Beach Guide: Praia do Vau, Algarve


Situated 2 km from the popular Algarve resort of Praia do Rocha, and 3 km from the small city of Portimão, lies the small, scenic beach of Praia do Vau. Although this is by no means a hidden gem (it can get quite busy during July and August) Praia do Vau is usually a much less crowded beach than the beach at Praia do Rocha.

The beach is surrounded by majestic red cliffs, which provide a beautiful backdrop and contrast to the blue of the Atlantic Ocean. If you’re feeling adventurous, or just in need of a little exercise, you can walk along these cliffs. The views of the ocean and cliffs are stunning, so don’t forget to bring your camera! During the walk you’ll stumble across several small coves with hidden beaches that are likely to have only a few other people on them, and often nobody else at all.

View of Praia do Vau looking down from the cliffs
View of Praia do Vau looking down from the cliffs

Although small, Praia do Vau has all of the essential amenities nearby. There’s a snack bar on the beach (Snack-Bar Pai Tomás) serving beers and cold drinks, ice-cream, bifanas, and a simple dishes like salads and warm meals. There are also several restaurants within walking distance, as well as a Spar supermarket – perfect for picking up cold drinks, sunscreen, and snacks. Sun loungers and umbrellas are also available for hire, if needed.

These amenities, along with the lifeguard supervision during the summer months, make it popular with families, particularly those staying at the hotels and resorts located near Praia do Vau. The beach is also a lot more accessible than Praia do Rocha. A ramp leads down to the beach at Praia do Vau, whereas at Praia do Rocha you will need to go up and down a flight of stairs.

Walking along the cliffs above Praia do Vau
Walking along the cliffs above Praia do Vau

Parking is perhaps the beach’s biggest shortcoming, although in the summer months this is an issue with most beaches on the Algarve. You will get parked, but you might be parked a short walk from the beach. For families or those with disabilities, this could be a point of contention.

Praia do Vau at a glance

  • Blue flag beach
  • Showers
  • Toilets
  • Lifeguard (during summer months)
  • Spar mini supermarket
  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Watersports
  • Sunbed rental
  • Not a known nudist beach

Praia do Vau Location

Praia do Vau is situated 2 km from Praia do Rocha and 3 km from Portimão. Most people visiting Praia do Vau are either staying in accommodation nearby or they drive here.

Hotels & Accommodation near Praia do Vau

  • Jardim do Vau – 4-star accommodation, made up of 131 apartments, all of which are located just a 2-minute walk from the beach. Facilities include an outdoor swimming pool and a free shuttle bus service that goes to and from Portimão.
  • Hotel Alcaide – Situated just a 4-minute walk from Praia do Vau beach, this hotel offers an outdoor swimming pool, garden with sun-loungers, a bar, and a terrace.
  • Vitor’s Plaza – Although Vitor’s Plaza is located a little further from the beach (1.5 km), this hotel does have a number of additional amenities including both an indoor and outdoor pool, tennis courts, volleyball courts, and a football field. Perfect for sporty travellers and families!

Restaurants & Cafes near Praia do Vau

As well as Snack-Bar Pai Tomás, there are several restaurants within walking distance of Praia do Vau. Popular choices include:

  • Jacaranda Restaurante & Bar – Offers a selection of Portuguese dishes, including fresh fish dishes, as well as international options like omelettes, lasagna, and burgers.
  • Restaurante O Rebelo – A low-key Portuguese seafood-focused restaurant that offers plenty of grilled fish and seafood options.
  • Restaurante Servi-Vau – Portuguese restaurant and café that offers traditional dishes like bacalhau, piri-piri chicken, and fresh fish dishes.

Have you been to Praia do Vau? Did you visit for the day or where you staying nearby? Let us, and other Portugalist readers, know about your experience in the comments below.


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