If you search just the word ‘Lagos’ on Google, chances are first search might be about the Lagos city in Nigeria. This is obvious as Lagos is largest city of Nigeria. But here we are going to talk about small town in Algarve region of Portugal. Small but amazingly beautiful and laid back! Ohh, we entered Lagos in July. It was hot!! General vibe of the town is everything beachy, may be also because as we start walking from the train station towards the center of the town, we could already see water, bridges, small private boats and also boat tour companies. Also surprising for me were hibiscus plants in full bloom along the footpaths. While living in Europe, one comes across lot of new varieties of flower plants which are used to decorate the city, but ‘hibiscus’ was such a ‘Indian’ thing. I guess the weather is suitable for it to thrive and survive.
As mentioned in my earlier blog about planning a Portugal trip, we were in Lagos for two days. In this blog, I would like to highlight all the places that we visited which are located in and around Lagos. This will be your complete guide to everything needed to be seen along the western coastline of Algarve region. So here we go!
Nine places covered in this blog are as follows, click on the places that you prefer to read first
- Praia da Batata, Student Beach and Pinhao Beach
- Praia Dona Ana
- Sagres Fortress and beach
- Cape de Vincent
- Praia de Beliche
- Fort of Santo António de Belixe
- Ponta da Piedade
- Benagil Caves and Praia de Benagil Beach
- Algar Seco
Praia da Batata, Student Beach and Pinhao Beach
First of all ‘Batata’ means ‘Potato‘ in Portuguese as it does in Marathi language. Not sure why they call that, nevertheless, it’s difficult to miss this one as it is the one from where a string of beaches starts. We entered this one to find out how cold was the water by 5:30 in the evening and were pleasantly surprised. It was good enough to swim for a while.
We moved on from this beach and walked along the coast. Next in line was Student beach which we crossed over by road and then took the hilly terrain of climbing only to glance over the Pinhao Beach. Of course, we took innumerable pictures from the cliffs. What I am trying to say is, basically at some point you leave the walking road and find a side way to walk on the cliffs thus passing two beaches over the cliffs and finally reach the much celebrated Dona Ana!
Why to do this: You have just entered Lagos and you are amazed by those rocky yellow cliffs, turquoise blue waters and long sandy beaches.
What to remember: These are closest to the old town hence easily accessible, hence crowded. Further you walk, secluded will be the beaches, lesser people and more chances of enjoying the waves alone. Keep walking and secure a nice place as soon as you can on the beach. Shadow means cold winds in the evening and sitting directly in sun means super tan. Find the right time and spot!
Praia Dona Ana
I guess it is one of the longest beach on this belt, as well as highly touristy with a huge hotel making this beach as their base. Nevertheless, we decided to hike down from the cliffs (don’t do this with elderly adults or kids, find the proper steps) as the sun would set in a while and my husband needed to swim! So, Dona Ana has super pretty views of the golden yellow cliffs situated inside the water which make pretty visuals for the pictures. We walked to our hostel after sunset and did some shopping at the Marina.
Why to do this: Long beach hence enough space for the entire family to relax spaciously, play games, run around, take a swim , click pretty pictures, find something to eat and relax!!!
What to remember: Sun sets behind the beach hence mornings on the beach must be super bright and sunny and evenings will be super cold as soon as the sun sets. Road back is a bit tricky to locate on google maps as one crosses the hotel area, not impossible.
Sagres Fortress and beach
As mentioned in my Portugal trip planning blog post, we had booked a car for three days. We secured the car and drove down to Sagres. First stop on the west side of Lagos.
Sagres is a municipality on the westernmost top of this coast line. We drove till the entrance of the fortress. It is utterly beautiful with a long beach and has stunning visuals. The fort itself has very less to see though the views surrounding are beautiful photo points.
Why to do this: For the views, blue waters and winds!!!
What to remember: Windy! Be ready with selfie sticks, sturdy camera stands, help from fellow tourists to click pictures.
Cape de Vincent
Next stop in our drive was Cape de Vincent or The Cabo de Sao Vincente. It is the southwesternmost tip of Portugal and mainland Europe. It is not necessarily picturesque but the waves crashing the 75mt cliffs are astounding. At the end is the red color lighthouse and a museum. Second stop on the west side of Lagos. Even though we visited in afternoon, people have recommended visiting the place in evening to view the sunset beyond the lighthouse.
Why to do this: To declare you have been to some corner of the world. Beyond which was beautiful Atlantic ocean and nothing else!
What to remember: Don’t be adventurous, be careful with little ones, elderly. Wear good footwear as there are no defined roads to reach the edges of the cliffs for such photos.
Praia de Beliche
I am glad we made a stop on this beach!! Sand so fine that when the winds blew the sands, it literally pricked on the skin. Out of all the beaches that I visited in 2 days, this was my favorite. It took effort to leave the beach and get back on the road. 3rd Stop on the west side of Lagos.
Why to do this: Huge beach, white sands, turquoise waters and not so crowded! Sandy rocks in the background add an extra texture to the scene.
What to remember: Sun screen, hats, glasses and water! Life is good 🙂
Fort of Santo António de Belixe
Also knows as the Forst of Beliche. Well, this fortress was not a planned stop of the road, yet weirdly calming. Almost deserted, there is not much to see but the blue to turquoise colored waters and some unique photo clicking opportunities! Last stop on the west side of Lagos.
Why to do this: Because it’s on your way towards Lagos! Unique, different.. huge
What to remember: Click pictures with variety of backgrounds!
Ponta da Piedade
After exploring four locations (see above) on the west of Lagos, we returned to Lagos to explore the most coveted location of Lagos – ‘Ponta da Piedade’. It is a magnificent location with unique formations of tunnels and caves in huge yellow cliffs. These formations are a result of years of badgering by winds and tides of water. We explored Ponta da Piedade both by foot as well by the boat ride and will recommend both. Sunset at Ponta da Piedade creates stunning visuals. By foot, one need to walk a lot, but again there is fun in hiking. We reached the location by car, there is a parking lot, closed lighthouse in the vicinity.
Unusual yet adventurous ways of reaching Ponta da Piedade would be Stand up paddles and by kayaking in a double seater or a single seater boats.
Boat ride takes you inside each and every tunnel, impossible looking caves to show you unbelievable turquoise waters and rock formations. We took the boat ride from the Marina. Reach early, look in hurry, haggle to reduce the price. We were lucky to get a boat all by ourselves. We had a incredible time in boat passing through the rocky caves and impossible looking tunnels. You can find our complete experience in the YouTube link below.
Why to do this: It is as famous as the Benagil caves also because one needs to be amazed by nature and truly appreciate it.
What to remember: No matter which way you decide to reach this place, it is a must visit when in Lagos. Parking space runs out in summers, be careful to find your spot. There are many tours available from the Lagos Marina if you want to explore by boat, kayak or stand up paddle.
Benagil Caves and Praia de Benagil Beach
One of the crucial and most important spots to visit in Algarve region is Benagil Caves and Praia de Benagil Beach! It is the first spot that I highly recommend on the east side of Lagos. We reached here by car though I am sure it can be approached by buses. Please reserve time to do this one. Be sure that you reach early morning so that you easily get a seat on a boat ride to explore the caves more so important for reserving a place on Kayaks. I have written in detail about our experience here in this separate blog – Benagil Cave story. Basically my husband did solo kayaking to the cave while I took the front seat on boat ride.
Why to do this: For the sheer experience to explore the caves and beach which are available only during low tides. One can get down on the beach inside the cave if you have the guts to swim the Atlantic ocean or kayak in the waters. For the rest of us, boat rides work great!
What to remember: Enjoy the grottos, caves and secluded beaches if you take the boat ride around Benagil caves. If you are kayaking, you can barely take a mobile phone with you. Everything else will be way too much! Don’t carry too many bags, no place to store/ secure your belongings when you are out exploring the caves. Parking lots are far off from the caves and beach.
Algar Seco is the second spot on the east side of Lagos that I will highly recommend around Lagos. The Algar Seco are rock formations that have been carved out of the limestone bedrock due to ocean waves erosion. This has lead to variety of grottoes, caves and water-spouts. It is situated near the town of Carvoeiro and we also walked the Carvoeiro boardwalk which offers stunning visuals of the coastline.
Why to do this: To appreciate nature, try to spot dolphins, climb on limestone and take pictures in weird caves.
What to remember: Super super hot, wear good shoes!
Congratulations if you have reached the end of this blog!!! It was one of my longest blog post. Hope you find this blog helpful when exploring Lagos and surrounding areas of Lagos. I have posted only handful pictures from this trip. There are so many more , but I am updating them on my Instagram. Follow me on @eatclicktravelrepeat. Happy exploring !!!