Praia da Arrifana - A sheltered pearl on Portugal's west coast
Nestled in breathtaking rocky scenery, Praia da Arrifana lies in the north-west of the Algarve region. A narrow road leads past a few houses through verdant mountains down to the bay. Although the beach is no longer an insider's tip, it does mean that the route is extremely well signposted and difficult to miss.
Completely surrounded by high cliffs, the long dreamy bay's only opening is towards the sea. The beige-coloured sandy beach, edged with pieces of rock at the back, spreads out over a length of 630 metres. At the southern end of the rocky spur a spectacular rock formation rises out of the water in the distance. The thing that's really special about this bathing spot, which is popular with tourists and locals alike, is the shelter these huge rocks provide from the north wind, which is otherwise so prevalent on this stretch of coastline.
If you're lucky enough to spend a day at this wonderful place, you'll find that the beach doesn't simply slope gently into the water as it does in other places - it melts into it almost imperceptibly. The protective rocks also weaken the swell of the waves somewhat.
The hinterland of Praia da Arrifana is moderately built up with holiday homes and apartments. Accordingly, it's mainly tourists and families that make up the clientele on the beach, which incidentally also has an attractive panoramic restaurant where you can indulge in Portuguese specialities at typical regional prices. Once a week there is even live music here. On the northern side of the beach there is also a small harbour. Behind it you will find Surf Arrifana surf school, which offers equipment, courses and camps.