A Beach Goers Guide to Praia da Arrifana

Just 6km outside of Aljezur, this beach is one of the gems of the western Algarve region. Rugged and natural, this is the perfect place divers and surfers alike.

With easy access to beach activities and historic sites, a visit to Praia da Arrifana is a must for any Portuguese vacation.

In order to get the most out of your trip, here is your Beach Goers Guide to Praia da Arrifana!

How to Get to Praia da Arrifana

To get to Praia da Arrifana from Lisbon, you can drive the 4 hours or take a bus. The RedeExpressos leaves Lisboa Sete Rios for Aljezur 3 times a day. Once in Aljezur, you will need to take a taxi to the beach.

From Faro, you can take a bus or train into Lagos and from there hop a bus to Aljezur.

When driving to Arrifana from other parts of the Algarve, simply follow the N120 toward Aljezur and follow the signs. Easy peasy!

To reach the beach from the tiny village of Arrifana on top of the cliffs, you will need to walk down a very steep roadway (closed to vehicular traffic). If you have mobility concerns, there is a buggy system in place that can help.  There is lots of parking at the top of the cliff, just park and walk down!

Praia da Arrifana: What to Expect

Praia da Arrifana is a beautiful beach that stretches for a half-mile in a slight seashell shape. This shape, coupled with soaring cliffs, provides beach goers with a little bit of shelter from the winds that batter other locations on the west coast. 

This is a blue flag beach which means that the golden sand is remarkably clean and the beach is safe for swimming. During the high season, there is a lifeguard on duty as well.

Once you’ve claimed your little patch of sand, you can take in the views. Towards the south end of the beach, you will see the famous Pedra da Agulha or Needle Stone jutting out from the water. At the northern end of the beach, near the fishing port, you will see lots of scuba divers taking advantage of the near-perfect conditions and crystal clear water. 

If you are planning to spend a day at the beach, why not try your hand at some surf sports? Praia da Arrifana is one of the best locations to go surfing in the Algarve! The waves might not be as large here as they are at Nazare, farther up the coast, but they are still pretty great! On the beach, you can rent wetsuits, surfboards, and bodyboards. If you are not feeling confident in your surfing skills, there is a surf school right there where you can take some lessons.

If you are the sort who likes to spend an entire day soaking up the sun and breathing the fresh salt air, Praia da Arrifana is equipped with restrooms and a small cafe so you can relax and get anything you need right there!

There are many interesting rocks along the back of Arrifana beach, taking interesting shapes and formations due to sea winds and the pounding tides. Take a walk and see what interesting rocks you can find!

The best time to visit the beach is at low tide because, during high tide, the sand becomes incredibly narrow and almost disappears completely.

What to do Near Praia da Arrifana

If you are looking for a beach break, there are some great sites nearby!

Arrifana Fortress

On top of the north cliff that overlooks the beach, are the emains of the Arrifana Fortress. Constructed as a defensive structure in 1635, it was used to protect the coastline and nearby rich fishing grounds.

The original fortress was damaged in the 1755 earthquake and later rebuilt, only to be destroyed again and abandoned in the 19th century. In 2007, the town of Aljezur rebuilt the entrance of the fortress, providing visitors with a spectacular view of the beach and coastal waters.

Come in the evening to watch the suns cast a glow on the orange and black sandstone cliffs before disappearing into the Atlantic ocean.

Rota Vicentina 

The Rota Vicentina is a 400km trail that takes you through some of the most spectacular and best-preserved landscapes in Europe.

The 125km section known as the “Fisherman’s Trail” runs from Porto Covo to Cabo de Sao Vicente near Sagres.  This particular section of the Rota Vicentina can be quite demanding as it traverses delicate ecosystems and forces hikers to constantly compete with the strong ocean winds.

Along the Fisherman’s Trail, you can stop in Vale da Telha to see the ruins and graves discovered at Ponta da Atalaia. This site has direct ties to Portugal’s Moorish history. In the 12th century, the area was home to a Ribat, a Muslim fortress-monastery and the discoveries at this site continue to astound and confound visitors and archeologists alike.

Explore Aljezur and Costa Vicentina National Park

The town of Aljezur has many interesting sites to visit.

Aljezur Castle is the most important landmark in the area. It was constructed in the 10th century by the Moors and remained in their control until the Christian reconquest in the 13th century. The castle is free to visit and the remains provide some spectacular views of the city.

Down the hill from the castle is the Igreja da Misericordia, a 16th century church with an attached Sacred Art Museum where you can see many examples of religious art.

Visit the Museu Municipal in the old town to see some ancient artifacts uncovered in the area and then stop in to Casa Museu Pintor Jose Cercas. This was once the home of local painter Jose Cercas and you can see great examples of his work inside.

The new town is found on the other side of the river. It was created when the residents of Aljezur had to be relocated due to a malaria outbreak in the 18th century.

Aljezur is located in the hills of the Costa Vicentina National Park and as such, contains many great hiking and cycling trails. Get out and about and see if you can spot some of the local wildlife like foxes, badgers, and several varieties of nesting birds.

Visit Other Beaches

The western coast, and this region in particular, has some of the best beaches in the country.

Beaches close to Praia da Arrifana include:

  • Praia do Monte Clerigo: this is a family-friendly beach. It is easy to access with clean sand and water. Designated as a blue flag beach, it has a number of onsite facilities. At low tide, it leaves natural pools, revealing crabs, octopus, and starfish.

  • Praia da Amoreira: backed by sand dunes and situated at the mouth of the Ribeira de Aljezur, this is another beach popular with families. At low tide, there is a shallow lagoon where children can swim and play. Above the beach is a small restaurant that provides light meals. It is best to bring everything you need with you as there are no nearby concessions or shops.

  • Praia de Odeceixe: This beach is found at the boundary between the Algarve and the Alentejo region of Portugal. The cliffs around the beach offer spectacular views and for a little bit of fun, rent a canoe and paddle up the Seixe river.

  • Praia do Amado: This is a popular beach located near Carrapateira. Surfers flock here to ride the incredible waves. There are nearby surf schools should you need a lesson.

  • Praia da Bordeira: Try your hand at kitesurfing at this beautiful, 3km long beach near Carrapateira. Praia da Bordeira is known for its sand dunes and large, warm lagoon.

Where to Eat Near Praia da Arrifana

If you don’t want to travel far for your meal, visit Restaurante Praia Arrifana. This location has breathtaking views of the Atlantic but it is likely that you’ll have to wait for a seat so you should consider these other spots as well:

  • Tasca D’Arrifana: if you want delicious seafood, head to Tasca D’Arrifana. With friendly staff and welcoming atmosphere, this is traditional Portuguese cuisine as it is meant to be enjoyed. Pure and simple.
  • Pont’a Pé: located in the old town center, this spot serves amazing dishes using fresh and local ingredients. Unsurprisingly, most of the menu is made up of fish and seafood dishes include sea bass, mackerel, octopus, and mussels. What you might not expect is the number of dishes on the menu that include sweet potato. This area is the largest producer of sweet potato in the country so expect to see them everywhere!

Where to Stay Near Praia da Arrifana

There are a few great options for a place to stay near Praia da Arrifana.

  • Apartment Praia da Arrifana!: located steps from Arrifana beach, this accommodation has all the amenities that you could need like free wifi, free parking, and a flat-screen tv. The apartment includes 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 1 living room, and a full kitchen.
  • Hotel Vale Da Telha: Just 2km from Praia da Arrifana, this small hotel has clean, brightly colored rooms, each with a balcony. If traveling with children, there is both an adult and kiddie pool. With free parking, free wifi, and an onsite restaurant and bar, you are sure to enjoy your stay!

Praia da Arrifana is far and away one of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal. With this guide, you can not only enjoy a day at the beach, but you can also take in the surrounding area!

For more information, follow our Aljezur tour or give us a call and we’ll help you build your dream getaway!

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