Praia da Salema, is a fishing village in the province of Vila do Bispo, Algarve, in the Natural Park of Southwest Alentejo and Costa Vicentina. It is mid way between the larger towns of Lagos and Sagres. Some locals say the village is named after a fish, the Salema, which was commonly caught in the seas off the coast of the village by the fisherman in years gone by. Credence is given to this theory in that there are remains of a wealthy Roman villa only 2km away; and research shows that wealthy Romans used to love to eat a fish called Salema for recreational purposes, as it made them hallucinate. This hallucinogenic fish was related to the Bream, which is still found in abundance off the coast of Salema today. Folklore or truth? All fisherman enjoy a good tale!!!
Fish are still landed in Salema today, the central area of the beach being occupied by boats and their fishing gear. The fisherman’s hut is occupied most days by the elder fisherman, who keep a watchful eye out on the younger generation; and are always willing to pass on their knowledge to those youngsters who seek their guidance. It is possible to observe the return of the boats to the beach at the end of the working day, mainly in early morning after a night of fishing, and enjoy the result of their catch in the restaurants of the village.
You will find visible signs of the connection to its fishing traditions whilst wandering through the winding alleys between traditional white-painted houses.
The beach at Salema, which is located at the base of the coastal cliff around the village, has a beautiful promenade and terraces along the sea front. The beach has soft white sand and is gently sloping, ideal for swimming and safe for children. There is a life guard service during the summer months. The seawater quality is excellent and Salema has been awarded a 'Blue Flag' to show that the water meets all European standards of cleanliness. The temperature of the water is normally cold, but with the heat during the warmest months it is very pleasant and refreshing.
In 2016 The Guardian has awarded Salema the best beach for families in all Europe and the number 13 in all the world!
Some of the oldest sections of the cliffs surrounding the beach are from the Early Cretaceous Period, around 150 million years old. Fossilised dinosaur footprints can be found in the rocks around the cliffs. These fossils have been known about locally for many years, but have only recently been documented by archaeologists and geologists from the University of Lisbon, and became official in 2001.
Salema has around a dozen bar/restaurants, 2 mini markets, a number of ATM machines for cash withdrawal and a tourism company - The Way Tours - that has an activity outlet located directly off the beach from where you can hire kayaks, paddle boards, organise boat trips, arrange a game of golf at the local course, horse riding trails and walking tours, as well as hire a private boat charter or have fun on inflatables. Tickets for the main water and fun parks can also be purchased there.
The West coast of the Algarve can be reached in around 15 minutes by car. There you can find stretches of sandy beaches below cliffs that stretch for miles, the sea rolling in with the full force of the Atlantic.
If you want to take a break from relaxing on the beaches, there are golf resorts, tennis courts, health spas, horse riding, boat trips, walking tours and trails all within a few kilometres of Salema. There are also many sightseeing opportunities and places to visit. Days away from the beach can also be had in the walled marina town of Lagos that lies to the east; and the historic town of Sagres with its fortress that lies to the west, both of which are only a 10 to 15-minute drive away and are on the local bus route which stops directly in front of The Maré.
If you have any specific questions or queries about the village please email firstname.lastname@example.org and she'll do her best to answer them.
Things to do
- Relax on the sandy beach
- Swim in the 'Blue Flag' awarded sea
- Eat in Salemas amazing restaurants
- Enjoy Salemas bars
- Find out about local history
- Enjoy a game of Golf
- Have a Spa day
- Boat Trips
- Take a walking tour