Tucked into the furthest tip of Portugal’s southwest, Martinhal is a beach straight out of honeymoon brochures. The sea is painted an ombre collection of blue and green hues, bordered by a long stretch of thin, white sand and speckles of green mossed rock-pools perfect for little hands and feet to explore.
It’s my go-to beach whenever I’m in the Algarve, except when it’s chilly or windy – due to its geographic location this is not a place you’ll want to brave the weather on. The recently built Martinhal Resort is one of the nicest high-end family-friendly holiday spots in the Algarve, and while you’d expect a moderately large resort by a beach to bring in the masses, it surprisingly doesn’t. Even at the peak of high-season Martinhal is a haven of quietness, with just a few dots of colourful sunshades on the white sand.
There are two fantastic restaurants on-site, one belonging to the resort ‘ O Terraco’ and the fabulous Nortada, a proper beach restaurant, built with wood and painted a bright shade of blue and yellow. As you can probably guess, we go to the latter for our late afternoon ‘petiscos’ (snacks).
ACCESS: The beach has a large car park and spaces are not usually an issue. There are no steps and the fact you have two restaurants make it a fantastic beach for families with young children.
PROS: Martinhal is ideal for both couples and families who like to stay away from busy resort towns, enjoy a sense of luxurious isolation and have a thick skin for dipping your feet on frightfully cold waters (anything for the view, right?).
CONS: It can be incredibly windy here, and the water is on the chilly side, unlike the mild, bath-like waters of the eastern Algarve. The paid-for sunshades in Martinhal come with fab canvas wind-breakers, which at a price of €20/day are worth every cent.