The beaches in the Western Algarve are among the most beautiful and least crowded in Europe. Choose from among the many sheltered sandy coves along the South coast, or venture a little further afield to one of the more dramatic West coast beaches, open to the full force of the Atlantic swell.

Praia da Luz is an attractive resort just west of Lagos, with a wide sandy bay set between rugged cliffs. In the summer you can water ski, rent jet skis, windsurfers and sailing dinghies, or take a ride on a banana boat. There is a year-round scuba diving centre and plenty of bars and restaurants.

Continuing west, Burgau and Salema are both traditional fishing villages with sandy beaches, beachside bars and restaurants. Burgau is only 2km from AlmaVerde. Between them lie the quieter beaches of Cabanas Velhas and Boca do Rio, where an underground river discharges into a small estuary and once provided enough fresh water for rice paddies.

To the West of Salema lie the beaches of Figueira, Furnas, Ingrina, Zavial and Martinhal, each with its own unique character and charm.

The headland between the beaches of Castelejo and Cordama on the far side of Vila do Bispo is a favourite launching spot for paragliding. Surfers in search of long Atlantic rollers gravitate to the vast, sandy expanse of Praia do Amado near Carrapateira (20km from AlmaVerde). Line fishermen, too, find these west coast beaches and rocky outcrops a rich hunting ground for many types of fish, including sea bass, sea bream and mackerel.

The beaches west of Praia da Luz all lie within the Costa Vicentina Natural Park, one of the largest in Portugal and an area of special interest for nature conservation. The Natural Park encompasses 150 kilometres of unspoilt natural coastline, including many beautiful beaches that remain virtually deserted even at the height of the summer.

To read more about the vast selection of beaches in Western Algarve, click here.

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