Praia Salema

"Ever felt the urge to really disconnect, get away from it all but worried where you’ll find a decent bed and a good bottle of something palatable…….now you have your spot! Just don’t tell anybody!" - Reviewed by Lisa

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The off-the-Algarve-main-track fishermen’s village of Praia Salema has been around for 150 million years (yes, you read that right!) But in 2017 still feels like a forgotten beachfront paradise and a secret spot. How is this possible with so much building and tourism? Somehow this little gem of a locale has retained its traditional yesteryear charm and moved very slowly with the times.

This is a place where families come to get reacquainted. The simple things take on greater importance… the pace softens.

The fine, golden sand of the half-mile-long beach beckons from every location. There’s something about the golden light as it is reflected from the cliffs that bookend it that bathes the area with a compelling luminosity.

Crystal-clear waters wash gently ashore – the sea in Praia Salema is perfect for swimming, windsurfing and snorkeling. This is not a surfing beach, it’s a gently sloping, kids’ delight-of-a beach complete with half-sunken shells and even the occasional dinosaur footprint embedded in the limestone rocks which take shelling and beach combing to another level! Discovered in 2001 by geologists from Lisbon University, these large footprints are clearly visible on the beach right below Villa Alegria.

Just to complete the perfect family holiday, a good dozen or so local restaurants line the sea front and the main street (there are two streets in Praia Salema). The fishermen here still plough the local waters daily and haul home their catch which you can buy straight off the boats as they pull ashore.

The tiny town with its traditional blue-trimmed (to protect against evil spirits) white cottages is a year-round home to locals, a smattering of grocery and provisions stores, and some excellent restaurants and cafes.

Head back up to the main highway and you’ll find excellent options for golf, sight-seeing, shopping and cultural activities. There is a lot going on just a stone’s throw away – but you may be too laid back to want to throw that stone…

Praia Salema is ideal for young families, those who want to get away from it all, water sports, relaxation… and palaeontologists.


  • 80 min to Faro International Airport
  • 10 km to Sagres
  • About 2-1/2 hours from Lisbon