The beach at Sao Rafael has long been one of Portugal's most popular stretches of sand. Thousands of holiday travellers choose apartments and villas in the Sao Rafael area for this fact alone. Yes, the beach is truly fine but there is also plenty to do and see in the area. Golf courses abound in the Algarve and there are numerous nearby towns such as Albufeira and Faro which boast intriguing historical artefacts. HomeAway has villas in Sao Rafael that can accommodate groups of any size, from as little as two to bigger parties of 8 or more. Options with internet access, parking and even pools are available.
HomeAway accommodations in the resort town of Sesmarias are a nice alternative for visitors who desire a more laid-back vibe. For those looking to stay closer to the action, HomeAway also has comfortable rental options in Albufeira . HomeAway also offers a selection of comfortable rental accommodations in nearby Faro, located about 30 miles from Sao Rafael.
Praia de Sao Rafael:
This small beach is the main attraction. Praia de Sao Rafael has been voted Portugal's number one beach for its soft, golden sand and crystal clear waters. Formations in the limestone cliffs make for an interesting backdrop. The beach is wheelchair accessible.
This tourist area is characterised by its stylish resorts, hotels and villas. The main road in Sesmarias is located near the beach and has a great selection of bars and restaurants. Despite rapid growth over the last few years, Sesmarias has retained a laid-back and easygoing feel.
Albufeira is one of the liveliest towns in the Algarve region and is located three miles from Sao Rafael. Cosy cafés and restaurants dot the cobblestone streets of the Old Town, while the famous Albufeira strip is the place to go for dining, dancing and drinks well into the early hours.
This natural formation served as a hiding place for the Moors during the Christian Reconquest of Albufeira in the 13th century. It can be found within the cliffs directly off the main strip of beach near Albufeira. Guided tours are available during high season.
The family-friendly town of Gale is just two miles from Sao Rafael. The town is quiet, relaxed and covered with orange groves, vineyards, olive and fig trees. The Praia de Gale is as popular with tourists as it is with locals.
This marine life park is found in the town of Guia, less than six miles from Sesmarias. Seal and dolphin shows are held regularly throughout the year and a 4D cinema shows films about marine life. There are a number of swimming pools and snack bars that ensure a full and fun day out.
Summer is definitely the most popular time to visit Sao Rafael. Temperatures average about 28ºC in July and August, with some days climbing into the mid-30s, though Atlantic breezes keep visitors cool. The water temperature is about 22° C during the summer. Fall and spring are also a pleasant time to visit, with temperatures in the low 20s. Winters are mild with an average temperature of 15º C in January.
Flights to Faro International Airport (FAO) are available from most major cities in Europe. From there, the easiest way to reach Sao Rafael is by car. Taxis and car hire can be booked in advanced, though there are plenty of options available upon arrival. Sao Rafael is located about 30 miles from Faro International Airport. The drive takes about approximately 45 minutes along the A22 or N125.