Not gonna lie… Exploring around town was great and all, but Lagos beaches were what really sent me further down the Algarve coast of Southern Portugal. In researching this area, images of deep green sea water and otherworldly craggy orange cliffs constantly flashed up on the computer screen, and I was mesmerized.
I just knew that I had to get there and see these for myself. What helped this quest was that the hot weather I had experienced in Faro seemed to be traveling along with me, so some swimming time sounded just about perfect.
The most well known and also the largest among Lagos beaches, Meia Praia is a staple. Stretching into the horizon at almost 4km long, there’s plenty of sun soaked golden sand even when it’s at its most crowded.
Media Praia’s also only a 5-10 minute walk from the Marina in the center of town, so it’s super convenient to get to. Overall though this felt like a standard, albeit massive, beach that you can find in other parts of the world. Nothing particular unique here.
Praia da Batata
Also known as “the town beach” due to it being right off of the center of town, Praia da Batata offers a mix of open beach with smaller private coves that are accessed through tight man-made tunnels that have been drilled into the rocks.
These smaller private coves tended to fill-up quickly though, so best get there early to stake your claim!
Praia da Dona Ana
About a 20 minute walk South lies Praia da Dona Ana, the first of Lagos beaches along the cliffside . Unfortunately for me, there was some heavy construction going on, so the whole area was closed off preventing any beach access.
This spot does look gorgeous though and is completely hugged by cliffs.
Strangely enough, it’s also overlooked by this rather creepy old and crumbling massive hotel…
I left bummed out that I couldn’t go down and take a closer look, let alone hop into the water, but on I marched.
Praia do Camilo
Lucky for me, the next beach was only a quick 15 minute walk away, which was just enough time to warm back up and get me ready for that cool ocean water. The first thing you’ll notice is just how small, secluded, and just amazingly beautiful Praia do Camilo is.
Once you’ve made your way down the steep twisty staircase (just don’t think about the inevitable climb up…), you’ll be greeted by tall orange cliffs that hug the bay and create the perfect shelter on a breezy day.
You can plop down immediately here or, if you’d prefer a bit more privacy, you can go through the nearby rock tunnel to enter into a smaller separated cove.
Camilo was far and away my favorite of Lagos beaches – picturesque, never too crowded, and with the perfect balance of sun, shade, and wind protection. There’s even a delicious, albeit pricy, seafood restaurant at the top of the stairs (ugh, those stairs…) where you can grab a glass of local Algarve wine and watch the sun set as you overlook the North Atlantic Sea.
Praia dos Pinheiros
Finding Pinheiros ended up being a bit of a challenge for me. Or, more specifically, finding a stable, non-life threatening path down was what really proved to be difficult. From Praia do Camilo, numerous unmarked paths spiderweb their way along the cliffside.
No matter which way I went, it was really impossible to tell where exactly I was going to end up. However, each direction offered what seems like an almost endless supply of picture perfect views.
Eventually I was able to find Pinheiros, which looks nothing short of stunning. I had read that this beach can be accessed by climbing down some crude steps carved into the surrounding rock slopes, but for the life of me I just couldn’t find them. I checked around and followed down every nearby path. But nothing. Dejected, I made may way up to one of the nearby outlooks and took a quick snapshot of the mysterious Praia dos Pinheiros.
Funnily enough, as I was going through these pictures later that night, I noticed a small figure in the sand with the above image. As I zoomed in, it became clear that the figure was a fully naked man who was celebrating the fact that HE had found these secret steps with some full frontal sunbathing. You go dude.
Farol Ponta da Piedade
Not really one of Lagos beaches, but a lighthouse at the tip of the peninsula that marks the end of my beach crawl. The nearby restaurant is a bit more tourist focused and a connected shop sells the ubiquitous “I heart Portugal” merchandise. All of this to say that you probably don’t want to hang around here too long, though there are a few vendors offering grotto tours.
After all of this exploring of the beaches in Lagos, I was absolutely pooped. This being my last day in the area, I was leaving on a high note with a nice sunburn as a takeaway souvenir.
With just enough time to run home and pack up all of my belongings, I made my way back down to the train station – exactly where I started out almost a week ago. With a one-way ticket to Lisbon in hand, I boarded a graffitied up old train, making sure to grab a window seat so that I could see the sweet beach town of Lagos slowly fade into the distance.