Praia do Tonel is a large, beautiful beach with soft golden sand and is popular for surfing. The beach is backed by steep cliffs of red sandstone and hard rock and is only 10 minutes walk from the center of the town Sagres in the Algarve. On the southern tip of the beach you can see Forteleza de Sagres from the sand. Tonel beach is known for strong currents and large waves in winter when westerly swell hits the exposed beach. Surfing at Tonel is one of the top things to do in Sagres.
The beach is located close to town, but hidden by the cliffs the Praia do Tonel feels wild and isolated. Not the best beach for a relaxing swim in calm, flat water, but a good beach to soak in the sun with relatively few people on the soft sand sheltered from wind. Easy to find parking, sufficient facilities and with plenty of space to have privacy, Tonel is a great beach to come and spend the day.
Tonel beach is walking distance from Sagres town with plenty of parking. It is popular for surfers to stay here in campervans. It is a steep walk on a gravel road from the parking area to the beach. In summer there are lifeguards on duty at Tonel.
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Praia do Tonel All About The Beach
Tonel Beach is a long sandy beach with 400 meters of soft sand stretching next to the coast. A blue flag beach means it is a neat, clean beach meeting international standards regarding safety, water quality, facilities and environmental management. Praia do Tonel is located beneath high cliffs, 6 km east of Cape St.Vincent the southwesterly tip of Portugal. The cliffs protect the beach from north winds. This is the main surf spot in Sagres, picking up west swell from the Atlantic with huge waves mainly in winter.
‘Hidden Beach’ Extension of Tonel Beach in Sagres
When facing the ocean from Tonel beach there is a rocky point to your right, climbing over the rocks there is a little ‘hidden beach’. When conditions are right this little beach has a nice mellow wave to surf. If you scramble over the rocks to this beach chances are good you will have the whole beach to yourself.
Things To Do at Tonel Beach
Sagres is one of the best known places for surfing in the Algarve and Tonel is the best beach in Sagres for surfing. Waves here get big in winter picking up west swell from the Atlantic. Tonel is a peaky beach break that shifts with the sandbanks and can produce hollow, powerful waves on the sandy bottom. This isolated spot can get crowded. Sagres is a good spot for intermediate and advanced surfers, but it is also a very popular spot for surf school to introduce beginners to the sport. Check out our article for all about Surfing in Sagres. There are about 10 surf shops in the main road of Sagres, There is a surf shop below the restaurant on Tonel beach that offer board and wetsuit rentals as well as surf lessons. Board rental starts at EUR10 per hour, wetsuit rental EUR5 per hour and a 3 hour lesson for EUR60.
Swimming at Tonel is only recommended for good swimmers since the beach is known for strong currents and waves. Also be careful for rocks when swimming. Just off shore there is a big rock that sticks out called Lion Rock, it is popular to fish from here. Life savers are on duty at Tonel during season (usually June to October). They sit in front of the beach bar so this would probably be the best area to go for a dip! just check that they are on duty.
Praia do Tonel is excellent for spending a couple of hours on the beach. There is a lot of space to play games or find some privacy. Parking is not a problem and it is walking distance from Sagres town. The sand is nice and soft with the length of this long beach. Because it is a bit off the beaten track there are usually not too many people on Tonel beach. Facilities are OK, with toilets, and a restaurant. No sunbeds or umbrellas for rent, so if you come sunbathing bring your own umbrella.
Facilities Praia do Tonel
There is a beach bar on the sand at Praia do Tonel that sells food; burgers, toasties, salads and drinks; coffee, milkshakes, fruit juices and alcoholic drinks. On the beach underneath the bar is a shop for surf rentals and lessons.
- Beach – 400m sandy beach
- Blue Flag beach
- Lifeguards: yes
- Sunbeds: no
- Parking: yes
- Restaurant: yes
- Surfboard Rental: yes
Getting to Praia do Tonel Sagres
Renting a car is the easiest way to get around in the Algarve, we use Rentalcar for the best deals to book car rentals. Drive towards the fortress of Sagres on the N268 turn right at a sign indicating Praia do Tonel. There is a car parking and a steep walk down to the beach. Go to Sagres Tonel Parking with your GPS. You can also park in town close to Mareta beach, Caffe Espresso Sagres is a 700m walk from Tonel.
The town Sagres is only 700m walk/drive from Tonel beach. This small village is surrounded by nature and has all the basics; supermarkets, restaurants, gas station, bars, accommodation and camping. Praia da Mareta is the main beach in town and is a large sandy beach. The town is a good place to go for scuba diving and hiking. The Fishermen’s Trail, is a stunning 230 km hiking trail along rugged cliffs, sandy beaches and stunning lookouts that pass through Sagres.
Explore Sagres Natural Park on a Sunset Tour by Jeep. This highly rated, popular tour takes you to experience the beautiful sunset at Cabo S. Vicente and the scenic panoramic views of Sagres while enjoying Portuguese wine. Uncover the secrets spots of Portugal on a sunset tour.
Mareta Beach is a popular beach for sunbathing inside Sagres town. With south swell Mareta sometimes have nice waves.
Accommodation in Sagres
- Budget – PuraVida Divehouse, Sagres Sun Stay – Surf Camp & Hostel
- Treat Yourself – Mareta View – Boutique Bed & Breakfast
Learning to Surf in Sagres
The town Sagres is filled with surf shops, you pass about 10 driving down the mainroad. There are several surf camps around Sagres with courses generally being 1, 3 or 5 days.