The Algarve coast in Portugal's south is a place of great contrasts. Along this 155km stretch of coast are jagged rocks and towering cliffs creating an imposing barrier, long sandy beaches and gentle coves, and luckily for us - plenty of walking trails.
After spending a few days walking and exploring the area we have two favourite walks that highlight the best of the rugged coast line. Both of these walks make up part of the long Fishermans Trail coastal walk and are well marked by the green & blue stripes on poles, rocks and walls,
Lagos - Ponta da Piedade - Mos
This is the most popular walk in Lagos as it takes you out of the city along the cliffs and past a number of small beaches that ends up in the stunning Ponta da Piedade reserve.
We started at the Praia do Pinhao and walked the cliff trails to Praia do Dona Ana, from there you have to go up to the street until you get to Praia do Camilo. Google and other maps show trails along the cliffs between Praia do Dona Ana and Praia do Camilo, but this is all fenced off and has private property signs.
Once you go past the restaurant above Praia do Camilo you can find the trail again at the end of the road and then follow the coastal trails until you hit the lighthouse at Ponta da Piedade. Here you can explore the cliffs and take in the stunning views of the Atlantic ocean and the eroded columns and arches of the Grotto.
All along the way you can take the steep and narrow stairs down the cliffs to the little beaches. The best stairs are at the grottos/caves, and depending on the weather boats will be there to take you out on a tour of the grottos/caves. We didn't do it, but it was €20 per person.
On the other side of the lighthouse is a series of trails and boardwalks that take you to the west along the cliffs. This is really well done and also includes some great little lookout points on the boardwalks and keeps you safe from the 50m vertical drops onto the rocks below!
At the end of the boardwalks, you have three options:
Continue on to Praia de Porto Mos on the roads (these are mostly suburban roads with minimal traffic and are in good condition), from Mos then back into town via the parkland to complete a circular walk.
Walking through this suburban area was great as we got to see some stunning houses as well as a range of large resort developments making the most of the stunning coastal views. Once we got to Praia de Mos we saw surfers, kite surfers, swimmers, walkers, runners and plenty of locals just enjoying a warm mid autumn day.
To get back to the center of town we followed the trail through the park, just cross the street from the beach (go past the tennis court) and then walk back into town.
This route is a loop and is around 9kms from Praia do Pinhao, add another 2km if you start in the old town.
Has the same destination as option 1 continuing towards Praia de Porto Mos, but instead of the road you follow along the cliff side hiking trail and then back into town to complete a circular walk.
You have to know where to look to find this trail towards Praia de Porto Mos as it leads down the cliff and runs parallel to the beach. The trail was definitely less travelled as some parts were so narrow with overgrown bushes that you could easily miss it. We had to duck, climb and jump on tricky sections that made us hold our breath a few times. The best way to find that trail is to use maps.me to see the trail and find the stairs down.
After about 2km, this trail opened up to the lovely wide sandy beach Praia de Porto Mos with a few nice restaurants overlooking it.
To get back to the center of town we followed the trail through the park, just cross the street from the beach (go past the tennis court) and then work back into town.
This route is a loop and is around 10kms from Praia do Pinhao, add another 2km if you start in the old town.
Option 3 is to simply return along the same route you came and allows you the opportunity to see the stunning coastline again!
This route is an out and back and is about 10km.
Lagos - Mos - Luz
This walk takes you up the great big cliffs between Praia de Porto Mos and Praia da Luz and provides some good climbing and impressive views.
We started from our place in central Lagos and made the most direct route to Mos which took us through the same park as the return leg of option 1 & 2 above, but you can easily follow the Ponta da Piedade trail and make it into a longer walk.
Once you are at Praia de Porto Moz, just head on up the steep red embankment and then literally just follow that to Praia do Luz. You'll pass some great lookout points that get up to about 80m or so above the sea level.
It's interesting to see what looks like some rugged farmlands up there - we even saw what looked like a recently ploughed field - but all we could see growing was local pine trees.
There are no boardwalks or paved trails up here, it's all red dirt and rock. But it is very wide so that there is no worries in passing other people. You can get close to the edges if you like, but if you are not too keen on that you can be at least five meters away from the edge most of the time.
Options at the end of the cliff top include going down into Luz and then following the roads back, or do what we did and turn around and head back the same way.
Without going down the cliffs and into Luz this is about 11km return, and about 15km return if you go into Luz.