Praia da Dona Ana

Praia da Dona Ana beach guide, how to get there and where to stay

Praia da Dona Ana, Lagos

Dona Ana is one of the most famous beaches in Algarve. Images of its clear waters and stunning cliffs have been used to promote the region and it’s one of the most photographed by tourists. International travel publications regularly consider it one of Portugal’s best.

View over Praia da Dona Ana, Lagos

It’s the biggest beach on the coast between the center of Lagos and the Ponta da Piedade headland, but can be crowded in the summer. It’s good for sunbathing in the morning and to avoid the sun in the afternoon, when its southern side is shaded by the high cliffs.

Clifftop view of Praia da Dona Ana, Lagos

Like most beaches on this coast, it flies the Blue Flag, indicating that it’s clean and good for swimming. The water is usually calm in the summer, as the different rock formations and cliffs protect it from the winds and currents. For this reason, it’s also popular for snorkeling.

Rock in the water in Dona Ana Beach, Lagos

The sand isn’t as soft and golden as that of the other beaches in the area. That’s because much of it had to be brought from the bottom of the sea in 2015, when much of the sandy area was disappearing. Increasing the area had the cost of almost 2 million euros, but many say this affected the natural scenery. However, it improved the safety of visitors, as they can keep some distance from the cliffs and avoid an eventual rockfall.

Sunshades in Praia da Dona Ana, Lagos

There are breathtaking views from the top of the cliffs. While many photograph it from the southern side (by the wooden staircase that leads down to the sand), the view is arguably better from the cliff on the northern side (especially in the morning and at sunset).

Golden cliffs in Praia da Dona Ana, Lagos

The staircase means that this is not a beach for the disabled, and the elderly may find it difficult to go down and then up the 93 steps. However, it attracts all kinds of people, from families to groups of young people who just come to relax (it’s not a beach for water sports or partying). There are sunshades and loungers for rent in the bathing season, connected to a bar serving light meals and refreshments.

The calm water of Dona Ana Beach, Lagos

It’s said that the name comes from a nun who lived in a convent in Lagos in the early 20th century. The convent was invaded by soldiers in World War I, and all nuns were murdered except Ana. She was able to escape through a tunnel that led to this beach.

Dona Ana Beach, Lagos

Beach for: Couples, Families
Lifeguards: Yes
Bathrooms: Yes
Rentals: Yes
Bar or Restaurant: Yes
Accessible: No
Parking: Yes

Stairs that give access to Dona Ana Beach, Lagos

How to Get to Praia da Dona Ana

Praia da Dona Ana is about a 15-minute walk from the center of Lagos. It’s a pleasant walk, past other beaches and over cliffs, but those who want to save their legs can take bus number 2 that stops nearby. The tourist train is another option. If you’re driving, there’s very limited parking above the beach, so go early or you’ll have trouble finding a spot. The beach is also a frequent stop on boat and kayak tours, which explore the caves and grottoes on this coast. To know how to get around Lagos, see the transportation guide.

Beaches by Praia da Dona Ana

To the south of Praia da Dona Ana, heading in the direction of Ponta da Piedade, you’ll find other beaches. The first one is the picture-perfect Praia do Camilo, where everyone just has to stop and take a few selfies. A short walk from there, hidden down a steep cliff, is the “secret” beach of Pinheiros, an unofficial nude beach. To the north of Praia da Dona Ana is the smaller but similar Praia do Pinhão.
To locate these beaches, see the Lagos beaches map.

Hotels by Praia da Dona Ana

Carvi Beach Hotel, Lagos

Carvi Beach Hotel

Located right above Dona Ana Beach, this is where you should stay if you want the beach at your doorstep. Featuring a rooftop swimming pool and restaurant, and rooms with balconies, it offers sea views from just about anywhere. It’s a good choice for couples, as well as for families, with double, triple and family rooms of different sizes.


Villa Doris Suites, Lagos

Villa Doris Suites

This property’s spacious suites and apartments cater to large groups (the penthouse suite has four bathrooms and accommodates as many as 8 people!). It’s located steps from the steps that lead down to the beach, and offers an outdoor pool and hot tub.


Villas D. Dinis, Lagos

Villas D. Dinis

Located on the road between Praia da Dona Ana and Praia do Camilo, this highly-rated property has uniquely-decorated rooms and suites in a group of traditional villas. It’s for adults only and especially catering for couples, with private patios and an outdoor pool.


Dona Ana Garden, Lagos

Dona Ana Garden

Named after the beach, this 3-star hotel is just a 2-minute walk away. It has standard rooms and apartments, and a year-round outdoor heated pool.