Lagos is one of the most popular beaches on the Algarve. It’s historic old town, restaurant scene and good nightlife all draw the crowds. The real drawcard though is the beaches within walking distance of downtown Lagos.
We arrived in Lagos with one intention, to find the best beaches we could. We’d strategically chosen an AirBnB that was walking distance (even though we drove!?) to the best beaches on the Algarve. After travelling through Greece, Albania, Malta, Thailand, Vietnam, Fiji, the Cook Islands and living in New Zealand, we think we know a good beach when we see one. The beaches of the Algarve certainly didn’t disappoint.
Ponta da Piedale
The number one attraction on Trip Advisor and the most iconic instagram spot in Lagos. Personally, not our favourite. I can’t dispute the fact that its beautiful, but its not really a beach. It’s also the furtherest of all beaches within walking distance of downtown lagos.
The walk down to the waters edge just lands you in a queue to get into a crowded little dinghy and cruise around the bottom of the cliffs. From the top of the cliffs though the views are beautiful. Just don’t come expecting a swim.
Early morning or late afternoon are the best times to visit. On the last morning in Lagos I dragged myself out of bed and went for a run (using one of the four sets of gym gear I ambitiously packed). The area without people was even more stunning, and the rising sun lit up the cliffs as the first paddle boarders headed out for the day. It also almost distracted me from how unfit I was. The more enjoyable visit to Ponte da Piedale was in the evening, we packed our litre of sangria and a large bear and walked dow to the cliffs to watch the sunset. I’m definitely not skilled enough with a camera to capture how incredible the sunset was, but hopefully these go some way in demonstrating!
Praia di Camilo
Praia di Camilo is our favourite of all the beaches within walking distance of downtown Lagos. I don’t know if its because its the first one that we visited, but either way, you can’t go wrong. We arrived here about 10am on our first morning in Lagos. Cars were already parked along all the roads leading up to the beach. We followed what looked like an in the know local and found a whole field of parking right next to the entrance! Saved ourselves a trek in the 30° heat.
At the top of the cliffs you can’t see a lot but as you walk past the end of the carpark it opens up below you. Views like this are what people travel to the Algarve for.
Every step further out we got an even better view of the beach, dotted with umbrellas and seemingly countless people playing that weird game of beach tennis Europeans seems to be obsessed with!?
As this was our first beach and before we’d done a supermarket shop we made a pitstop at the cafe and grabbed a cheap lunch to take with us. This was the only beach that we managed to spend a whole day at. Plenty of space to tan, toilets, a cafe, rubbish bins, clear water and kayak rental, theres nothing more that you can ask for in a beach!
Praia di Batata
Praia di Batata is so close to downton lagos that its more commonly reffered to as the ‘Town Beach’. Nobody can say that it’s not a nice beach, but personally I think while its extremely convenient to the town you’re better to walk a few hundred meters more to get to one of the other beaches. If you’re not a confident swimmer its a good spot as its protected from the open ocean, we saw a lot of families swimming here. However the water quality isn’t as good as other beaches because of how close it is to the port entrance.
As we were staying further out of town we didn’t stop to swim here, but passed it on our way to dinner each night!
Praia do Pinhão
From what we could see when we visited Praaia do Pinhão the beach was meant to be closed. There was a fence that had been unceremoniously pushed over across the stairs leading to the beach. Nobody seemed to mind though and everyone was more than happy to climb down the last bit where the stairs were missing to enjoy the beach. I guess people just don’t want to have to walk any further around the coast to get to the other beaches?
From Praia do Pinhão you can walk through the tunnels that have been built into the cliffs to access the beaches on either side. As these beaches are much smaller, they were all full on the days we visited. They’re angled a little better and are longer than the main beach so have sunshine until later in the day! So if you really want to spend the maximum time tanning, get there early to reserve a spot.
Praia Dona Ana
This has always been one of the most popular beaches within walking distance of Lagos. The cliffs at the back of the beach have been slowly eroding so in 2016 the local council decided to fix it. Oddly enough they didn’t take care of the erosion, instead they just put a pile of rocks at the far end and bought in a lot of additional sand to extend the beach.
As this was out first time to Lagos, we didn’t have a comparison to what it was like before so loved how much space there was. Amenities at Dona Ana are also some of the best that we came across. Hotels with great views, cheap restaurants, takeaways and little shops are all located at the top of the stairs down to the beach.
Where is the best place to stay for the beaches in Lagos?
We opted to stay in an AirBnB in the Torralta suburb of Lagos. It wasn’t particularly convenient the restaurants or shops, but it was under 5 minutes to the beaches which was just what we were after. Getting into town was only about 20 minutes by foot, or 5 if you booked a cab. Whilst our AirBnB and host were great, it lacked air conditioning. And we needed it. It was so hot in the flat that one night I slept with a soaking wet towel instead of a blanket to try and cool myself down!
Next time round I’d opt for somewhere like Lagos Village or Costa d’Oiro Ambience Village. They’re in a very similar location and reasonably priced, but have the added bonus of being set up for travellers instead of being a converted basement flat! If you’ve got a little more cash to spend, or don’t but wan’t to treat yo’ self anyway, the Cascade Wellness & Lifestyle Resort would be the place to do it.
There aren’t many places in the world that you’re have this many incredible beaches walking distance from downtown. I have a feeling that we’ll be back to the Algarve sometime soon…