The West Algarve Surf & Beach Route
The west and south coast of the Algarve holds some of the best-hidden treasures. Compared to its peaceful, golden southern coast, the west coast around the corner is dramatic, rugged, and perfect for surfing. The endless rolling waves and patches of deserted beach create a classic terrain for surf breaks. The south coast offers an area full of rocky bays, hidden caves, crystal clear water and golden sandy beaches, which combines into some of the best, yet, unknown surf spots in the winter. The regular off shore winds give way to different types of waves to catch on the board. In this route along the coast, we’ll take you to the best beaches of the west and south coast of the Algarve. Starting from the Atlantic city of Lagos, we’ll continue inland towards the mountains, driving along the coastline from north to south towards Sagres and circling back to the south coast, ending up again in Lagos.
- Name route: Surf Beaches of West Algarve
- Suggested duration: 1 day
- Start and finish point: Lagos
- Distance: 123 KM
- Highlights: hidden surf spots, secluded beaches, coastal roads, fresh seafood
Lagos – Monte Clerigo Beach (38 KM)
From Lagos, drive in the northwest direction over the N120 highway towards Aljezur, passing the mountains of Serra de Espinhaco de Cão. You’ll drive through a dry and rough part of the region, full of mountainous paths suitable for long hikes. Arriving at the Castle of Aljezur, drive up towards the castle and seek out some rest at Monte Clerigo Beach afterward. The long and scenic beach of Praia da Monte Clerigo is guarded by lifeguards during the summer.
Monte Clerigo Beach – Vila do Bispo (41 KM)
Continue your route southwards along the N268 towards Vila do Bispo. When you start to get hungry, turn right just north of Carrapateira and follow the signs towards Restaurant O Sítio. Close to the restaurant you’ll find the beautiful beach Praia do Amado, which is part of the National Park Costa Vincentina. Here you’ll see rough cliffs along the scenic beach road. This seaside drive is where you’ll come across the beautiful surf beaches like Praia da Barriga, Praia da Cordoama, and Praia do Castelejo. The beach bar at Praia da Cordoama is run by a couple of super laid back Portuguese men, serving clams freshly caught from the Atlantic. Take out your board and spend the latter part of the morning on the summer swells, which stretches all the way to the car park.
Vila do Bispo – Sagres (10 KM)
Dry up before getting into the car and continue along your route! From Vila do Bispo follow the N268 road towards Sagres. On your route you can make a detour to the scenic surf beach Praia da Ponta Ruiva, exiting from the main road at roughly halfway. When you find the beach through the maze of dirt tracks between Vila do Bispo and the coast, you’ll be rewarded with the stunning location and the long, left-leaning point for some ideal break waves, which you’ll be able to surf. This spot may feel like an adventure just to get to, but it is definitely worth the effort! Back on the main road towards the south, head to Cabo de São Vicente, the outer most western point of Portugal, bring you along Praia do Beliche as well. Drive back to Sagres for some beaches around there.
Sagres – Vila do Bispo – Lagos (34 KM)
Around Sagres you can find some secluded beaches, for example, Praia do Tonel and Praia da Mareta. At Mareta beach, you can find waves with swells heading more towards the west or south. Have a cold beer and some tapas at Chiringuito Last Chance Bar with a fantastic view overlooking the bay. To get from Sagres to Lagos, take the same road back to Vila do Bispo, and make your way to N125 eastwards from there, passing through the villages Figuera, Salema, and Burgau. This route will lead you to Luz, close to Lagos, which is a fantastic spot to watch the sunset from cliffs. Have dinner in Lagos at The Garden Bar & Grill in a beautiful and creatively arranged garden (be sure to make a reservation!). Find your space in one of the hammocks, hay bails, vintage couches or at a seat at a table, and enjoy the good Portuguese music and cuisine.
For more detailed information on swells, surf spots, routes, and restaurants download the Casa Meranka, Surf Trip South-West Portugal travel guide.
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