Praia do Canavial

Praia do Canavial beach guide, how to get there and where to stay

Praia do Canavial, Lagos, Algarve, Portugal

It’s no longer a secret, but this beach remains secluded and off the beaten path. That’s because it’s not easy to reach, despite being next to one of Lagos’ most popular beaches, Praia do Porto de Mós. The relative isolation made it the first beach in the city to be frequented by naturists and the gay community, and it’s an unofficial nude beach. It’s mostly frequented by young straight and gay couples. Naturists usually tend to stay on the far eastern end (to the left when facing the sea).

Praia do Canavial, Lagos

The water here isn’t as calm as at the sheltered beaches in town like Praia dos Pinheiros or Praia do Camilo, but this is a good beach for sunbathing. There’s no shade, so those who prefer to avoid the sun should bring an umbrella. It has no facilities of any kind, so there are no rentals -- or even lifeguards. Bring enough food and snacks, and take all the trash with you when you leave.

Although it’s relatively long, it’s quite narrow, so the sandy area can feel crowded even when there aren’t many people (at high tide, and in the winter months, the beach pretty much disappears). And despite the tall cliffs behind it, it’s not protected from the winds. After a rainy day, you’ll see a stream cascading down the cliff to the golden sand.

Trail down to Praia do Canavial, Lagos

The name means “cane field” and derives from the vegetation that you see on your way down. However, the beach itself is more characterized by rocks. When the water is calm, you can clearly see rocks underwater, and should always be careful not to hurt yourself on one. Also keep some distance from the cliffs, as there’s always a risk of rockfall.

If you walk to this beach from Ponta da Piedade (see directions below), you can admire it from above -- just don’t stand near the edge of the cliff!

Beach for: Naturists, LGBT
Lifeguards: No
Bathrooms: No
Rentals: No
Bar or Restaurant: No
Accessible: No
Parking: Yes

Boardwalk above Canavial Beach, Lagos

How to Get to Praia do Canavial

You can walk from the center of Lagos to this beach in about 30 minutes, but this isn’t a very scenic walk (you do have some great coastal views if you walk over the cliffs and follow a boardwalk from Ponta da Piedade, but that takes longer than a half hour). If you have a car, it’s just about 5 minutes from central Lagos, and there are a few parking spots above the beach. You can also choose to go by taxi, which should cost between 6 and 8 euros, depending on the time of day. Alternatively, take bus number 2, which stops at the beaches once per hour. It doesn’t stop at Canavial, but does go to the neighboring beach of Porto de Mós in about 20 minutes (tickets are bought from the driver). The tourist train that goes to most of the beaches, does not come to this part of town. Yet another option is to walk from Porto de Mós. When you’re facing the sea, keep walking to the left. At the very end is a cliff that separates the two beaches. If the tide is low, you can walk around it and reach Canavial. However, the tide is rarely low enough for that. You can also walk up the road from Porto de Mós for about 20 minutes. Whether you choose to walk, drive or take public transportation, you need to hike down to the beach from the southern end of Rua do Canavial, where cars are parked. There are no signs, so you should note exactly how to get there: You see a boardwalk by the parking lot (pictured above), but it doesn’t lead to the beach. Instead, you need to jump over it and follow the direction of a fence down the cliff. The descent isn’t difficult - there are footpaths and steps, and it takes about 3 minutes -- but it’s not recommended for those with mobility issues.
To know how to get around Lagos, see the transportation guide.

Beaches by Praia do Canavial

The closest beach to Praia do Canavial is the aforementioned Praia de Porto de Mós. If you like to walk, you can also go over the cliffs in a westerly direction to Praia da Luz, a family-friendly beach. For the exact locations of these beaches, see the Lagos beaches map.

Hotels by Praia do Canavial

Canavial I & II Apartamentos, Lagos

Canavial I & II Apartamentos

Perfectly located on the road to Praia do Canavial, this property offers good-value studios. They open to terraces, some looking out to the sea or over the swimming pool in the garden.


Vivenda Miranda Boutique Hotel , Lagos

Vivenda Miranda Boutique Hotel

Located right by the beach of Porto de Mós, this colorful hotel is also just about a 10-minute walk from Praia do Canavial. It’s a romantic hotel for couples, offering sea views, uniquely furnished rooms with balconies, a swimming pool in a Mediterranean garden, a spa and a gourmet restaurant.


Lagos Atlantic Hotel

Lagos Atlantic Hotel

Also within walking distance from Praia do Canavial (about 15 minutes), this highly-rated 4-star hotel has several rooms with ocean views and balconies, a swimming pool, and a fitness center. It can be a good value.


Belmar Spa & Beach Resort, Lagos

Belmar Spa & Beach Resort

This resort overlooks the beach of Porto de Mós but is about a 15-minute walk from Praia do Canavial. It’s made up of contemporary apartments, many with a balcony or a rooftop terrace. It has a state-of-the-art spa with an indoor pool, a well-equipped fitness center, a large outdoor pool, and a restaurant specializing in regional cuisine.


Villa Esmeralda, Lagos

Villa Esmeralda

For a romantic stay, couples choose this Moorish-style villa standing above the beach of Porto de Mós. Walking up the road from the villa and then turning south takes you to Praia do Canavial, but you may also sunbathe at the garden with a swimming pool.