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The Ponta da Piedade, Lagos
The western Algarve comprises of vast sandy beaches and towering cliffs, many of which have been eroded and shaped by the powerful seas that batter the coastline. Along this fascinating coastline, the Ponta da Piedade is considered as the finest natural feature, with the cliffs of the headland carved into rock pillars, natural tunnels and hidden grottos. These golden sandstone cliffs of misshaped angles stand at stark contrast to the deep turquoises and greens of the sea waters, and the entire region is best described as simply stunning.
The Ponta da Piedade coastline, near Lagos
There are coastal paths that cross the cliffs, but the best method to explore the Ponta da Piedade headland is to join one of the boat tours that can navigate through the maze of unique rock formations and sea caves. The Ponta da Piedade makes for an enjoyable half-day excursion from Lagos, and hiring a fishing boat to discover the cliffs is a truly wonderful experience.
Ponta da Piedade Boat Trips
The top or base of the cliffs will only ever provide a limited view of the Ponta da Piedade, a much better experience is to join a boat tour and view the headland from the water. There are numerous tour agencies who provide boat trips to the Ponta da Piedade and the majority depart from the marina in Lagos, while tickets can be purchased from the ticket sellers on the estuary promenade.
Ponta da Piedade
Prices and tours vary but typically costs are €15 for a 75-minute tour or €25 for a 120-minute tour; the actual price reflects the "novelty" of the boat or extras included in the tour, such as snorkelling. Our suggestion is to join a tour on a smaller boat as these can weave between the arches and caves. For visitors who walk or drive to the cliffs there are small boat tours that depart from the base of the cliffs and provide shorter length tours.
Kayak and Stand Up Paddle (SUP) boards tours
For the more adventurous there are kayak and stand up paddle (SUP) board guided tours. These have the advantage of exploring more of the coastline in a friendly small group setting, but have the safety and knowledge of an experienced guide. Depending on the tour there can be the opportunity to snorkel in the clear sea waters. Both types of tour depart from Batata beach and paddle along the 2km coastline to the Ponta da Piedade, which typically last 2.5 hours.
Lagos lighthouse on the Ponta da Piedade headland
Stand up paddle boards are a relatively new sight to the waters surrounding the Ponta da Piedade cliffs. These boards are wide and very stable and suitable for beginners who may have considered the kayak guided tours. The kayak tours cost €30 while the SUP tours are slightly more expensive at €35.
For all tours always remember to wear a strong sun cream as the summer sun is very intense. During the low or off season always check weather conditions as the waves and winds can be strong.
Ponta da Piedade Tourist Information
The Ponta da Piedade (Mercy Point) lies 3km to the south of Lagos and is at the southerly end of Lagos bay. There is a single road to the headland, which passes the Dona Ana and Camilo beaches and ends at the lighthouse, where there is a large car park. Reaching the base of the cliff requires a climb down (and up) a flight of 182 steps, so the less agile should consider hiring a boat directly from Lagos.
The arches of the Ponta da Piedade
The lighthouse itself is closed to the public, but there is a snack bar and a couple of souvenir shops for minor refreshments. The beach at Ponta da Piedade is very small and there are much better bathing/relaxing beaches in the Lagos area, such as the Praia da Dona Ana. The main attraction of the Ponta da Piedade are the cliffs and rock formations.
A rainbow above the Ponta da Piedade cliffs
The Ponta da Piedade headland is considered as the best locations in the western Algarve to view the sunset. The sunsets here are beautiful, with the sun dropping behind the high cliffs of Sagres to the west and the massive expanse of the ocean. On clear days, there are good views along the coastline to Carvoeiro.
Nature at the Ponta da Piedade
Many visitors simply visit the Ponta da Piedade for the stunning cliffs, but there is a diverse selection of wildlife in the region. During the spring months, the cliffs are alive with nesting herons and flowers blossom from January until late spring with an abundance of wild figs.