Arrifana is a small beach town located in the Algarve region of southern Portugal. Last year, Rowan and I spent about 6 weeks living, surfing, and working in Arrifana.
In my travels, I’ve only been to a handful of places that I can’t NOT see myself returning to. Arrifana is one of those places.
This magical, cliffside beach town on the west coast of Portugal is characterized by MASSIVE cliffs, enchanting white buildings, the most beautiful beach, and the cleanest, purest air. I’m obsessed with Arrifana, and we spent 6 weeks exploring every little nook and cranny of this little slice of paradise in Portugal.
If you’re planning a trip to Portugal, and thinking about visiting Arrifana, you absolutely should. In this post, I’ll cover everything you need to know about visiting Arrifana, Portugal.
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How to get to Arrifana
The best way to get to Arrifana is to fly into either Lisbon, or Faro, and drive, book a shuttle, or take the train or bus. We flew into Lisbon, rented a car, and drove about 3.5 hours to Arrifana- it was pretty easy. The drive there is very scenic.
To find the best flights, I recommend checking on Orbitz or Skyscanner. THEN, book your flight directly with the airline. The airlines will always be the cheapest price, and if anything happens, you can deal with the airline directly rather than a third party platform.
Getting around Arrifana
The main ways to get around in Arrifana are walking, driving your rental car, or driving your campervan.
If you’re only planning on staying within Arrifana, and not visiting the grocery store, or neighboring towns of Aljezur, Vale de Telha, or Monte Clerigo, you can easily get around Arrifana just by walking. There are several restaurants and hotels all within walking distance of the beach. If you’re only planning on spending a weekend in Arrifana, staying at a hotel, and eating out all of your meals, you’ll definitely be fine planning on walking around Arrifana. However, the nearest grocery store is a pretty far walk from the beach. So if you’re planning on stay
Renting a car
I recommend renting a car in Arrifana. The nearest grocery store is pretty far from the beach, and it’s nice to be able to go and explore other beaches, restaurants, and towns. Driving in Arrifana is super easy, and there is a decent amount of parking. Keep in mind, unless you’re a Portuguese resident, you cannot drive down the beach access road and park down there. You have to park at the top and walk down.
Renting a campervan
Another highly popular option for traveling to Arrifana is to rent a campervan, and use that as your primary form of transportation. We saw TONS of campervans in Arrifana, parked all over by the beach, and behind our hostel. Indie Campers has a ton of campervans available for rent in Portugal. We didn’t end up renting one, but on a future trip to Portugal I would definitely rent a campervan with them. They had some of the cheapest vans, and best prices.
Where to stay in Arrifana
Arrifana Destination Hostel is the best budget accommodation option in Arrifana. They have a combination of dorm rooms and private rooms, and an AWESOME indoor/outdoor shared space. They also have a restaurant onsite, a cowork, and spectacular ocean views.
Endless Summer Surf House is a bit further from the beach, so it’s a great place to stay if you have a car, and want to stay somewhere more social. They have a shared kitchen, and a mix of private rooms and a dorm. I LOVED staying here, and even wrote a full Endless Summer Surf House review.
Keep in mind, Endless Summer Surf House is only open for the summer season.
This gorgeous hotel overlooks Praia Arrifana, and includes a pool, continental breakfast, air conditioning, TVs, and a coffee maker in each room. Almost all of the rooms offer a breathtaking ocean view.
Best things to do in Arrifana
Enjoy the beach
The beach at Arrifana is AMAZING. It’s big, beautiful, and has plenty of space to cool off and go swimming. Keep in mind, you do have to walk up and down some SERIOUS switchbacks to get to the beach. If you have any sort of mobility issues, I recommend trying out another beach in the area, as Arrifana is NOT a very accessible beach.
Facilities at the beach:
- Public bathrooms
- Showers to rinse off the sand & salt
- Parking for locals along the switchback road leading down to the beach, parking for tourists up above
Surfing is what brought us to Arrifana, and it was amazing. While it gets SUPER crowded in the morning with all the surf schools, you can almost always find yourself some space to surf. And the vibe in the lineup is super chill and friendly. The waves are pretty good, and if you’re curious about surfing in Arrifana, check out my Arrifana surf guide.
Live music at Sea You Surf Cafe
In the summer, Sea You Surf Cafe has live music every Sunday night. Our airbnb host told us this is the place to be, so if you find yourself in town on a Sunday, definitely go check it out.
Go to the old fort
Nestled atop the cliff to the north overlooking Praia Arrifana, sits the ruins of the Old Arrifana Fort. The fort was built in the 17th century, and once served as a formidable defense against pirate attacks, safeguarding the village’s invaluable fishing industry. Today, as you wander through the well-preserved ruins, the breathtaking panoramic views of the rugged coastline and pristine beaches below will leave you in awe. Make sure to bring your camera, as the dramatic backdrop of the fort’s ancient walls against the vivid seascape make for some of the BEST pictures.
Hiking is one of the best things to do in Arrifana. The famous Fisherman’s Trail passes through Arrifana, and winds along the cliffs overlooking the ocean. You can also hike over in the neighboring town of Vale de Telha, where there are more old fort ruins to explore. Most of the hiking trails are coastal, and wind through sand, and tons of ice plant. The terrain is pretty easy. For more hikes in the surrounding area, check out the All Trails roundup of the best hikes in Aljezur.
Watch the sunset atop the cliffs of Arrifana
Watching the sunset from atop the cliffs in Arrifana is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Arrifana, and also the best way to end your day! There are tons of great spots to watch the sunset from, and the views are amazing.
Another good sunset spot is from the rooftop bar at Arrifana Destination Hostel/ the Hokapia restaurant.
Where to eat in Arrifana
Arrifana may be small, but there are several tasty places to eat- if you know where to look! Here are some of the gems we discovered during our trip to Arrifana:
Sea You Surf Cafe
Sea You Surf Cafe is the very first place I ate at when I first came to Arrifana, and I kept coming back to it over and over. The Cafe is located right up the cliff overlooking Arrifana, and it has a lovely outdoor seating area with tons of comfy couches, and a cozy indoor seating area, which is nice for when it rains.
Sea You Surf has breakfast, lunch, dinner, and drinks. I think their breakfast/ brunch food is the best. It’s one of my favorite spots in Arrifana to come for a cocktail, or a cup of coffee.
For food, they have sandwiches, breakfast bowls, fries, and a whole lot more. For dinner, they even have a steak!
Maxi’s Warung might be one of my favorite restaurants ever. They have INSANELY good Indonesian food. Seriously, the Bami Goreng is to die for. They also have tasty drinks, and a super nice atmosphere. You can sit inside or outside.
Arte Bianca is an Italian Pizzeria. They have locations in Vale de Telha (5 minute drive from the beach), the town of Aljezur, and Sagres. They serve delicious pizza primarily, but have a few other tasty options on their menu. We usually ordered the pesto pizza, and man it is TASTY.
Sector B Hamburgueria
If you’re craving a burger, definitely go to Sector B Hamburgueria. They have tasty burgers, amazing sweet potato fries, and are one of the only places in the Algarve where you can find chicken wings! Yup, we were really craving chicken wings and were stoked to find them at Sector B Hamburgueria. Oh- and they have good drinks too.
Working remotely in Arrifana
We spent 6 weeks working remotely in Arrifana, and we worked inside the cowork at HI Arrifana Destination Hostel. Personally, I LOVED working there. The cowork space is nice and big, with lots of plants and decorations. There are plenty of outlets, tables, and two private call rooms.
I also liked how easy it was to go and order an espresso and croissant from the hostel restaurant in the mornings, and in the evenings after a long work day, we would order a happy hour Super Bock (2 euros for a beer!)
The best part?
There is a huge glass window that overlooks the OCEAN. The views are so amazing it could be a little distracting.
We were there in September and October. It was really pleasant while we were there, but there is no AC, so I could definitely see it getting a bit hot there in the summer. Especially given that they told us the cowork gets SUPER crowded in the summer, because that’s their high season.
Arrifana Travel Tips and FAQs
When is the best time to visit Arrifana?
The most popular time to visit Arrifana is the summer, to cool off at the beach. However, the summer is also the priciest time to visit Arrifana, and the most crowded. I visited Arrifana in September and October, and man it was LOVELY. Fewer crowds, AMAZING weather (not too hot!) and everything was less expensive.
Are there ATMs in Arrifana?
Yeah! There’s an ATM right up the road from CAL Arrifana.
Is Arrifana safe for solo travelers?
Yes! Arrifana is incredibly safe. However, I wouldn’t really recommend it for solo travelers who want to meet other travelers, as it’s not a super social beach town. It has more of a romantic, honeymoon type of vibe.
Do people speak English in Arrifana?
While Portuguese is the local language in Arrifana, you’ll find that many of the locals, and people working in tourism/hospitality know a decent amount of English.
Is the tap water safe to drink in Arrifana?
Is Arrifana expensive?
Arrifana isn’t crazy expensive, although there aren’t a lot of options for accommodations. I paid $25/night for a bed in a dorm, espresso was about 2 euro, beer & wine were 2 euro, and going out to dinner usually was about 12 euro a plate at the restaurants listed above. I didn’t go to any of the fancier seafood restaurants overlooking the ocean- I’d imagine those cost quite a bit more than noodles and pizza!
Arrifana Travel Guide- Final Thoughts
That’s a wrap on my Arrifana Travel Guide! I hope you’ve found this guide helpful, and I hope you enjoy the beautiful Portuguese Village of Arrifana.