Algarve beach season begins
Photo: saiko3p/Shutterstock

Algarve beach season begins

Tourist hotspot Albufeira is first to start beach season in Algarve

Albufeira will become the first borough in the Algarve to officially begin its beach season on Sunday (May 15).

The municipality, which is a top pick amongst tourists due to its stunning beaches and vibrant nightlife, is kicking off its beach season ahead of the remaining boroughs in the Algarve, which will only begin on June 1.

The news is particularly important given that the start of Portugal’s beach season marks the date when lifeguards begin monitoring the 585 beaches classified as apt for bathing. With the hot weather and sunshine that has been attracting large crowds to local beaches (and which meteorologist predict will continue until the end of May), beachgoers in Albufeira can rest assured that their beachgoing experience will now be a safer one.

Albufeira’s beach season will also run until October 15, two weeks longer than the rest of the Algarve (September 30).

The municipality will celebrate the opening of the beach season two days earlier with a ceremony at Praia dos Pescadores at 10am on Friday, May 13, when Albufeira is expecting maximum temperatures to reach the 29ºC mark.

The ceremony will feature an event entitled ‘Saúde e Segurança na Praia’ (Health and Safety at the Beach) which will raise awareness about the precautions beachgoers should take. The event will touch on topics such as rockfalls, sun exposure, safety rules and beach rubbish.

Also planned is a sea rescue training exercise carried out by the national maritime authority (AMN), the association of Albufeira lifeguards (ANSA), the institute of water rescue emergencies (ISN) and maritime police.

After two years of pandemic hardship, Albufeira Mayor José Carlos Rolo is optimistic about a “very positive summer” which will finally turn the page for the Algarve.

He also said that the 26 Blue Flags that were awarded to the municipality’s beaches – accolades awarded by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) to beaches, marinas and sustainable boating tourism businesses that follow a series of stringent criteria – are indication of the “care, work and commitment” that are put into its local beaches.

Along with the borough’s year-round programme of events and the “beauty and diversity” of its coast, Albufeira’s beaches help make it a “unique destination”, the mayor adds.

Elsewhere in Portugal, Cascais became the first borough (along with Porto Santo and Porto Moniz in Madeira) to begin its beach season on Saturday, May 7, with thousands taking advantage of the hot weather to enjoy some time at the local beaches.

An app called ‘Info Praia’ is available to beachgoers, providing updated information on the beaches as well as the quality of the water.

The app allows beachgoers to pick their favourite beaches, see which awards they have won, what services or facilities they boast, as well as each beach’s capacity.

While beach capacity will no longer be a limitation, the idea is to allow beachgoers to know exactly how many people are at a certain beach before they decide to visit it.

You can also read some tips for water and beach safety here.

Coastal monitoring

Safety and prevention have become major topics in Albufeira since a rockfall at the Maria Luísa beach killed five people in August 2009.

Among the victims was a family of four from Ramalde, Porto, and a woman from Coimbra who were killed by falling rubble.

Authorities in the Algarve have since striven to ensure similar tragedies are prevented in future.

On April 20, a coastal risk assessment was carried out as part of an annual study of the coastline by the Portimão Port Captaincy.

“The assessment and monitoring work aims to survey the geological state of coastal caves and cliffs in order to identify fractures or anomalies that pose a risk to the population,” said the Portimão Port Captaincy in a statement.

The assessment is carried out every year after the winter, which is when weather conditions such as rain and rough seas have their strongest impact on the coastline.

By Michael Bruxo
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