Lagos' longest and widest beach has over four kilometers (2.5 miles) of fine, white sand. Although it can get quite crowded in the summer in parts, there are always sections with plenty of space to spread your towel and have some peace and privacy. In fact, many even choose to sunbathe nude on the eastern end (according to the Portuguese Naturist Federation, this is an unofficial nude beach).
It mixes local families and tourists, which tend to stay to the west, as it’s closer to the center of Lagos (you can see most of the city from here). For a quieter spot, walk to the east (to the left, when facing the ocean). This is a good beach for walks by the sea and for water sports. Unlike the other beaches in town, it has no cliffs, so it’s not as protected from the winds, meaning there are days when there are good waves and days when the sea is quite calm. Depending on the weather conditions and tides, you can kayak, stand-up paddle or surf here.
This is a very clean beach and there are no rocks in the water, which is quite shallow, so it’s good for children and swimming -- just not for very long, as the water is usually cold.
In the summer, there are sunshades, parasols, beds and loungers for rent. These are usually located by the bars and restaurants on the dunes. There’s lifeguard supervision in the official bathing season (June to September) and wheelchair access.
The name literally means “Half Beach” and it’s said that it’s because it is part of a coastline that’s separated roughly halfway by the Alvor River estuary. Sometimes, the western side is called Praia de São Roque and the east Praia do Vale da Lama, but it’s all the same beach, all Meia Praia. The handful of restaurants and bars (some of which are open until late and throughout the year) are all on the western and middle sections, and there are no facilities on the eastern side.
Behind it, by a parking lot, is a ruined fort, which defended the port of Lagos in the 17th and 18th centuries. On the eastern end (Praia do Vale da Lama), you can see an oyster farm in the waters of Ria de Alvor.
Beach for: Families, Water Sports, Naturists (eastern end)
Bar or Restaurant: Yes
How to Get to Meia Praia
Meia Praia is located to the north of the center of Lagos. It’s about a 10-minute walk from the train station or about 20 minutes from the Old Town (a footbridge connects Avenida dos Descobrimentos to the marina, from where it’s about a 10-minute walk to the western side of the beach). Because it’s such a long beach, it has its own train station with its name, three kilometers up the coast from the town’s main station.
The hourly bus number 2, which does a circular route around Lagos, stops at this beach, as does the tourist train. If you’re driving, you’ll find plenty of parking, but make sure you arrive early in the summer, or you might have difficulty in finding a spot.
If you prefer to go straight to the quieter eastern section, take the train from Lagos station. One station and four minutes later, you’re in Meia Praia (just keep in mind that this is an infrequent service, departing just around half a dozen times per day, roughly around every 2 hours and 15 minutes). For the exact times, see the cp.pt website. To know how to get around Lagos, see the transportation guide.
Beaches by Meia Praia
Meia Praia is the northeasternmost beach in Lagos. To the east is the town of Alvor, which is separated from Lagos by the Alvor River estuary. Because you need to drive around the estuary, it takes about 30 minutes to get to the beach of Alvor and the beautiful beach of Três Irmãos further to the east. But there are plenty of wonderful beaches in Lagos, to the south of Meia Praia. The first one is Praia da Batata (about a 30-minute walk or short bus ride away), which is connected by tunnels and cliffs to other beaches. Praia da Dona Ana and Praia do Camilo are the most recommended. For the exact locations, see the Lagos beaches map.
Hotels by Meia Praia
Iberostar Selection Lagos
It’s located right above the beach, but this hotel also stands out for its two large outdoor swimming pools, spacious rooms with balconies, and a well-equipped fitness center and sauna.
SEE PRICES, AVAILABILITY AND MORE DETAILS HERE: Iberostar Selection Lagos
Palmares Beach House Hotel
This “adults only” hotel is located three kilometers (less than two miles) from Meia Praia (the quieter eastern section). It offers a 5-star service, and sea views from the outdoor swimming pool, from the restaurant and the rooms, which all have a balcony.
SEE PRICES, AVAILABILITY AND MORE DETAILS HERE: Palmares Beach House Hotel
Vila Galé Lagos
It caters mostly to families (with family rooms and suites and a kids’ club), but anyone will enjoy a stay at this hotel facing Meia Praia. There’s a large outdoor swimming pool, another one indoors, a spa, a gym and three tennis courts.
SEE PRICES, AVAILABILITY AND MORE DETAILS HERE: Vila Galé Lagos
Those who prefer self-catering accommodation should choose this resort located a short walk from Meia Praia. It has 50 large apartments with terraces, some with sea views. Outside is a subtropical garden with a heated swimming pool.
SEE PRICES, AVAILABILITY AND MORE DETAILS HERE: Vila Palmeira