The Algarve has long been a coveted destination for tourists from western Europe, and now its popularity is growing around the world, especially among families. We can attest to this, as we LOVED our trip here. This region in southern Portugal has a hot climate, warm water, and golden beaches that stretch for over 180 miles (300km) along the Atlantic coast. Let’s take a look at the best family friendly beaches algarve portugal has to offer so you can start booking your next holiday!
Best Family Friendly Beaches Algarve, Portugal: Praia de Faro
Faro is the capital of the Algarve and is home to the only international airport south of Lisbon. Around two miles (three and a half kilometers) from the airport is what’s known as Faro Island and Faro Beach. It’s one of the dozens of stretches of land that separate the Ria Formosa National Park and its lagoons from the Atlantic Ocean, making it a beautiful place to spend the day. So take a look at the best flight booking sites and you can be at the beach within five minutes of your arrival.
Praia de Faro has all the amenities you need for a comfortable stay with your family. The shore is dotted with cafés, restaurants, sports centers, and shops. There are plenty of lifeguard bases where you can get information on the tides, and the teams who work there keep a watchful eye on swimmers.
Praia da Rocha, Portimão
Portimão is the region’s second-biggest city and is a hotspot for tourists in the summer. Its main beach is Praia da Rocha, which slowly rolls from the city to the sea. If you walk further west, you’ll reach the limestone cliffs that make this area so picturesque. For these reasons and more, this is definitely one of the best family friendly beaches Algarve Portugal has to offer.
The water is warmer than most beaches in the western Algarve, as it’s protected from the cold Atlantic by a bay. The walk into the water is gradual, so kids can enjoy the shallows and small waves. And when they want to come back onto dry land, there are volleyball nets and football pitches for some sporty fun.
Best Family Friendly Beaches Algarve Portugal: Ilha de Tavira
Tavira is an old Roman settlement that is also located near the Ria Formosa National Park. The town itself doesn’t have a beach, but there is an island just off the mainland that you can reach by ferry from the town center and Quatro Águas pier, or by foot and train from Pedras d’El Rei.
Unlike Faro Island, Ilha de Tavira has very few houses and restaurants. It can give you a sense of isolation that is perfect for relaxing on a hot summer day. The water is good for visitors of all ages, but if you don’t feel too comfortable with going in the waves with toddlers, the lagoon on the other side of the island is calm and warm.
Praia da Falésia, Vilamoura
Around 30 minutes drive from Faro is the town of Vilamoura. It’s home to a stunning marina and plenty of golf courses, but one of the best parts of town is Falésia Beach. Despite being named after the cliffs (falésias) that rise up on the western part of the beach, it’s a flat stretch of coastline that is easily accessible, with no dunes or rocks between the entrance and the water.
The golden sands that stretch into the distance are truly stunning. It’s no wonder that so many people travel to this beach to take pictures and enjoy the sunset. The waves tend to be more powerful at the central and western Algarvian beaches, so heading here during low tide is the best option for families. Again, we consider this one of the best family friendly beaches Algarve Portugal has for families.
Best Family Friendly Beaches Algarve Portugal: Praia da Manta Rota
The eastern Algarve has most of the family friendly beaches due to the warmer and shallower waters, as well as calmer waves. Praia da Manta Rota is one of the best examples in this area and is a typical Portuguese family beach. You can take an easy stroll through the water, as even children will need to walk a few feet to be submerged to their waists.
There’s plenty of parking in the town of Manta Rota, which is really energetic during the summer months. There’s a short walk to the sand, and once you’re there you won’t need to get up again for the whole day. If you hear the shout of “Booooolinhas”, it means that a vendor is passing by selling delicious doughnuts straight from the nearby bakeries. Wave him over for a local treat.
Praia Verde (Green Beach) is located between the seaside towns of Altura and Monte Gordo in the eastern Algarve. The fact that it isn’t right next to a town gives it a bit more seclusion. If you face away from the ocean, you won’t have a view of apartment blocks and restaurants, but of beautiful pine trees that fill the air with a calming aroma. Pine trees on a beach is not something we typically encounter, so this interesting feature makes this one of the best family friendly beaches Algarve Portugal has for you to explore.
There’s a parking lot near the beach and you can reach the shore quickly on the boardwalk that leads through the trees and dunes. Once you arrive, you’ll notice how stunning the Atlantic is as it rolls onto the shore. You can lay out your towels or rent sun loungers and umbrellas.
Praia da Quinta do Lago
Quinta do Lago is well known for its luxury villas and golf courses, but the real highlight is the local beach. It’s sheltered from the more built up areas by sand dunes, which are home to succulent vegetation and interesting creatures like chameleons. You can access the beach by boardwalk. Once you get there, you’ll realize it was worth the walk.
The shoreline is stunning, with warm sands and light waves washing in off the Atlantic. This beach is best enjoyed by families with older children, as there are many watersport activities that you can take part in, including pedalos, jet skis, inflatable dinghies pulled by boats, and more.
Best Family Friendly Beaches Algarve, Portugal: Praia de Santo António
Close to the Spanish border is the quaint town of Vila Real de Santo António. Its nearest beach has vast expanses of sand, so there is plenty of room for families to set up their towels and umbrellas. The water is warmer as you get closer to the Mediterranean, and this is as close as you can get before entering Spain.
One of the best features of Santo António beach is its local culture. The town is home to many fishermen, so there are plenty of old wooden boats to admire dotted along the sand. It also means that if you want a seafood lunch nearby, you know that you’ll get the freshest fish possible. Who doesn’t like a delicious meal when they are enjoying some of the best family friendly beaches Algarve Portugal has to offer?
Praia Dona Ana
Close to the city of Lagos, you’ll find Praia Dona Ana, one of the best beaches in the western Algarve. It faces east, so there aren’t as many intense waves as other parts of the area. There are still good tides for those who enjoy bodyboarding or swimming with a boost from the sea. It’s recommended for families with older kids or teenagers, as there are steps down to the sand.
What makes this area really special are the cliffs that border the beach. They are one of the typical images of Portugal that you’ll find if you do a quick Google search. You can’t really appreciate their splendor until you see them from up close.
Praia dos Alemães
Praia dos Alemães is just one of the many picturesque beaches in the Algarve. It has lots of space on the sand for sunbathing and ball games. Local children love playing football up and down the beach in the hot weather.
There are some rocky parts in the water, but it’s so clear that you can easily steer clear of them. The closest town is Albufeira, a big tourist destination in the summer. The best months to visit are June, July, and September, when the weather is perfect for sunbathing, but you avoid the bigger August crowds. We always like to avoid crowds, and we suggest you try to do the same when you experience some of the best family friendly beaches Algarve Portugal has for you!
Praia do Farol
Praia do Farol (located on Ilha da Culatra) is about as typical of a Portuguese beach as you will find. It’s another island in the Ria Formosa park, and is accessible by boat from Faro and Olhão. A quick journey across the water sets you up for a beautiful day on a white sandy beach overlooked by an idyllic lighthouse.
While you relax on the sand, you’ll notice local fishermen coming in on their boats and kids searching for shellfish in the shallows. At lunch time you can try all of these delicacies at the nearby restaurants to round out your experience as the best family friendly beaches Algarve Portugal has to show.
The Algarve is an incredible region of Europe with world-class beaches that families love. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or a sporty adventure, there are spots that everyone can enjoy. If you prefer calmer, warmer waters, then head east. If you want stronger waves and a more refreshing dip in the ocean, the west is the best bet.
It’s important to remember that the Algarve’s high season is in August, when many Portuguese tourists travel south from the bigger cities. So make sure to check the best days to book a hotel room, pack your swimwear, and travel to this lovely part of the world to experience some of the best family friendly beaches Algarve Portugal has to offer!
Author Bio: Luke Redmond
Irish-Portuguese writer and musician. A regular contributor at Fidis Travel. Interested in traveling and discovering local food, film, and reading.