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Some of the best and most beautiful beaches in the entire world are to be found in the Algarve There are about 100 sandy attractive beaches along the two hundred kilometres of Algarve coastline, with the majority having gained due recognition in the form of the EU "Blue Flag" for quality standards. Washed by the Atlantic Ocean and due to the maritime shelf and water currents the sea temperature can often be surprisingly warm even in some of the winter months. The Algarve coastline offers such distinctly differing landscapes that it is never difficult to find beaches with characteristics to suit all the tastes.

The Costa Vicentina, in the western region of the Algarve is popular with surfers and those who enjoy nature at its most untamed. Mostly made up of steep, imposing cliffs, cut back to form shell-shaped sandy coves, the coastline is rich in wildlife with eagles and falcons soaring across these skies.

The Barlavento coast, the western stretch of the Algarve, is renowned for its golden cliffs with all their extravagant shapes providing the perfect backdrop to dreamlike beaches. Further enriching this environment are the many caves and rock formations cut out of the cliffs by the sea.

On the Sotavento coast, making up the east of the Algarve coastline, there are broad expanses of sand broken only by the Ria Formosa Natural Park, forming island beaches and long spurs of sand that are calm and peaceful.

Most beaches are accessible by road; however there are also some excellent beaches which are not always as easily reached from the main holiday towns, it is well worth going out and exploring and just look for signs that say "praia" (the Portuguese word for beach) as these can guide you to some truly idyllic beaches.

Praia de Vale do Lobo – a beautiful sandy beach of the world class golf and holiday resort of Vale do Lobo near Almancil, The resort is constantly investing in protecting this natural beauty set below the ochre cliffs against sea erosion. A stone’s throw from the beach is a variety of bars, cafes and restaurants.

Praia de Garrao – a pretty large and family friendly sandy beach between Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo with protected dunes. For the energetic there are endless walks in both directions to Faro or Vilamoura.

Praia da Barreta – isolated sandy beach on the island of Ilha Deserta opposite Faro. A ferryboat from Faro takes you out to the island. Glorious seafood is served at the small bars and restaurants that service the beach.

Praia de Quinta do Lago – Beautiful large sandy beach with protected dunes. Access by foot via a wooden bridge over the Ria Formosa Natural Park lagoon.

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