Praia da Dona Ana

Praia da Dona Ana, Lagos

Praia da Dona Ana near Lagos. Photo by Steven Fruitsmaak

Praia da Dona Ana is often cited as the best beach in the Algarve, in fact it was even described as one of the 50 best beaches in the world by magazine Condé Nast Traveller (a luxury and lifestyle travel magazine). This picturesque little beach is located at the most south tip of the city of Lagos, only a half an hour walk from the town centre.

Praia da Dona Ana, Algarve

Praia da Dona Ana. Photo by Felix König

The majestic rock formations, cliffs and the scenic beach with sandy coves and crystal clear waters are just some of the attractions that have lured local, foreign tourists and photographers to visit the place. The views you can get from the top of the cliffs are stunning. Many different shapes come alive when you look at the rock formation, a birthday cake, the titanic, and the sphynx’s to name a few. Dona Ana is essentially split into two beaches with a protruding cliff separating the two sides at high tide.

The sand on Dona Ana is slightly thicker than the beaches in the surrounding area. The beach faces east and is flanked by north and south cliffs that shelter it from westerly winds; superb for swimming and snorkeling.

The beach boasts excellent infrastructures with car parking, shops and several restaurants, so its a great place to relax with a jug of sangria and admire the natural beauty. Access to the beach is by a wide stairway.

Praia da Dona Ana is very popular and extremely busy during the summer season.

Praia da Dona Ana, Portugal

Praia da Dona Ana. Photo by João Paulo F. Barreiros

Within the Praia da Dona Ana beach area the rocky coast forms an important promontory called Ponta da Piedade (Mercy Point), a fantasy landscape of caves, grottoes and sea arches that nature has sculpted from the cliffs over thousands of years. The best way to see these amazing grottos and arches is from the sea. Steps down take you right into the caves where you can take a small boat trip to explore the fabulous Algarve coastline at its most dramatic.

Another attraction is the lighthouse that proudly stands near the Ponte da Piedade road. From the beach, simply walk back up the road to the T-intersection and go left. This paved road will take you to the lighthouse that graces Ponte de Piedade flanked by two lean wind blown palm trees. The lighthouse itself is closed to the public, but there is a restaurant and a couple of souvenir shops for minor refreshments.

Ponta da Piedade, Lagos, Algarve

Ponta da Piedade, Lagos. Photo by António M.L. Cabral