Praia de Vale Centianes - Natural beach surrounded by cliff faces with caves
Praia de Vale Centianes beach is situated on the Algarve to the south of Lagoa. It lies amongst huge cliffs that almost completely surround it. To the east it is bordered by a cliff face on the left, which levels off somewhat at the top, allowing a view of a hotel building which lies adjacent to the beach but slightly higher up and a little set back. A walkway leads along here too, which ascends from the street providing access to Praia de Vale Centianes beach.
On the way you pass a beach bar/restaurant serving delicious dishes and drinks with a view of the sea. The toilets are here as well, but there are no showers at Praia de Vale Centianes. Next you pass an outdoor area that also belongs to the restaurant. There's a fantastic view of the sea and the steep cliff face in the background from here too.
You'll find that you are on a plateau that is elevated a few metres and continues a little way along the rock face to the west on the right-hand side. To get down to the beach you can take a set of steps or a ramp.
Once there, a flawless, unspoiled sandy beach awaits. There is plenty of space and even in the height of summer it's never really crowded. There are a few loungers with sunshades available, which you can hire if there is one free. Alternatively at the beach bar you can hire sun umbrellas, which you can stick straight into the sand.
You have to be a bit careful when bathing because there are a few flat rocks in the water, especially in the left-hand area of Praia de Vale Centianes beach, but their dark colour makes them easily discernible against the light sand. The water gets deep very quickly too, so non-swimmers should take the utmost care here or, better still, stay out of the water entirely. However, there is a lifeguard to keep an eye on your safety.
You should be careful by the cliff faces as well because there can be dangerous rock falls in places. Don't let this put you off taking a closer look at the impressive steep façades at one or other of the safe spots though. For one thing you can clearly see the rain furrows and marine fossils on the surface and for another, there are a few caves and rocky promontories here offering shady spots that are hugely popular with visitors.
A water sports operator has a hut on the beach. Here you will find a wide range on offer including pedal boats, wakeboards, jet skis and much more. From the beach a lovely walking trail leads you through the magnificent natural surroundings. It's worth packing flippers, goggles and a snorkel if you're going to spend time in the water because here too there are lots of plants, animals and rock formations to see.