Praia da Dona Ana is an iconic beach in the Algarve, walking distance from Lagos old town, located between Praia do Camilo and Praia do Pinhão. It is a nice sandy beach, surrounded by spectacular overhanging cliffs, with a Tavern on the beach, bays and passages to explore and good facilities. This picture perfect beach is world renowned for its crystal clear water, unique rock formations and surrounding red and yellow sandstone cliffs. A very popular spot to take those perfect Algarve shots for Instagram.
The famous Praia Dona Ana is one of the most photographed views in the area and what you often see on well known beach scenery pictures of the Algarve. A visit to this amazing beach is a not-to-miss activity in Lagos; awesome scenery for taking some photos, excellent beach for swimming and sunbathing, interesting rock formations to explore, nice snorkeling. This is a blue flag beach, so it is clean, neat and has good facilities.
The water at Praia Dona Ana is crystal clear and calm on most days making this beach nice for swimming, it is however quite cold most of the year, so on hot days we just take a nice dip and don’t spend too much time actually swimming.
If you’re planning to travel to Lagos from overseas we have detailed posts on how to get from Lisbon to Lagos? and how to get from Faro to Lagos?
Dona Ana All About the Beach
Praia da Dona Ana is the largest beach on the Ponta Piedade headland with a length of 300 meters. The beach is a mix of sand and broken shells, I will recommend wearing flip flops for walking on the shells. Closer to the ocean it is more sandy, so at low tide there is a nice sandy beach.
Dona Ana beach is one of the best beaches in Lagos. It’s located in a classic Algarve cove between between the town of Lagos and the famous Ponta da Piedade. Since it is located on the eastern side of Ponta da Piedade, Praia Dona Ana beach is sheltered from the wind but gets a lot of sun. The beach is in the shadow in the afternoon from about 17:00, this is very nice in summer when temperatures climb over 30C.
Ponta da Piedade also protect Dona Ana beach from waves from the southwest and the sea here is very calm on most days.
Praia Dona Ana is connected to Praia do Piñao by a groyne (a small rocky wall), at low tide it is possible to walk to the isolated Piñao Beach on the sand past the groyne from Dona Ana beach.
Dona Ana beach was extended in 2016 by adding rocks and dredging sand at one end of the beach to make it the largest beach on the headland. The development was controversial with some feeling it took away from the beauty of the beach.
If you are visiting the Algarve do not miss the Benagil Sea Cave, some of the most spectacular scenery in Portugal!
Praia Dona Ana Facilities
- Parking – yes
- Dogs – not allowed
- Restaurant: yes
- Toilet: yes
- Shower: yes
- Sunbeds: yes
- Lifeguards: yes
There are two sets of stairs leading down to the beach from the parking area. Sunbeds for hire in season. Showers and toilets are available, take change for the toilets.
Dona Ana Beach Parking
Praia Dona Ana has good facilities. There is a parking area for about 70 or 80 cars at the top of the stairs leading down to the beach, this gets filled up quickly in summer.
Restaurants at Praia Dona Ana
There are a couple of restaurants close to Praia Dona Ana at the top of the cliffs, grab a pizza at the lovely Italian family run pizzeria Gato Pardo or tapas, seafood and sangria at Repolho Gastrobar & Garrafeira, serving Portuguese and Spanish cuisines. Marisol is a small bar and restaurant known for serving sea food that is located down the stairs right on the beach, awesome spot to grab a beer on the beach on a hot day!
Things to do at Praia Dona Ana
The water at Praia Dona Ana is crystal clear and calm on most days making this beach nice for swimming, the water is however quite cold most of the year, so on hot days we just take a nice dip and don’t spend too much time actually swimming. On days with the right swell direction there are however sometimes waves and choppy water at this beach.
There are a couple of rows of sunbeds with shade to hire, close to the beach bar with toilets. The sunbeds are a bit close to each other which is nice if you are some friends renting a couple of chairs. 10 EUR to hire a pair of sunbeds and a shade for the morning or afternoon. In season try to get there by 10:00 to get a sunbed, they go quick if the beach is busy. It is nice that Praia Dona Ana has showers for a quick rinse before going home.
There is a footpath along the cliffs that goes from Praia Dona Ana to Praia do Piñao. At low tide, you can walk between the beaches past the groyne that seperates them. The secluded Praia do Piñao is another beautiful Algarve beach, it is not very busy. There are some caves, tunnels and structures to explore.
Snorkeling at Dona Ana
Dona Ana beach is a good spot for snorkeling with clear water often, rocky reef, little cave structures and many different species of marine life to see including; anemones, octopuses, gorgonians, sea stars and a variety of fish. You can snorkel from Dona Ana to Praia do Piñao. If you are planning to snorkel for a while wear a wetsuit, the water is cold. Always stay close to the rocks and use a surface marker buoy, there is a lot of boat traffic in the area, so be careful for boats.
Getting to Praia Dona Ana
Being located only about 2 km from the old town, Dona Ana Beach can easily be reached on foot, it is around a 20 minute walk. Walk along the main road coming from the Marina, past the harbor (Avenida dos Descobrimentos), walk up the hill and turn left at the fire station. There is a footpath along the cliffs that goes from Praia do Penhao to Praia Dona Ana. In front of the Iberlagos hotel there are steps going down to the beach. From Dona Ana Beach you can continue walking all the way to the lighthouse at Ponta da Piedade.
There is parking for about a 100 cars close to the stairs. Driving directions similar to walking or just follow your GPS to Praia Dona Ana. In season this parking area gets full quickly on a nice day. There are plenty of Ubers in Lagos, since Lagos is a small town this is a quick, cheap and easy way to get to Dona Ana beach.
Praia Dona Ana can be reached by bus, take the line 2 public bus which departs from Forte de Meia Praia every hour making all the beach stops; Meia Praia, Lagos Railway Station, Lagos Bus Station and town, Dona Ana and Porto do Mos. The ticket is only EUR 1.20 and the bus stops in some very accessible places that makes this quite user friendly.
The Lagos Tourist Train
You can take the Lagos Tourist Train in season. It makes 7 stops at great places to see and is fun with music playing and a driver with a microphone to give you some info. The ticket costs EUR 3.50
Top Activities in Lagos
- Ponta Piedade Boat Trip – Cruise along the coast of Lagos and Ponta da Piedade to Ponta Piedad, see the rock formations and hidden grottos from the inside. View Dona Ana Beach and Camilo Beach from the sea.
- Benagil Caves Boat Trip – a 2-hour boat trip from Lagos. See the beautiful beaches and golden cliffs as you explore the biggest sea cave in the region.
- Dolphin watching tour – ocean expedition searching for wild dolphins guided by a marine biologist, 1.5 hour trip from Lagos.
- All about Surfing in Lagos.
More Amazing Beaches in Lagos
- Praia do Camilo is a stunning “secret” beach on the way from Dona Ana Beach to Ponta de Piedade.
- Meia Praia is the longest beach in the area, a 4.5 km long sandy beach with shade and shops 10 minutes walk from the Lagos Marina.
- Praia Porto de Mos is another long sandy beach with great facilities and the most consistent surfing beach in Lagos.