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.
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.