Praia da Marinha Algarve is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the World.
The erosion has indeed done a stunning job in this long cove on the South Coast of Portugal.
Below is my guide to help you plan a memorable visit to Marinha Beach with map, tips and photos.
Before my tips + photos, here are my favorites for Portugal:
My favorite platform to rent a car in Portugal: DiscoverCars
The unmissable boat tour: Benagil sea cave from Portimao
My favorite excursion from Lisbon: Sintra Pena Palace and Cabo da Roca
Why visit Marinha Beach in Portugal?
Is Praia da Marinha worth visiting?
Absolutely. Praia da Marinha is one of my favorite beaches in Portugal.
And it has been included in several lists of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Like other beaches in the Algarve, it offers dramatic cliffs. But what is the most impressive is the quantity of sea stacks, arches and other rock formations.
Things to do at Marinha beach
Apart from enjoying a classic day at the beach, the top things to do are:
- Walking at the top of the cliffs to admire the views and erosion work
- Explore the various coves at the bottom
- Go snorkeling
- Admire the beach from the sea on a boat tour
- Enjoy the cliffs with a kayak
The sea stacks and rock formations are really impressive.
Look closely at the picture below and you will see someone standing next to the formation on the left. This gives you a sense of scale!
Exploring it is absolutely one of the best things to do in Portugal.
Video – virtual visit
Do you really need more convincing??? Below is a video to give you an idea of what our visit could look like:
In Portuguese, “marinha” means “navy”. So you could also hear it being called the Navy beach.
More photos and details after the planning tips.
Planning tips & Map – Praia da Marinha, Algarve, Portugal
Where is Marinha beach in Portugal? Map
- On the Algarve coast, South of Portugal
- Between Portimao and Albufeira
- In the municipality of Lagoa, around Carvoeiro and Armação de Pêra
- Portimao to Praia da Marinha = 25min drive
- Albufeira to Praia da Marinha = 30min drive
- Lagos to Praia da Marinha = 40min drive
- Faro to Praia da Marinha = 50min drive
- Neighboring other famous beaches: Benagil (West) and Albandeira (East)
- Below is a map to help you locate it:
This location is included (with GPS coordinates, map of location and planning info) in my travel guide eBook that helps you easily plan your Portugal road trip:
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How to get to Praia da Marinha?
- by car – Marinha beach is best accessed by car via N125 and then M1154 – the last 2km is a single-track road but it has many passing places, so it is not difficult
- by bus – There is a bus connecting to Lagoa and maybe to Portimao but they are not frequent – read more
- by boat – You can also see Praia da Marinha by boat – see some options
- by guided tour – Or you can book a day trip from Portimao or Albufeira – see some options
- on foot – you can easily walk along the cliffs from Benagil or Cavoiero – plan 30 to 45minutes
Parking at Praia da Marinha
There are 2 large carpark at the top of Praia da Marinha: gravel and dirt. Sorry I forgot to take a picture of the carpark.
However, it is a popular beach, so, in Summer, arriving early will allow you to easily find a parking place.
If the parking gets full, the access road could be closed to prevent illegal parking on this single lane road.
Last time I checked, parking was still free.
Need to rent a car in Portugal?
- Compare prices on my favorite platform: Discovercars.com – one of the best rated comparison sites!
- Prefer a compact car for the narrow streets in villages
- Consider their full coverage option – it for peace of mind!
- Book early to have a large choice of vehicles!
Best time to visit Marinha Beach
Low tide is the best time.
Here are a few more pieces of information:
- Do not visit at high tide – Some waves can go all the way to the foot of the cliff! – you can still enjoy from the top, but can’t enjoy the beach at water level
- Make sure to plan plenty of time around low tide,
- And don’t stay too late on the beach. I have seen people getting their belongings soaked and getting stuck in one of the coves.
- The beach is facing South, so depending on time of the year you can have good alignment for sunrise or sunset
- It is a popular place, therefore it can be crowded.
How long to plan?
Considering you can enjoy the bottom section only during low tide, a visit to Marinha will be maximum half a day.
- Easy access to the top of the cliffs
- Picnic tables on the cliffs
- Toilets at the snack bar
- Getting down to the beach is on a well-maintained paved path with small steps
- Please be extra careful on the cliffs, because they are not stable.
- Excellent water quality and clarity
- Lifeguards – information conflicts. There were none when I visited. Maybe there are some in Summer.
- No showers
- No sunbeds
- In Summer, the water temperature is around 20 to 22°C
- Know that there is a risk of fallen rocks
Kayaking at Praia da Marinha
Thanks to the fabulous rock formations, the beach is famous for kayaking.
In Summer, there may be kayak and stand-up paddle board to rent by the restaurant.
Snorkeling Praia da Marinha
Thanks to the high quality of the water and the many rocks, there is abundant marine life.
It is a great spot for snorkeling with sea stars, sea urchins, anemones, sea stars, and many others.
However, you need to bring your own equipment.
Praia da Marinha restaurant
- There is one snack bar at the beach. It has high prices due to its location.
- If you are ready to take the car, you can find other restaurants within 5to 10min drive
Where to stay near Praia da Marinha – hotels, villas
This area is centrally located for many of the most beautiful beaches in Algarve, so it is a great place to stay.
- There are no hotels right at the beach
- One of the closest is Suites Alba Resort (10min away) – Check out availability and photos
- You can also find villas and rentals in the area
- Wild camping is not legal in Portugal
- The accommodations not far from Marinha are part of Carvoeiro – See the best rated accommodations in Carvoeiro
- If you want to stay in a city, Portimao is not far – Here is a link to the best rated accommodations in Portimao
Where to stay in Portugal?
- Lisbon to explore the vibrant city: see best rated accommodations
- Sintra to visit many palaces: see best rated accommodations
- Porto to feel the history: see best rated accommodations
- Obidos to walk on the medieval walls: see best rated accommodations
- Douro valley if you love wine: see best rated accommodations
- Lagos, charm in the Algarve: see best rated accommodations
- Portimao central to explore the Algarve – see best rated accommodations
Marinha cliff walk and geology
One of the great things at Praia da Marinha is that before walking down to the beach (or after) you can enjoy incredible views from the cliffs. So, you can see the amazing rock pillars, sea stacks and arches created by erosion from above.
The most interesting views of Marinha Beach are towards the West:
Toward the East, there is just a stretch of sand to be seen:
A marvel of erosion – geology explanations
On the cliff walk, there are some displays explaining the spectacular work of erosion in the region.
The cliffs recede between 2mm to 2m per year. The evolution of the cliffs occurs via landslides mainly in Winter.
Nothing is done to prevent it, as it is important to safeguard the natural heritage.
The limestone of the cliffs is estimated to be between 24 and 16 million years old.
Praia da Marinha heart a.k.a. the Algarve heart
If you walk towards the West, you will have a few places where you see the double arch.
With some luck, you can find rocks doing a v below to create the shape of a heart.
This double arch is also called the M rock or the cathedral.
More hiking – Percuso dos Sete Vales Suspensos
And if you love the views so much, you can keep hiking in both directions
- East towards Senhora da Rocha,
- and West towards Benagil.
Access to Marinha Beach – walking path
The carpark is at the top of the cliffs.
You have to walk down to reach the beaches.
The path has a mix of slopes and stairs. Some of the stairs are steeper towards the end.
It leads you to the East side where the snack bar is.
Plan 5 to 10 minutes of walking.
The golden sand beach and its rocks formations
East side of the beach
This side does not have many rock formations.
It offers mostly golden sand and high cliffs but gives you a perspective on what there is to come:
The best rock formations
The best part of Praia da Marinha Beach is to explore the west half.
It has many rock pillars, sea stacks, arches.
Just walk on the sand sometimes on the rocks to discover the coves.
Praia da Mesquita
If you continue further West and climb over a few rocks, you reach Praia da Mesquita.
It is generally considered as part of Praia da Marinha Lagoa.
Marinha beach by boat
Another way to admire Marinha Beach is from the sea.
On a Boat tour of the Algarve caves you can go all the way to Marinha and get around the giant arches and some of the sea stacks. Here are a few shots taken from the boat:
Need to rent a car in the Algarve?
or directly see the best deals on my favorite platform
Praia do Buraco Algarve – tunnel and secret beach
And if you have time, you can explore one more beach.
At the East end of Marinha Beach is Buraco Beach, a small cove nicely protected from the wind.
You can access it via tunnel at low tide, a couple of minutes’ walk.
Praia do Buraco (a.k.a. Hole’s Beach) is a small beach but going through the tunnel is fun (if you don’t have claustrophobia).
Other nearby beaches include Praia de Albandeira or Praia de Nossa Senhora da Rocha. But you have to hike or take the car.
Want to see more of the Algarve and Portugal?
- 30 Most beautiful landscapes in Portugal – read article
- Best things to do in Portugal – read article
- The best beaches in Portugal – read article
- The best things to do in the Algarve region – read article
- Benagil cave and Algarve boat tours – read article
- The magnificent Ponta da Piedade – read article
- The unique Tres Irmaos beach – read article
- The magnificent orange cliffs of Praia da Falesia – read article
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