Praia da Marinha is often called the most beautiful beach in the Algarve. The clear turquoise waters slap constantly against the orange limestone forming cliffs and the almost iconic rock formations grace the covers of hundreds of postcards and travel brochures. The beach itself, along with the grotto in Benagil and Ponte de Piedade in Lagos, is one of the most visited places in the region.
This is by far the most distinctive point of da Marinha beach. Beautiful cliffs and the letter M carved into them, perfect for admiring both from the beach level and elevated above it.
With its clear and transparent waters and abundant marine life, Praia da Marinha is an ideal place for scuba diving. The sea here is exceptionally calm and free of high, dangerous waves, making it easy to spot various fish or other aquatic species around the beach. You’ll need to bring snorkeling gear, however, because unlike Benagil, you’ll only find a small bar serving drinks and small dishes – sardines or sandwiches.
There are a number of boat tours departing from various cities along the Algarve coast, offering views of Praia da Marinha from the magical perspective of the ocean surface. I have used Andre Boat (Portimao), Mara & Finismar (Albufeira) several times and can recommend them. A boat trip will allow you to visit some of the stunning sea caves and grottoes along the coast, including Benagil Cave or Gruta do Capitão. Just looking from the outside at the aforementioned bay with its rock formations is incredibly impressive, even more so during the low season when the crowds are not there.
If you prefer a more active method of sightseeing, walking along the cliffs is a great way to experience the natural scenery of the Algarve coast. Walking from one magnificent beach to the next, you’ll be able to enjoy views of the sea and rock formations from above. From Praia da Marinha, follow the cliffs west toward Praia de Benagil or east toward the beautiful Albandeira Arch. If you’re planning a trek on the Algarve coast, an overnight stay in the tourist resort of Armação de Pera is worth considering, because while the town itself has little to offer, it’s an ideal base for beach excursions.
The famous Albandeira Arch, a half-hour walk from Praia da Marinha
It happens that da Marinha beach is besieged by crowds in high season. At its eastern end, however, you’ll find a small cave behind which lies another great beach, Praia do Buraco.
Getting to Buraco beach requires bending over, but it’s definitely worth it! Although Marinha is besieged, so the other beach is very often empty.
Praia da Buraco at high tide
How to get to da Marinha beach?
As with Benagil, the best means of transportation is by car. Praia da Marinha is located between Carvoeiro and Armacao de Pera. You will reach it via national roads. There are two parking lots right on the beach and there are no problems with parking even in high season.
Unfortunately, da Marinha beach is very difficult to reach by public transportation. Buses from Lagoa run extremely infrequently and require a transfer if you want to get to Marinha from Lagos, for example. If you live in Carvoeiro, you can opt to take the bus to Benagil and come to Marinha on foot. An Uber ride from Lagoa to the beach in Benagil costs approx. 6-7 euros.
Marinha beach has been named one of the most beautiful in the world
The Michelin Guide recognizes Praia da Marinha as one of the ten most beautiful beaches in Europe, and ranks it among the top 100 most attractive places of its kind worldwide. In 1998, Portuguese environmental officials from the Ministério do Ambiente e Ação Climática also unanimously awarded it the distinction named “Golden Beach” for its undeniably exceptional natural beauty. In addition, countless photos of the area have often been used in promotional materials and various guidebooks to Portugal distributed in many countries around the world.
In 2015, Marinha beach was officially ranked as one of the best vacation destinations on the continent by European Best Destinations and the so-called EDEN, or European Destinations of Excellence. Three years later, the North American television network CNN selected the Algarve bathing resort as one of the twenty most beautiful in the world in the category of beaches with cliffs. Twelve months later, the same U.S.-based group again nominated Praia da Marinha as the best place to visit in September, and as one of the best vacation destinations in the world.