Caves and wild beaches: natural marvels you can only reach by sea
Promoted by the regional tourism board as ‘Europe’s most famous secret’, the Algarve is a region with a rich heritage and history but also great natural beauty. Some of its caves, wild beaches and sea-cut cliffs are so well hidden that they can only be visited by boat.
Discovering the Algarve coast can turn out to be a unique and surprising experience, and ever more visitors are attracted by the prospect of taking a boat trip or short cruise from one of the region’s marinas.
Caves – ancient, sublime formations carved by the sea
Taking a canoe around the Ria Formosa estuary or a boat trip to the caves of Algar Seco near Carvoeiro beach, diving, standup paddleboarding or parasailing are just some of the activities on offer in the Algarve. Algar Seco, just over half a kilometre west of Carvoeiro, is an imposing work of nature made up of a complex of natural pools, caves, arches and apertures carved out of the rocks over time by wind, rain and waves.
It is not only the caves themselves – natural stone temples full of reflections and echoes – that make the trip worth doing.
As you travel along the coast you have a unique panoramic view of the jagged cliffs and coastal towns, contrasting with the deep blue sea that just begs for you to dive into it.
Blissfully wild places
The Lagoa dos Salgados lagoon, just a short walk from the Vidamar Resort Algarve, Praia dos Arrifes in Albufeira, Praia do Pontal, Praia da Malhada do Baraço and Ponta da Piedade headland, all in Lagos, are other points of interest for those wanting to explore the Algarve coast and get away from the busiest beaches.
The Ria Formosa estuary, between Vila Real de Santo António and Vilamoura, is one of the Algarve’s three protected natural areas and was recently elected one of Portugal 7 Natural Wonders. There are many boat trips on offer here, too, offering the opportunity to get to know the five sandbar islands and two peninsulas of this unique system of channels and lagoons.
Activities for all tastes and ages
Birding, dolphin watching, seahorse spotting, angling, romantic tours, sunset or nocturnal outings or sailing trips are among the ways you can get to know and make the most of the Algarve coast, all year round.