There is always something magical about sunset and sunrise, especially in combination with a beach or coastline. So probably the sunset at every beach is beautiful. Nevertheless, I’d like to show you some special must-go places to see either sunrise or sunset in the south of Portugal.
I have been at Algarve two times and found various stunning spots to chase the sunset or sunrise. Depending on where you are staying you might be interested more in the area of South Algarve – the so-called „sandy“ Algarve or the West Algarve, so-called „rocky Algarve“.
Overview of the best sunset and sunrise spots in Algarve:
South Algarve – “sandy Algarve”:
- Cabo de Sao Vincente: Pink sunset at the most South-Western point
- Praia dos Tres Irmaos: a paradise of rocks and caves
- Praia do Alvor Nascente: the sunrise with the epic rocks
- Praia do Camilo: a calm sunrise
- Praia da Falesia: a red sunset
- Praia da Marinha: I love you, I hate you
- Praia de Albandeira: A well kept secret
- Meia Praia: relaxed sundowner
West Algarve – “rocky Algarve”
- Praia and Ruínas da Fortaleza de Arrifana: WOW WOW WOW sunset
- Praia do Beliche: a cave & some fishermen
- Cliffs of Luz: a sunrise spot just for yourself
- Praia and Miradouro do Castelejo: truly stunning if you are luckier than me
- Fort de Sagres: where the close-by surf schools gather
- Praia de Odeceixe Mar: an epic rock
So let’s start with the best sunset and sunrise spots at South Algarve. These locations are easy to reach for you if you stay at Faro, Albufeira or Lagos.
This is the most western point of Portugal and even Europe. All you can see there is a light house and the wide wide blue sea in the background. Next land after this is America! Often the horizon line becomes blurry and can’t be clearly separated from the sea and sky anymore. Maybe that is why the sunset here is so special. If you plan on a road trip with a camper or caravan, make sure to plan one night at Cabo de Sao Vicente to enjoy a fascinating sunset.
This beach is my absolute favorite sunrise spot because it is a rocky paradise. Especially in the morning when the tide is low, there are so many small caves and little corners to discover which are not visible during high tide.
In addition, this beach has everything a beach needs: There is a sandy part with sunbeds to rent, a small beach bar, a parking lot (also for camper vans) and there is the rocky part including a part to hike up and a stunning viewpoint. All in one spot I mean what else could you ask for?
This is actually the beach just next to Praia dos Tres Irmaos and you will not be able to avoid it on your way to the first-mentioned beach. This is a sandy beach with an iconic pointy rock in the water. You will have all the facilities you wish for a relaxed beach day as well. Therefore it is perfect to watch the sunrise and then just stay there. Because there are sun loungers to rent and a few beach bars. The beach stretches around 3 kilometers and is therefore perfect for a long walk or run. In addition, it is equipped with stairs which lead along the short stretch of dunes in case you are not sure-footed in the sand.
As one of my favorite beaches at Algarve the sunrise there is very special for me. Especially in the early hours you’ll be alone at this beautiful little beach and getting up early for this experience is totally worth it.
This beach is dominated by a red rocky coastline, waves are a bit rough there and it’s often windy. A great time to visit is the evening when the setting sun turns the sky and the whole beach red and make the cliffs appear even more red – very romantic!
Praia da Marinha and I have kind of a love-hate relationship. When just considering the place itself, I’m totally in love with this beach because it is a long stretch of beautiful and different rocks & cliffs, you can even do a little hike along these cliffs, there are some pretty little beaches as well as various viewpoints. One could easily spend a whole day there without getting bored. BUT this is the reason why this beach is extremely popular and crowed. Even in low season buses full of tourists go there. If you want to avoid the crowds Praia dos tres Irmaos is a great alternative.
Or you make your way to the viewpoint on the left side of the parking, which you will reach after passing the stairs down to the beach. This is a less crowded part because most people go to the left side of the parking where you can hike along the cliffs.
Praia de Albandeira is a lessor known & popular beach. But it has a well-kept secret during low tide. You can enter a little beach with many rocks and a cave on the left-hand side. During high tide, you will not get there. I love this kind of place and could have sat there forever and watch the gate formed of stones and the rough waves. Unfortunately, this was another cloudy day and you could not really see the sun for sunrise.
This beach is not special, nor appears the sunset at this beach very special. Still this beach with its relaxed atmosphere and nice terraces invites you to stay at the beach until the sun is gone. The length of the beach is perfect for a walk in the sunset, the elegant beach bar invites for a sundowner or just enjoy the dusty windy horizon.
Ok, so these were the best sunrise and sunset spots of the Southern part of Algarve. And now let’s continue with the Western part of Algarve which is rockier, has more cliffs and is more wild and natural and less touristy than the Southern part.
Oh man, this sunset at Ruínas da Fortaleza de Arrifana was just killing it. I was already a bit too late and still in the car when the whole sky turned in hundred shades of yellow, orange and red already one hour before the actual sunset and I knew that Arrifana will be a very special sunset spot of Algarve. There are two spots from where you can see the sunset: Either from the spot where the stairs go down to the beach in the middle of the village. Or located a bit further and higher, the ruins of the fort, Ruínas da Fortaleza de Arrifana. From here you will have a great view to two sides and this evening was just beating all the sunsets I’ve seen before in my life (yes! I’m not exaggerating). After the sky was changing from yellowish and orange colors to more red and purple and then after the sun was already completely gone slowly to darker shades or purple and blue and black. Just magical!
There is a cave at this beach and watching the sunset from there must feel like in world-famous Benagil beach (to which I don’t recommend to go). This beach is not especially spectacular and therefore there were almost no other people down at the beach when I was at this spot to watch the sunset. Just some fishermen were joining me and were so kind to get out of my picture angle when the sky was turning red 😉
This place made it to the list of the best sunset and sunrise spots of Algarve not because the rocks or beach itself are especially stunning, but because this was the only place I had just for myself. I was the only single person sitting at this cliff and watching the sunrise. And trust me at Algarve almost whole year-round at most of the beautiful beaches and viewpoints and cliffs you will meet other people or Volkswagen vans or camper vans which are spending the night there. But not at these cliffs close to Burgau. I discovered this place because I was staying in a very cute apartment resort, called Quinta do Mar da Luz, which is located at these cliffs. A just 2-minute walk brought me from the fence of the apartment complex to these cliffs.
And this is just an example sunrise spot. All the cliffs at the beginning of the rocky west Algarve close to the towns Luz, Burgau, and Budens have these cliffs which can’t be reached by car or camper van and are not directly connected to their beaches below. The fact that they are hard to reach makes so way fewer people get there – try it out, you will love it!
This is a very long beach and very popular among surfers and surf schools. Even in low season, this beach will be full of surfers (when the waves are good of course). And if you are lucky the sunset is as magical as at Praia da Arrifana. Or like this when you are not so lucky:
So yes, you see every sunset and sunrise spot also requires a huge amount of luck. Some people have had a magical red sunset there (at least that is what I saw when researching these spots). Or when it is a cloudy day that happens at west Algarve often due to the often windy and rough weather especially in low season and winter. But this beach is nevertheless worth it to go and invites to a long beach walk.
The Fort of Sagres or actually the cliffs just next to it is a very popular spot to watch the sunset at Algarve.
Maybe because it is easily accessible and there is a big parking (the one of the fort). Maybe because it is on the way back of all the surfers who were surfing on the west coast and going back to their surf camps. Or maybe because you can see the most South-Western point with its lighthouse in the distance. Or because the horizon is blurring during sunset. You see, there are many reasons why to come here during sunset. On a clear day, it will be truly magical.
This is a very typical „western Algarve“ beach, but still stunning with high rocks, a very scenic pointy rock on one side, rough sea, good waves. But this beach has the extra special: the river Ribeira runs into the ocean and forms a headland which looks like huge sand dunes. So there is the rough sea part where many surfers gather. And then there is the sandy dunes part where you can relax off the crowds and go swim in the river. And the little village is very charming as well. A great spot to spend the day. I didn’t see the sunset or sunrise there, but I assume it must be like Praia da Arrifana on good days.
And don’t forget: Never stop exploring!