If you ask me to recommend the best beach destination in Europe, I’d say Portugal. It has everything that I think makes a beach destination perfect. Want to know why?
One of the things I love about the beaches of Lagos is the stunning backdrop of rock formations. Not just in Lagos but the entire Algarve region. Because of the rocky cliffs, the beaches of Lagos are spectacular.
Second, I like soft sandy beaches and not pebbly beaches so Lagos did not disappoint me. I was a little put off by the beaches of Italy and Croatia because most of them were pebbly.
The third reason why Lagos is the perfect beach destination for me is because of the temperature. It was warm but not burning hot.
I dislike beach destinations where there’s overdevelopment next to the beaches, so this is the fourth reason why Lagos won me over. Yes, Lagos is a busy destination but the busy part is just one section. The beaches are mostly free from too much development.
The fifth reason why I loved Lagos was that I have a thing for viewpoints. Lagos had so many viewpoint possibilities because of the cliffs and hiking trails. I love to hike so it was a lovely experience!
Now I can go on and on about many things like the perfect food, affordability, the relaxed vibe, and whatnot, but I will leave it for another post.
I spent a week in Lagos and visited every single beach. Correction – I tried to visit every single beach, but some were only possible to reach via water or caves! I realized that the most hard-to-reach beaches weren’t the best ones and some of the best beaches in Lagos were pretty easy to reach.
Yes, it takes a lot of time and effort to find the right place to stay or book the right tours or experiences. If you are going to visit Lagos, I have got you covered with my recommendations so that you wouldn’t have to look any further.
Where to stay in Lagos?
- B22 – Rising Sun 2 Bed Flat – Ideally suited for families and couples who are looking for an apartment with a view. I’d book this in a heartbeat if I was visiting with my husband and my little girl.
- Lemon Tree Relaxing Guest House – Peaceful Place with a garden and a shared kitchen.
- Safari Beach Guest House – Affordable private rooms and dorm beds in a quiet residential area
Must do tours in Lagos
- Boat Cruise to Ponta da Piedade – Cruise around the rocky arches and pass through some idyllic beaches.
- Algarve Golden Coast Cruise – Boat tour that includes Swim, snorkel, or paddleboard options.
- Guided Kayak Tour – Explore the coast on a Kayak. Visit caves, see sandy beaches, and enjoy a swim in the crystal clear waters.
- Kayaking and Boat Cave Explorer Tour – Explore beaches that can only be visited on kayaks.
If you are traveling with small children, then you may want to pick a boat tour with swimming or snorkeling options. For solo travelers, couples or friends, I recommend the kayaking tours.
Top 10 Beaches in Lagos
1) Praia do Camilo
No one reads travel brochures any more thanks to the internet, but if there’s ONE beach that’s featured in most of the travel articles about Lagos, it definitely has to be Praia do Camilo. It definitely is the best beach in Lagos.
While I was in Lagos, I hiked to Ponta da Piedade at least once every day and passed by Camilo Beach. I didn’t like how the entry area was jampacked with parked cars with a high-end restaurant at the top of the cliff. “Not my scene”, is what I thought to myself.
But towards the end of my stay, I decided to wake up early and finally visit Praia do Camilo and climbed down close to a thousand steps to reach the base of the cliff to the beach. I then realized that it was actually the prettiest beach in Lagos.
Praia do Camilo has stunning rock formations all around, a few arches, and turquoise blue water. There are two parks on this beach that are divided by rocks. It even has a cave tunnel, where you can walk and reach from one beach to another.
I must have spent close to half an hour swimming here. The water was very cold because of the Atlantic Ocean, so only the first 2-3 minutes are hard but if you stay on then it is worth it. The clarity of the water was mindblowing and I could also see pools of fish swimming by my feet!
Now keep in mind that Praia do Camilo is small, much smaller than other beaches of Lagos. Due to its stunning beauty, it gets busy pretty soon, so do what I did and arrive here early.
I wasn’t here too early either, I just had a quick breakfast and arrived here by 9:30 and saw I was one of the first 4 people on the beach. It was just me, a mother-daughter duo, and a naked guy practicing Yoga at the other end of the beach.
Remember – you have to climb down a thousand steps to reach Praia do Camilo, so be prepared! The view of the beach from the steps is actually quite nice, so make the most of it and click photos.
2) Praia de Dona Ana
Dona Ana Beach is perhaps the most popular beach in Lagos and it is worth the hype. It is easy to reach (no 1000 steps like Camilo), and is big so doesn’t feel so crowded.
Dona Ana Beach has typical Algarve-style rock formations right on the beach, so the pictures come out very pretty. Because the rock formations are on the beach itself, they also provide some shaded spots for those who have sensitive skin.
Talking about pictures, the best ones are when you hike to Dona Ana from the nearby Praia do Pinhão beach. The hike isn’t steep at all and is easy. You can also climb to Dona Ana from Praia do Camilo, the views are better especially close to and after the sunset.
It is super easy to reach Dona Ana by public transport because there’s a bus stop right next to the entry point of the beach. There are a few restaurants and bars too!
I did say Dona Ana Beach gets crowded but it gets shockingly empty close to 5 pm. Maybe that’s because most of the families go back home to wash up and get ready for dinner since the restaurants open up by 6 pm.
The above picture was clicked after 5 pm from the parking area – look the beach is completely empty! It is definitely one of the best beaches of Lagos!
Dona Ana Beach is like the main beach of Lagos, it is big, highly visited, and shouldn’t be missed just because it is popular among not just travelers but also the locals. The popularity is well deserved.
3) Praia do Canavial
Canavial Beach isn’t easy to reach because there’s no path that goes to it. Google Maps will throw you off. You have to hike to reach this beach, so only do this if you are comfortable.
So how to reach Praia do Canavial? Get on the same hiking path that goes to Ponta da Piedade. It goes to Canavial Beach too but you have to get off the path at some point. Follow the path to the viewpoint called “Miradouro da Praia do Canavial” which looks over the Canavial beach.
After the viewpoint, you have to go along the hiking path but not on it, then a small white house kind of thing comes and right after that you have to go under the fence and towards the direction of the beach, you will then see a small hiking trail that approaches the Canavial beach.
Sounds easy? Perhaps not. But I don’t know how I found it. It was just by chance because I hiked in this area every day for 7 days.
I did ask a couple of people the directions for the Canavial beach, but no one had any idea. But just then I met a girl who was coming back from the Canavial beach and she told me the way, and she told me that she looked every day and she finally found the way.
Praia do Canavial is big. It felt bigger than Camilo Beach and it had just 10-15 people. The typical Algarvian rock formations aren’t directly on the beach but form an interesting backdrop.
Because of the nice rocky backdrop, the hard-to-reach factor, and the peaceful vibe, for me Praia do Canavial is surely one of the best beaches of Lagos.
I didn’t click more photos than what I’m posting here because some people were naked, and I didn’t want to invade their privacy. I love free-body culture, which in German is called Freikörperkultur or simply FKK. So, if you are with small children, if you don’t like Free Body Culture, or don’t want to hike, then this beach isn’t for you.
4) Praia de Porto Mós
Porto Mós is a long sandy beach that stretches for easily a kilometer or two. There’s a backdrop of warm-colored rocks that sometimes appear orangeish or yellowish with layers of different hues.
Guess what, a local told me to visit Porto Mós and I loved it. It was definitely a good experience because it was easy and relaxing.
Porto Mós Beach is a little outside Lagos City but the buses go directly to the beach. You can get on this bus from many parts of Lagos, including Dona Ana Beach.
I can kick myself for not clicking landscape pictures on Porto Mós beach. I only made Instagram stories and clicked a few portrait images.
There are two campgrounds that are close to Porto Mós beach – Turiscampo Camping & Bungalow Park and Orbitur Camping Park – Valverde. I did already publish an itinerary for the Algarve road trip, and if you do it then you can park your car in the above-mentioned campgrounds.
Unlike the beach I recommended just above, Porto Mos Beach is pretty family-friendly. The fact that this is easy to reach with the car and has long sandy patches helps. The water is nice and the swimming experience was pleasant. For family travelers, Porto Mós is surely one of the best beaches in Lagos.
Just like the Dona Ana beach, Porto Mós got very empty after 5 pm since most of the families started to pack up and leave for dinner. If you have a car and would like to explore the beaches of Lagos without crowds, then visit Porto Mós beach after 6 pm.
Also, if you are looking to photograph a typical Algavian beach with rock formations, this isn’t one of them They do however create a lovely backdrop, just like the above-mentioned Praia do Canavial. Unlike Camilo or Dona Ana beaches where there are small rock formations right on the beach too.
5) Meia Pria
Meia Pria is a perfectly crescent-shaped beach that’s massive. It is so big that it can hold an entire small village on it. Meia Pria stretches for 4.5 kilometers and is the longest beach in the Algarve.
There’s a train station that goes to the beach from Lagos City. When you arrive in Lagos via train from Faro, Meia Pria station comes before Lagos station, which will give you an idea of how big this beach really is.
Because Meia Pria is big, it never feels crowded. There are a few restaurants here in Meia Pria – Bahia Beach Bar, Gavioto Restaurant, and Palmares Beach Club.
Meia Pria doesn’t have rock formations right on the beach like Camilo Beach or Dona Ana or Batata, but there’s something special about visiting a beach that’s the longest one in the Algarve. Yes, so Meia Pria is definitely one of the best beaches of Lagos.
6) Praia dos Estudantes
Estudantes Beach is a super tiny one but is known for its Roman Bridge. It is actually a cove of the bigger Praia da Batata that’s nearby.
The only way to enter Praia dos Estudantes is through a rock tunnel that’s very close to Lagos city center. This little beach has scenic cliffs. Because of its small size and the Roman bridge, it photographs very well.
Depending on the time of the visit, Estudantes Beach can sometimes be full of seaweed leaving very little space for walking or swimming. This is the same problem I had faced with the nearby Praia do Pinhão, which was pretty but full of seaweed.
On the other hand, because of the smaller caves and arches, it can be a lot of fun to swim here if because you can see a lot.
7) Praia do Pinhão
Pinhão Beach is super tiny and can be reached by walking and hiking for just 2-3 minutes from the city center. In the end, you have to climb down around 70 steps to reach the beach. You can also hike from Dona Ana Beach to reach Pinhão Beach.
The time I visited, there were just 3 people here in total including me. I actually found two arches here because the ride was low so I had a lot of fun clicking some fun photos.
Just like the above-mentioned Estudantes Beach, Pinhão can also be sometimes full of seaweed which makes it difficult to swim or walk on the beach. But it all depends on the time of your visit.
I enjoyed my time at Pinhão because I could just walk and see the caves on my own, without doing any tour.
8) Praia da Batata
Batata Beach of Lagos is small and has cliffs on one side. It is a cute beach but the only reason why I haven’t ranked it higher is because of the pier on the left side which takes away the beauty.
Praia da Batata is near the Forte da Ponta da Bandeira, which is the old fortress of Lagos City. As you climb down to the beach, you will also see the Roman bridge of Estudantes Beach up ahead.
Praia da Batata also has a passage – an arch through the rocks that leads to a smaller cove, Estudantes Beach. Check that out too if you are here.
I have a thing for cocktails and I was happy to find that there is an affordable bar from where one can buy cocktails and drink on Batata Beach.
I had to include them because I want to be as true to my rating of beaches in Lagos as possible because I did make it a point to see every single one.
9) Praia da Balança
Praia da Balança is a stunning beach that I saw while I was hiking. I couldn’t find a way to this beach but after a while, I saw 4 kayaks pull up here.
Praia da Balança is the reason why you should do a kayaking trip in Lagos. Because Lagos has some hard-to-reach beaches and a kayak will take you to places where you normally won’t be able to go.
Praia da Balança is one of the beaches that one can see when they do Ponta da Piedade hike. But the hike has so many paths and viewpoint possibilities that not everyone will get to see them all. This is one of the beaches that I saw on my last day and I was literally crying that I didn’t see it sooner, because I would have surely found a way to go there.
So hike and enjoy the view of Praia da Balança. This hike isn’t tough and is ok for young and old. Though I wouldn’t take small children on this hike. I was happy to see a lot of older couples here. If you are more adventurous than normal people, you will find a way to reach the beach.
10) Praia do Barranco da Martinho
Praia do Barranco da Martinho is a hidden beach that I saw from up above every single day while I saw the sunset at Ponta da Piedade. Actually, the best sunset view is right at this spot that overlooks this beach because of the direction of the sun.
I did ask a lot of people in Lagos if they knew how to go, and just one of the locals told me that the way is via a cave but he wouldn’t recommend it because it is slippery. He himself wouldn’t do it.
I actually never saw people on this beach but I often sat here and imagined how it would be to be on this little beach that’s a perfect circle and is hidden except from top of the cliff.
I hope you enjoy my list of the top 10 beaches of Lagos, Portugal. I left my heart in the Algarve and it is one destination that I hope to revisit every single summer while I live in Europe.
PS: Drifter Planet contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we will earn a little commission at no extra cost to you. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.