Praia dos Arrifes

This small cove is sheltered by low, considerably sculpted cliffs, amongst which natural potholes, arches and countless galleries can be seen in the rock faces which have been eroded and weather beaten over the years.

Three huge isolated rocks in the sea, clearly disproportionate to the size of the beach, dominate the view to the horizon, but give bathers the illusion of swimming in a huge, rock pool. This cove is consequently known as the Praia dos Três Penecos (Triple Rock Beach).

All three are severely eroded, with the central one, and closest to the sands, having a curious window-like hole at the top.

Plants resistant to salt spray, such as wormleaf saltwort and rock samphire, manage to grow on the rocks, as they are above the high tide level.

The beach surroundings have a stand of pines where one can find dwarf fan palms - the only palm-tree native to Europe - in the undergrowth.

Access to the beach is by wooden steps. Vehicle traffic along the cliff-top is strictly controlled in order to minimise destabilising of the cliffs.
Since there is a possibility of falling stones/rocks visitors must take care when near the cliffs.

Tarmac road access from the Sáo Rafael Village, signposted to the beach.
Large informal car-park.
Restaurant and toilets, with lifeguards in summer.

South facing beach.