Praia da Amoreira a beach of two halves

Hi everybody!


Sand flats and dunes along the Aljezur river at Praia da Amoreira, Algarve, Portugal
Beach Part 1 sand flats & dunes along the Aljezur river at Praia da Amoreira

Today we are giving you our guide to Praia da Amoreira,
quite possibly our favourite place in the whole Algarve. It´s not a secret cove
from a treasure map but we can´t help feeling a slight reluctance in sharing this
online. It´s not that lots of people don´t know about it, they do, but many of
those in the “know” want to keep this little slice of heaven to themselves.
Hey, it´s human nature! But there wouldn´t be much point in or blogs if they
didn´t help people to find some of the Algarve´s best kept secrets so let´s get
straight to it.

How to get there

Praia da Amoreira as the “Praia” suggests is a beach located
on the West Coast of the Algarve. It is easy to miss this gem of a location
when taking the national N120 road out of Aljezur heading for Odeciexe, so
here´s the first big tip

Look out for the sports centre and swimming pool (desportivo
& piscina) shortly after leaving Aljezur behind.

As Amoreira is on the west coast, the majority of us will be
travelling from the south coast resorts and villages. The best way is to head
for Aljezur taking the A22 to Bensafrim or the national EN125 to Lagos.

route map to Praia da Amoreira, Aljezur, Algarve, Portugal
route map to Praia da Amoreira

From Bensafrim we take the national EN120 road which winds
up through the western end of the Monchique mountain range and returns us to
the coast near Mont Ruivo. This is a pleasant drive through pine and eucalyptus
tree lined slopes with a scattering of small places to eat along the way. The
route is popular with cyclists and you have to admire the fitness of these guys
and girls as they grind up the long climb towards Espinhaco de Cao.

After a few kilometres, the road starts to descend once again as we approach the small town of Aljezur. Like all towns with “Al” in the name here in the Algarve, Aljezur was named by the Moors when they were a power in this region. It is a nice town with a castle, market and many surf shops and surf hire businesses (of which more later) Each year Aljezur hosts the “Feira de Batata Doce” or “sweet potato festival” which is a well-attended regional event.

town of Aljezur, Algarve, Portugal
A view of Aljezur approaching from the east

But today we are leaving Alzejur behind and following the
national EN120 road towards Odecixee.

We stay on the EN120 and as we start to leave Aljezur behind
we pass the “Bombeiros” (fire station) and after just 2Km we see the Desprtivo
& Piscina (Sport centre and swimming pool) buildings on our left. This
junction does have a sign for Amoreira but it is easy to miss so look out for
the sports centre.

Sports complex at Aljezur a good landmark for the Praia da Amoreira junction
Keep your eyes peeled for the complexo desportivo 

Here we take a left turn directly towards the coast on a
road that is essentially a collection of tarmac repairs linked together! Don´t
be put off, we have to endure 10 minutes of this but it really is worthwhile.

The road passes by rich green fields on the left hand side
with lovely views back towards Aljezur. As we move along, we pick up the river
on our left hand side. This is the Aljezur river and it is an integral part of
the Amoreira experience.

Aljezur river on the rote to Praia da Amoreira Algarve Portugal

After 10 minutes or so we start to see sand dunes ahead on
the left. We have a circular walk planned so we are going to stop at the first
clear sight of sand on the left. There is parking along the road at this point.

parking at Praia da Amoreira Aljezur Algarve Portugal

We park up, pick up the essentials (umbrella, beach mat,
cooler etc) from the car and head off on to the “beach” between the protected
sand dunes. We are in a national park now so fences and restrictions are to be
respected.

We have a circular walk planned along the river beach, on to
the ocean beach and back along the road to the car

A circular walk at Praia da Amoreira, Aljezur, Algarve, Portugal
Our circular walk route at Praia da Amoreira

Why visit Praia da Amoreira?

We describe Amoreira as a “beach of two halves” and it
really is. We are walking on to the first part of the beach where we will meet
the Aljezur river once again.

sand flats, dunes and river at Praia da Amoreira, Aljezur, Algarve, Portugal
The first “half” of the twin beach experience at Praia da Amoreira

This is a wide expanse of sand flats edged by the dunes at
one side and the river at the other. The river here is tidal so just how much
river we get depends upon the time of year and time of day. The good news is
that there is always some water flowing and at low tides the river separates
around small sand “islands” it is shallow at low tide with pockets perhaps
reaching above the 1M mark which makes it ideal for supervised children to play
in relative safety.

At high tide some parts of the river are deeper and some
caution needs to be exercised.

Our top tips for the river beach

  • Find a spot near the river, it is a huge area of sand flats
    so even at “peak” periods it is not usually very busy.

  • Unpack your beach mats and umbrella and get the cooler open
    for a nice cold beer or a light Rose wine.

  • Take the kids for a paddle in the river. If you brought an
    inflatable you can river raft along the 1Km or so to the Atlantic beach.

  • Sit back and enjoy the view and the peace and quiet.

  • Be sure to get the camera out!

Moving on to the wild Atlantic beach

We enjoyed a couple of hours by the river before decamping
and following the lazy river west towards the Atlantic coast and the “second
half” of the beach.

Just follow the river! It was low tide so we walked in the
river, it´s refreshing on a hot day but we can feel the temperature gradient as
the Atlantic Ocean water starts to mix in.

Aljezur river at Praia da Amoreira, Aljezur, Algarve, Portugal
Walking towards the Atlantic Ocean in the Aljezur river at Praia da Amoreira

Seemingly out of nowhere, we round the last bend and there
it is, the Wild Atlantic Coast.

The “second beach” is a long strip of sand with the wild
Atlantic ocean breaking over it. The river meets that Atlantic beach at the far
southern end we turn right here to follow our circular walk route northward
along the length of the beach. Many “surf dudes” are in evidence here and at
the north end of the beach we find surf schools with their banners and tents
(remember what we said about surf shops in Aljezur) because this is a slice of
surfers paradise.

at the Atlantic beach in the Alzezur river, Praia da Amoreira, Aljezur, Algarve, Portugal
Dude, where´s my board?

In a marked contrast to the river beach, it is always busier
here and the surf dudes add to the general buzz and appeal of this part of the
beach.

walking in to the Atlantic Ocean along the Aljezur river at Praia da Amoreira, Aljezur, Algarve, Portugal
Walk right in to the wild Atlantic from the river

Remember though that this is the wild Atlantic now. Take
care at all times and do not enter the water here out of lifeguard season
unless you are a seasoned swimmer.

beach bar Paraiso do Mar, Prai da Amoreira, Aljezur, Algarve, Portugal
Paraiso do Mar beach bar & restaurant at Praia da Amoreira

As we walk northwards along the beach we find some new delights in the form of the Paraiso do Mar restaurant and snack bar where we enjoy reasonably priced drinks and have a choice of snacks and a couple of light main meal options like chicken piri-piri or simply grilled fish.

Surf shacks from Paraiso do Mar restaurant at Prai da Amoreira
Surf shacks from Paraiso do Mar restaurant at Prai da Amoreira

Oh and then there´s the “giant” of course! Did we mention
him/her No?

A rock formation resembling a "sleeping giant" at Praia da Amoreira, Aljezur, Algarve, Portugal
The “sleeping giant” rock formation at Praia da Amoreira

Has anyone seen the giant?

Well at this point it should be pretty obvious where the
“giant” is. A rock formation at the north end of the beach looks just like a
giant laying down with his head in the ocean. Kids love it!

If we walk north past Paraiso the beach changes once again
to stony outcrops and rock pools, more for the kids to explore but watch out
for those Atlantic breakers.

 North west end of the beach is different with rock pools and rock formations Praia da Amoreira, Aljezur, Algarve, Portugal
Rock pools and the “giant” north west end of Praia da Amoreira

Notice the change in the weather? We are right by the Atlantic here on the “wild west” coast and you can often see the water cycle in action here as the warm September waters meet an onshore wind

water cycle in action at Praia da Amoreira, Aljezur, Algarve, Portugal
water cycle in action at Praia da Amoreira,

 

Well, we´ve had a beer and a coffee and the weather is
changing! At Amoreira you can see the water cycle in action some days as the
Atlantic mist hits the coast. So it´s time to head back to the car.

Mian parking at Praia da Amoreira,   Aljezur, Algarve, Portugal
Main beach parking near Paraiso do Mar restaurant Praia da Amoreira

We walk out from the Paraiso do Mar car park along the top
end of the road with the dunes and river on our left and the Atlantic behind
us. It´s about 1km back to the car. A simple hack for this trip if you just
want the Atlantic beach is to drive on until you reach the Paraiso do Mar car
park which forms the turning head at the end of the road.

walking back to the car at  Praia da Amoreira, Aljezur, Algarve, Portugal
Walking back to the car at Praia da Amoreira

So that´s it, another day, another slice of paradise in the
Algarve.

Our Top Reasons to love Praia da Amoreira

  • Scenic beauty this place is incredibly photogenic.

  • Peace and Quiet even at high season you can find a spot here
    where you can relax.

  • The “twin beaches” it´s like two locations in one.

  • Great for children we challenge any child not to love the
    River and the “giant”.

  • Paraiso do Mar has everything you need to get you through
    the day.

  • Visit Amoreira at any time. It will be busier in August but it´s still a far cry from our main resort beaches. If you love photography, visit on a wild winter´s day and spend an hour (and fill up a memory card) in awe of the Atlantic.

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