Bo, co-founder of SeaBookings, went on a grotto boat tour in Lagos and shares her experience:
It was late February when we went to Lagos, Algarve, to visit my parents who live there. As my boyfriend had never seen the famous rock formations of Ponta da Piedade, we decided to join a grotto trip. The grotto trips in Lagos run all year round. In fact, each time has a year is special and unique as the light varies along the seasons.
Departure point of grotto trips in Lagos
Most grotto trips in Lagos depart from the modern Marina de Lagos. There are also grotto trips departing from Ponta da Piedade itself and from other locations, such as Praia da Luz. Personally, I really like departing from Marina de Lagos. Here, you have the chance to use the bathroom before and after the boat tour and also grab a coffee with a nice view.
When to do a grotto tour in Lagos
If you ask me what the best time of the day is to see the rock formations, it’s hard to answer. Some of the rocks are more illuminated by the sun in the morning, while others in the afternoon. I’d say going around midday is perfect, as the sun hits the water from above, creating a beautiful effect on the different shades of blue of the sea. However, if you’re planning to do this boat tour during the hot Summer months, you might prefer to do an early-morning trip (when there’s usually less wind), or enjoy a sunset boat tour.
Regarding the time of the year, I’d say these grotto trips in Lagos are marvellous at any season. In the summer it’s nice because the chances of a bright sun are higher. And also, if you choose the longer coastal trip, in Summer, you can enjoy a refreshing dip in the sea. On the other hand, in the low season, from October to April, these grotto trips are more special as the coastline of Lagos is less crowded with other boats and stand-up paddle and kayak tours. In February, we enjoyed a boat tour with virtually no other boats around, giving a more peaceful experience. The downside of the low season is surely the unstable weather and sea conditions. For the grotto trips in Lagos, the sea should be extremely calm, otherwise, it’s simply too dangerous to cruise so close to the rocks and in the caves.
We went on a regular cave tour from the Marina to Ponta da Piedade which takes about 1h15. The boats are guided by one skipper and have 9 places. We were lucky to be skippered by Joaquim, o young local entrepreneur who, together with his dad, owns several boats to take people out and enjoy the gorgeous coastline of Lagos. After a quick safety briefing and explanation of what to expect on this boat tour, we were ready to leave the Marina.
Joaquim explained all points of interest where we cruised by and enthusiastically replied to all questions we and the other participants had. It was impressive how Joaquim managed to manoeuvre the small boat in between narrow alleys created by the unique rock formations around Ponta da Piedade. He knows these rocks and caves like no other and, according to the tides and sea conditions, he decided in which caves we could enter. Everybody on board was astonished by the beautiful colors of the red cliffs and the turquoise waters of Ponta da Piedade.
We highly recommend the grotto trips in Lagos to everybody visiting the Algarve. The tours are rather affordable and give us unique views over the characteristic coastline of Lagos. These boat tours are suitable for all ages, from 0 to 100, and given the comfortable boarding conditions, even people with less mobility are welcome!