Praia de São Rafael - Hard to reach dream beach with secret rock lagoon
Tucked away on the Algarve in Portugal, right near the popular tourist stronghold of Albufeira, with its busy beaches, you'll find a completely different world. Praia de São Rafael beach can only be reached over the water by private boat, so it's anything but crowded. The area of light sand invites you to linger a while and the crystal-clear water is magnificent for swimming. You'll have a good chance of spending a wonderful day either almost or completely alone here on the beach.
If you prefer to stay on dry land you can at least see the view over Praia de São Rafael beach from the ochre-coloured cliffs that completely surround it and which are typical of the region. To bathe you can head to the even more tucked away neighbouring bay to the east, where the picturesque rocky scenery continues and which offers a smaller, but equally fine area of sand. There is more natural shade here thanks to the rocky promontories and the close cliff faces.
Between the two bays there is another very special insider's tip: here a narrow set of steps cut into the stone leads down to a small lagoon, completely surrounded by high, close cliff faces. The shady area of sand invites you to linger a while and you can paddle in the lagoon. Through a gateway-like hole in the rock you can see and swim out to the open sea. If you're feeling brave you can also jump from a high cliff face outside the lagoon and then swim through the opening to get back to shore.