Home Lifestyle Travel Best beaches in Portugal: Algarve, Sagres, Lagos — here’s where to go

Best beaches in Portugal: Algarve, Sagres, Lagos — here’s where to go

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Planning a trip to Portugal can be a little overwhelming, particularly if you are interested in visiting the Iberian nation’s beaches, which are often said to be some of the most beautiful in the world.

The Algarve, the southern region most often visited for R&R, alone has over 150 beaches. Once you add the many wild and hidden beaches dotted in the Alentejo region, the Azore islands, Madeira, and the North, you might feel dizzy.

At least that’s how I felt when I sat down this August to plan a six-day beach road trip.

I was far from the only one trying to do the same. Last year, the number of tourists visiting Portugal rose a whopping 12% for a record 12.7 million people. This year looks to be no different with preliminary figures suggesting that the number of American tourists visiting the country has jumped 27% in 2018, after an increase of 35% last year.

In August, Portugal was recognized as the hottest travel destination of 2018 by Virtuoso Travel, a luxury travel network that runs one of the biggest tradeshows in the travel industry.

That all left me a bit nervous, particularly when a taxi driver in Lisbon warned me that Algarve beaches in August are so packed beachgoers look like the tasty tins of sardines Portuguese snack on.

Instead of following the mind-numbing number of travel guides purporting to know Portugal’s best beaches, I decided to ask regular Portuguese people that I met where they would go. Their recommendations — from shop-owners, taxi drivers, bed & breakfast managers, and bartenders — proved to be magical.

I ended up with a road trip I will never forget. Here’s what it was like:

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