Step over a few rocks and you are on the beach. Park for free next to the sand all year round. Portugal is a country where you feel a sense of freedom that has been missing in the U.K. since the 1980's. This is possibly our favourite south coast spot in the Algarve, where the waves can be mellow as on this day, or top-to-bottom heavy and hollow when bigger. On the best days the wave starts breaking on a rock shelf in 2-3 feet of water, and then peels left all the way across the beach. Last year the huge winter storms had completely stripped the beach of sand, leaving only sharp rocks on view and underfoot. Thankfully this year the sand has returned and this means it can be surfed through longer stages of the tides. 10 surfers here is a crowd. It's such a pleasure to turn up here before 'word has got out' that there is surf, and grab a few waves before the crowds descend.
This is a spot off a dirt track on the west coast, parked up among the maquis with the roar of distant waves, and the smell of freshly walked on or driven over wild herbs providing a heady scent to enliven the senses. For the sheer sense of isolation and quiet, this spot turned out to be a favourite of ours. Our initial drive out here was a 20 minute bump up and down a track that we were never quite sure went anywhere, until we found this spot. A close inspection of a walking map provided a much quicker route out here from the nearest village. It is always worth going a little further to see what is around the next corner. You never know what you might find. The clear evenings and star-lit nights out here were truly magical.