Outstanding beaches are a core aspect of the Algarve’s tourism DNA. So no surprise then that the popular European resort is once again the flag-bearer for Portugal’s stunning coastline attractions.
Of 431 beaches (both coastal and river), marinas and sustainable boating tourism operators granted “Blue Flag” accreditation throughout Portugal for 2022, 86 were awarded to the Algarve, more than for any other region in the country.
All of the 2022 award-winners in “Europe’s Leading Beach Destination” are coastal beaches, and one of the region’s municipalities (Loulé) has once again been awarded the “Blue Flag” distinction for each of its 10 beaches, plus the Vilamoura Marina.
According to the Foundation for Environmental Education, which operates the program, “In order to qualify for the Blue Flag, a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety, and accessibility criteria must be met and maintained.
“Central to the ideals of the Blue Flag program is the aim of connecting the public with their surroundings and encouraging them to learn more about their environment. As such, environmental education activities must be offered and promoted in addition to a permanent display of information relevant to the site in terms of biodiversity, ecosystems and environmental phenomena.”
The Algarve officially launches its beach season on 1 June, and lifeguards will remain posted at the region’s nearly 600 beaches classified as apt for bathing until 30 September, although one municipality (Albufeira) has extended its season two weeks either side of those dates.
In addition to the annual “Blue Flag” update, the Algarve has also featured prominently in TripAdvisor’s latest “Travellers Choice” awards.
Two Algarve beaches were named in the “Top 25 Beaches – Europe” category… Travellers opted for Praia da Falésia (“Cliff Beach”) as their second choice (behind number one Spiaggia dei Conigli in Lampedusa, Sicily), while Praia Da Rocha in Portimão was 14th. One respondent noted of Praia da Falésia, which is located in Albufeira, “Gorgeous red sand cliffs lead to the green-blue ocean and a white sand beach that seemingly stretches forever.”
Scenic EVA Cliffs Bus Line
The Algarve’s award-winning beaches can also be appreciated high above the sand, sea and coves. A new bus line launched this spring allows passengers to travel along the coastline from Alvor to Zoomarine, in a “hop-on, hop-off” mode that includes 19 stops.
The Eva Cliffs Line is available through the bus company Vamos Algarve, which notes that passengers can “on the same day and with the same ticket, have breakfast at Praia da Rocha, visit the famous Benagil Caves, take a dip in Marinha beach and even visit Zoomarine. You can also get off at a stop at any time and go through part of the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail in Lagoa, which was once elected the best hiking destination in Europe.”
The Vamus Algarve smartphone app enables passengers to use on-board Wi-Fi, access information about routes and stops, check bus timetables in real time, and purchase tickets with a QR code.
The Eva Cliffs Line day ticket can be purchased on board, at ticket offices or at EVAKiosks at the Algarve’s main bus stations. The tourist pass, which provides access to the whole network of intercity buses in the region, is also valid for this new scenic route.