The main and foremost reason why travellers flock to Lagos is its superb beaches, of course. In case you’re planning a relaxing holiday in this part of the world, you might be wondering which are the best beaches in Lagos, I’m sure of it! And that’s the exact reason why I created this complete guide about the beaches of Lagos.
Lagos is located in the southern part of Portugal, in a region called Algarve which is where you’ll find steep cliffs, blue waters, pristine beaches, a lively summer nightlife and a charming walled old town. In fact, it is said that Lagos hosts some of the best beaches in Algarve! One of the most famous attractions here is definitely Ponta da Piedade, a beautiful group of rock formations.
Scroll down to find my list of top 10 beaches in Lagos that you can explore during your trip!
1 - Ponta da Piedade
Ponta da Piedade is a picture-perfect place taken out of a postcard! This superb rocky shoreline, literally translating to ‘Mercy Point’, is considered to be the most beautiful beach in Lagos and, I kid you not, one of the most beautiful beaches in the entire world! What you’ll find here are pretty rock formations, caves and arches, all surrounded by crystal clear waters, forming a picturesque image and a great spot of complete relaxation.
There are several ways of reaching Ponta da Piedade: by driving, by walking on a specially designed cliff path and then going down 182 stairs, or by kayak/boat. I highly recommend exploring this little piece of heaven on a guided boat tour with a local guide, such as this one that will take you to multiple beaches along Algarve’s coast, as well as to the famous caves of Ponta da Piedade.
NOTE: Please note that during high season (summer), swimming or getting in the water is restricted due to intense boat traffic. There’s a workaround, though: you can get to Ponta da Piedade very early in the morning or late in the afternoon, as the boats aren’t active during this time.
2 - Praia do Camilo
Praia da Camilo is definitely on everyone’s list of top 5 beaches in Lagos! This one’s a tiny secluded beach, nestled in a picture-perfect setting. Its main feature is the long wooden stairs that descend down the cliffside to the sandy beach. With around 200 steps, this stairway gives the beach a grand feeling of adventure. Don’t worry though, you won’t regret taking the effort of walking down as you’ll be greeted by golden-amber sand, clear blue-green water, and red, orange and yellow limestone rock formations to explore!
Wondering what to do here? You can walk along the beach, swim, take some pictures and then grab some lunch at the restaurant located right on top of the cliff, near the above-mentioned stairs.
NOTE: If you decide to visit this beach, a very good idea would be to bring your own snacks and drinks, as there are are no kiosks on the actual beach.
3 - Praia Dona Ana
Did you know that Praia Dona Ana is Considered the most beautiful beach in the Algarve and (to some) also the world? Praia Dona Ana is found in the south of Lagos, carefully built into the limestone cliffs of the Ponta da Piedade headland. If you’re looking for a beach where you can spend a day of relaxation and sunbathing with little to no distractions, then this is the one for you!
Layered with golden sand and calm turquoise waters, Praia Dona Ana offers plenty of beautiful, picture-perfect natural scenery. By the way, this beach is also great for families as it has great amenities including beach restaurants, showers, a lifeguard and shops. Like most of Lagos’ beaches, this one can be accessed by a stairway as well.
NOTE: If you love collecting unique, intricate shells, Praia Dona Ana should be on the top of your list, as it’s one of the few beaches around that has a real abundance of them.
4 - Meia Praia
Meia Praia (literally meaning “Half Beach” because Odiaxere River divides it into two zones) is the largest of the beaches in Lagos, with around a 4 km stretch of continuous soft white sand. This beach has managed to maintain a low-key atmosphere all-around, but you can also find some small beach cafes, restaurants and bars placed around the edge.
Due to the area this beach covers, it doesn’t tend to get overcrowded even during peak times, so there is usually always a spot where you can unwind and relax. Meia Praia is also a great spot for sports and water sports – anything from kite surfing to volleyball or even sailing and jet skiing. Plus, plunging into the cool water is welcomed!
TIP: If you’re a shade lover, know that you can rent beach loungers and parasols on the beach.
5 - Praia da Batata
Praia Da Batata (“Potato Beach” is such a funny name!) is based at the mouth of the Rio Bensafrim River, this beach is closest to the town centre (just a short walk away from it), making it a popular place for visitors to spend the day. It’s highly likely that this is the beach that most visitors find first, so it can get a little busy at times, especially during high season. But Potato Beach makes an excellent choice if you only have a short time in Lagos!
My favourite thing about this beach is the way that it is etched into the rocky cliffside. Little tunnels lead between each section of the beach and at its end, you’ll find a picture-perfect arched bridge perfect to swim through! Talking about amenities, this beach has everything from public restrooms and showers to restaurants and bars. There are also lounges and umbrellas to rent here (15€ for 2 people), as well as the possibility to do some SUP (15€/hour).
NOTE: This beach along with three others (Meia Praia, Porto de Mos and Luz) are the only wheelchair-accessible beaches in Lagos.
TIP: If you’re looking for the quieter part of the beach, head to its southern end.
6 - Praia Grande
Although not as easily accessible as Praia da Batata, Praia Grande (“Big Beach”) is a wonderful place to relax, surrounded by orange cliffs and beautiful, soft sand. Despite its name, Praia Grande is not that… grande, after all. It’s quite small and secluded and the perfect place to go if you want to feel like you have the entire beach all to yourself.
One of the best things about this beach is that you can snorkel here – happy exploring! There are many coral reefs to be found and admired!
NOTE: Wondering how to get to Praia Grande and why I’m implying it’s a bit more challenging? Don’t stress too much, as the process is not that complicated, you just need to be a little more… adventurous, let’s say. It takes around 10 minutes to get there, but the catch is that you’ll have to descend from the cliff walls with the help of a rope. No worries, it’s safe and people do it daily! As a safer alternative, you can also get there by boat/kayak.
7 - Praia de Porto de Mós
Praia de Porto de Mós is the second largest beach in Lagos (after Meia Praia), located about 4km to the south-west of the main tourist centre. Spoiler alert: it’s probably the best beach in Lagos for surfing! Due to its south-westerly direction, Praia de Porto de Mós is the only beach in Lagos that isn’t sheltered from the powerful Atlantic Ocean. This makes it a great spot for those who love catching waves. Surfers and bodyboarders – I’m talking to you!
Occasionally, this beach is hit with strong winds, but if you like your beaches emptier and waters rougher, this praia is always a lot quieter and less crowded than other beaches in the area. Just be ready to replace a gentle breeze for a blast of wind. Luckily, you won’t need to replace the limestone cliffs, as they’re present here as well! And, to top it off, restaurants and cafes can be found here too.
8 - Praia do Pinhão
A small paradise on Earth! Praia do Pinhão is among the nice beaches in Lagos, with crystal-clear waters, imposing cliffs and soft sand. It’s squeezed between Praia Dona Ana and Praia dos Estudantes (more info below) and it can be accessed, in the traditional manner around Algarve, by descending the cliffs by a stairway.
There are two main areas that form this beach – one closer to Praia dos Estudantes, which is more laid-back and family-friendly, and one closer to Dona Ana, which is a bit busier.
NOTE: Praia do Pinhão is not “rich” in beach amenities (at all), so I recommend bringing your own umbrellas, snacks, drinks and towels too. Being such a secluded beach, there are no kiosks, loungers or restaurants around.
9 - Praia dos Estudantes
If I think about it, I think Praia dos Estudantes (literally meaning “Student’s Beach”) is probably my personal favourite of the beaches in Lagos. It’s a tiny, calm but charming beach, accessible via a stairway or a man-made tunnel from Praia Da Batata. One of the special things about this beach is the arch bridge connecting the main land to the rocks formations – it’s really pretty and super photogenic! This bridge plays a big role in Praia dos Estudantes’ history and it was once part of Pinhão Fortress. The former fortress was completely destroyed in 1755 – except for the bridge, of course.
Another advantage of this beach is the calm waters, which make for the perfect swimming paradise for all travellers.
NOTE: As it happens with Praia do Pinhão, there aren’t any beach amenities here either. But the good thing is that this beach is extremely close to the city centre, so you can stock up on drinks and snacks on the way there.
If you go west to Lagos’ most famous beach (Ponta da Piedade), you’ll reach Praia do Canavial, a long and very special beach. One of its best advantages is that it’s more isolated than other beaches in Lagos – and it’s a real joy to the eye!
What’s different here? The superb cliffs remain, but the much-photographed arches are no longer here. You’ll get a long, narrow strip of beach instead, unsheltered from the wind, which means you’ll get big waves, ideal for surfing. Canavial Beach is accessed by a scenic pedestrian trail, really easy to follow.
NOTE: As the beach strip here is long and narrow, it’s not recommended to go during high tide, as that’s when the beach sands will really… disappear! I advise going during low tide instead.
BONUS: Practical information about Lagos
Now that you know my complete list of beaches in Lagos that are totally worth visiting, let me tell you one or two practical things that will come in very handy while you’re planning your holiday here. Let’s see:
Where is Lagos?
Lagos is a charming coastal town in the southern part of Portugal, in a region called Algarve.
When should I go to Lagos?
The high season in Lagos takes place during summer, naturally, with the biggest crowds of tourists arriving there in June, July and August. If you want to avoid the crowds while still enjoying the best that Lagos has to offer, I recommend going there during September-October or April-May.
How to get to Lagos
FROM LISBON. The total road distance between the two is around 300km. The most popular way of getting from Lisbon to Lagos is by bus (3h40’) or by train (5h). The prices are pretty much the same, ranging from 15 to 25€ depending on when you’re going.
FROM FARO. Faro Airport is an international airport located in Faro city, the capital of Algarve, 92 km away from Lagos. From there, you can take a train (1h 45min) for the price of 7.40€ or a bus (a little bit more than 2h) for around the same cost.
How to get around Lagos
One of the best things about Lagos is that many of the beaches are located close to the city centre and most of the accommodations and resorts as well. If you’re all for relaxing in Lagos, you’ll be just fine by walking around from the town!
In short, you won’t necessarily need to rent a car while you’re there, unless you want to do some day trips in the neighbouring towns to explore their beaches as well (totally recommended and strongly advised by… me!). And no, I’m afraid the public transportation system won’t do in this part of Europe, unfortunately.
Which takes me to our next point…
What day trips can I take from Lagos?
Some of the most popular day trips departing from Lagos include Praia da Luz, Burgau, Alvor and Sagres. You can read more about these places in my post about Where to stay in Algarve – 7 Best Towns. All these 4 destinations are located less than 30 km away from Lagos so it’ll be super easy to reach them if you rent or have your own car.
But what if you don’t want to rent a car or you simply can’t? I have a solution for you too: organised tours! There are plenty of trust-worthy, exciting options out there, the most challenging part would be to simply… chose. Here’s a few I selected for you:
Extra tips for travelling to Lagos
- Don’t forget your sunscreen!
- Please note that the water temperature here is pretty cold because of its vicinity to the Atlantic Ocean.
- One of the best ways to save some money and admire the beautiful scenery from a different perspective is to rent a bike in Lagos! The prices are pretty good – 13€ for an entire day. A good place to rent a bike is Lagos Bike Tours.
This was my complete list of the 10 top beaches in Lagos! From the world-famous beaches of Ponta da Piedade or Dona Ana to the more secluded Canavial or Estudantes, I’m pretty sure you’ll find your sandy strip of heaven here. One of the best things to do in Lagos is to simply lay on the beach under the Portuguese sun, so if you’re planning to do just that, take a pick at one of the superb Praias in this article and you’re good to go!
In case you want to read more about Portugal (not only Algarve, but Lisbon too, for example), I recommend clicking here to discover all my adventures in this wonderful country.