The capital of the Algarve is undoubtedly one of the best regions in Portugal for enjoying the ocean. Each of Faro’s beaches has its own unique character. So, whether you prefer lazy afternoons sunbathing, admiring the sand dunes or taking part in water sports, you won’t be disappointed.

However, it should be noted that they are separated from the city by the Ria Formosa, a huge lagoon bordered by several barrier islands that protect this fragile area. Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the wetlands is around 60km of sandy coastline and a number of stunning beaches. The main ones are listed below in geographical order from west to east.

Faro’s western beaches:
the most popular in the Algarve’s capital

Praia da Quinta do Lago

Quinta do Lago beach is located on the Island of Faro (Ilha de Faro), opposite a large tourist area known as the ‘Golden Triangle’. Although very popular, and sometimes even visited by celebrities, it is more secluded and tends to be quieter than other beaches in the Algarve. The beach benefits from a range of amenities such as bars, restaurants and water sports facilities. A lifeguard is on duty during the summer months and sun loungers are available for hire right on the beach.

From the seaside town of Quinta do Lago, the beach of the same name can be accessed via a wooden pedestrian bridge crossing the Ria Formosa. The beach can just as easily be accessed by car or bus from Faro; however, the most popular option is to walk or cycle along the picturesque pathway from which you can admire the lagoon’s wild and unique landscape in all its glory.

Praia de Faro

If you’re looking for somewhere to enjoy a refreshing drink by the sea as you watch the sunset, Praia de Faro is the place for you. An extension of the island of Faro, it stretches along a narrow 5km strip of sand. Similarly to the beach at Quinta do Lago, it is one of the only beaches accessible by road from the city centre. You can get there by taking the road that runs alongside the international airport, either by bus or by car.

Its ease of access, combined with its numerous bars and restaurants, make it one of Faro’s most popular beaches. However, you only need to walk a few minutes to either side of the barrier island to escape the summer crowds and find a more secluded spot. As you move westwards, you will reach the quieter beaches of Faro Este and Praia da Barrinha, at the southern tip of the island.

Thanks to its regular swell, this beach is a firm favourite among surfers who can practice their favourite sport all year round. In summer, the beach has a lifeguard on duty, making it a stress-free environment for families.

The beaches of Barreta Island:
a wild and picturesque coastline

Do you prefer deserted beaches away from the tourist trail? Then you will definitely love the island of Barreta, (also known as Ilha Deserta), which boasts some of the most unspoilt beaches in the Algarve. Along this coastline of white sand lapped by calm, crystal clear waters, there is actually just one beach, Praia da Barreta, which extends uninterrupted for a distance of 7km.

The Ilha da Barreta is located at the southernmost point of the Ria Formosa lagoon system and partially encloses it. In order to preserve this vast natural ecosystem, there are no roads connecting the island to the mainland. It can only be reached by boat from Faro marina. Every day during the summer, the ferry takes visitors to a small landing pier from which it is just a few minutes’ walk to the vast and wild Praia da Barreta. Although there is a restaurant on the island, it is advisable to take some food with you, especially if you plan to explore the beautiful sand dunes.

Olhão, Portugal

The beaches on the islands of Culatra and Armona:
the locals’ best-kept secret

Praia de Culatra

Much quieter and better preserved than some of Faro’s beaches, Praia de Culatra can only be reached by boat from Faro marina or from the neighbouring town of Olhão. The ferry drops its passengers off at the pier in Culatra, a peaceful fishing village with no paved roads, just a few cobbled paths connecting its picturesque, colourful houses. By crossing the dunes separating the village from the shore, you will reach the wild and unspoilt beach which is mainly frequented by the locals.

Praia do Farol

The small beach of Farol is just a stone’s throw from the fishing village of the same name and is equally as authentic as Culatra. But unlike the long, wild beach of its namesake, Praia do Farol has more facilities for eating and drinking, as well as sun loungers available for hire for those who prefer not to lie directly on the sand.

On your day trip to Farol, be sure to climb the steps of the Cabo de Santa Maria lighthouse. The views across the dunes and the Ria Formosa park are simply breath-taking.

Praia da Ilha da Armona

Praia da Armona is perhaps the ideal balance between the touristy beaches of the west and those of the more deserted neighbouring islands. This spectacular beach to the east of Faro has the advantage of being close to many facilities (bars, restaurants, a small supermarket, guest houses and even a campsite), whilst offering its visitors a vast and relatively untouched coastline, similar to that of Ilha Deserta. Accessible only by ferry from the marina of Olhão, it is perfectly feasible to spend the night on the island of Armona. This would be an ideal opportunity to walk along its 9km length and perhaps even to explore the picturesque island of Fuseta, which is only accessible at low tide.

You are now familiar with Faro’s most famous beaches! Get to know them even better by investing in a luxury villa on the outskirts of the city. Discover the Quinta de Faro estate and its exceptional villas which are ideally located beside the Ria Formosa and just a few minutes away from the most picture perfect beaches.