Praia Dona Ana one of the best beaches in Lagos Portugal Travel Guide

Beaches in Lagos Portugal

I was blown away by the gorgeous beaches of Lagos, Portugal. Not only are they beautiful, their many sun-drenched, golden limestone cliffs turned them into an adventure!

Praia Dona Ana one of the best beaches in Lagos Portugal
Praia Dona Ana

Wanting some downtime, I headed south to Lagos (pronounced Lagosh) from Lisbon. I needed time to re-energize after a month volunteering as the yoga/fitness instructor at a refugee camp.

Even though I was exhausted, I surprised myself by immediately wanting to explore this stunning area. And I enjoyed it so much, I extended my stay…twice!

Cliff-Lined Beaches of Lagos Portugal

I love the ocean, but typical beaches often bore me fairly quickly. The coast of Lagos, however, is different, lined with stacks of weathered, limestone cliffs. They provide a picturesque backdrop for the crystal clear turquoise Mediterranean.

Plus, there are footpaths weaving along the cliff tops. Not only do they provide mesmerizing views, but they also allow you to easily choose which of the many secluded beaches you want to stop at. Or, you can wander down all the wooden staircases built into the cliffs and explore them one by one.

I’ve just listed a few of my favorite beaches of Lagos below, however, I suggest you visit Portugal and discover your own ;).

Praia Dona Ana Beach

Praia Dona Ana beach is the most famous and very popular. In fact, it was voted best beach in the world by Condé Nast Traveler magazine in 2013.

Praia Dona Ana one of the best beaches in Lagos Portugal Travel Guide
Praia Dona Ana Beach

The beach is wide, providing ample space and is a stunner. It also has amenities like a snack hut and chairs and umbrellas for rent.

This beach is located here, about a 7 minute drive, or 25 minute walk from central Lagos. There’s a parking area at the top and stairs for access, so you can drive or hike here. As this beach is popular, and easy to access, it gets crowded.

Praia dos Estudantes

I loved them all, but my absolute favorite beach was Praia dos Estudantes. It’s only about a 10-minute walk from metal Lagos. To get here, though, you need to go to Praia de Batata beach first.

Then look for a passageway carved through the cliffs on your right-hand side (when facing the ocean). The first passage leads you to a beautiful beach, but then you’ll find another, which takes you to Praia dos Estudantes.

The cliff formations here are stunning. The arch at the top (below) connects one of the cliffs to the mainland. At one time in history it was a walkway to a fort.

Praia Dos Estudantes one of best beaches in Lagos Portugal Travel Guide
Praia dos Estudantes

The beach area is small, but it’s a great spot. I came here several times and marveled at how the formations changed as the sun moved across them. As well as how the landscape changed as the tide rolled in and out.

Praia dos Estudantes beaches in Lagos Portugal
Passageway to Praia dos Estudantes

In fact, when the tide rises, the second passageway fills with water and some of the formations in the ocean become submerged. I’m not sure if you could get trapped there at high tide, but I walked out once with water above my knees! It’s possible you may have to swim out.

Praia dos Estudantes beaches in Lagos Portugal
Praia de Estudantes

Praia do Pinhao

A little further ahead, you’ll find Praia do Pinhao, about a 20-minute walk from central Lagos. This area has two beaches with a passageway between them.

Praia do Pinhao beaches in Lagos Portugal
Praia do Pinhao

Praia do Camilo

Another great beach to hike to Praia do Camilo. It’s a little further, about a 30 minute walk from central Lagos, but the cliffs make it really interesting. There are 200 wooden steps leading down to this beach.

Praia do Camilo beaches in Lagos Portugal
Praia do Camilo

At the bottom, you’ll find a hand-dug tunnel that passes to another small beach.

Praia do Camilo beaches in Lagos Portugal

Ponte de Piedade

My favorite non-beach area was Ponte de Piedade (below). Instead, this is a windswept nature preserve, overlooking the Mediterranean. Since this headland is at the most southern tip of Lagos, there are sweeping panoramas.

The undeveloped preserve is large, about 2-3 square miles. There is only a lighthouse and lots of boardwalk. The focus is on the nature preserve, the spectacular cliffs formations, and the sea.

To get a feel for the scale, zoom in on the photo above to see the lighthouse, which is also in the 2 photos below.

Boardwalks crisscross the headland, but you find yourself ducking under the railing and wandering to the cliffs edges for a better view.

Of course there are warning signs everywhere, as the landscape is constantly changing (eroding), especially near the edges, but it’s just too beautiful to resist. Do so, however, at your own risk.

Ponte de Piedade beaches in Lagos Portugal
Ponte de Piedade Cove

After you wander the headland area, you can descend the 180 steps to Ponte de Piedade Cove. Here, you can take boat tours around the formations and be awed by the towering cliffs above.

The cliffs at Ponte de Piedade are especially beautiful towards sunset as they take on golden and reddish hues.

Cliffs at Ponte de Piedade

And it’s a great place to catch the sunset.

Sunset on the beach in Lagos
Sunset at Ponte de Piedade

Overall, I was amazed with this area and can’t wait to go back. Not only is it gorgeous, and adventurous, but this Portuguese city is also completely charming. The locals are super friendly, the food is great, and it’s very safe.

Beaches of Lagos Portugal

If you have a chance to visit Portugal, make sure to stop in to explore the beautiful beaches of Lagos.

Other Must-See Locations In Portugal

The Algarve region is amazing, but there’s so much more to see in Portugal, with each city providing a different perspective on Portuguese culture, the landscape, and life.

A perfect day trip from Lagos is to visit the rustic cliffs of Sagres in the Western Algarve region. It’s about a 30 minute drive, or one hour bus ride west of Lagos.

Of course, no visit to Portugal is complete without a visit to Lisbon, full of charming old neighborhoods and hilltop vistas overlooking the Iberian Peninsula. And Porto, about 3-4 hours drive north of Lisbon, is lovely, with its charming UNESCO Ribeira district, azulejos tile art, and plenty of opportunities to try Portugal’s famous port wine.

Between Lisbon and Porto, there are several great day trip options, including Caiscais, Obidos, Aviero, and the Douro Valley, where Portugal’s port wine is grown and produced.

For an overview of all the highlights, how to get around, safety, scams, logistics, and more, see my Portugal Travel Guide.

Beaches of Lagos Portugal

If you’ve visited this area, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Hello! I resigned from a corporate career in product development to explore the world. Although my goal was to travel for a year, 8 years later, I’ve been honored to have explored more than 60 gorgeous countries and met some unbelievably amazing people. Our world truly is a beautiful place! Follow me into the gorgeous unknown by subscribing below. You’ll receive details on fabulous destinations, comprehensive travel guides, travel tips and tidbits, and information on travel trends, like experiential, sustainable, and transformational travel. Where is your next gorgeous unknown? Julie

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