Costa Dourada, literally: “Gold Coast”, is the name given to the stretch of coast between Sines in the north and the Cabo de Sao Vicente in the south, which is protected by a natural park over 100 kilometres long. The fact that the coast, despite its wild beauty and golden beaches, is less touristically developed than the Algarve is due to the rough winds blowing from the Atlantic. Two bays in the south are regarded as fantastically beautiful: the Praia di Arrifana and the Praia di Carriagem. Of the few coastal towns, three are particularly worth seeing: Aljezur, dominated by a Moorish castle, the fishing village of Vila Nova de Milfontes and Porto Covo, surrounded by beautiful beaches.
Scenic old town below a castle
This town in the western part of the Algarve region features a lovely old town at the base of the ruins of a 10th-century Moorish castle. The sweeping view of the Serra de Monchique is reason enough to come for a visit. Aljezur is divided into two districts. The older one consists of buildings typical of the region and is built into the hill of the castle. The more modern district of Igreja Nova was added after the earthquake in 1755. Nearby beaches include the Praia da Amoreira with its wonderful dunes, as well as Monte Clerigo and Arrifana.
Ospreys and white storks in a unique biotope
Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park follows the coast for 80 kilometers from Porto Covo in Alentejo to Burgau in Algarve and is one of the most pristine coastlines in Europe. The park also features a unique biotope. Ospreys and white storks like to build their nests in the coastal cliffs, and it is one of the last natural marine habitats for European otters. Several species of of plants grow here that do not thrive anywhere else. The park is accessible via the Rota Vicentina system of hiking trails.
Portugal's surfing paradise
This very long, sandy beach is popular among surfers on account of its large waves. Lagos has several surfing schools where even advanced surfers can receive instruction, but there are also classes for novices. Equipment can be rented locally. Even if you do not want to go surfing, it can still be exciting watching the surfers perform their daredevil feats. The terraces and scenic overlooks offer a spectacular view of the rugged landscape further inland.
Delighful old town and white beaches
This “new village with a thousand springs” is located where the Rio Mira empties into the Atlantic and features particularly beautiful beaches. It is thus not surprising that this former fishing village has grown into a tourist town. Nevertheless, there are presently only a few small bed and breakfasts here, which means that you can still enjoy some peace and quiet on the beach – except in July and August. Here you will also see the Fortress of São Clemente, which dominates the harbor and was built to protect it from pirates.