Going for a swim in the Algarve

beach
Going for a swim in the Algarve

For a swim and a spot of farniente (lazing about), here are the addresses of a few secret places and beaches preferred by the locals.

In warm weather, when the Portuguese sun is shining at its brightest, there is nothing better than grabbing your towel and heading for the beach. Fortunately, a few secret places known only to locals preserve their quietness intact. But do keep in mind: these less-frequented places are also often unsupervised!

30 km from Faro, Praia da Terra Estreita, on the Tavira lagoon, is one of the quietest beaches in the Algarve. Along its 11 km of sand, you are sure to find a quiet spot and clear, warm water. The site is accessible only by boat from the village of Santa Luzia.

On the west coast of the Algarve, avoid the small beaches, often very beautiful but also very busy, and opt for Meia Praia, alongside Lagos (80 km from Faro). On this five km-long tongue of sand, opt for the area near the Ria de Alvor, the second largest natural park after Ria Formosa. As you walk near the estuary, you might even spot rare species such as the Eurasian otter, the greater horseshoe bat or the Spanish pond turtle.

Right next to Faro, the five islets that make up the Ria Formosa lagoon all have amazing beaches. Of these, opt for Praia da Barreta, situated on the south coast of Ilha Deserta (“deserted island”), accessible only by boat (15 minutes by shuttle, 45 minutes by ferry). There is only one restaurant on this island, there are not any others. You can enjoy all the peace and quiet of a Robinson Crusoe! As you explore the island, you will be sure to find a spot where you can not only swim, but also observe the many birds that have found refuge here.

Praia da Terra Estreita
8800-545 Santa Luzia
https://www.visitalgarve.pt/en/2308/praia-da-terra-estreita-st-luzia.aspx

Meia Praia
8600-315 Lagos
https://www.visitalgarve.pt/en/2174/meia-praia.aspx

Praia da Barreta
Ilha Deserta
8005-554 Faro
https://www.ilhadeserta.com/ilha-deserta/