Portugal’s Algarve region is home to some of the most unique and beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen. I recently checked out three stunning beaches in Lagos, one of the Algarve’s most popular towns.
Honestly, if you’re looking for breathtaking coastlines, panoramic views, and plenty of photo opportunities, then most any Lagos beach will deliver.
That said, there’s no such thing as the “perfect beach” for everyone, as it depends on individual taste. Some will prefer lively beaches with restaurants/amenities, whereas others seek the seclusion of the less-touristy locations, for instance.
To help you decide which Lagos beach will best suit your individual style, I’ve put together the pros and cons of my favorites in the area.
Praia Dona Ana is frequently regarded as the most beautiful beach in the Algarve. In fact, in 2013, Condé Nast named it the best beach in the world.
Once you visit, you’ll understand immediately why Praia Dona Ana earned this distinction.
Frankly, I knew from the initial pictures I saw that this Lagos beach would be beautiful, but experiencing it in person completely exceeded my expectations.
As with many places, pictures (and even videos) simply don’t do Praia Dona Ana justice. It’s hard to capture the feeling of the majestic rock formations surrounding you in a big bear hug. You really have to go to understand their magnetic pull.
The closest international airport to reach Praia Dona Ana is in Lisbon. From Lisbon, you can either fly, drive, or take public transportation to Faro, the Algarve’s capital. Faro is located in the Eastern Algarve. You can then take public transportation or drive to Lagos in the Western Algarve.
Personally, my route was a bit different, as I hiked the Camino de Santiago in Spain right before visiting Portugal. I flew from La Coruña, Spain to Madrid and then caught a second flight to Faro Airport. Once in Faro, I took the train to Lagos, a trip of just under two hours.
Once in Lagos, I stayed at Apartamentos Turisticos Marsol, which was only about a twenty-minute walk to Praia Dona Ana.
Fortunately, if you’re driving to Praia Dona Ana, you’ll find a platform relatively close to the parking area where you can take in the spectacular views.
There are two different staircases that provide access to Praia Dona Ana.
Outside of the obvious main platform and stairs, you can take an alternate way where you’ll find these beautiful bougainvillea (season-dependent).
If you’d like to check out this spot, head left once you enter the beach from the main street (going in the opposite direction of the giant staircase and platform). As you walk, you’ll come across a couple of pretty white homes with orange rooftops.
Right by those you’ll notice another staircase that’s much more enclosed than the main one. If you follow these steps up to the second level, you’ll find this ridiculously beautiful spot.
After you snap those Insta-worthy shots, keep following these steps for what I consider one of the most stunning views of this amazing beach.
GPS Coordinates for Praia Dona Ana: 37.0916° N, 8.6693° W
To be honest, when I first reached Praia do Pinhão, I actually thought it was an extension of Praia Dona Ana. The two are very close geographically and almost feel like they’re part of one beach.
However, the main difference is that Praia do Pinhão is much more secluded and private. When you find it, you may have the feeling that you happened upon it by accident. Actually, it’s only really obvious to those who are specifically seeking it out. Honestly, if I didn’t come across it on my GPS, I probably never would’ve found it.
Praia do Pinhão is just north of Praia Dona Ana. However, since parking near the vicinity of the beach will be incredibly difficult, walking here (especially from Praia Dona Ana) is your best bet.
Keep in mind that the beach may surprise you when you first see it, as it’s somewhat tucked away at the bottom of the steep cliffs.
There’s one large – and very steep – staircase leading down to it. Exercise caution when walking down the stairs (or around them).
GPS Coordinates for Praia do Pinhão: 37.0944° N, 8.6680° W
How does one even describe the spectacular beauty of Ponta da Piedade?
With cliff-like rocks up to 20 meters high, I’m not exaggerating when I say this beach is jaw-droppingly beautiful. If you can only visit one Lagos beach during your stay, let it be this one.
In addition to stunning rock formations, this beach also offers a lighthouse and Bar Sol Nascente, a casual eatery overlooking the shore.
Unfortunately, there’s no public transport to this beach, so if you don’t want to walk, you’ll need to drive or take a taxi.
However, if you’d like to explore the land side through coastline foot paths, the walk here from central Lagos takes about 30 minutes. In addition, there’s a coastal path (which I didn’t take) that passes through Praia Dona Ana and Praia do Camilo.
Another option I wish to explore on a future trip is to travel by boat. There are several boat trips from Lagos Marina that you can hop on to Ponta da Piedade offering different activities. For instance, some include visits to other rock formations/caves, some offer diving and snorkeling stops, and others will include lunch on the beach.
GPS Coordinates for the top of the Ponta da Piedade clifftop boardwalk: 37.080861, -8.669611
Although I didn’t make it to Praia do Camilo myself, I’ve heard tell that it’s one of the prettiest beaches in Lagos. Therefore, I felt it deserved a spot on this list (albeit without pictures).
However, I do plan to check it out on a future visit and report back!
Have you visited a Lagos beach yet? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!