Salema is a small town of Budens parish, located in the municip ality of Vila do Bispo, in the most western part of the Algarve. Salema is located at the base of a cliff around the beach with the same name and is part of the Natural Park of Southwest Alentejo and Algarve coast. The village of Salema is one of the few communities that has a small indigenous fishing fleet of traditional colourful boats, still launched from the beach (but now with the help of a tractor), which is cast into sea to catch snapper, mackerel, sardines and octopus that you can taste freshly grilled at local restaurants on the same night.
Contained within the village of Burgau, this is an urban beach marking the western border of the South-west Alentejo and Costa Vicentina Natural Park. It nestles in a small cove that is sheltered from the elements and is used as a fishing harbor, where many of the traditional fishing arts are still to be found, such as the basket trap and the long line with hooks. Just as at Praia da Salema, you can watch the boats returning to the beach after their fishing trips and then sample some of the octopus, moray or white sea bream that the fishermen have caught at one of the local restaurants. Those using the beach thus share the sand with the fishing boats and the fishermen. On the cliffs there is a 17th-century fort and the ruins of a 16th-century tower.
The beach is associated with a small but very cosmopolitan resort, where a paved avenue runs along the seafront, offering visitors a variety of sun-filled outdoor cafés and restaurants, as well as some street entertainment. Bordered by large palm-trees, this avenue leads in the west to the walls of the fortress originally built to protect the church from attacks by the Moors. On the beach, at the foot of the wall, is an extensive rocky platform of warm colors, sculpted by the sea and displaying marine fossils and some of the typical life of intertidal environments: sea anemones, buckshot barnacles, limpets and top shells, wrapped in a carpet of green seaweed. On these ochre-colored rocks and out of reach of the tides grow typical cliff plants, such as sea lavender. The cliff rises up to the east, becoming grey in color and with many crevices that have been formed by the effects of trickling water.
National Forest of Barão de São João
Being part of the Natural Patrimony of Lagos Municipality, the National Forest of Barão de S. João offers a variety of infra-structures allowing the visitor to practice many types of sports activities in the open air. The Forest offers different signalized pedestrian walks, maintenance circuit and a picnic area.
This is a wide beach with sand out of sight from south to north. The view of the cliffs in successive cuts, increasingly nebulous, is stunning. For the length of the beach, and although it is sometimes frequented by schools of surfing and body boarding, you can always find some tranquility. The cliffs are haughty, reaching over one hundred feet high, and there on this beach a hill, which is a natural viewpoint, where it often to fulfill themselves paragliding jumps. In the rocky walls facing north, are seen shining whitish strata, which are nothing more than extensive coverage of lichens. A small stream runs through a ravine to the beach. The smell of cistus here is intense and small dunes that form on the beach you can see plants such as chargeback, the thistle-roller or dressy daffodil-the-beaches.
Situated to the east of the town of Sagres, and despite being sheltered from the prevailing westerly and south-westerly winds and waves, Ponta da Baleeira (where the Sagres fishing harbor is located) is nonetheless fairly windy due to the persistent northerly winds that blow down the wide valley from inland. The water is, however, calm and very good for windsurfing and diving, and there are frequent boat trips taking people to visit the beautiful limestone islets that are situated off the beach, famous for their rocky inlets and underwater grottoes.
Ponta da Piedade
Ponta da Piedade is a tourist natural monument of Lagos in the Algarve. It is composed of various rock formations cliff type, with up to 20 meters high approximately, one of the sights of greatest interest photographic region. On site, it is possible to visit the various existing caves ensuring a pleasant and unique tourist experience.
Meia Praia Beach
The sandy beach of Meia Praia accompanies the shore line of the wide bay at Lagos, starting at the eastern mole of the Ribeira de Bensafrim and stretching for more than four kilometers to the sand barrier of Ria de Alvor. To the west you can still see the city of Lagos, with its groups of rocks stretching into the sea. The horizon spreads into the distance between the low dunes of the beach itself and the gentle and very green hills that stretch inland, covered with patches of pinewoods and the typical scrubland of the “barrocal” region with carob-trees and olive-trees scattered here and there. A network of raised footpaths runs over much of the sand, helping to preserve the vegetation of the dune system, this being thicker at the seafront with a predominance of plants such as sand couch grass, European beach grass, sea holly, Cretan trefoil and the eye-catching sea daffodil.
This is a large beach, although not as extensive and exposed as Praia da Bordeira, which stretches over three valleys. To the north, the predominant colors are the red and orange of the cliffs, and to reach the beach from this direction you must pass through the breathtaking landscape of Pontal, through the limestone pavement (rocks that are deeply furrowed by erosion), as well as past the curious fishing harbor of Zimbreirinha, where the boats are anchored to wooden platforms hanging from the cliffs. To the south, the landscape is once again dominated by the grey of the schist. The vegetation is turned into a low-lying carpet by the frequent winds.
In Bordeira, the black schist is suddenly interrupted and gives way to a limestone cliff, with bright warm colours, leading to greater diversification in the vegetation. From the beach, the extensive sand dunes make their way inland to the village of Carrapateira, on either side of the Ribeira da Bordeira, which occasionally forms a lagoon of warm water close to the mouth of the river and where it is possible to catch a glimpse of otters. Also to be noted here are the woods in the dunes filled with enormous and very old stone pines, some of which are used as agricultural stores because of the great diameter of their crowns. The beach is a vast expanse of sand, more than three kilometers long, but exposed to the winds from the sea and continuing almost deserted to the Pedra de Matez, an enormous reddish-colored rock to the north of the beach. The cliffs of Praia da Bordeira are famous for their almost inaccessible fishing grounds and are highly sought after by various species of marine birds, which find shelter there.
This beach nestles in a beautiful shell-shaped cove, sheltered from the cold north wind and the waves coming from the same direction. There is a small group of fishing boats and the beach is long and narrow, being bordered by high black cliffs, most notably the Pedra da Agulha, a tall rock shaped like a needle, which has become an icon of the south-west coast. There are excellent conditions for diving at the northern end of the beach, and this is also one of the most popular beaches among surfers and body boarders. The panoramic view from the Arrifana fortress, now in ruins, is breathtaking. Further north, at the headland of Ponta da Atalaia, which is famous for its gooseneck barnacles, there are the remains of a Muslim Ribat, a convent-fortress of great archaeological value.
São Rafael Beach
Beach framed by warm-toned limestone cliffs, patches of pine forest and huge mastic tree bushes. Transparent waters enable the discovery of marine life hiding among the submerged rocks.
Support facilities: Parking, restaurant, WC, surveillance during bathing season, beach access via wooden stairs or ramp.
A small, mostly rocky beach nestled between low cliffs, which owes its name to the owner of the beach support facilities. Beach access is via wooden stairs or ramp.
Support facilities: Free parking, restaurant, WC, surveillance during bathing season.
Galé Beach [Galley Beach] is located in the parish of Guia, Albufeira municipality, in the most central area of the Algarve. This beach is divided in two - West beach and East beach - with both beaches separated by a cliff and connected by steps. West Galé beach stretches along to Salgados beach, while East Galé beach is enclosed by cliffs, except at low tide during the sunniest months.
The area is served by good restaurants, including a Michelin-starred restaurant, a string of seafront bars, several cafes, minimarkets and a large supermarket.
Reputedly, the name derives from the fact that a galley was once shipwrecked on the beach.
Galé Beach – East/West
Galé Beach is located at the eastern end of Armação de Pêra bay. On this beach, rock formations typical of the western Algarve emerge from the sands, providing small inlets, recesses and shelters for bathers, particularly in the eastern section, since the western section is more exposed. Rock formations dominate towards the east, and a stone pinewood emerges to crown the orange cliffs.
Support facilities: Parking, restaurants, WC and surveillance during bathing season, East Galé is considered an Accessible Beach.
The beach appears following Praia Grande’s shoreline, to the east of the Salgados Lagoon, which is found at the terminal stretch of Espiche River. Beach access is via the tourist resort associated with the golf course that has been built on the lagoon’s periphery. The area next to the beach remains in a natural state. The shoreline is vast, with very peaceful sections. When crossing the Espiche River estuary zone, which occasionally touches the sea, you can do Praia Grande’s nature trail, and experience the flora and fauna of the dune fields and Salgados Lagoon.
Support facilities: Large and orderly parking lot, restaurant, WC, surveillance during bathing season, accessible beach.
Praia Grande of Pêra
Praia Grande is located in the Algarve between Armação de Pêra and Albufeira in the municipality of Silves. This beach is highly sought-after by tourists. Praia Grande’s shoreline stretched along for more than 2 km, bearing wide-open vistas and still untouched by signs of humanity. The sea is usually calm, which is excellent for swimming, and a great, safe beach for children. Since few people visit this beach, nudism is common all along the shoreline. A nature trail can be followed along the beach and crop fields, so you can experience the different habitats of this site.
Support facilities: Large parking lot, restaurant, WC, surveillance during bathing season.