Giving back for the planet

The Best Experiences in Portimão

The Best Experiences in Lagos, Portugal

Tips to Visit Ponta da Piedade Caves

Curiosities Shared by Local Guides Jorge and Piotr

 

Ponta da Piedade is undoubtedly one of the most inspiring and mysterious places in the Algarve. Located about 3km from the centre of Lagos, Ponta da Piedade offers a unique view over the horizon, where rocks and cliffs are cut through the clear blueish waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The caves are an idyllic setting where secrets and legends are hidden, only unveiled by those who have spent most of their lives there.

 

How to Explore Ponta da Piedade by Sea?

By sea, you can choose the famous boat ride (small boat), or you can opt for a more adventurous and independent version in a kayak, both with experienced guides and eager to unveil the stories of this natural gift.

We had a conversation with Jorge and Piotr, two expert guides who share their wisdom with thousands of people who want to know the famous caves of Ponta da Piedade in Lagos, every year. To sum up, to have a good experience the key point is security, “to know the sea and its temper” and, of course, having a huge passion for what you do.

Jorge Discover Tours Skipper - Jorgehas been working at Discover Tours for 3 years. This former fisherman used to fish during the winter months, and the summer dedicated himself to the restaurant business (Poço do Infante, Dom Sebastião, Hotel da Meia Praia). Jorge counts 5 years of fishing and 40 years in the restaurant industry.

He ended up leaving the sea life … or rather, he left the ocean at night to show its wonders by day. Jorge shared some legends and tips about the beaches of Lagos and the Ponta da Piedade grottoes and caves, the same ones he shares on his golden coast visits.

Why is it called Praia da Batata?

Originally called Praia Formosa, it changed its name because “once a boat loaded with potatoes overturned and all its content went to this beach shore! ”

 

 Where is the Praia dos Estudantes (beach)?

Praia dos Estudantes (Students Beach) is right next to Praia da Batata. “Oh, who doesn’t know it? When I [Jorge] was young, I was always there. It was the most hidden beach to go-to date when we went to school.”

 

 Is Dona Ana in the Algarve the most beautiful beach in Europe?

Jorge’s boat trip crosses  Praia da Dona Ana, one of the most famous beaches in Lagos. “This was considered the most beautiful beach in the world by the international press“.

 

skipper pointing to a cave and explaining to 3 women and 1 child the legends of ponta da piedade

Is There a Grotto Called “Kitchen” Because It Was the Place Where Fishermen Ate?

According to the traditions of local fishermen, the “kitchen” was the ideal place to shelter from adverse maritime conditions. A meal used to accompany the wait, hence the name. However, for Jorge, it was never his choice of shelter! “Before I had a small boat and I went to have lunch inside the caves. But in the “kitchen” there was little shade, as it has no roof. So I chose the garage to eat but also when it rained too”.

 

 What Hygiene and Safety Measures Do You Take on This Boat Trip?

“I [Jorge] always wear a safety mask. Everyone has to wash their hands with the hand sanitizer I have on the boat. For your safety, I explain that everyone has to put their hands inside the boat, so they don’t get hurt.”

(Learn more about all the health and safety measures for this tour here)

 

discover tours kayak tour guide

On the other hand, Piotr is Polish and has been in Portugal for over 20 years. Since then, he has done a little of everything, from distributing and assembling furniture to harvesting oysters. It was in the latter where Piotr met António Monteiro (Manager of Discover Tours). The decision to take the course as a sailor and then as a qualified skipper was the right one, as he soon started working on Lagos kayak tours, as a guide.

Piotr says that “the tour of the caves in a kayak gives people greater freedom to move around, explore, touch a rock if they want. It also allows visiting some caves which, depending on the tide, is not possible by boat”. As an example, he mentions the Lovers Grotto and the Fine Arts.

“I like the reaction of people when we arrive at a site; it’s the peak when they can identify the shapes of the rocks. That joy is rewarding. It gives me enormous pleasure when people are surprised”.

 

About the grottoes, both mention that everyone must use their imagination to see animals cut into the rocks, such as the Elephant and the Gorilla with hair on their backs (which are the bushes). To idealize a house with a kitchen, hallway and living room; or even to fall in love in the Love Grotto, the Cathedral, the Arc de Triomphe and the Fine Arts (this one with different types of rock/stone creating a magical effect when the water runs down to it).

 

Boat VS Kayak? Which one to choose when visiting the Ponta da Piedade Caves?

 

BOAT TRIP TO THE GROTTOES WITH LOCAL GUIDE KAYAK TOURS TO PONTA DA PIEDADE
Duration – 1h15 Duration – 2h
It is safe for babies Allowed children from 6 years old
It does not need any physical effort Some physical activity needed
Worry-free tour, where the focus is on the views and the guide explanation Flexibility and Independence to tour for yourself
Support boat with WC
Tip: On both tours, we recommend using a coat or windbreaker, sunblock, hat or cap.

 

How to visit Ponta da Piedade by land?

Ponta da Piedade is becoming famous for its Trails and Walkways, which stretch along the cliffs above beautiful beaches, some of them only accessible by sea. If you visit Lagos, be sure to take a walk along the Ponta da Piedade Trails that connect the Lighthouse to Canavial Beach (2.5 km). Along this route, you can enjoy 4 panoramic views with areas to sit, rest and relax in perfect harmony with nature.

Tip: It has accessible car parking next to the Ponta da Piedade Lighthouse. You can go on a bike ride. We advise you to walk along the trails but starting behind the Cascade Resort towards the Lighthouse.

(Learn about the history of Ponta da Piedade hereonly in Portuguese)

 

We cannot finish without mentioning one of the highlights of Ponta da Piedade – the sunset. The end of the afternoon brings a singular magic to Ponta da Piedade, with the sun’s light diving in the clear waters, which reflect unique tones of tranquillity and peace. The unravelling of an unparalleled treasure.