We have found the heart of Algarve! And it is in Praia da Marinha!
Praia da Marinha, located in Caramujeira in Lagoa in the Algarve region, is one of the most beautiful and dramatic beaches in Portugal. It has received many notable distinctions such as öne of the 10 most beautiful beaches in Europe, öne of the 100 most beautiful beaches in the world”, and “Golden Beach award” by Portuguese Ministry of the Environment. We were normally a bit sceptical when we read so many adulationsover something. The high commendations about this beach made us so curious, so we drove to the beach, planning to stay here just for a day. What was planned to be just a day visit became four days instead!
Arriving at the place, we were literally speechless when we saw the beach! It was stunningly beautiful! The accolades and wonderful write-ups about the beach were all true! Words were not just enough to describe this little piece of paradise in the Algarve!
The beach, which is accessible via a long and winding concrete steps, had a wide expanse of fine golden sand, the waters which have a high quality have light torquise and sometimes almost transparent ; they could also be wild at times. It is sheltered with high cliffs on both ends which protect the area from chilly winds and yet still enjoy the sun the whole day.
At the right far end of the beach is the famous special rock formation, the double arcs rockform which resembles the letter M. It is the most photographed spot in the area, and if you play with your picture taking, you could capture a heart-formed rock in it! It is possible to walk as near to the rock formation as you want, but mind you, you have to walk over a heaps of stones and it would be tricky!
At the left part of the beach, you will find a small concrete door, earlier an opening which leads to a very tiny secluded beach. It is like a secret passage. But I wouldn’t advise you to take this passage during high tide, for the danger that you might be trapped in that small place!
THE TRAIL OF SEVEN HANGING VALLEYS
The area around the Praia da Marinha is equally stunning! There is a so-called Seven Hanging Valley Trail which begins from Praia da Marinha up to Vale Centianes Beach in Carvoeiro. It is a 5.7 kilometer walking trail that follows the winding outlines of the cliffs and offers walkers unique and fabulous views of the landscape.
Hans and I put on our hiking shoes (good hiking shoes are required!) and did the trail. We did not however went as far as Vale Centianes. We stopped at the Alfansina Lighthouse, then retraced our way back to Praia da Marinha. Because it was a beautiful warm day, with a temperature of 18 degrees C, and the sea was extraordinarily calm
Along the trail, we have seen a couple of very beautiful beaches such as Praia Benagil and Praia Carvalho. Praia Benagil which is about 2 kilometers from Marinha, is a small beach with golden sand and quite wild waves. Boats offering cave tours depart here all year round. Boat tour cost 20 euros for 1 hour and it will bring you to at least 20 caves in the area, the most popular is the Benagil Cave. I wanted so much to take the tour and see the Benagil Cave I’ve been dreaming about for so long; had already booked a place in the boat; but as fate wouldn’t have it, the sea was wild during the days that I booked that the departure should be done in Portimao, and that didn’t suit me at all!
A few hundred meters from the Benagil Beach lies another beautiful beach, the Praia Carvalho. We really love this beach as it has an air of exclusivity and seclusion. It is a small beach with crystal clear waters, fine sand and sheltered by high cliffs.
Access to the beach is via a tunnel carved from the rocks with steps. There is also a narrow stairway at the right side of the cliff which leads to some stone chambers or balconies overlooking the sea! Really special. There is a big rock island in the middle of the sea. . Hans and I had a couple of hours stop here, just enjoying the nice weather and the wonderful feelings the beach gave us. Too bad that we didn’t have anything for us like towels and swimming wears. Nevertheless, we still did some sunbathing, taking off our clothes and leaving only our underwears!
We also saw a lot of sinkholes and sea caves during our walk. Sinkholes are cavities which have developed vertically and appears as void beneath the earth. These can be so big and so deep that extra caution is strongly advised! There are fences around these sinkholes preventing walkers to come too close. Once in a while, my ever naughty and stupidly courageous Hans dared to climb over the fences to have a better look! Good thing, nothing bad happened!
It seemed that we were not yet so tired from our long tedious walk that after returning to our camper and had some rest, we then walked the other way, this time to the direction of Armacao da Pera. We walked up to Praia Albandeira, where there was again a nice single rock formation which we saw along the way.
Praia da Marinha is magnificent! It is, what we could say, the gem and Heart of the Algarve. Forget about the other famous, touristic, and busy beaches in Portimao and Albufeira! And as an extra topping on a very delicious mouth-watering three-layered chocolate cake, Praia da Marinha is the perfect spot to view those glorious sunrise and sunset! What more could you ask for? A good place to begin and end a beautiful day!
Relaxing at Praia da Marinha
Coordinates : N: 37.09041 W : 8.41418
There is a reasonable beach parking. But we wildcamped at the area along the path of the Trail, by the bushes. There are no other facilities here.
Our customary pictures together 🙂