Meia Praia - Lagos' best-known and biggest beach, for anyone who likes things central and big
The large sandy beach of Meia Praia in southern Portugal is bordered by two estuaries. It extends over a length of five kilometres along the flat dune landscape between the breakwater of Ribeira de Bensafrim to the north and the river delta of Odiáxere and Arão. Several car parks provide access to the best-known and biggest sandy beach in the coastal town of Lagos. In the summer months a water taxi will take you from Avenida dos Descobrimentos right to the beach. From the marina, it's just five minutes on foot.
To protect the sensitive dune vegetation, which is home to diverse flora and fauna, a network of boardwalks has been constructed, giving access to the beach. The soft white sand on Meia Praia slopes very gently into the cool Atlantic waters. The extremely shallow shoreline is ideal for families with small children, many of whom come from Portugal itself or from more distant countries such as Spain, Germany, the Netherlands or Italy.
As a result it can be very busy at the western end of Meia Praia in August and September. This area of the beach, which is very much geared towards tourism, is home to three beach bars and restaurants that take care of visitors' needs. The beach is dominated by loungers and beach umbrellas, water sports operators and beach vendors. The number of leisure activities on offer is overwhelming: diving, kayaking, jet skiing, Flyboarding, parasailing, water skiing, pedal boats, bodyboarding, stand-up paddle boarding or banana boat rides - you'll find everything you could possibly wish for here. From October, the very windy Meia Praia is also considered a top spot for windsurfing and kitesurfing and surfers will not be disappointed either.
The further east you go, the quieter and more natural the scenery is. This area is ideal for people who want to stay in a central location without sacrificing privacy. There is just as little natural shade here as at the western end but if you bring your own sunshade you'll be able to bathe nude here quite happily. Dogs are also allowed to run around and cool off here.