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Scenic, rocky beaches not in the Algarve?

My family is planning a trip to Portugal in June, and while the beaches in the Algarve look amazing, I'm not thrilled about the level of tourists. Are there beaches closer to Lisbon that look similar to the rocky ones in the Algarve? I know there are a lot of beaches near Lisbon, but from what I can tell they are mostly flat, normal looking beaches.

Thank you in advance for the help.

Posted by
3000 posts

I have seen much of the Algarve and they are all sandy beaches Do you mean sandy beaches backed by cliffs? The disadvantage of such beaches is having to walk down 100+ steps to get to the sand.

The beaches around Carrapateira on the west coast of the Algarve will be much quieter than those on the south coast in June. They are long 4km long stretches of sand, but backed by cliffs.

Zambujeira do Mar may suit, as it has cliff backed smaller coves.

The beaches between Melides and Comporta are long and sandy, but far less busy than the Algarve, set in beautiful countryside. The beaches between Peniche and Porto are much much busier.

Posted by
253 posts

The 'good' cliff scenery is west of Lagos. I was there in March so no crowds at all, obviously June will be much busier but I think it's at it's worst in Mid July through August so maybe June might not be that bad (especially early June). I haven't been to the Algarve in summer, but I travel to Europe every summer and leave as soon as I can (which isn't till around June 22 or so) and stay through July and I notice difference in crowd levels between that first week which is still June and the last week which is almost August. Much worse then. I'm talking about coastal destinations throughout Europe. So point being, maybe it won't be that crowded. Also I think the worst crowded areas are between Lagos and Faro so sticking to Lagos and west - which is where you want to be anyway for the cliff scenery - would be better crowd wise.

Here's my photos of that region - Those cliffs really are gorgeous. And yes, there are lots of steps down to the 'beach'. But that area you go to for the scenery. There is about 4 km of sandy beach in Lagos but it's east of the town center, the cliffs are west ( and continue all the way to the Atlantic side).

Posted by
724 posts

There are some rock formations closer to Lisbon that are lovely. And, lots of cliffs by the sea. If you google ‘beaches near Sintra’, you will get info on several. Cabo da Roça, between Cascais and Sintra is quite nice as the western most point of the European continent. There is a lovely area in Cascais around Boca do Inferno. These last two aren’t beaches but are quite scenic.

Of course, these areas will be crowded also, but not at the level of the Algarve.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you all for your helpful posts. I appreciate the great information.