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The Best Family Beaches in Portugal’s Algarve

by Barbara Rogers

Jun 23, 2022

© Anobis | Dreamstime.com


When considering beaches for family travel in Portugal, it’s the Algarve that comes to mind first, and for good reason. The 100-mile stretch of southern coast basks in the sun for about 300 days a year.


Beaches and resort towns are what the Algarve is all about, as Algarve boasts Portugal’s highest concentration of family-friendly beaches and resorts. Those on the western end, between Lagos and Sagres, tend to be the least crowded.


Our favorite is Praia da Luz, a wide beach in a bay protected between two headlands. The beach sits right in town, serving as a friendly place with plenty of restaurants and cafés. On the beach, you can rent water sports equipment. The Watersports School offers windsurfing, waterskiing and sailing lessons, as well as boat trips along the shore to see the fantastically eroded cliffs.


More beaches lie below these picturesque cliffs, but many are reached by long flights of steps, not a good choice with small children or those carrying beach gear. For a resort with its own long, easily accessed beach and water sports programs for all ages, consider Martinhal Sagres Family Resort in the western Algarve, not far from Luz.


Towns on the eastern Algarve look quite different from those perched on steep slopes between the rocky headlands of the western Algarve. Many of the eastern towns are relatively flat; some face lagoons protected by the long line of sandy islands that make up the Ria Formosa nature reserve.

Praia da Fuzeta is particularly attractive, with long sandspits and clear blue water often above 70 degrees. An idyllic spot surrounded by pine forest and dunes, Praia da Ancão in Almancil comprises a long stretch of white sand with calm water, lifeguards and all sorts of beach activities. It is close to Faro, the Algarve’s biggest city and is also where the airport is located.


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