Location: Lagos, encompassing the coastline between Praia Dona Ana and Praia da Luz; Lagos municipality; GPS Coordinates : 37° 5′ 28.5668″ N / 8° 40′ 11.1796″ W (start); 37° 5′ 14.0954″ N / 8° 43′ 32.6065″ W (finish); Grade: moderate/medium difficulty; some stretches can be more difficult for elderly or very young visitors; Type: linear trail (out and back); this trail is signposted; Length: 10.5 kilometers/ 6.52 miles (one way); Average Completion Time: up to 4-6 hours; Best Time to Visit: all year round; may not be advisable on hot, stormy or windy days; Activities: nature walks and hikes; birdwatching; swimming in summer; other water sports
1. Dona Ana Beach: At the beginning of the trail, you will cover a good portion of the route on comfortable wooden walkways with various scenic viewpoints. The hike starts in the vicinity of Dona Ana Beach, a place renowned for its golden sands, azure waters, and prominent limestone cliffs. Rich in marine life, this beach is a popular spot for snorkeling enthusiasts, with underwater habitats supporting species like the Conger Eel or the colorful Mediterranean Rainbow Wrasse (depicted below). It’s a pity that the 60’s buildings near the beach somewhat spoil the scenery.
2. Camilo Beach: If you’re feeling energetic, descend the wooden staircase to Camilo Beach (image below) and uncover one of the Algarve’s most beloved coves. Surrounded by ochre cliffs and rich vegetation, this enchanting place features crystal-clear waters teeming with marine life. Take the time to explore the nearby rock formations and look for the Algarve’s unique flora, like the Mastic Tree or the Dwarf Fan Palm (the only palm tree native to Europe).
3. Ponta da Piedade: Resembling a gigantic crumbling cake, Ponta da Piedade (main image on the top of the page) truly is a geological wonder. Here, you’ll find dramatic limestone formations and grottoes that were sculpted by the sea over the eons. Marvel at the impressive sea stacks, arches, and tunnels as you learn about the area’s rich maritime history. Don’t miss the opportunity to spot a variety of birds that call this rocky sanctuary home – depending on the season, you might be able to observe species like the Cattle Egret, Red-rumped Swallow, and Iberian Magpie.
4. Canavial Beach: Nestled between the cliffs, this is a secluded oasis that offers a peaceful respite from the more crowded beaches. Take a moment to relax and savor the serenity before continuing your journey along the Ponta da Piedade Trail, and keep an eye out for other bird species, such as the Sardinian Warbler and Blue Rock Thrush. Please note that this beach is narrow and should only be visited during low tide. Given the real chance of landslides or falling rocks, it is recommended to maintain a safe distance from the cliff faces.
5. Porto de Mós Beach: Admire the sheer rock faces encircling Porto de Mós as you climb the last major slope along the trail. Composed of layers of marl, claystone, sandstone, and limestone, the enormous cliffs tell the geological story of the Algarve over the last 120 million years. Embedded in the older layers of limestone, you’ll be able to see fossils of small, long-extinct marine creatures.
6. Rocha Negra: Dark and menacing, Rocha Negra (‘Black Rock’) was formed by lava from a volcano that erupted 70 million years ago during the Cretaceous period. Here, you will find a large viewpoint that offers splendid panoramic views encompassing the entire rocky coastline from the Lagos Lighthouse to the distant village of Sagres. The majesty of the scenery, the sea breeze, and the endless horizon will make you feel truly alive and present in the moment.
7. Praia da Luz: You need to be careful when descending (or ascending) the slope at Praia da Luz. This final segment of the Ponta da Piedade Trail is a bit steep and somewhat winding. The descent begins at a large geodetic marker. Praia da Luz was a major fishing center between the 13th and 16th century. Today, it is a small but cosmopolitan village where the pristine sands and calm waters provide a fitting end to your hike. After such a beautiful walk, take the opportunity to savor a refreshing drink at one of the many bars available to you. Enjoy!
Naturally, this linear trail can be walked in either direction. Sturdy footwear is necessary for a comfortable walk, as the route is a bit steep and rough in a few places. Visitors should also keep a safe distance from the cliffs’ edges at all times (most notably when accompanied by children). In summer, do not forget a hat and sunscreen, and always carry enough water with you. You will not find shaded spots along the way.
There are a number of different access points – at Porto de Mós Beach, for example – that allow a phased visit to each of the segments of the walk. Food and drinks are available in Lagos, Porto de Mós and Praia da Luz. You can retrace your steps back to the origin, but taxis are not too expensive (at the most, you should pay about €15 to get back to Lagos).
There is also a regular daily bus service between Praia da Luz and Lagos (Number 4, Yellow Line). Depending on the distance to be covered, a ticket only costs €2 – €4 (pay in cash to the bus driver). You can take this bus at Igreja Sra. da Luz (a church located near the beach at Praia da Luz: please check the map). Buses depart every 30 minutes or so, and the ride between Lagos and Praia da Luz also takes about 30 minutes. Have fun!