Skip to content

World’s Best Beaches – My Top 3 (Shhh, one’s a secret!)

A girl stands on a beach in front of the ocean and stretches her arms to the sky.

Ah, the beach.

Sun, sand, and relaxation at its finest. The place where you sit and think about never going home.

 

 

Pinterest Pin photo - A young girl in a pink dress with leggings, stands on top of a large rocky that is half submerged in the sand of a beach. Her dark hair is in a ponytail but wisps blow in the wind. Her hands are on her hips as she looks out over the aqua ocean. A foamy wave is rolling in against the rock she is standing on. Out at sea a yellow-tan rocky column juts out of the water. On the left side of the photo a rocky column pokes into the frame, towering well above the girl on the rock. The sky is a beautiful light blue with a skiff of clouds on the horizon. In the foreground the sky glows slightly peach.

Pin it!

 

For most of us when we think of beaches, tropical locales spring to mind such as Cuba, Mexico, and the like. I may not be qualified to declare a beach “the best” but I’m about to!

To be fair, I have not been to all THAT many beach locations:

Mexico

The Bahamas

Jamaica

Bulgaria

Portugal

Croatia

Italy

Canada

We can strike Croatia off straight away, because where we were, a “beach” was any rocky outcrop with water access. Gorgeous? Yes. Beach? No.

I declare, that in all of my travels, the winning beach is……….

Praia dos Três Castelos – Portimão, Portugal!

 

Beautiful sand-coloured rock columns along the beach and jutting out of the blue green waters. The sand stretches out in front of the camera towards the nearest column. A dark grey storm is on the horizon, but ends in wispy white clouds and blue sky closer to the camera.

Praia Dos Tres Castelos – Portimao, Portugal

 

Praia dos Três Castelos – or “Three Castles Beach” is easily accessed by public parking at the top of the cliff. A path and wooden staircase provide breathtaking views on your way down to a beautiful beach with the softest, cleanest sand, you may ever feel. The cliffs behind the beach and the columns in the water provide amazing photo ops, but most importantly, its just a great place to sit.

 

A girl plays in the sand at three castles beach in Portimao Portugal. The sandy beach stretches far into the distance. Some sandy cliffs are in the background. The sun hangs low over the calm ocean as a small wave crashes in.
Playing in the sand

Now I’m sure this beach isn’t a secret. Looking for the name of it for this post, I found that it has over 6600 Google reviews! However, when we stopped by on a warm November afternoon there was nobody else around. We found it quite by accident whilst cruising around in our rented Fiat 500. We found parking at the edge of the cliff by some walking trails and thought we would check it out.

 

A foamy wave washes in towards the camera. A large rock juts out of the water in the distance.
A wave trickles in at Three Castles Beach – Portimão, Portugal

In our short visit we watched a couple different storms roll across the bay. They were gone as quickly as they came, but it made the experience even more memorable.

 

 

2nd Place – Meia Praia – Lagos Portugal

A sand bank and sandy beach in front of the ocean at Meia Praia near Lagos Portugal

Meia Praia – A long beach of relaxation only minutes from Lagos, Portugal.

A quick Google Maps search of Lagos will reveal an absolutely massive stretch of sand directly east. I have no doubt that it gets busy in high season, but again, November = empty. It’s actually pretty hard to imagine it packed, because there is just so. much. space. The sand is so soft, and paired with the fact that off season Lagos is sleepy, with a charming little “old town,” this beach will have you feeling like you should make a life for yourself in the Algarve, Portugal.

 

A girl in yellow runs down the beach towards camera at Meia Praia near Lagos Portugal. The sky behind is cloudless and blue, the ocean is calm and aqua.
The blue water of the Algarve at Meia Praia.

3rd Place – Prainha das Poças – Sagres, Portugal (The secret beach)

 

Image by marquesamy from Pixabay – I couldn’t find my photos!

Come ON, with all these Portuguese beaches. It was a good trip but they can’t all be the best!”

Ah. That’s where you’re wrong. I actually visited this beach many years ago with my Mom. So it isn’t just the rose-tinted glasses of one blessed trip. It might be the sand quality, or it might be the cliffs, or the delightfully tepid temperature in November (again November) but whatever it is, best beaches hands down.

This beach is uniquely situated below the Fortaleza de Sagres “Sagres Fortress” and you can see bits of the fortress on the cliffs above as you dip your toes into the waves. This point was once considered the end of the known world, and you can understand why, as you stare out into endless ocean. This is a secretive beach, accessible only via a steep hike down, and only at low tide. Therefore it is also a very empty and quiet beach.

Getting to it is a bit trickier, because Sagres is a smaller town and a little out of the way. You could rent a car, but we took a coach from Lagos (for the fortress, not for the beach. That was a happy accident.)

 

A small girl in a pink dress and dark leggings leans over the remnants of a wave on the beach at Praia dos Tres Castelos in Portimao Portugal.. The edges of her dress are wet. Her long dark hair is pulled loosely into a ponytail. Her Dad stands beside her wearing a red and black check shirt and black pants with the legs slightly pulled up. They are both facing away from the camera. The girl uses her right hand for support on a tall rocky column on the right side of the frame. A wave crashes onto the beach about 20 feet away. The ocean is a beautiful blue-green colour. Another rocky column juts out of the ocean in the distance. A storm gathers on the far off horizon. The rest of the sky is clear and blue,

Pin it! – Three Castles Beach – Portimao, Portugal

___________________________________

That’s my top 3! Because the results were so country-ist, I will make another list of top 3 beaches from other countries.

For a more commercialized Portuguese beach experience, you could take the tourist train in Albufeira from the shopping centre to the cliffs, where you can take an outdoor escalator down to beach level. It’s a very inauthentic experience, and I enjoyed it….twice!

A girl studies a map in the blue tourist train at Albufeira Portugal