Praia da Rocha (tours from Portimao), Portugal

A jewel of a resort on Portugal's Algarve, Praia da Rocha is famous for the glorious beach which stretches along its restaurant and caf-lined waterfront.

 

This is a great port of call for a `chill-out' day spent simply browsing the shops and enjoying golden sands and sapphire-blue waters. But, if you are feeling active, there is also the 17th century Fortress of Santa Catarina to explore at one end of the beach. At the other end is a tunnel which connects the main beach to a chain of smaller, uncrowded ones, overlooked by rugged cliffs and full of dramatic rock formations.Just inland is the Ria de Alvor estuary, a wilderness of salt flats and sand dunes which is home to dozens of bird species. Also worth exploring is the charming Old Town of nearby Portimao, with its 18th and 19th century houses, elegant squares and winding streets.