Praia da Manta Rota is a very popular beach to the east of the Cacela Velha peninsula, which is the eastern end of the Ria Formosa Natural Park. It’s mostly frequented by Portuguese families, which are attracted by the usually calm, shallow and slightly warmer waters and by the amount of space for children to run around in. It stretches for over one kilometer (over half a mile) and is quite wide, especially when the tide is low. It’s a clean, Blue Flag beach, and has lifeguards on duty in the summer.
It’s backed by dunes, and part of it is covered with loungers and wicker parasols for rent. The remaining space is for those who bring their own umbrellas, and that’s the most crowded part. It can get especially crowded in August, when Spanish tourists join the Portuguese -- Spain is less than 20km (12.5 miles) away. On the more crowded days, keep walking to the left or right, and you will find more peace and quiet. In fact, if you continue in the direction of Cacela Velha to the west (to the right when facing the sea, for about 20 minutes), you just may encounter a nearly deserted, unofficial nudist area.
The beach is reached via boardwalks, which protect the dunes and provide access to the disabled. You’ll find cafés and restaurants nearby, as well as food stands and kiosks, and even a small children’s playground.
Beach for: Families, Naturists
Bar or Restaurant: Yes
How to Get to Praia da Manta Rota
There’s a bus (number 43, operated by Vamus) that runs between Carrapateira on Algarve’s west coast and Vila Real de Santo António in the east and stops in Manta Rota. However, it only operates on weekdays and only has four departures throughout the day, so it’s not very reliable. The nearest train station is in Cacela, about 3 kilometers (close to 2 miles) or over a half hour walk away, so your best option is going by car. Take road N125 from anywhere in Algarve and you’ll see a sign pointing to Manta Rota as you approach Vila Nova de Cacela. There’s plenty of free parking right by the beach.
Beaches by Praia da Manta Rota
To the east of Manta Rota is the similar and family-friendly Praia da Lota. About 15 minutes away, in the same direction, is the very popular Monte Gordo, with many restaurants close to the beach. As mentioned above, Cacela Velha is right to the west. This is one of Algarve’s best beaches, right below a charming hamlet and highly recommended.
Hotels by Praia da Manta Rota
Just steps from the beach, this property has studios and 1- and 2-bedroom apartments. The largest ones accommodate as many as six people. They have balconies overlooking the pools (one for adults and another for children), the garden, or the ocean.
SEE PRICES, AVAILABILITY AND MORE DETAILS HERE: Mantamar Apartamentos
Monte Rei Golf & Country Club
About 15 minutes from Manta Rota, to the north, is this luxury resort with spacious apartments and villas. It’s perfect for families, with heated swimming pools for children and adults. It’s right by one of Algarve’s best golf courses and has a restaurant with a Michelin star, a spa and a fitness center. In July and August, a shuttle takes guests to the beach.
SEE PRICES, AVAILABILITY AND MORE DETAILS HERE: Monte Rei Golf & Country Club
Conversas de Alpendre
Located less than 10 minutes by car from Manta Rota, this well-designed boutique hotel is recommended for couples. It has suites and a romantic tree house surrounded by countryside, and an outdoor pool. The organic breakfast includes fruit from the orchard and products from local producers.
SEE PRICES, AVAILABILITY AND MORE DETAILS HERE: Conversas de Alpendre
Robinson Club Quinta da Ria
If you’re traveling with kids, you’ll want to stay at this all-inclusive resort located about 10 minutes to the west of Manta Rota. It offers family rooms, suites and double rooms, swimming pools for adults and children, a health club with an indoor pool, a spa, a gym, a kids’ club, volleyball and tennis courts, and a soccer field.
SEE PRICES, AVAILABILITY AND MORE DETAILS HERE: Robinson Club Quinta da Ria