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The Best Lagos Beach Options for an Amazing Algarve Adventure

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Last Updated on February 18, 2020 by epapp

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.

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The best Lagos beach options

3 Popular Lagos Beach Options to Consider

1. Praia Dona Ana

Praia Dona Ana Beach

Beach Description:

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.

Pros:

  • Facilities – If you’re looking for a beach where everything you need is right on-hand, you’ll love Praia Dona Ana. This 160-meter long beach offers a café, restaurant, and even a hotel right on the water.
  • Multiple vantage points – Something that surprised me about Praia Dona Ana was the maze of different pathways leading to unique and beautiful sea stacks. There are so many photo opportunities to be had here!
  • Stunning colors – The contrast of the yellow-brown rock formations against the bright blue sea is truly breathtaking!

Cons:

  • Touristy – While I consider the on-site facilities to be a pro, the downside is that this beach is pretty touristy. Once about 10 AM hits, crowds will start to form and it will be increasingly difficult to get those beach shots.
  • Not (always) peaceful – More people equals more noise (unless you get here before 9 AM). If you’re looking for a quieter beach environment, you’ll probably be better served at Praia do Pinhão.

How to Get to Praia Dona Ana:

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.

Bougainvillea at Praia Dona Ana

How to Access the Beach:

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

2. Praia do Pinhão

Praia do Pinhao Lagos

Beach Description:

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.

Pros:

  • More privacy – With a quieter environment and a more secluded set-up, you’ll enjoy a semi-private beach experience.
  • Less touristy & developed – If you want to connect with nature without the distraction of commercialism, Praia do Pinhão is the perfect place to escape.

Cons:

  • No facilities – Without the facilities of Praia Dona Ana, this beach may feel somewhat isolated to those who like more action.
  • No lifeguard on duty – If you’re concerned about safety and security, this may not be the beach for you.

How to Get to Praia do Pinhão:

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

3. Ponta da Piedade

Views at Ponta da Piedade

Beach Description:

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.

Water at Ponta da Piedade

In addition to stunning rock formations, this beach also offers a lighthouse and Bar Sol Nascente, a casual eatery overlooking the shore.

PRO TIP: Unlike Praia Dona Ana that you can see in its full glory from afar, you’ll need to do a bit of walking on Ponta da Piedade. When I first arrived and walked past the casual eatery onto the sandy/rocky landscape, I was admittedly confused. It looked like a vast landscape without any rock formations in sight.

If this happens, just keep going. Once you hit the edge of landscape, you’ll be blown away by the beauty down below!

Staircase at Ponta da Piedade

Pros:

  • Spectacular views – You truly cannot envision what it will feel like to look out over this magnificent place. Stop, savor, and snap some photos!
  • On-site eatery – You won’t need to leave the premises when you get hungry because there’s a casual eatery right on the beach. I polished off my pizza in no time!

Cons:

  • Difficult to find – Something I wasn’t expecting was how difficult this beach can be to find. The main street I needed to turn down to get here was blocked off when I came (due to construction) and an alternate route wasn’t available. I eventually realized I could cut through that street (on foot) since the construction wasn’t active. There are also really long pathways (part boardwalk/part dirt) that lead to the main entrance. Don’t lose hope if it feels like you’re walking for miles to get here – you’re going the right way!
  • Intensely steep – If you’re afraid of heights, this may not be the beach for you. It’s intensely steep without a fence or barrier. To get down to the base by the water, you’ll need to walk 180 steps!
  • Difficult to shoot with a tripod – I was solo on this adventure and found it incredibly difficult to take pictures of myself. Although I’m quite comfortable using a tripod, most of the shots I wanted were difficult to set up. Due to the steepness, I was limited in terms of where I could place the tripod without it (or me) falling down.

How to Get to Ponta da Piedade:

By Car:

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.

By Foot:

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.

By Boat:

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

4: Bonus Beach: Praia do Camilo

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!

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The best Lagos beach options
The best Lagos beach options
The best Lagos beach options
The best Lagos beach options
The best Lagos beach options
The best Lagos beach options

34 thoughts on “The Best Lagos Beach Options for an Amazing Algarve Adventure

  1. *books ticket to Portugal* Seriously though these beaches are stunning! I have only been to Lisbon and feel like I missed out on so much by not visiting this part of the country.

    1. I’m so glad that this post was timely for you! I personally explored Lagos without a car, but a car would definitely give you the freedom to explore more beaches, so I say go for it!

  2. I’ve only spent a few days in Lisbon, and since then, I’ve been wanting to go back to explore the rest of Portugal. Algarve is definitely on my list. Thanks for all the details!

  3. Oh your photos took me right back to Lagos and now I really want to visit again! It’s been 10 years since I visited those beautiful beaches and I’m really pleased to see they look even more stunning than I remember 🙂

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