I’ve written about the Algarve here, here and here, but it is worth revisiting once more to recommend a couple of beach places we’ve discovered and enjoy for long beach walks as well as cliff exploring. The cliffs of the Algarve, primarily found around Carvoeiro, are fantastic for hikes, but if you just want to walk the beach and feel the sand between your toes, the beaches here are too small and short. Great for hidden hideaways, but not if you just want to walk the shoreline for as long as you can. That said, we’re also not big fans of pure beaches that offer nothing but beach; (like around Faro) – a rocky shoreline and cliffs provides a little color and variety which we prefer. We have two beaches that have become favorites of ours.
Alvor is just west of Portimao, situated on the banks of the Odiaxere estuary (excellent for kayaking and paddle boarding), and a large stretch of beach that stretches back towards Portimao in the east and Lagos in the west. There’s a network of wooden boardwalks to walk near the mouth of the estuary, but it is at its easterly end that we prefer to visit, where orange-colored cliffs can be found with all sorts of caves and arches to explore. On the shoreline you can walk from one small picturesque beach to another (if the tide isn’t too high) and also visit a bar/restaurant nestled into the hillside called Canico.
There’s also a staircase built into the hillside that will take you up on top of the cliffs that offers panoramic views. It’s an excellent place to take in a beach day, with a couple of beachside restaurants and shade offered by the large rocks and cliffs. And then there’s the beach where you can walk westward back to the entrance of the Odiaxere estuary.
The other spot we enjoy is Salgados Beach, which farther east, in between Armacao de Pera and Albufeira. Unfortunately I don’t have photos, but it looks about the same, although the cliffs aren’t as high. It tends to be more interesting to explore at low tide. It is at the east end of the beach, similar to Alvor, and you reach it through the seaside town of Galé. Here you’ll find beach restaurants as well, along with places to rent surf and paddle boards.