Ponta da Piedade is simply one of the most extraordinary places in the Algarve. Rocks carved by the wind and tides for thousands of years form caves and tunnels in an incredibly beautiful spot. In that corner of Lagos, the sea is incredibly transparent, which, together with the ravishing cliffs, makes the landscape a true wonder of nature.
Situated in Lagos, Ponta da Piedade is certainly one of the Algarve’s best caves with a reputation that rivals that of Benagil Cave.
Ponta da Piedade at the end of the afternoon acquires a unique beauty, which led many to describe it’s sunset as the most beautiful in the world. Towards the end of the day, when the sun’s rays strike in an almost parallel way to the ocean, the sea is covered with shining tones that flood us with absolute serenity. The caves acquire golden tones and nature presents itself as an enormous treasure.
In order to see the sunset we recommend that you are aboard a boat, since there is no sensation that matches the freedom of witnessing the end of the day while gently bouncing to the rhythm of the waves. A boat also offers you an unobstructed view of the ocean and the rock formations of Ponta da Piedade.
Another spot where you can see the sunset is in the bay of Ponta da Piedade (also known as Ponta da Piedade’s Beach).
A third alternative is to see the sunset on the top of one of the cliffs. The top of the cliffs offers the best view over the ocean, providing a tremendous spectacle at the moment the sea swallows the sun. However, from the top of the cliff it is difficult to contemplate the effect of the last rays of sun in the rock formations of Ponta da Piedade.
There are several types of boat trips that are offered from Lagos Marina which include a visit to Ponta da Piedade. Choose the tour that suits you best, since some tours include visits to other rock formations and other caves on the Algarve coast; some trip also include diving stops or snorkelling stops and others offer lunch or a barbecue on the beach.
If you are undecided about which is the best boat trip for you and your family, please contact Algarve Fun where a team of experienced professionals will be happy to assist you with any questions you may have.
How to get to Ponta da Piedade
In addition to the options of renting a Stand Up Paddle (SUP) or a kayak at Barranco do Martilho’s Beach or boarding a boat with a route passing through Ponta da Piedade, it is possible to reach the place by car or on foot.
To get to Ponta da Piedade by car, it is necessary to drive along the road that crosses the beaches of Dona Ana and Camilo, and which leads to the lighthouse of Lagos.
Unfortunately the lighthouse is closed to the public, but at least it has several parking places around it, which are usually empty. However, during summer it may be difficult to find a parking spot, so we advise you to go there early in the day. Leaving the car, all you have to do is to climb down the 128 steps that take you to one of the bays of Ponta da Piedade (sometimes also referred to as Ponta da Piedade’s Beach).
Hiking in Ponta da Piedade
It is also possible to walk from the centre of Lagos to Ponta da Piedade. The path is about 2.5 km long and takes 35 to 40 minutes. This beautiful course will also give you the opportunity to get to know Batata Beach, Dona Ana Beach and Camilo Beach.
We recommend that you carry with you hiking boots, a cap, sunscreen and water, since the Algarvian sun can be merciless. The course is quite safe, and it is even used by cyclists, but it can be tiring. The path is well signposted, not requiring that you purchase a map.
Kayaking at Ponta da Piedade
As previously mentioned, it is possible to take a kayak tour at Barranco do Martilho’s Beach, which will allow you to roam leisurely to the area of Ponta da Piedade. The kayak also offers a flexibility that other means of transport, like a boat, do not provide. With the kayak, you can take as long as you want enjoying a particular rock formation, you can get as close as you want and you can even leave the kayak to explore a cave.
Can you swim there?
Although it is possible to swim there from Barranco do Martilho’s Beach (Praia do Barranco do Martilho), we advise against trying to do so because of the strong tides and currents that can drag you. In addition, it should be noted that Ponta da Piedade is not confined to a space with just a few meters as, on the contrary, it constitutes an extension of part of the coast of Lagos. So, the ideal would be to rent a Stand Up Paddle (SUP) or a kayak and paddle the coast that separate Barranco do Martilho’s Beach from Ponta da Piedade.
The restaurant Bar Sol Nascente, with a privileged view over Ponta da Piedade, is a friendly establishment where the fish still smells like the sea. This is also a great place to enjoy a beer or a glass of wine while watching the sun set behind the cliffs.
At 650 meters away, on Praia do Camilo, you can also find the restaurant O Camilo. With a breathtaking view of the sea, the restaurant’s menu is based mainly on fish dishes and shellfish.
Other nearby places to explore
Since you already are in the area, we recommend that you take the opportunity to visit the beautiful Camilo Beach. With white sand, transparent sea and yellow and orange rock formations, this small beach is a true paradise.
Take a swim in Dona Ana Beach as well, where the refreshing water will make you believe you are on an exotic island lost in the middle of the Pacific. This beach is usually visited by canoe and kayak excursions precisely because of its unique beauty.
And since you are in Lagos, why not also visit the Slave Market Museum? The Lagos Slave Market was the most important slave market in Europe in the 15th century. It was there that several of the slaves who were later sent to the rest of Europe entered.
The Discoveries Wax Museum, in the centre of the city, is also worth visiting. Over sixteen different panels, this interesting museum tells the key moments of Portuguese history that affected the Discoveries.
Finally, we also recommend that you do not miss the opportunity to visit Lagos Zoo, where, among other species, you can see the very rare and endangered Iberian Lynx.