It probably comes as no surprise to most to hear that the Algarve has some of the best beaches in Europe. Long hailed as a favourite of the British holiday-maker, it boasts glorious sunshine, sandy coves and stunning coastline. And when it comes to beaches, Lagos is the region’s crown jewel. Here you’ll find many of the country’s most loved (and photographed!) sands. Here’s a round-up of the very best it has to offer!
How to Get There
All of these beaches run along the coastline to the right of the town. Depending on where you’re staying, some are closer than others. Walking to Praia dos Estudantes, for example, should be relatively quick and simple (about 15 minutes from the town centre). Others such as Ponte da Piedade are a little further out (about 40 minutes walk from the town centre). If you’ve hired a car, you should be able to find parking easily at any of these beaches, or, alternatively, you could get an Uber or taxi, which are relatively inexpensive. A trip from the town centre to Ponte da Piedade, for example, will likely only cost you around €5. During the summer months there’s also a tourist train! This ferries holiday-makers back-and-forth between the beaches and the town.
Praia don Ana
Praia don Ana is one of the most famous beaches in Lagos and one you’ll likely have seen photographs of. The rock formations that stand just outside its shores make it reminiscent of the 12 apostles on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia. They’ve an impressive stature and a gorgeous orange tone that contrasts the beautiful blue skies. Much like the rest of the locations on this list, the waters here are clear but cold, thanks to the Atlantic Ocean!
Praia dos Estudantes
The best part of Praia dos Estudantes is actually the smaller beach adjacent to it. This secluded little cove isn’t accessible via the main road. Instead you have to make your way to Praia dos Estudantes and head through a little tunnel in the rocks. On the other side you’ll find a sun-basked cove with an old Roman-style bridge built high above the water. This unusual architectural feature makes it one of the most interesting beaches in the Algarve. It’s particularly popular amongst young people, many of whom you can find catching a photo of the infamous arch for their Instagram feed!
Praia do Camilo
Praia do Camilo is everything you imagine a Portuguese beach to be. With 225 wooden steps snaking down to the soft sand and towering rock formations erupting from the ground, this is the beach of brochures and travel guides. It’s also a highly popular spot to watch the sunrise and, if you can manage the early wake up call, you’ll be rewarded with views of dawn breaking over the ocean horizon.
Upon first glance, Meia Praia might not seem as exciting as the other beaches on this list. Without any interesting coastline or secret cave tunnels, you could be forgiven for thinking it was the same as any other European beach. What it lacks in character though, it more than makes up for in space and soft sand. Stretching about 4.5km, it’s one of the longest beaches in the Algarve, meaning it’s never overcrowded and you can always find a spot to catch some sunshine. If all you’re looking for is a guaranteed spot on some seriously soft sand, then look no further than Meia Praia.
Ponte da Piedade
Though more of a cove than a beach, Ponte da Piedade definitely deserves its spot on this list. The headland here is particularly dramatic, with pillars and arches abound. Watching the turquoise waters crash against the towering rock formations is a great way to spend the afternoon, that is, if you can bring yourself to make your way down the many steps that lead to the waters edge. If you go to watch the sunrise at Praia do Camilo, I’d highly recommend walking up to Ponte da Piedade afterwards, which you’ll find lit up with golden light. When planning your visit here however, bear in mind that swimming is not permitted during the summer, due to the many boat trips and tours that pass through the waters.