Praia de São Rafael, not to be confused with a bigger better-known beach of the same name, offers a different beach experience.
This secluded piece of golden sand is hemmed in by a steep rock face and is only accessible from the sea. Alternatively you can walk to a smaller but equally idyllic adjacent bay. Between the two bays there is a narrow set of steps cut into the stone that leads down to a small lagoon, completely surrounded by high, close cliff faces. Through a gateway-like hole in the rock you can see and swim out to the open sea. If you're feeling brave you can engage in a bit of coasteering and jump from one of the high cliff faces outside the lagoon and swim through the opening to get back to shore.
The setting is so secluded that you can be forgiven for forgetting that you share the rock formations, sandy dunes and crystal clear lagoons with the rest of the world. Although it is a public beach it is rare to come across other holiday makers on this hidden gem, so remember Praia de São Rafael is not your own personal sandy fiefdom, even if it feels like it.