The Algarve has many good beaches. You will find the picture postcard type, with grottos, cliffs and golden sand at low tide, around Lagos. However, when you want something different, head 30 miles north-west to the small town of Aljezur, close to the wild Portuguese Atlantic coast, which is designated as the Vincentina Coast Natural Park. Aljezur is a good looking and interesting historic town with a Moorish castle set in a productive green valley. It has a nice hostel, a market (to buy picnics) and good places to eat, but the real treat is at the end of an attractive five mile drive along the winding road west following the valley of the Ribeira de Aljezur. This takes you to Praia da Amoreira, which has all the components of the perfect beach, but with no crowds and commerce, other than a nice looking shack which, by reputation, has excellent fresh fish in season. You will be able to enjoy the fantastic, weirdly contorted, rock formations in the cliffs and on the foreshore, explore hundreds of rock pools, watch the ever optimistic local fishermen perched in precarious positions rods in hand, ride the surf, run free on the wide expanses of sand, picnic amongst the dunes or splash around in the quieter waters of the estuary.
If you are driving, 1/2 mile north of Aljezur, on the N120, turn left (by the swimming pool) and follow the narrow winding road along the river valley. Praia de Amoreira is at the end of the road. Alternatively up to eight buses a day run from Lagos to Aljezur.
Google map: bit.ly/12OE8vz
I was introduced to this restaurant by a holiday romance. He insisted it was the best place for seafood in Portugal - he was right. The fantastic but cheap food kept me here all evening, as well as the good selection of wines. It has a great atmosphere with a fantastic view of the coast. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in freshly caught seafood - a truly traditional Portuguese meal.
Estrada da Praia da Bordeira, Carrapateira
+351 282 973 119
Google map: bit.ly/KLjmj0
When the summer wind blows out all the other surf breaks on the southwest coast of Portugal, the place to head for is Praia da Arrifana. Sheltered from the prevailing north-westerly by stunning, hundred metre high cliffs, Arrifana sucks in any swell the Atlantic has to offer. The beach will produce rideable waves at all stages of the tide and, depending on the swell size and direction, there is likely to be something to suit all abilities. While Arrifana can become quite crowded - especially during the summer months when it is the favoured destination for many of the Algarve surf schools - there remains a pleasantly easy going vibe in the water. As the swell hits two metres or more, a world-class, right-hand point wave starts to break beneath the cliffs at the north end of the bay. The ride here is long, extremely fast and definitely not for the inexperienced or faint-hearted. When it’s working, sit up on the cliff-top bar with a beer in hand and watch in awe as the experts (and lunatics) show us how it should be done. Visit www.surfcampalgarve.co.uk for information regarding lessons, board and wetsuit hire, accommodation etc.
Praia da Arrifana is 6km west of Aljezur in the western Algarve region of Portugal
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