Praia do Ancão

Praia do Ancão beach guide, how to get there and where to stay

Praia do Ancão, Loulé

Once known to be a favorite of famous Portuguese personalities, this beach attracts few foreign tourists, perhaps because those tend to never leave the luxury resorts of Vale do Lobo to the west and Quinta do Lago to the east. It’s part of a long stretch of sand on the western end of the Ria Formosa Natural Park and has a natural landscape of pinewoods and dunes covered with thyme and curry plants.

Praia do Ancão, Algarve

It’s about 1.5km (close to one mile) long, and has two restaurants over the dunes (The Bold Octopus and 2 Passos, both specializing in fresh seafood) and a bar right on the sand. In order to protect the dunes, the access to the restaurants and the beach is through long boardwalks, and this also makes it a beach accessible to the disabled. Following these boardwalks, known as the Passadiços do Loulé Litoral (“Coastal Loulé Boardwalks”) to the east and west allows you to observe flora and fauna of the protected natural park, which is one of the top birdwatching sites in Portugal. The chameleon is frequently sighted on the dunes and you just may spot an otter or two on the mudflats on the eastern end, close to Quinta do Lago.

Praia do Ancão

Many people from the Loulé region (mainly young couples and families) come to this beach when they want to escape the crowds or just for meals with sea views. These views and a slightly more upscale atmosphere have a price, so eating here isn’t exactly cheap.

Praia do Ancão, Loulé, Algarve

For sunbathing, there are loungers for rent, as well as wicker parasols and sunshades for those who prefer protection from the sun. Sometimes there’s also water sports equipment for rent. The water is clean (this is a Blue Flag beach) but unpredictable -- it can be calm in the morning and rough in the afternoon. Always pay attention to the warning flags -- red means you shouldn't go in the water; green indicates it’s calm enough for swimming. There’s lifeguard supervision in the summer.

Location: Loulé
Beach for: Couples, Families
Lifeguards: Yes
Bathrooms: Yes
Rentals: Yes
Bar or Restaurant: Yes
Accessible: Yes
Parking: Yes

How to Get to Praia do Ancão

There’s no public transportation to Praia do Ancão. By car, it’s about 20 minutes from the center of Loulé and Quarteira, and a half hour from Faro. There are large parking lots by the boardwalks that lead to the restaurants and the beach. You can also walk from the beach of Quinta do Lago.

Beaches by Praia do Ancão

If you enjoy long walks by the sea, you reach the similar beach of Garrão if you head west (to the right when facing the sea), while the beach of the luxury resort town of Quinta do Lago is found to the east. Another of Algarve’s luxury resort beaches, Vale do Lobo, is further west, but in this case it’s preferable to go by car, taking about 15 minutes.

Hotels by Praia do Ancão

Hotel Quinta do Lago, Algarve

Hotel Quinta do Lago

This hotel faces the sea, within walking distance of the beach of Quinta do Lago, from where you can walk to Praia do Ancão. Its spacious, classically-styled rooms have private balconies with views of the sea and over the Ria Formosa Natural Park. Even more views can be enjoyed from one of the two restaurants and from the bar. The 5-star service includes a spa, a heated indoor pool and outdoor pools.


Encosta do Lago Resort Club, Algarve

Encosta do Lago Resort Club

A 20-minute walk from this resort, past the lakes and lagoons of Quinta do Lago, takes you to Praia do Ancão. It’s a good choice for families, with villas and apartments with one, two or three bedrooms. Some of the bigger apartments and the villas have private pools. There’s also a large swimming pool surrounded by palm trees that’s available to all guests. Each unit is fully equipped with everything you need to prepare meals, but there’s also a restaurant serving international cuisine.


Ria Park Hotel & Spa, Algarve

Ria Park Hotel & Spa

The closest beach to this hotel is Praia do Garrão, but Praia do Ancão is about a 20-minute walk away or just five minutes by car. It’s a classic 5-star hotel, with rooms of different sizes offering views of the ocean or of a tropical garden. There’s a lagoon-style pool outside, but you can also swim indoors, at the pool connected to the health club. For meals, there’s a restaurant serving signature dishes of Portuguese and international inspiration.


Ria Park Garden Hotel, Algarve

Ria Park Garden Hotel

In an area of luxury hotels and resorts, this is a more affordable 4-star option. It’s about five minutes by car from Praia do Ancão, but if you don’t mind walking, you can be at the beach in less than 20 minutes. There’s also a shuttle service to the neighboring beach of Garrão, from where you can walk to Praia do Ancão. The best feature is a swimming pool surrounded by a tropical garden, and there are also two tennis courts, a restaurant and a children’s playground.