Welcome to the ultimate guide to the beautiful Praia do Camilo beach in Lagos. Nestled on the southern coast of Portugal, Praia do Camilo is a breathtakingly beautiful beach known for its crystal-clear turquoise waters, golden cliffs, and picturesque rock formations. It is one of the most iconic beaches of the Algarve and, in our opinion, a must-visit when exploring the charming old town of Lagos.
So whether you’re a sun-seeker, nature enthusiast, adventure lover, or landscape photographer, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to make the most of your visit to this stunning beach. Let’s dive into it right away!
Praia do Camilo Beach
This small yet mesmerizing beach has captured the hearts of travelers worldwide, drawing them in with its crystal-clear turquoise waters, golden cliffs, and stunning rock formations. Whether you’re an Instagrammer or not, this beach is worth photographing from any angle.
Of course, Praia do Camilo’s most striking feature is its natural beauty. Nestled between towering golden cliffs, the beach offers a truly awe-inspiring setting. Descending the wooden staircase that winds its way down the cliffs is an experience providing glimpses of the stunning panorama that awaits below. As you reach the bottom, you are greeted by soft golden sand and the sound of waves gently lapping against the shore.
In case you’re wondering, how many steps are there in Praia do Camilo?
Praia do, Camilo has around 200 steps. The staircase is designed to wind down the cliffs, providing visitors with breathtaking views along the descent. While it may be a bit of a workout, the reward of reaching the pristine beach below is well worth the effort.
This staircase is the primary access point, so you should be prepared for the descent and ascent. Take caution while navigating the steps, especially if you have mobility concerns or are traveling with young children.
And if you think Praia do Camilo is one beach. It is not. When you descend the stairs below, you’ll see a carved-out tunnel through the rock on your left side, connecting the main beach to a smaller, secluded cove.
The history of Praia do Camilo is deeply intertwined with the region’s maritime past. “Praia” means beach in Portuguese if you haven’t known that already. And the name “Camilo” is believed to have originated from the nearby fortress in the old town of Lagos, Forte da Ponta da Bandeira, built during the 17th century to defend the coast against pirate attacks. Over time, the beach gained popularity among locals and tourists and has become one of the most iconic beaches in Portugal.
Depending on the tide, there is plenty of room to lay down your beach towel and soak up the sun. Or pay a quick visit to take some photos because this place is photogenic in every corner. Also, many locals like standing paddleboarding or kayaking along the rock formations. You can also book a kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding tour if you would like to do this with a guide.
Please Note: due to the popularity of this beach, it can be crowded during peak season. If you visit Lagos in winter, as we do, you can have the beach all to yourself during certain hours of the day.
Location and How to Get There
Okay, now let’s get more practical. So you probably wonder, where is Praia do Camilo?
Praia do Camilo is located in the beautiful coastal town of Lagos, part of the Algarve region in southern Portugal. It is approximately 2 kilometers southeast of Lagos’ city center, as shown on the map below.
The beach is located between two beautiful other beaches, Praia de Dona Ana and Praia dos Pinheiros and on its way to Ponta da Piedade, a stunning natural landmark known for its dramatic cliffs, sea caves, and crystal-clear turquoise waters.
So your next question will probably be, how do I get to Praia de Camilo?
Getting to Praia do Camilo is relatively straightforward, and there are several transportation options available:
If you’re driving, follow the signs towards “Ponta da Piedade” from Lagos city center, and then you’ll see signs to Praia do Camilo once you’re close to the beach. Praia do Camilo is close to Ponta da Piedade, and you’ll find designated parking areas near the beach. The drive from Lagos town center to Praia do Camilo takes about 10 minutes, depending on traffic conditions.
Getting to Praia do Camilo by car or camper is the easiest way. Especially when you’re road-tripping along the Algarve, you can rent a car if you don’t have one. We always rent with Rentalcars, which checks international and local companies, so you get the best rates.
By Public Transportation
Lagos has a well-connected public transportation system, making it easy to reach Praia do Camilo by bus. You can take a local bus from Lagos city center to Ponta da Piedade, or Praia do Camilo. Buses are available from the central bus station or designated stops throughout the town. The journey typically takes around 10-15 minutes. Check the local bus schedule for accurate timings.
Praia do Camilo is reachable on foot from Lagos city center if you prefer a scenic walk. Walking to the beach takes approximately 30-40 minutes, and you can enjoy beautiful coastal views along the way. And visit the many other beaches. Just follow the signs towards Ponta da Piedade, and you’ll find the staircase leading down to Praia do Camilo.
You can visit Praia do Camilo from the other side. You don’t need to walk the steep staircase if you arrive by boat, or kayak. When you want to explore Praia do Camilo from the other side you can book a boat tour or kayaking tour that leaves from Lagos and arrive at the beach in the most fun way.
Praia do Camilo Parking
Praia do Camilo provides designated parking areas near the beach, allowing you to park your vehicle conveniently. However, it’s worth noting that during peak tourist seasons, parking spaces may fill up quickly, so it’s advisable to arrive early to secure a spot. Or you park along the main road and need to walk further. As you can see on the map below, the public parking spot is next to the staircase leading to the beach.
Praia do Camilo is a natural beach that doesn’t offer many facilities like many main touristic beaches do. There are no facilities at sea level, so don’t expect showers or beach services. Here’s a list of the facilities at Praia do Camilo so you know what to expect:
|Parking||Yes, a small free public parking spot|
|Toilets||No, not on the beach below. You can use the toilet in the restaurant on the cliff when it’s open.|
|Restaurant||Yes, Restaurante Camilo is at the top of the stairs next to the parking. Check opening hours beforehand.|
|Watersport Rental||No, you can’t rent watersport equipment at the beach, but you can book a tour online to visit the beach from the water.|
|Sunbeds||No, there isn’t any beach service. People take their own towels, beach umbrellas, etc.|
|Lifeguards||No, there are no lifeguards present. Use common sense and watch the signs indicating the current water & weather conditions.|
|Bar||No, pack your own snacks and drinks to ensure you have refreshments while enjoying your time on the beach.|
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Praia do Camilo is in the morning, early afternoon, and when it’s low tide, so plenty of beach sand is available. At high tide, the ocean eats away a lot of the beach, so there isn’t much room left to lay down your beach towel. You can check the tide times here.
Also, the sun comes up on this side of the headland, which is why Praia do Camilo is a perfect spot to watch the sunrise. When it is still dark, we often drive early in the morning to Praia do Camilo or another beach on this side of Ponta da Piedade to watch the sun rise. It is beautiful.
And this also means that the sun will disappear behind the cliffs somewhere in the afternoon (depending on the time of the year). Which will leave Praia do Camilo in the shade for the rest of the day. This can be great in the summer since the sun can be very hot. But when you visit in winter and want to enjoy a sunbathing beach day secluded from the wind, the sun is what you want to bring that extra warmth.
Tips for a Perfect Visit
Here are some tips to ensure a perfect visit to Praia do Camilo:
- Plan your visit: Check the weather forecast and tide times before heading to the beach. This will help you prepare for the conditions and maximize your time there.
- Arrive early: To secure a good spot on the beach and avoid crowds, consider arriving early in the morning. This allows you to enjoy the tranquility and capture stunning photos without distractions.
- Bring essentials: Pack sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, and towels to protect yourself from the sun. Don’t forget to bring water and snacks, as there are limited food options directly on the beach.
- Respect the environment: Help preserve the natural beauty of Praia do Camilo by practicing responsible tourism. Avoid littering and dispose of trash in designated bins. Leave the beach as pristine as you found it.
- Swim with caution: Be mindful of underwater rocks and currents. Avoid venturing too far from the shore if you’re not a confident swimmer.
- Explore the surroundings: Take the time to explore the cliffs and rock formations around Praia do Camilo. Walk along the cliffside paths, visit nearby viewpoints such as Ponta da Piedade, and venture through the tunnel to discover the hidden second beach.
- Capture memories: Praia do Camilo offers stunning photo opportunities. Bring your camera or smartphone to capture the natural beauty, unique rock formations, and panoramic views. Don’t forget to charge your devices and bring spare batteries or a power bank.
- Check for updates: Before your visit, check for any updates on transportation schedules, special events, or closures that may affect your plans. Stay informed to ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience.
- Book a tour: if you want to do more than sunbathing and want some action like doing a watersport activity or visiting Praia do Camilo by boat, you can book a tour.
Activities and Things to Do at Praia do Camilo
Now, let’s continue with the list of activities and things to do at and around Praia do Camilo.
Praia do Camilo Swimming
Maybe the first thing on your mind with all the rock formations at Praia do Camilo is, can you swim in Praia do Camilo?
You can swim at Praia do Camilo. The beach offers clear and inviting turquoise waters that are generally safe for swimming, especially in calmer conditions. The gradual slope of the sandy seabed near the shore allows for comfortable swimming experiences, as shown in the picture below. However, rock formations are beneath the ocean’s surface at high tide, so be aware not to scratch your knee. These rock formations come out of hiding at low tide.
It’s important to note that swimming conditions at Praia do Camilo can vary depending on factors such as weather, tides, and currents. If you encounter strong currents or unfamiliar conditions, avoiding swimming and instead enjoying other beach activities or simply relaxing on the sand is advisable.
Praia do Camilo Snorkeling
Beyond its surface beauty, Praia do Camilo boasts an underwater world teeming with life. If you’re a snorkeler or diver, you are treated to a vibrant display of marine biodiversity, with colorful fish darting among rocky outcrops and occasional sightings of sea turtles and other fascinating creatures.
The water is very easy to access. It easy to bring your snorkel set and head in the water. No snorkel rental places are available at the beach, so if you want to snorkel at Praia do Camilo, it is best to bring your own snorkel gear. And if you don’t own a set, you easily order a snorkel set online before your trip to Portugal.
Kayaking at Praia do Camilo
Kayaking at Praia do Camilo is a fantastic way to explore the coastal beauty of this stunning destination. It is one of the most popular water activities at Praia do Camilo.
With its rocky cliffs, hidden caves, and crystal-clear waters, kayaking allows you to immerse yourself in the natural wonders of the Algarve region. While the beach itself may not have kayak rental facilities, you can book a kayaking tour online or in the nearby town of Lagos. From there, you can embark on a thrilling adventure along the coastline, navigating through the turquoise waters and discovering secluded coves and captivating rock formations.
Paddling in a kayak offers a unique perspective from Praia do Camilo, allowing you to get up close to the cliffs and explore hidden caves that are otherwise inaccessible. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced kayaker, the calm waters and picturesque surroundings of Praia do Camilo create an unforgettable kayaking experience. Remember to follow safety guidelines, wear appropriate safety gear, and be aware of changing tides and sea conditions.
Stand Up Paddleboarding at Praia do Camilo
Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) at Praia do Camilo is a popular and exhilarating activity that allows you to glide over the tranquil waters while enjoying the picturesque surroundings. While there might not be dedicated SUP rental facilities directly at the beach, you can find stand-up paddleboarding services that leave from Lagos or rent your SUP equipment online to reserve your spot. This is advisable during the summer peak season.
Hiking at Praia do Camilo
Hiking the surroundings of Praia do Camilo is breathtaking. On both sides of the headland towards Ponta da Piedade, cliffside paths and boardwalks allow you to venture along the rugged cliffs and enjoy breathtaking views of the beach and surrounding coastline. These paths provide an excellent vantage point to appreciate the dramatic rock formations, turquoise waters, and picturesque scenery.
Sometimes these paths are dirt paths, so you need to be cautious. Recently, there are areas, where they created boardwalks on the side of Praia do Camilo (other side of headland boardwalks are present, too), which makes it safer to walk along the side of the coastline. Still, there are plenty off-the-beaten tracks for you to explore the coastline in the most authentic way.
It’s important to note that the terrain can be uneven and steep in some areas, so wearing sturdy footwear and being cautious while hiking is advisable.
Best Praia do Camilo Views
Praia do Camilo offers several vantage points that provide stunning views of the beach and its surroundings. This place is truly photogenic from every angle. If you love taking pictures, this is the place to be. And here are some of the best spots for capturing the most picturesque views:
- Clifftop Viewpoints: Along the cliffside paths surrounding Praia do Camilo, you’ll find various viewpoints that offer breathtaking panoramic views of the beach, the turquoise waters, and the dramatic rock formations. These viewpoints allow you to admire the beach from above and capture stunning photographs. One is near the parking, where you’ll see the beach downstairs. Take your time to explore different vantage points along the cliffs for unique perspectives.
- The Wooden Staircase: As you descend or ascend the wooden staircase leading to Praia do Camilo, you’ll have beautiful views of the beach and the cliffs. The staircase provides a unique angle to capture the rugged coastline and crystal-clear waters. Pause at different levels to appreciate the changing views and capture memorable photos.
- Tunnel Exit: When you emerge from the tunnel that connects the main beach to the smaller cove, you’ll be greeted with an incredible view of the hidden paradise. This spot offers a picturesque frame with the rocky cliffs surrounding the smaller beach and the vibrant blue sea. It’s an excellent location for capturing the beauty of Praia do Camilo from a different perspective.
- Ponta da Piedade: If you want to explore further, consider visiting or hiking along the coastline to Ponta da Piedade, near Praia do Camilo. This iconic headland is known for its breathtaking views of towering cliffs, natural arches, and rock formations rising from the sea. From Ponta da Piedade, you can capture awe-inspiring vistas encompassing Praia do Camilo and the surrounding coastline. And don’t forget to watch the sunset on the right side of Ponta da Piedade. There is a long boardwalk where you can stroll and stop for great pictures.
- Boat or Kayak Tours: Consider taking a boat, kayak, or stand-up paddle boarding tour for a truly unforgettable experience and panoramic views of Praia do Camilo. These tours allow you to witness the beauty of the beach and its surroundings from the sea. You’ll have the opportunity to see the intricate rock formations, cliffs, and caves up close while enjoying a unique perspective of Praia do Camilo. And it’s much cooler to visit Praia do Camilo this way, letterly and figuratively speaking.
Praia do Camilo Sunset
Many people google “Praia do Camilo sunset” because they want to know if you can watch the sunset from the beach. As I mentioned earlier, Praia do Camilo is on the east side of the famous Lagos headland, which means that the sun rises on this side. Therefore makes, Praia do Camilo a perfect spot to watch the sunrise.
And slowly disappears behind the cliffs in the afternoon. So from the beach, you can’t watch the sunset, but you can go to Ponta da Piedade by car or on foot, which is very close, and watch the sunset on the west side of the headland.
Praia do Camilo Restaurants
Praia do Camilo itself does not have any restaurants directly on the beach, but there is a restaurant at the top of the staircase named Restaurant Camilo, known for its typical fish and seafood dishes and gets good reviews. And there is a restaurant near Ponta da Piedade when you’re hungry.
Also, there are plenty of restaurants along the way between Lagos city center and Praia do Camilo. And after a day of enjoying the beach and exploring the coastal beauty, you can head to Lagos, which is just a short distance away, to indulge in a delicious meal. Lagos offers various restaurants, cafes, and eateries that cater to various tastes and budgets. Whether you’re craving fresh seafood, traditional Portuguese dishes, international cuisine, or a quick snack, you’ll find plenty of options to satisfy your culinary preferences.
It is definitely worth exploring the historic center of Lagos, where you’ll find a vibrant dining scene with charming streets lined with restaurants and cafes.
Praia do Camilo Hotels
Praia do Camilo is located near several exceptional hotels that provide comfortable accommodations and easy access to the beach. Here are our favorite hotels near Praia do Camilo:
- Carvi Beach Hotel: This hotel is located at Praia do Camilo, neighboring beach Dona Ana beach, and has a rooftop swimming pool with amazing views overlooking the sea. Praia do Camilo is only a couple of minutes’ walk away.
- Cascade Wellness & Lifestyle Resort is a five-star resort with elegant rooms, multiple swimming pools, a spa, and direct access to the nearby Porto de Mos Beach on the west side of the headland, where you have amazing sunset views.
- Boutique Hotel Vivenda Miranda: a beautiful boutique hotel overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It features an outdoor spa pool, sauna, and massage options.
Below you’ll find a map of the Praia do Camilo area, where you can look for an amazing hotel that fits your preferences and needs.
Beaches of Lagos
There are plenty of other beautiful beaches in Lagos that are worth visiting. Here’s a list of the best beaches in Lagos:
Praia da Dona Ana
Known for its stunning rock formations, clear turquoise waters, and golden sand, Praia da Dona Ana is often regarded as one of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve.
Stretching for approximately 4 kilometers, Meia Praia is the longest beach in the Lagos area. It offers a vast expanse of golden sand, beachfront restaurants, and various water sports activities.
Praia do Camilo
Praia do Camilo is renowned for its picturesque setting, featuring a dramatic staircase leading down to a small cove with crystal-clear waters and stunning cliffs.
Praia do Pinhão
Nestled between cliffs, Praia do Pinhão is a small and charming beach with calm waters, making it ideal for swimming and relaxation. Its intimate atmosphere attracts many visitors seeking tranquility.
Praia do Porto de Mós
Located just west of Lagos, Praia do Porto de Mós offers a spacious beach area surrounded by striking cliffs and rock formations. It is popular for sunbathing, beach sports, and scenic walks.
Praia de Burgau
Situated in the picturesque fishing village of Burgau (20 minutes from Lagos), this beach is known for its peaceful ambiance, clean sand, and inviting waters. It provides a tranquil escape away from the busier tourist spots.
Praia da Luz (our favorite)
Praia da Luz is a favorite among visitors and locals alike, a family-friendly beach with calm waters and a wide sandy shore. It offers a range of facilities, including beachfront restaurants and water sports rentals. Don’t forget to eat at Boaty’s restaurant. Delicious.
Praia da Batata
Located near the Lagos city center, Praia da Batata offers a beautiful sandy beach with clear waters. It’s conveniently situated and offers stunning views of the Lagos Marina.
Praia dos Estudantes
Tucked away beneath the city walls of Lagos, Praia dos Estudantes is a small and charming beach with a relaxed atmosphere. It’s a great spot for sunbathing and taking in the scenic surroundings.
Praia do Canavial
Situated next to Praia do Porto de Mós, Praia do Canavial is a secluded beach with golden sand and rugged cliffs. It offers a serene setting and is popular for those seeking a quieter beach experience.
Best Beaches in Lagos Map
I’ve marked all the best beaches in Lagos with yellow pins on this map below:
Portugal Travel Planning Guide
🚑 Should I buy travel insurance for Portugal?
100% YES! — With basic coverage averaging just $2 USD daily, enjoy peace of mind with a plan from Safety Wing, one of the biggest names in travel insurance.
💧Can you drink tap water in Portugal?
Yes — However, drinking bottled water in Portugal is generally recommended. Most locals drink bottled water, which is readily available and affordable throughout the country. Tap water is safe for drinking, showering, and brushing teeth, but tap water in Portugal contains a lot of chlorine. So the taste is not good, and if you decide to drink tap water, make sure you use a water filter that can filter out the chlorine and other contaminants. When we’re on the road, we always use the Zero Water Filter, which we can easily take with us.
🚗 Is it safe to rent a car in Portugal?
Yes — Renting a car in Portugal is one of the best ways to see the country. I always rent with Rentalcars, which checks international and local Portuguese companies, so you get the best rates.
🏩 What’s the best way to book places to stay in Portugal?
For Portugal hotels, Booking.com is the best site.
🛫 What’s the best site to buy Portugal flights?
Lisbon International Airport and Faro International Airport offer many connections throughout the day. To find the best flights to Portugal, I recommend using Skyscanner.
⛵️ Where to book the best tours in Portugal?
For the best tours in Portugal, I highly recommend booking your trips at Get Your Guide.
🛂 Do I need a visa for Portugal?
Maybe — When you don’t hold a Schengen Passport you need to apply for a Portugal Schengen Visa. Most travelers receive a 90-day (single entry) or 180-day (multiple entry) visa that allows you to visit both Portugal and all the countries within the Schengen Area for as long as your Visa is valid. When you hold a Schengen Passport you are allowed to travel free within the Schengen Area. Find more information on the government site of Portugal.
😃 Is Portugal safe to visit?
Portugal is considered a safe country to travel to, just like in every country, you must be aware when you visit larger cities.
🗣 Do they speak English in Portugal?
Yes – but not in all parts of the country. The Algarve region, the most southern part of Portugal, almost everyone speaks English. Lisbon and Porto region you’ll also find many people that can speak English. However, when you visit the Portuguese countryside you’ll find that most people only speak Portuguese. Read more in our article Is English Widely Spoken in Portugal?
⭐️ What is the best time to visit Portugal?
Portugal is a great destination all year round. The southern region Algarve has the most sunshine days of Europe. During the winter months, it gets 18-20°C on average. When we’re in Portugal during winter we celebrate NYE always on the beach!
If you want to visit the countryside and northern part of Portugal best time to visit is between April and September, since the winter months can be very rainy and cold in that area of the country.