Everyone has their favorite beach; the soft golden sands of Portugal will spoil you for the pebbles of so much of the rest of Europe (even if they are washed by the chillier Atlantic). On the west coast, you need to be careful of the powerful undercurrents—but if you’re a surfer, that’s the place for you. For a more leisurely outing, we suggest heading to the amazing Rei das Praison Caneiros Beach, about 40 minutes away from the Conrad. Caneiros is a lovely cove: small, but not small enough to get crowded. The restaurant stands on stilts cut into the rock and serves the best carabinieri—huge scarlet prawns grilled with a little olive oil—and a perfect sea bream (dorada) with a simple local salad of tomatoes and cucumbers, oregano and olive oil. Their wine list is excellent; try the Covela Rose. After lunch, head to the impossibly luxurious daybeds on the soft sand (courtesy of the restaurant) for a little postprandial siesta. Another great suggestion, just minutes from the Conrad, on Praia de Garrão (one of the three main beaches in the so-¬called Golden Triangle of the Algarve), is the restaurant António Tá Certo, which specializes in fresh grilled fish, which is picked up every morning at the Quarteira Market. (This beach, really an extension of the Quinta do Lago beach, is also known as Julia’s Beach after a local character who started a café here when it could only be reached by horseback).
In the village of Ferragudo, find Rei das Praias Restaurant where the sea meets the land. It’s nestled between two golden cliffs, standing on its signature stilts. If you want to try Antonio Ta Certo, head down Urbanização Vale do Lobo until you see a parking lot. From there, go by foot towards the beach and enjoy the waterfront.
REI DAS PRAIAS: Praia dos Caneiros, Ferragudo; +351-282-461-006; restaurantereidaspraias.com
RESTAUTANT ANTONIO TÁ CERTO: Avenida da Praia, Ocean Club – Vale do Lobo 8135-170; +351-289-396-456