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.
We went on a boat with 4 other people and Joaquim, the skipper
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.
Most tours are circular, so the start and end point are the same
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!
If you’ve heard about Lagos, Portugal, before, you’ve probably also heard about Ponta da Piedade and it’s famous golden coastline.
When visiting Lagos, you should go to Ponta da Piedade. Ponta de Piedade is not actually a beach in the sense that there’s no sand to lay on. It’s a place where the high cliffs tops– 20m – almost touch the blue, blue sky, while reaching out the blue, blue ocean.
Ponta de Piedade is an idyllic setting of brown shaded rock formations that meet the greenish blue waters of the Atlantic below, being one of the main attractions of Lagos.
Here there are lots of caves, grottoes and arches to go into, as you enjoy a one of the boat trips, row in your kayak or paddle on your stand up paddle surfboard over the crystal-clear water.
he combination of the light brown mysterious cliffs and several shades of green and blue from the ocean and the sky truly enchant the eyes.
Located 2km from the city center of Lagos, Ponta de Piedade provides a magnificent view of the Atlantic and the shapes of cliffs carved by the ocean and wind.
There are several ways to explore this mecca of grottos, unknown bays and quiet beaches. You can reach the spot by car, foot or by sea – by boat, kayak or SUP. In our opinion, Ponta de Piedade is particularly captivating when viewed from the sea.
boat trips can be done all year round
Near the car park on the cliff tops, you will find long, narrow stairs leading you down to a small cove where you will see cute small fisher boats.
Along time, local fishermen have named some of these misshapen rocks. The most popular ones are the General De Gaulle, Chaminé (chimney), Catedral (cathedral), Belas-Artes (fine arts), Museu (museum), Submarino (submarine), Camelo (camel), Cozinha (kitchen) and Gruta do Amor (grotto of love). For the nature lovers, this natural paradise is also interesting due to the many bird species that make it their habitat.
A few meters away from the coastline, there are several rock formatios on which it is common to see nests of migrating falcons, jackdaws, alpine swifts, pallid swifts and ravens, as well as groups of egrets and cattle egrets.
Ponta de Piedade is a must place to go for nature lovers and also photographers since the beautiful colours of the setting make a perfect postcard portrait.
For the most sporty ones and if you dare climbing up 182 steps to the top of the lighthouse, you’ll will have a view over the amazing city and coastline, which marks the limit between land and sea. This lighthouse can also be reached by car or foot.
Discover by car
Ponta de Piedade is located out of the city center. If, for some reason, you prefer not to walk 20minutes and if you have a car, the best way is to park your car near the lighthouse. Parking here is for free.
From the parking lot, you can appreciate the views over the Atlantic or if you prefer and dare, you can go down the stairs (bear in mind it are over 180 steps) closer to the Ocean.
In our opinion, to go by car to Ponta da Piedade should be your last choice since there are more creative ways that allow a deeper enjoyment of this amazing creation of Nature.
Ponta da Piedade, Lagos
Discover Ponta da Piedade by foot
From the city center of Lagos to the lighthouse (farol) of Ponta da Piedade it’s a 2km walk, but a beautiful one. You’ll pass along the coastline of Lagos and come along some very nice beaches.
First you’ll pass by Praia da Batata – Lagos’ city beach, very popular under the youth. After Praia da Batata, you’ll pass by some very pretty beached hidden in between the amazing rock formations: Praia dos Estudantes, Praia do Pinhão, Praia D. Ana and Praia do Camilo. At Praia do Camilo, the nearest to Ponta de Piedade, you can have great meals of freshly caught fish, grilled at the moment and a special selection of Portuguese wines.
We love this region of the Algarve
Amazing views over the colorful cliffs of Ponta da Piedade are guaranteed, but be aware that, especially after raining the cliffs might be instable, so respect the signs and do not approach the end of the cliffs too much. Another thing to bear in mind is that this 2km walk is quite hard, because it has got some hill and can become hot, so bring some water, sunscreen and a hat.
Once you arrived at the lighthouse of Ponta da Piedade, and if you’ve still got some energy left, you can go down the stairs (bear in mind it are over 180 steps) closer to the Ocean.
The boat trips are probably the most popular way to visit Ponta de Piedade in Lagos. The cave tours are the most popular tours in Lagos and depart from several places, from some beaches and the Marina of Lagos.
The boat trips are an inexpensive and nice way to enjoy the amazing caves and coastline of Lagos with your family and friends. Prices per person start at only 20€.
Ponta de Piedade boat trips
On these cave boat trips, experienced fishermen wind their way through the colossal rock sculptures whilst telling their names and secrets.
Along time, local fishermen have named some of these rock formations. The most popular ones are Chaminé (chimney), Catedral (cathedral), and Gruta dos Amores (grotto of love). The fishermen on your boat, will be happy to tell you all of them.
On SeaBookings.com, you can find the best online prices and several options:
One hour tour – with departure from the Marina of Lagos, this tour is best if you’re travelling on a tight budget or time frame. There is no need to change boat, you’ll stay on the same boat from the beginning until the end of the tour. This tour is perfect for any age.
Two hour tour – this tour is a more complete experience. It also starts from the Marina in Lagos and involves two boats. Firstly, you will sail along the coastline on a very pretty typical sailboat and will then anchor and step over to a smaller boat to enter the caves. It’s up to you which Ponta de Piedade boat trips you prefer.
From Lagos, there are many diferente boat tours, including dolphin watching, BBQ cruises, Private charters and more.
For the most sporty couples or families, kayaking is the ideal way to explore the magical setting of Ponta da Piedade. The Lagos kayak tours to Ponta da Piedade depart from Praia da Batata, the “urban” beach of Lagos, only a five minutes walk from the city center.
Kayaking to Ponta da Piedade has several advantages when compared to the traditional boats:
You’ll be working out while enjoying the beautiful coastline of Ponta da Piedade in Lagos;
You’ll not be polluting using an engine;
You’ll not be disturbed by the noisy engine of a boat;
You’ll be more flexible and agile to be able to enter the smallest caves of Ponta da Piedade and access the most inaccessible beaches.
Snorkel equipment will also be provided on the kayak tours, so if you’re up to explore the underwater world of Ponta da Piedade too, you’re welcome to do so.
You won’t regret it as Ponta da Piedade is one of the best places in the Algarve to go snorkeling.
SUP tours to the caves
SUP in Lagos
An alternative for the sportiest travelers is Stand Up Paddle (SUP). This is the ideal way to discover the famous grottoes for board lovers. SUP consists of standing on a large surfboard and moving forward using a specially designed paddle. This sport is easy to learn.
We’re sure this is the most amazing and fun activity to do while exploring the caves. In fact, SUP has the same advantages as kayaking, mentioned before.
Learn the ancient Polynesian art of Paddle boarding. SUP is the world’s fastest growing sport that anyone can partake in. In fact, SUP is suitable for all ages and levels of experience.
SUP in Lagos, Portugal
If you’ve got other ideas or suggestions to explore Ponta da Piedade, feel free to contact us. In case of any doubts or if you’d like to book any of the ocean activities mentioned, we’re happy to assist you. Enjoy Ponta da Piedade in Lagos in your way!
Nathalie, content and translations at SeaBookings, wants to explain to you why SUP is the best way to discover Ponta da Piedade, Lagos, the place she lives in. She actually loves this tour as you can read here.
Nathalie and her dad on a SUP tour in Lagos
SUP, short for Stand-Up Paddle, is a new and fun sport that is booming worldwide. If you have been by the sea recently, you probably already have seen some people standing on huge boards with a paddle in their hand, exploring the area. You can even do it in lakes and lagoons.
Doing SUP on the sea is super exciting and a lot of fun! The waters of Lagos, Algarve, are perfect for SUP during summer, because they are calm and refreshing. We from SeaBookings love doing SUP in Lagos, which is why we think it’s the best way to discover Ponta da Piedade.
To convince you guys that SUP is the best way to discover the region of Lagos, we’ve put together a list of the 5 reasons.
Why SUP is the best way to discover Ponta da Piedade:
SUP board are very big and stable
1. Learn a new sport
If you haven’t tried SUP before, it’s the perfect opportunity to learn a new sport during your holidays in Lagos! And what’s even better is that SUP is super easy to learn! You stand up straight or knee on one of the boards, that is very big and stable. By using a paddle, you move forward in the water. Easy right?
Of course, our friendly instructors will give you an introduction to SUP on the beach before you start in the water! Once you know all the basics, it’s time to grab your board and run towards the sea! You will see how easy it is and we’re sure you will absolutely love it!
So that’s one of the reasons why SUP is the best way to discover Ponta da Piedade: you get to learn a fun and easy new sport, that you can then even practise at home if you caught the SUP bug! A SUP Tour in Lagos is the best way to try out this popular sport!
The whole group had a blast!
2. Stay fit during your holidays
The second reason why SUP is the best way to discover Ponta da Piedade is really a secondary one but it’s still very true: While exploring the beautiful area of Lagos during the SUP Tour, you stay super fit!
SUP is a great sport because you really use a lot of different muscles. During the SUP Tour in Lagos you train your legs, arms, shoulders and even your core! Awesome, right? So after the SUP Tour in Lagos, you can go and grab a delicious meal without feeling bad about it, after all, you just did a proper whole-body workout!
The fact that you stay fit and active during your holidays by doing a SUP Tour in Lagos is definitely one of the reasons why SUP is the best way to discover Ponta da Piedade. Especially if you do the tour in the morning, you will be energised for the rest of the day and can relax without feeling bad about not doing anything for your fitness!
Beautiful morning light
3. Get really close to the amazing caves and rock formations
If you join us on a SUP Tour in Lagos, you will get so close to the impressive caves and grottos of Lagos like never before! A SUP Tour in Lagos is so much more fun than a boat tour because you actually get to paddle inside of some caves and through some of the amazing natural arches you find along the coast.
During a SUP Tour in Lagos, you can see the fascinating rock formations that are so characteristic for the south coast of Portugal up close! Your experienced guide knows exactly where to paddle to make sure you get the best view of the famous Ponta da Piedade and its surrounding region!
That’s why SUP is the best way to discover Ponta da Piedade: you get super close to the Ponta da Piedade and all the little caves and grottos surrounding it. In fact, there’s no other way to get this close to it!
Want a picture like this? Join us!
4. Take home amazing photos of your SUP tour
During your SUP Tour in Lagos, our guide will take photos of you in front of the stunning scenery. After the tour, we can send you those photos so you can use them to impress your friends!
And believe us when we say that these photos are always absolutely amazing. We take them with a high-quality camera, to really capture the beauty of the blue sea as well as the amazing nature of Ponta da Piedade.
So the amazing photos of you on this unique and unforgettable adventure is also one of the reasons why SUP is the best way to discover Ponta da Piedade. You will always have something to remember it by and to share it with your friends!
Discover the impressive caves
5. Fun with a good bunch of people and great guides
One of the most important reasons why SUP is the best way to discover Ponta da Piedade is that you will have so much fun during the tour! We always go out in small groups where you will meet new people and make new friends! And our fun and super friendly guides will make sure you all have fun during the tour!
After the SUP Tour in Lagos, you can go out with your new friends and reminisce about the fun times you had together! Because one thing is for sure: during a SUP Tour in Lagos, a whole bunch of fun is something that we can guarantee!
Why not make new friends?
So many reasons why SUP is the best way to discover Ponta da Piedade, and we could go on and on and on! What are you waiting for? Don’t miss out on this fun adventure and join us on a SUP Tour in Lagos during your holidays in this amazing corner of the Algarve!
The Algarve is probably one of the most beautiful regions to visit during your summer holidays in the whole of Europe! At least we at SeaBookings are in love with the white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters and cute little villages all along the coast from Tavira over Faro and Albufeira to the wild cliffs of Sagres. No wonder that the Algarve won the award for Europe’s Leading Beach Destination in 2017!
One thing the Algarve is especially famous for is the stunning rock formations. In the south of Portugal, you can admire some of the most impressive sea caves and grottos in the whole of Europe and actually the whole world. The two most famous caves are Benagil and Ponta da Piedade in Lagos.
Stunning Ponta da Piedade in Lagos (by João Coelho)
The Benagil caves are really famous and are one of the top tourist attractions in Portugal. Even the famous paper The Huffington Post included the Benagil sea cave in their list of the 10 coolest caves around the world. But also the Ponta da Piedade in Lagos is one of the Must-Dos during your holidays in the Algarve! The beautiful rock formations at this spot will amaze you, we guarantee it! So, the question is: Benagil or Ponta da Piedade?
Luckily, the Algarve is not too big. So if you’re on holidays in the Algarve, you can actually visit both of the famous caves in Portugal. The best and quickest way to visit both is with a full day private boat tour, that will take you first to Benagil and then all the way to Lagos to see the Ponta da Piedade as well as all the other cute bays of the region. Our Private Boat tour to Benagil and Ponta da Piedade is probably the best option for you and your family or group of friends!
The caves of Benagil are very photogenic 😉
If you only want to visit one, Benagil or Ponta da Piedade, and need some help in deciding which one, let us help you! Benagil or Ponta da Piedade – we will help you make your best choice!
So as we already know, the Benagil caves are absolutely amazing! They are the top attraction of the Algarve by far. The natural beauty that was created by the pure force of the sea is just impressive. No wonder that so many people are attracted by this unique piece of art created by mother nature herself.
Benagil is one of the most impressive caves of Europe (be aware that getting off the boat is not permitted on most tours)
The caves of Benagil are located near the town of Lagoa. The Benagil caves are great to visit especially if you’re staying around the area of Vilamoura, Albufeira, Carvoeiro and Lagos, as they are located not even an hour away by car. Portimão is the nearest harbour to the Benagil cave. We actually have quite a lot of different boat tours from these destinations all going to Benagil. However, be aware that due to local regulations passengers are not allowed to get off the boat to walk around the beach of Benagil.
On a SUP tour, you can explore the inside of the cave
If you actually want to walk around inside of the cave, the best ways to do so if with a Kayak tour or even with a Stand-Up Paddle tour! That way you can get really close to the fascinating rock formations and actually walk inside of the cave. Here you can also take the most beautiful pictures to show back home! Most tours to Benagil, be it by boat, kayak or SUP will take you to many different caves and rock formations. The arches of Praia da Marinha are also a highlight!
The famous rock formations of Marinha are very near Benagil
The best time to visit the Benagil caves is actually after midday because that’s when the sun shines her light inside of the cave, creating a wonderful scenery. However, in the morning it can be better as there’s usually less wind and waves. During summer, it can get quite busy around the cave because it is so popular. But don’t worry, it is still absolutely fascinating and you will not be disappointed!
Ponta da Piedade
The beautiful rock formations of Ponta da Piedade are just outside the centre of the authentic Portuguese little town called Lagos, a little further west than Benagil. The cute little beaches with the high cliffs and amazing rocks are characteristic of Lagos. Ponta da Piedade is the highlight of this scenery, with its impressive cliffs and caves.
If you like to stay active during your holidays, we recommend this kayak tour
You can walk along the small paths all along the cliffs along Praia Dona Ana, Praia do Camilo and Praia do Pinhão and stand on top of the edge of Ponta da Piedade looking out on the sea. But the best way to explore this natural beauty is from below, from the sea looking up! That’s when you really feel the power of nature!
Boat tours are definitely the most relaxed way to see the Ponta da Piedade and all the amazing region around it from up close. If you want to do something more sporty, we really recommend a kayak tour or even a Stand-Up Paddle tour. Especially the early morning SUP Grotto Tours in Lagos are amazing because you get to admire Ponta da Piedade while everybody else is still asleep!
You can walk to Ponta da Piedade or go by sea
So for all those staying further in the west end of the Algarve, Ponta da Piedade is geographically closer. But you can actually also get on a boat tour from Lagos to Benagil! So in this case – no more excuses, you just really should visit both caves during your holidays in the Algarve 😉
By Femke Irik, co-founder and experience-tester at SeaBookings.
The kayak tour in Lagos is a must for everyone who is capable to do so. But no worries, it’s not very demanding. You don’t need to be in top shape, only to be able to swim 😉 Ponta da Piedade is known for the most impressive caves, cliffs and amazingly clear water. While kayaking in Lagos, you’ll discover this little paradise on your kayak. Ready?
People often ask me:
What is the best way to discover Ponta da Piedade?
Well, for me there is no doubt! Go kayaking in Lagos!
Be impressed by Ponta da Piedade
Here are 5 reasons why I love kayaking in Lagos
1. You can’t get closer to the caves than on a kayak
There are many small caves and tunnels which are only accessible by kayak or SUP.
You can make stunning pictures
2. Breath, live and enjoy
There is no better feeling than being healthy, sporty and having fun at the same time. The fresh sea breeze will make you feel alive.
The kayak tour takes you very close to the caves and rock formations
3. Be together
Kayaking in Lagos is done with 2 people each kayak. I have never seen someone not smiling on this tour. It’s great for family fun or even team building.
It’s a true teamwork
4. Time to swim, snorkel and rest on a beach
The kayak tour in Lagos takes you over to a lovely beach, where everyone can swim or do some snorkelling. Ponta da Piedade has amazing beaches along the coastline, you will have the chance to rest a bit on a beautiful beach which is inaccessible by land.
You can even bring your dog!
5. Unforgettable memories
I have kayaked in Lagos several times now, and I will never forget how much fun it was. I should book a kayak tour in Lagos myself soon 😉