Headed to the Algarve region in Southern Portugal soon? You NEED to spend some time at Ponta da Piedade in the coastal town of Lagos → it’s absolutely stunning!
Sea pillars. Fragile rock arches. Hidden and mysterious grottos. Golden cliffs against a sparkling turquoise sea. That, my friends, is Ponta da Piedade. And it’s absolutely incredible. Like, you-won’t-believe-your-eyes beautiful.
I mean, JUST LOOK AT THOSE ROCK FORMATIONS!
I loved it so much I went back three times during my 5 days in Lagos! Twice viewing Ponta da Piedade from the headlands above, and once by boat! Told you I just couldn’t get enough. Standing there eyes wide open marveling at the natural wonder at sunset is something I’ll never forget.
Ponta da Piedade needs to be on everyone’s bucket list – hence why I’m sharing literally everything you need to know about this spectacular group of rock formations.
The dramatic limestone coastline shouldn’t be missed on any Portugal itinerary. There’s a reason it’s one of the most famous attractions in not only Lagos, but in all of southern Portugal (kinda like Sintra and Porto!)!
This was quite possibly my favorite area in the Algarve, and like on the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, the views kept getting better and better and better. Something about that Portuguese air, I tell ya! It’s absolutely intoxifying!
What is Ponta da Piedade?
What a name, right? Ponta de Piedade, translating to Piety Point, is a cluster of spectacular rock formations high up above the Atlantic Ocean (towering above at 20 meters high). These golden rocks form caves and natural sea arches, high towers and hidden grottos along the spectacular coastline of Lagos. And boy will you love them.
It’s not technically a beach since there’s no sand, but those views – wow oh wow. There’s a reason why thousands upon thousands of people visit Ponta de Piedade every year. Easily one of the most stunning places in all of Portugal!
And to think all these crazy formations were formed by wild winter storms! Thanks, Mother Nature!
Local fishermen gave the rocks names, like Cabeça do camelo (camel head), the kissing couple, the cathedral, living room, and O elefante (the elephant). You’ll see all these and more on a boat tour of Ponta da Piedade. More on that later!
Logistics for Visiting Ponta da Piedade
Where is Ponta da Piedade and How to Get There
Ponta da Piedade is located along the coastline of Lagos in the Algarve Region of Southern Portugal, only 3km away from the town itself.
Located at the very southern end of Portugal, Ponta da Piedade is way too far to visit for the day from other popular Portuguese cities, like Lisbon or Porto. Plus, there’s so much to do in this region of Portugal you’ll wanna spend at least 4 or 5 days in the Algarve.
Thankfully, once you make it to the popular town of Lagos in southern Portugal, there’s a bunch of options for getting directly to Ponta da Piedade.
Taking a Rideshare
Taking rideshares in the Algarve are really cheap and efficient, and a great option for getting to Ponta da Piedade if you don’t have a car and don’t have time to walk.
Luckily, there’s quite a few rideshare options here: Uber, Bolt, and FreeNow. I recommend downloading all three before your trip so you can check which has available cars for the cheapest on the fly!
When I headed to Ponta da Piedade for sunset on my first night in Lagos, I called a Bolt car. I paid like €5-6 from my hotel in Old Town Lagos. Super inexpensive!
Hike/walk from Lagos
Yes, you can actually walk to Ponta da Piedade all the way from Lagos Town! And no, it’s not as crazy of a hike as you might think!
Walking straight from Lagos Old Town, it should take about 35 minutes or so (2.5km), and the path is fairly flat. It’s not the most scenic walk, as you’ll be walking right on Estr. da Ponta da Piedade almost the entire way (the main street to get there).
Instead, if you feel like taking a much longer walk and have time to kill, I recommend walking along the coastline instead — on the Ponta Da Piedade coastal trail. You can stop at Praia de Dona Ana, Praia do Camilo, and Praia dos Pinheiros along the way – all absolutely GORGEOUS.
This should take about an hour and a little bit, plus photo and beach stops of course. During my time in the Algarve, I actually walked the entire trail and it was one of my best afternoons!
Driving to Ponta da Piedade
If you have a car, this’ll be the easiest way to reach Ponta da Piedade. From Lagos, it’s only about a 10 minute drive and very simple.
Where to park: There’s a small (FREE!) parking lot at the end of the road before the restaurant. This is where you can park! While the lot is pretty tiny, people are constantly coming and going (meaning you’ll eventually get a spot sooner or later).
You’ll also see plenty of people parking along the road, but be extra careful if you do this!
Visiting By boat/kayak
Wanna experience all the sea caves and rock formations from the water? You can head to Ponta da Piedade by boat or even kayak. I did and it was an unbelievable experience!
Note if you decide to do this, you won’t be able to head up to the viewpoints since there’s no place to park your boat or kayak. Which is why I recommend visiting Ponta da Piedade at least twice!
Lots more info on boat and kayaking tours of Ponta de Piedade below!
Tourist Train from Lagos
Visiting during the summer? Take the tourist train from the Lagos Marina or from Avenida dos Descobrimentos to Ponta da Piedade. Tickets cost only €4 and there’s departures all day (about 11 in total running from 9:45am to 10pm).
I didn’t learn about the Tourist Train from Lagos until I was already at Ponta da Piedade (and saw the small train there). Not a huge deal since my rideshare was only €5 or so. It’s actually a hop-on, hop-off train with 9 stops, including a few other beaches and some hotels. Wanna take advantage of the train? A one-day pass is only €5.50!
Do note the tourist train only runs during the peak summer months, so don’t expect to see it other times of year. Find more info here.
When to visit Ponta da Piedade?
Time of Day
Early AM or at sunset! The area will be extremely busy in summer in the late morning/early afternoon.
I actually visited Ponta da Piedade twice from above – once during the day, and once for sunset! Highly recommend both. The color of the water isn’t as vibrant during sunset since the sun isn’t high in the sky shining down on it, so that’s why I wanted to come back earlier in the day as well.
Sunset: Grab a few drinks to-go and make your way there – the sunset over the cliffs is truly breathtaking! And oh so romantic, whether you’re with your significant other, a group of friends, or even solo like I was!
Do note the sun actually sets over to the west in Sagres, and you won’t be able to see the sun setting directly into the water here in Ponta da Piedade. But it’s still gorgeous, I promise! I’ve heard the sunrise is even more spectacular, but I didn’t make it here for that.
Time of Year
Honestly, whenever you’re there! Ponta da Piedade is gorgeous anytime of year. Summer is by far the hottest, and it’s easily the most crowded, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time there in early August. I recommend coming early to beat the heat or wait until sunset.
The sun is super strong and there’s little to no shade at Ponta da Piedade, so slather on that sunscreen and most definitely wear a hat.
Spring and fall will still be hot but much more bearable with mild temps and some nice breezes. Also, with a visit during the shoulder season, parking lots won’t fill up as quickly.
Winter sees chillier temps and note there’s a higher chance of rain and moodier, overcast weather, but you may get lucky with a sunny day in the Algarve in winter.
Where to Stay Near Ponta da Piedade
There’s a few main towns in the Algarve, with most tourists staying in Lagos, Albufeira, or Faro. I chose to base myself in Lagos as it was closest to the beaches I wanted to see oh so badly. Plus Ponta da Piedade is right there!
If your main goal of your Algarve trip is to see Ponta da Piedade, you’ll wanna stay in Lagos as it’s by far the closest.
Since I was traveling solo I chose a budget hotel in Lagos (Hotel Lagosmar, which was clean and safe and in a great location), but if I was traveling with my husband, I would have LOVED to stay at either Casa Mae (super chic and right in town) or Belmar Spa & Beach Resort (right on the beach).
Other Important Info and FAQs about Ponta da Piedade
Can you swim at Ponta da Piedade? Nope! Swimming at Ponta de Piedade is not safe because there’s just tons of boat traffic. Thankfully, there’s plenty of beaches nearby that are perfectly safe for a swim (Praia da Batata, Praia Estudantes, Praia do Camilo, and Praia de Dona Ana being the most popular).
Safety at Ponta da Piedade: There’s no guardrails here – that’s what makes this place so unapologetically beautiful and au natural. But remember – don’t get too close to the edge; there’s unstable cliffs so be extra, extra careful taking photos. In some spots you can fall straight down the cliff if you slip.
While I was admiring the view, there was an unexpected HUGE gust of wind and my hat went flying off my head. It was stuck on a branch on the side of a cliff and I totally thought it was a goner. I thought about trying to get it – but ultimately decided my safety was worth more than the hat, haha.
A super generous guy saw what happened and decided to help me – he used a piece of wood and was able to lift the hat back to us. All this to say, be extra, extra, extra careful, of yourself and your stuff!
Wear non-slip shoes: There’s no main path here, you’re kinda just looking at Ponta da Piedade from above on the bluffs. It’s rocky and uneven, with sandy and kinda rugged terrain. Be extra careful and wear flat, comfy shoes.
I was okay in sandals, but I would have felt more comfortable in either sport sandals (like Tevas or something similar with a good grip), or regular sneakers.
Restaurants/cafes at Ponta da Piedade: There’s not many facilities at Ponta da Piedade, but there is one small restaurant!
It’s located on the cliffs next to the parking lot at Ponta da Piedade, called Sol Nascente Restaurante. The menu isn’t huge and I wouldn’t expect a gourmet meal, but it’s a great place to grab a drink and cool off. My lemonade was exceptionally refreshing after exploring in the sun for a few hours.
Note that the restaurant closes in the low-season (typically between November and March).
Bathrooms at Ponta da Piedade: There’s a restroom located in the restaurant, but other than that, there’s no other bathrooms around.
It’s super sunny: Don’t expect any shade here at Ponta da Piedade. Come prepared with a sun hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses.
Keep a close watch on children: There are ZERO barriers here (this is one of the beauties of Ponta da Piedade) – be extra careful and use caution with kids. Nothing is roped off or guarded, and one wrong step could be deadly. Pay close attention and stay safe.
Ponta da Piedade Boat Tours
Seeing Ponta de Piedade from up above is downright remarkable. Just look at those photos – absolutely iconic to not only the Algarve, but all of Portugal. But seeing it all from the water is really something special. Because of this, I HIGHLY recommend you book yourself on a boat tour to Ponta de Piedade.
Get ready to cruise through amazing grottoes, tiny caves, sandstone cliffs, and see the secluded beaches at Ponta Da Piedade. At one point, the water was so blue I could hardly contain my excitement! 75 minutes of absolute bliss…ahhh….the life.
The boat trip around the caves reminded me in the slightest bit of the caves at Kleftiko Beach in Milos, Greece – but a golden sandy color instead of white volcanic rock!
You essentially have two major options for a boat trip — taking a boat trip from Ponta da Piedade itself, or from nearby Lagos (recommended).
Ponta da Piedade Boat Tours From Lagos
Taking a boat ride from Lagos to Ponta da Piedade will be a main highlight on your trip to the Algarve. I can promise you that!
Whatever you do, you’ll wanna make sure the boat/tour you choose is small enough to go into the caves and through the grottos. If not, well, you won’t really get to see all too much! This is the exact grotto boat trip I booked (affordable at about $20 and we all had the best time).
We breezed through tiny crevices, cruised next to crazy looking rocks (many shaped like animals!), and learned a bit about the historic and cultural magic of the Algarve. Ohhh so magical I might add!
This is another boat tour that got exceptional reviews, with a reputable company and with small-enough boats to get into even the tiniest of grottos.
I highly recommend booking your boat tour with a large, well-known (reputable) company. I saw plenty of boats that looked super janky, and I don’t think I would’ve felt completely comfortable cruising on the water in them.
If you’d rather get some exercise, opt for a kayaking tour of Ponta de Piedade instead! You’ll definitely earn your gelato!
More boat trips from Lagos below!
Boat Tours Directly from Ponta da Piedade
Another option is to hop on a former fishing boat directly from Ponta da Piedade itself! You don’t need to book this in advance – just show up at the bottom of the steps of Ponta da Piedade. But remember – you’ll need to eventually come back up (and in that scorching sun, I wasn’t feeling it, haha).
From the bottom of the steps, expect to pay about 25 euros per person for a 30 minute boat ride around Ponta da Piedade. You can usually negotiate a deal if you’ve got a few people, pending your decent Portuguese language skills of course.
While the scenery is gorgeous, I’ve heard that these boat drivers from Ponta da Piedade don’t all speak much (if any) English. Haven’t brushed up on your Portuguese lately? You probably won’t understand much on the tour.
Because of this, I highly recommend booking a tour with an English-speaking guide ahead of time from Lagos (more on this below).
Boat Tours from Lagos: Options
Don’t speak Portuguese? Definitely book a boat tour of Ponta da Piedade in advance with an English-speaking guide.
From Lagos, I highly recommend this grotto boat trip I booked (super affordable at about $20). You get to see all the scenery along the way (and yes, it’s gorgeous), and spend extra time on the boat! Trust me – I was living life with the breeze in my hair and sea spray cooling me off.
Wanna ensure you get a spot? Book in advance, especially if you’re visiting in summer (there’s a reason Ponta da Piedade is super popular – it’s downright GORGEOUS!). This was easily one of the highlights of my entire Algarve itinerary, and everyone else’s too, haha. It’s by far one of the most popular things to do in Lagos afterall!
Visiting in the off-season? You can book a tour from one of the many operators at the Lagos Marina, but I like to book ahead of time to claim the date and time I want. With only a few days in the area, why waste time shopping around for a boat tour? Get that booked up ahead of time!
Thankfully, there’s lots of options:
Boat Cruise to Ponta da Piedade from Lagos #1: Yup, there’s a reason it’s got over 800 positive reviews. Marvel at the towering natural arches of Ponta da Piedade on a boat cruise from Lagos. Sail over turquoise water and see gems, such as D. Ana Beach while listening to commentary from your guide. Read reviews and book tour here.
Boat Cruise to Ponta da Piedade from Lagos #2: This is the exact boat cruise I took! Since the boat is so slim, we zipped around the grottos of Ponta da Piedade and learned all about the different rock formations. It was absolutely spectacular! In all honesty, the first and second of these tours are basically the same, both with reputable companies in very similar boats. See what’s available on your dates! Read reviews and book tour here.
Ponta da Piedade Kayak Tour from Lagos Marina: Something different — a KAYAK tour! You’ll board a catamaran at Lagos Marina and then be transported to the fabulous area of Ponta da Piedade for a guided kayaking tour. Soak up the coastal views, secluded grottos, and impressive rock formations. Great for those who wanna get in some exercise! Another plus of the kayak tour – you get to swim in the grottoes and quiet beaches afterwards! Read reviews and book your kayak tour here.
Sail Boat Trip to Ponta da Piedade from Lagos: This boat tour to Ponta da Piedade is a bit different than the others – you start the tour in a traditional sail boat! Once you get closer to the grottos, you switch to a smaller boat so you can get up close and personal with the stunning rock formations and arches. You can then swim in the crystal-clear waters if you’d like! Read reviews and book your sail boat tour here.
Half-Day Cruise of Ponta da Piedade with Lunch from Lagos: While most boat trips to Ponta da Piedade are 90 minutes or less, this one goes for half a day! Perfect if you wanna spend more time out on the water, and have some lunch with a view. Expect a relaxing ride along the coast of Lagos, a full-on Portuguese lunch spread (with free-flowing drinks), time to swim in the bay, and even have time for some paddleboarding! Read reviews and book ½ day tour here.
Guided Ponta da Piedade Sunset Tour from Lagos: Looking for a romantic sunset cruise with your significant other? This is it. You can even take a private tour if you’d like! Read reviews and book a sunset tour here.
Things to do Near Ponta da Piedade
In all honesty, if you’re not heading down the 128 steps to take a boat ride, a visit to Ponta da Piedade will be pretty quick. Yes, it’s super scenic and fun to photograph, but besides that, there’s honestly not TONS to do right here!
But wait – don’t leave the area just yet! I easily spent a good 4-5 hours exploring the coastline and having a sunset dinner.
Ponta da Piedade Boardwalk (other side of the headlands)
From the street, the main viewpoint of Ponta da Piedade will be on your left hand side. Go explore the other side as well! There’s an actual boardwalk here, which I greatly appreciated after hiking the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail the day before.
The boardwalk is relatively new, spanning all the way from the lighthouse in Ponta da Piedade to Praia do Barranco do Martinho, and then all the way to Praia do Canavial. The boardwalk follows the coastline, so expect views of the cliffs and sea the entire way!
This boardwalk is super safe since it’s a dedicated walking space and not right on the edge of the cliffs. Yes, you can of course still enjoy the scenery, but don’t need to worry about slipping and falling! Perfect for those with kids.
Beaches near Ponta da Piedade
Yes, it’s true. Ponta da Piedade isn’t actually a beach at all, so you’ll need to go elsewhere if you wanna relax on the sand/take a dip in the turquoise waters. Nearby you’ll find Praia do Camilo (accessed by a long staircase of 200+ steps to the beach) and Praia de Dona Ana (with tons and tons of sandy beach), both excellent spots with stunning white sand and sparkly clean water.
There’s others as well, but these have the easiest access/parking lots, and are the most impressive in my opinion. Just remember – the beaches get crowded.
Walk along the bluffs above the beaches and rocks
From Ponta de Piedade, you can make a long walk for more views of the coast. I swear each view got more mesmerizing than the last. You know when you’re traveling and you just cannot believe your life is real? That was one of those moments for me. So many times I (accidentally) said out loud “whoaaaaa f*ck!” out of disbelief, haha.
There are some boardwalks on the coast, and some trails. Just follow them and you’ll find all the views! I walked and walked and walked and walked… until I saw all the beaches between Ponta de Piedade and Student Beach. While you can head down to the beaches if you’d like, I simply admired them from above (I swear the water looks even more drool worthy from up here).
When all was said and done, I spent about 3 ½ hours wandering the coast, taking (way too many) photos, and soaking it all in. I especially loved Praia da Balança, Praia dos Pinheiros, Praia do Camilo, and Praia de Dona Ana. Pure magic! Can you tell I’m absolutely obsessed with the Portuguese coast?!
Have dinner at O Camilo
Once you see how tantalizing the views are, you won’t wanna leave. So make a reservation for dinner so you don’t have to! My hotel called and made a reservation for me, and I was lucky enough to snag one of the last tables of the night!
I had a spectacular meal of grilled octopus at O Camilo (definitely make a reservation in advance), and I heard Luca’s Rooftop Restaurant is beyond spectacular as well. You even get to pick out your own catch of the day from O Camilo! It was one of my best meals during my 5 days in the Algarve.
Hope this helps you plan a trip to Ponta da Piedade – I can’t wait for you to see all the stunning scenery in person!