While living in Germany, I took a trip with a group of friends, rented a car, and sought out to explore three regions of Portugal. These being Lagos, Lisbon, and Porto, all coastal cities.
Throughout our trip we saw many things, however, the most captivating was the beaches
Like i mentioned before, Europe is a great place to learn, learn, learn. Especially with languages. Above is a photo I took if a sign that says "Guarded Beach" in four different languages. Being a native Spanish speaker, I quickly noticed "Vigiada" in Portuguese was awfully similar to "Vigilada" in Spanish. Which all translates to "Guarded" in English.
Before planning a beach day, make sure you have all the proper gear. Which includes sunscreen, water, snacks, and most importantly swimming gear such as a life vest. Make sure you are confident enough with your swimming skills before entering a beach with no Lifeguard duty!
Portugal is situated on the most western side of Europe. It hugs the Atlantic coast and borders Spain. It is the first country greeted by you when flying from the United States and is most known for its great summertime weather and Cristiano Ronaldo.
I now know it as a country with beautiful beaches. Most of which I explored in Lagos which is situated in the Algarve region filled with cliffs, sunny coastlines, hidden coves, and vibrant nightlife.
(Praia Dona Ana)
Throughout Algarve, there are many small beaches, each with unique features. For example, I swam out to a grotto formation that I noticed from the shoreline. As I arrived I was greeted with a small reef filled with fish. I was astonished! I rested on one of the rocks big enough to rest on. As minutes passed a tourist boat sightseeing different beaches swiftly passed by, making me realize how far, yet how close I was from the shoreline.
Top 5 Praias (Beaches)
1) Praia do Camilo, Lagos
In order to get to Praia do Camilo you first must descend some two hundred steps! The most fascinating scenery during the descent is looking at the carved-out grottos created by the sea. Around this stunning beach are caves and other small beaches around the carved-out grottos. Accessing this might be difficult. Nonetheless, there are excursion trips that show you different beaches from a local perspective!
Praia do Camilo is definitely number one on my list. The hidden coves around the carved-out grottos create a sandy adventure. It is also a bit scary. Regardless, the beach is hidden by the cliffs. Before descending two hundred stairs, all one can see is just a straight line with an ocean view. Unaware of the hidden gem below.
(image from tripadvisor.com, Praia do Camilo)
2) Praia da Dona Ana. Lagos
I remember Praia da Dona Ana, it is was one of the beaches with enough space to play soccer on. Most beaches in this region are small and tucked away, hidden by the above cliffs. Nonetheless, this beach offers enough space to even rent your own seating! This is because Praia da Dona Ana is known as one of the best beaches in Portugal. The beach itself is surronded by sandstone cliffs, resturants, and gleeming blue water.
(Praia da Dona Ana)
Boat tours in Lagos also give you a different perspective of all the beaches, many hard to reach. In contrast, Praia da Dona Ana is accesible via stairs frpm accesible roads and about 160 meters, making it one of the longer beaches that I visited during my time in Lagos. Most facilities if not all are available on this beach, including parking.
3) Praia da Marinha, Lagoa
Situated in the Lagoa area, Praia da Marinha is often used as the iconic beach in Algarve. I read about it once on Lonely Planet's page while looking for beaches in Lagos. Until this day of August, 9th, 2021, Lonley Planet still, has it listed as a number on their page.
I ranked it third because it was REALLY crowded during my visit. The limestone surrounding the beach creates a great family day! That being said I saw multile families from all regions of the world hoping to snatch their spot on the beach. A great thing nonetheless, was the restaurant near the beach.
(image from Lonely Planet, Praia da Marinha)
Another really cool thing about Praia da Marinha is the "M Rock" formation. I wish I could have seen it myself, however, I was unaware of such a spectacle. Below is an image from Lonely Planet. Some say it looks like a cathedral.
(M Rock formation, Praia da Marinha)
4) Praia da Falesia, Albufeira
The longest beach I visited during my time in Southern Portugal. Praia da Falesia has a long san strip. The strip is about 3 km long which means there is parking along the coast, unlike other beaches which are inaccessible via car.
Below is an image with our German certified Volkswagen whip while we refueled our gas tank midway between Lagos and Lisbon. HOWEVER! we somehow managed to pump diesel in our gasoline car! As you can imagine, it did not start. I guess playing soccer in the middle of the gas station was not a great idea
Anyhow, Praia da Falesia has accessible car routes one can access. When I was on the beach the tide was quite low, which allowed me to go further into the sea without having to swim. The beach is also good for a romantic stroll along the beach. I, however, was accompanied by four grown male univeristy students. Breathtaking.
(image from Tripadvisor, Praia da Falesia)
Last but not least...
5) Praia dos Olhos de Agua, Albufeira
Located RIGHT NEXT to Praia da Falesia, Praia dos Olhos translates to "eyes of water." Cool right? that is because the gleam of sunlight that bounces off the waves at sunset or sundown makes you marvel at the warm rays the distant sun brings.
Praia dos Olhos use to be a fisherman's town. It is now a small village composed of restaurants, hotels, local, and beaches on end. Unlike most of the beaches in Lagos which are somewhat hidden, this beach is great for those who prefer the beach closeby,
(image from algarvetips.com)
Southern Portugal has a TON of beaches to offer! The list can go on and on. However, I briefly visited a handful of beaches to create a top 5 before I continued my Portugal trip. Lagos is defintley. a place you want to go if you love beaches. The array of limestone, sandstone, cliffs, grottos and hidden caves creates for a sunny day out, literally.