortable temperatures. Summer can be busy and is definitely more expensive comparing to other months.


My personal recommendations to stay:



 


The most beautiful towns in the Algarve
Ferragudo, Algarve

8.

Ferragudo


If you love old cobbled streets and colorful townhouses overgrown with bougainvillea and the typical Portuguese tiles (azulejos), you'll for sure love Ferragudo. This old town is a traditional fishing village (as always😉) just a 5 minute drive from the bigger city of Portimão. The idilic old town of Ferragudo is perfectly preserved and has a lively town centre with cute little cafe's and restaurants. You'll find a beautiful old fort next to the town centre with a beach that reaches all the way to Praia Grande, a wide stretched beach with cozy beach bars to enjoy a sunset drink and life music.


The best time to visit Ferragudo

This might not surprise you but the middle-year months with it's mild and comfortable temperatures are my fave months to visit this beautiful town. However, if you're thinking of visiting the Algarve in winter, I would recommend to visit this cute town. It's still quite lively in winter with many people around enjoying their coffees and pastel de nata's outside in the winter sun.


My personal recommendations to stay:



Things to do in Ferragudo:



The most beautiful beach towns in the Algarve
Ferragudo (centre), Algarve

 

9.

Cabanas de Tavira


Close to the beautiful (small) city of Tavira you'll find the cute beach town of Cabanas da Tavira. This beach town is situated on a lagoon at the gateway to the Ria Formosa Natural Park. The centre of the town runs along the lagoon and counts a variety little bars, restaurants and shops. You won't find the typical dramatic Algarve cliffs around here but the beautiful sandy Islands of the eastern Algarve. Cabannas is situated right in front of Ilha de Cabanas, island beach. You can reach the beach of this beautiful island by a small (really, for like 6 people) ferry leaving from the town crossing the lagoon. The beach is long and stretches over 7 kilometers and never get's really busy, not even in high season.


The best time to visit Cabanas de Tavira

This place is pretty awesome who year round. The weather in winter is significantly better here then the more western Algarve. The towns also doesn't get really busy in summer!


My personal recommendations to stay:



Villa Rya 

3 bedroom - 3 bathroom



 


The most beautiful beach towns: western algarve
Monte Clerigo, Algarve

10.

Monte Clérigo (Aljezur)


This is one of the better Algarve beach towns if you're a surf lover. Situated on the Algarve west coast, nature here is more wild with big waves hitting the Atlantic coast. This beach is part of the Costa Vicentina natural park. The town is characterized by lovely colourful houses, located on a hill on the south side of the beach. The beach town has a chilled vibe and is mainly visited by surfers and local Portuguese families.


The best time to visit Monte Clérigo

I would recommend staying here in between May and late September. The west coast of the Algarve is significantly colder and windier in comparison to the south coast. It also get's really quiet and empty in the winter months. This is why late spring, summer and early fall are the best times to stay at this town.


Want to know more about the best beach towns to visit for surfing? Check it out! 👇




 


Summarizing

  • If you like liveliness and a wide range of facilities and amenities, Lagos, Praia da Luz, Olhão, Carvoeiro and Ferragudo are all great options.

  • Do you enjoy more peace and quiet? I would recommend the cute beach towns of Salema, Burgau, Cabanas de Tavira and Monte Clérigo.

  • Want to go on a surfing holiday? Sagres or Monte Clérigo is where you'll want to be staying! Salema, Burgau, Praia da Luz and Lagos can also be good for surfing.

8 Comments


Guest
May 14

Thank you for this wonderful article! I’m considering a family vacation in October, Which area is the least wi ndy? Ferrgudo sounds like a good vibe with plenty to do but all the villages are calling my name! Just concerned with the wind of the region.

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Guest
May 06

Great beach towns! Now I know where to go 😍

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marvinjoiecox
Mar 21

Beautiful areas to retire, lovely done.

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Anna Rijnders
Anna Rijnders
May 06
Replying to

Thank you so much! Means a lot. 🌺

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mhg
Oct 14, 2023

Thanks for such a wonderful description of these beach towns it really helps.

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Anna Rijnders
Anna Rijnders
May 06
Replying to

Thank you so much! So good to hear!! Hope you had a Wonderfull stay!

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Stacey O'Sullivan
Stacey O'Sullivan
Aug 12, 2023

Hello, may I ask which towns are less windy, Burgua or Salema? Which would have more swimmable beaches? Where is the water warmer ? Thank you.

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Anna Rijnders
Anna Rijnders
May 06
Replying to

Hi Stacey, I know this answer comes waaaay to late, but here is my reply anyway. Both towns are pretty similar. They're really close to each other. 😉

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