Ponta da Piedade, Lagos – Complete Guide

Ponta da Piedade is a natural wonder in the coastal town of Lagos, Portugal. These impressive rock formations line the coast and have, over thousands of years, formed hidden caves, grottoes and sea arches.

Head out onto the cliff tops and look out onto the Atlantic Ocean or sail out onto the water itself and explore the caves and grottoes by sea.

This complete guide to Ponta da Piedade will give you all the information you’ll need including how to get there, pricing and the best ways to see the cliffs.

Want more information on Lagos? Check out my ultimate Lagos guide!

Contents – Ponta da Piedade Guide


What Is Ponta da Piedade:

Photo by KOBU Agency on Unsplash

It is a headland formed by rock formations that run along the coastline of Lagos, formed over thousands of years. The rocks are yellow/golden in colour and some reach up to 20 metres high. They are one of the Algarve’s most popular tourist attractions.

The rock formations have formed caves, grottoes and sea arches that can be explored by boat. Many of the rock formations have been given nicknames over the years, including the camel, the titanic, the elephant and the kissing couple!

There isn’t much at the headland apart from a lighthouse, car park and a restaurant.

The best part of the cliffs is located on the eastern side of the lighthouse. This is also where you’ll find a long staircase which leads down the cliff face to the coves. From sea level, you get an impressive view of the cliffs and can easily hop onto a boat to explore the caves themselves.

Warning: don’t venture too close to the edge as the cliffs can be unstable.

For more ideas, check out my guide on the top things to do in Lagos.

Visiting Ponta da Piedade by Land

One way to visit Ponta da Piedade is by land. You can explore the cliffs from above via the many footpaths that navigate across the cliff tops. From up here, you get an unforgettable view of the coastline. You can see all the way to Sagres in the west and Carvoeiro in the east. It’s even better at sunset!

A set of stairs leads down the cliff face, allowing you to see one of Ponta da Piedade’s beautiful coves, without having to get out onto the water. There is nowhere to go from here, so you will have to either climb back up the staircase or take a boat. The staircase is quite long – 182 steps!

The best route would be to start at the lighthouse and walk back towards the town of Lagos. You’ll get stunning views of the ocean and of the beautiful beaches/coves from above. 

The Boardwalk

For young children and people with limited mobility, there is a wooden boardwalk upon the clifftops. This is really safe and away from the edge so perfect for kids. There are also no steps so it is suitable for people in a wheelchair.

It extends across the clifftops from the lighthouse, heading westward towards Praia do Barranco do Martinho and even further to Praia do Canavial and Praia de Porto de Mós. This boardwalk follows the coastline and there are several viewpoints along the way. 

Visiting Ponta da Piedade by Sea

Photo by Olga Guryanova on Unsplash

Another incredible way to visit Ponta da Piedade is via sea! You can join a boat tour or if you’re feeling more adventurous you can hire a kayak or a stand up paddleboard.

This allows you to navigate through the cliffs and explore the hidden coves, grottoes and beaches! Many of these tours have snorkelling stops or stop by at a hidden beach.

Kayak & Stand Up Paddleboard Tours

The kayak and stand up paddleboard tours are a lot more active than a boat tour but can be really fun! You’ll head out in a group with an experienced tour guide who will show you where the coves/grottoes are hidden. It’s a memorable and exciting way to explore 2km of the Algarve coastline.

These tours tend to last between 2 and 2.5 hours. You’ll often stop off at one of the beaches half way through for a rest and usually a support boat will pull you back at the end.

For a kayak tour, prices are around €30. The stand up paddleboard tours cost slightly more, costing around €35.

The main upside to the kayak/paddleboard tour is that you can often go into smaller caves that the boats can’t enter as they’re too big.

There are also some beaches that are only accessible by sea! One of these beaches is Praia da Balança so taking one of these tours means you will be one of the very few people to ever visit this beach!

The kayak and stand up paddleboard tours depart from the Praia da Batata beach which is right next to the Forte da Ponta da Bandeira. This is right next to the old town so you don’t need to travel all the way to Ponta da Piedade to take one of these tours.

You can either book a ticket online or you can head down to the Praia da Batata beach and book yourself onto a tour.

Boat Tours

Boat tours are a relaxing way to see the caves and grottoes of Ponta da Piedade. There is no hard work involved, you can just sit back and relax whilst cruising around the impressive coastline. These tours will always have a guide who will narrate the journey, ensuring you don’t miss anything.

There are many different places where you can join a boat tour. 

You can join a tour from the marina or from the main town of Lagos – this would prevent you having to travel to Ponta da Piedade by land. Many tour operators have set up stalls by the marina and by the Forte da Ponta da Bandeira (the fort) close to the old town. I’d suggest heading down here to book a ticket or you can book onto a tour online. 

Prices for a boat tour start at around €20 per person. 

Alternatively, you can join a boat tour at Ponta da Piedade. There is a long staircase by the lighthouse that leads down to the sea. From here, you can easily jump onto a small boat tour and explore the caves. These tend to be shorter length tours.

How To Get To Ponta da Piedade

If you’re wondering how to get to Ponta da Piedade then you have a few options. To get there, you can take a taxi/drive or walk. During peak tourist season, there is also a tourist train that you can catch. There is no bus service.

Not staying in Lagos? I have guides on how to get to Lagos from Faro Airport, from Lisbon or from Porto.

Car

This is definitely the easiest way to get to Ponta da Piedade. There is a car park so if you have a hire car you can park here whilst exploring the headland. Parking is free however it does fill up quickly especially in the summer so it is best to arrive early. Alternatively, you can take a taxi or Uber to the headland. If you’re staying in the main town of Lagos, this will only cost you around €6.

Walk

The walk will take around 40 minutes (2.5km) from Lagos town centre. If you’re up to walking, it is a beautiful walk as you’ll pass some of Lagos’s most famous sites including Praia do Camilo and Praia Dona Ana. It can be a tough walk in the heat so make sure you bring plenty of water.

Tourist Train

During the peak summer months, a tourist train runs from the main town of Lagos to Ponta da Piedade. You can catch it from the marina or from the Avenida dos Descobrimentos. There are 11 departures per day running from 9.45am – 10pm and costing just €3.50 per ticket. Check the timetable here on their website. The train carries up to 56 people and does have 4 spots for wheelchairs.


Thanks for reading this complete guide on Ponta da Piedade in Lagos, Portugal.

For more information on Lagos, check out my ultimate Lagos guide for information on where to stay, where to eat and things to do!

This natural wonder is a must see when visiting the Algarve, whether you walk along the trails upon the cliff tops or paddle against the waves and explore the caves by sea, you’ll have an amazing time.

Happy Travels!

 

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