1. Praia da Falésia, Algarve: Praia da Falesia is renowned for the red and white cliffs which tower above the sand. What makes this beach great is not only that the cliffs block much of the northerly wind that often blows in the low season, or the bits of greenery along the cliffside, but perhaps mainly that it is such a clean beach. Praia da Falésia has consistently earned its Blue Flag Beach title.
Another plus point is that space is never a problem – the beach stretches over six kilometres. You won’t be getting dirty looks from beachgoers as you plant your umbrella as chances are slim that you’ll be blocking anyone’s view.
2. Praia da Marinha, Algarve: You’ve probably seen this beach before – perhaps not in person, but definitely on a TV ad. Praia da Marinha is often referred to as one of the best beaches in Europe with it’s turquoise waters (ideal for snorkelling), steep limestone cliffs and magnificent rock formations. Another highlight is that it is fairly difficult to get to, meaning less crowds.
3. Benagil Sea Cave, West Algarve: If exclusivity is high on your list when it comes to beaches, your best bet is to frequent a beach that you can only access from the water. Benagil sea cave is a watery pantheon situated next to Benagil beach with sunlight streaming in through a hole in its domed ceiling onto the tiny beach. The only way to get there is to swim or kayak. If this spot gets too crowded for your liking, you can swim or kayak 100 metres further to Praia da Corredoura, which has another beautiful sea cave.
4. Praia Dona Ana, Lagos: The Praia Dona Ana’s modest beach is sheltered by lofty sandstone cliffs and aquamarine waters softly stroke its golden sands. The only access to Dona Ana beach, however, is via a long flight of steps that makes the beach inaccessible for some people with mobility challenges.
5. Praia de Porto de Mos, Lagos: Praia de Porto de Mós is another large sandy beach and has some fun waves for surfers and bodyboarders. With facilities along the beachfront, Praia de Porto Mos gets busy during the high season.