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Unsafe Algarve beaches prepare for summer bathers

By SOPHIE MCCARRICK – [email protected]

A total of 75 beaches along the Algarvean coast have been labelled as having dangerous rock formations, following the completion of a winter safety survey.

In order to ensure the safety of beach goers throughout the upcoming months, the management of the Regional Hydrographic Board of the Algarve (ARH) began demolition works on seven selected beaches on May 9 starting at Santa Eulália in Albufeira.

Sebastião Teixeira, director of ARH, told Lusa news agency: “Works will continue until the end of May and are part of a routine procedure that is carried out after the winter, which is when cliffs generally fall.”

“The winters are not all equal, on average there are twelve rock falls or landslides per year. This year there were eight, and in terms of volume they were roughly half the average,” he said, explaining that “in 2009 – 2010 the sizes were four times the average.”

ARH technicians complete a full overview of the Algarve’s cliffs every year to note any formation changes and to detect any dangerous alterations that are likely to cause the rocks to fall. If necessary, machinery is then used in order to force the fall.

“We are not here to demolish, because demolish is an ugly word, however we anticipate possible falls and what we wish to do is to make the rocks fall safely and not upon any swimmers,” he said.

At the intervention carried out at Santa Eulália on May 9, a rock was brought down under controlled demolition.

The displaced rock, which now lies on the sand, was listed as approximately two cubic meters and provided a sheltered overhang above the entrance to a small cave, regularly used by swimmers for shade.

It was confirmed by Sebastião Teixeira that six other Algarve beaches so far identified to have works carried out on them this month will include Maria Luísa, Oura, Prainha, Vau, Careanos and Rocha, to prevent any future accidents with bathers, such as the one that took the lives of five people on Maria Luísa beach in August 2009 (see Algarve Resident edition August 27 2009).

Prior to the winter safety study carried out, Carvalho and Marinha beaches in Lagoa and Portimão’s Prainha had been highlighted in red by the authorities and ran the risk of being removed as safe beaches, however, the threat has since been suspended.

ARH’s Sebastião Teixiera concluded that the “beach operations will be fast, cheap and super effective,” costing “a few thousand Euros”.

The works, once completed, should ensure that rock falls are minimised thus improving safety on Algarve beaches.

Beaches officially listed to contain dangerous cliffs throughout the Algarve:


•   Alemães – Nascente

•   Alemães – Poente

•   Arrifes

•   Aveiros

•   Belharucas

•   Castelo

•   Coelha

•   Evaristo

•   Galé – Nascente

•   Galé – Poente

•   Olhos d’Água

•   Oura – Nascente

•   Oura – Poente

•   Peneco

•   São Rafael

•   Santa Eulália

•   Belharucas – Nascente

•   Falésia – Nascente

•   Falésia

•   Falésia – Açoteias

•   Rocha Baixinha – Poente


•   Armação de Pêra – Nascente

•   Armação de Pêra – Poente


•   Albandeira

•   Beijinhos

•   Benagil

•   Caneiros

•   Carvalho

•   Carvoeiro

•   Cova Redonda

•   Grande

•   Marinha

•   Molhe

•   Paraíso

•   Pintadinho

•   Senhora da Rocha

•   Tremoços

•   Vale de Centianes

•   Vale Covo

•   Vale Olival


•   Amado

•   Barranco das Canas

•   Careanos

•   Prainha

•   Três Irmãos

•   Rocha – Nascente

•   Rocha – Poente

•   Três Castelos

•   Vau


•   Batata-Estudantes

•   Camilo

•   Dona Ana

•   Pinhão

•   Porto de Mós


•   Beliche

•   Burgau

•   Cabanas Velhas

•   Castelejo

•   Cordoama

•   Furnas

•   Ingrina

•   Mareta

•   Salema

•   Tonel

•   Zavial


•   Adegas – Odeceixe

•   Amado

•   Amoreira

•   Arrifana

•   Monte Clérigo

•   Vale Figueira

•   Vale dos Homens