The longest beach in the Lagos region, Mei Praia is a 4.5-kilometer long beautiful white sandy blue flag beach that stretches from the Lagos Marina on the west side to the Alvor estuary on the east side of the beach. This long beach with soft sand without rocks is fantastic for enjoying the sun and surfing. The western side next to the marina is the most popular with plenty of shade, beach chairs for rent, some beach bars, cafes, lifeguards on duty, and walking distance from Lagos with plenty of parking. Praia do Vale de Lama on the east side of Meia Praia is located close to the lagoon where people kitesurf and windsurf.
Praia Porto de Mos is another long sandy beach located on the other side of Lagos and is great for enjoying the sun and waves, the waves are a bit more consistent for surfing.
See this review for all our favorite beaches in Lagos.
If you’re planning a holiday in Lagos check out these two posts
Table of Contents
Meia Praia – The Beach
The western side of Meia Praia, closest to Lagos Marina is called Praia de São Roque and on the east side the beach is called Praia do Vale de Lama. It is not really possible to say where one beach starts or stops. Together Meia Praya is one 4.5 km long uninterrupted stretch of sand. Different parts of Meia Praia can be accessed by 4 wooden bridges connecting parking areas next to the M534 with the beach.
This beautiful golden sandy beach is not backed by high cliffs like most beaches around Lagos, but is lined with sand dunes, since there are no cliffs blocking the wind, Meia Praia can be more windy. Sunbathing and walking are the most popular activities on this long beach with soft sand. There are loads of space here, so if you want to be on your own, just keep on walking! When you are far enough away from the popular areas of Meia Praia, you do run into people sunbathing nude from time to time.
The beach is perfect for scenic walks and great for running. You can do a 10km run on the beach if you run all the way and turn around. This really is a nice clean, well kept beach and the water is very clear most of the time, but it is chilly! The water here is actually quite shallow and gets deeper gradually, which makes it quite a safe spot to swim, especially for children. Safety makes this a popular beach with families. Meia Praia is a great for a wide range of activities and sports from beach sports like running and volley ball to a variety of watersports like swimming, windsurfing and surfing.
Dogs on Meia Praia – dogs are not allowed on Meia Praia, it is a blue flag beach, but many people do bring their dogs to the beach here, especially for walks in the morning. Take a bag to clean up behind your friend if you decide to bring him!
Facilities at Meia Praia
There are 4 parking areas located next to the beach between Praia de São Roque and Praia do Vale de Lama. In season there are thatched beach umbrellas planted on the beach at these locations with beach chairs for rental in season. Some of the umbrellas and beach chairs down the beach are only removed in winter and are free in the shoulder season with no one to collect money.
There are some restaurants located on Meia Praia beach:
- São Roque Beach – Linda Beach Bar, Mediterranean and Portuguese cuisines. Good hamburgers and chicken wings. Nice spot for a beer or a coffee. EUR 10 – 20 per meal
- São Roque Beach – Restaurant São Roque – Mediterranean and Portuguese cuisines, nice seafood. Good view of the beach, EUR 20+ per meal
- Duna Beach, Bar, Portuguese cuisine, hamburgers, pasta. On the beach, nice view, avg price EUR 20 per meal.
- Gaivota Branca, Portuguese cuisine, seafood, no take aways. On the beach, nice view, avg price EUR 30 per meal.
Praia de São Roque
- Parking – there is plenty of parking close to the beach. Right next to beach park on the gravel parking areas at Linda Beach Bar and São Roque Restaurant. Parking is also available down the road or at the train station.
- Facilities – restaurants
- Accessibility – wheelchair accessible
- Shade – There are thatched beach umbrellas planted on the beach at Praia de São Roque that are for rent together with beach chairs in peak season.
- Lifeguards – are on duty in season at Praia de São Roque and the west side of the beach.
- Restaurants – both Linda Beach Bar and São Roque Restaurant are located right on the beach and great spots to grab a bite to eat or relax with a coffee or a beer at the beach.
There are a couple of parking areas, restaurants, bars and accommodation close to the beach at various locations along its length giving easy access to various parts of Meia Praya.
Things to do on Meia Praia
Surfing at Meia Praia
The beautiful Meia Praia beach does not often produce good waves for surfing, but when south swell comes into the bay, there can be very nice waves here, getting up to about shoulder height. It’s one of the two main beaches for surfing in Lagos. Even though waves are usually small in summer it is a very popular spot for local surf schools to offer lessons.
The surf break at Praia de São Roque/Meia Praia is a beach break with many peaks when there are waves. The bottom is sandy with no rocks and is a relatively safe spot to learn. Since waves usually do not break too far from shore it is an easy spot for paddling out; it is not a very long paddle to the backline. The best waves are on the west side at Praia de Sao Roque next to the harbor wall, you will see most surfers cluster here. Because Meia Praia is a beach break with many peaks it does not feel too crowded even with many surfers in the water.
Check out these Algarve Surf Camps
- 4 Day Thrilling Surf Camp in Lagos
- 5 Day Refreshing Surf Camp in Lagos
- 5-day escape surf camp in Algarve, Portugal
- 7-day hiking, surfing, and yoga holiday in Algarve, Portugal
Swimming at Meia Praia
This scenic beach is fantastic for swimming, a nice sandy beach with no rocks. The water at Meia Praia is shallow, gradually getting deeper making this beach fantastic for swimming and very popular for families with children. It is a safe beach when the water is calm since it is fairly shallow and at certain places there are lifeguards on duty. During the summer the water is mostly flat and calm, very nice for easy swimming. The water temperature is in the range between 15C and 20C, nice and refreshing for a dip, but cold to spend extended periods in the water without a wetsuit.
The water is flat and calm most of the time in summer, perfect swimming pool like conditions for long distance swims. In summer with prevailing flat conditions swimmers are often seen swimming parallel to the beach towing a red buoy to be visible to boat traffic. I often do long swims at Meia Praia and swim in my 3/4 surf suit or a thin 2mm swimming wetsuit. In summer there are sometimes days when the water is about 20C and it is hot outside, in these conditions swimming a kilometer or 2 only in a costume is still nice.
Visit the Lagos Marina
The Lagos Marina is a harbor full of speedboats and yachts packed with coffee shops, bars and restaurants, located 10 minutes walk from Meia Praia. Enjoy the picturesque views and relaxed atmosphere. Our favorite coffee shop here is Artisao and we have coffee here a couple of times a week. To watch the rugby or go for breakfast, The Marina Sports Bar is a good spot.
The boat tours from Lagos are some of the Algarve highlights not to miss and mostly depart from the Marina. These are all very popular and well rated tours with great reviews, check them out!
- 75-Minute Boat Cruise to Ponta da Piedade
- 2-Hour Kayak Cave Explorer Tour
- Dolphin Watching with Marine Biologists
- 2-Hour Boat Trip to the Benagil Caves
Getting to Meia Praia
Getting to São Roque, the west side of Meia Praia
São Roque, the west side of Meia Praia, is the easiest to reach from Lagos Old Town. You can get there by car, walking or pubic transport. The Marina de Lagos is only 900 m away from the beach, a 3 minute drive or 10 minute walk.
The Lagos train station is 800 m away from the beach, so you can easily get to Lagos by train and walk the 10 minutes to the beach. The train station has a nice restaurant where you can sit outside, so enjoy a toasta mista and a beer or coffee in your beach close waiting for the train or just walk across the road to the Marina de Lagos with plenty of restaurants and bars.
Access middle of Meia Praia
Driving parallel to Meia Praia on the M534 there are 4 parking areas each with access to the beach via a wooden bridge. These bridges will take you to different parts of the beach between Praia de São Roque close to the marina on the west side and Praia do Vale de Lama on the east side. The last of the 4 parking areas across the road from the Iberostar hotel will only take you just past the halfway mark on the beach and the last kilometer or 2 can only be reached on foot.
Getting to Praia do Vale da Lama – the east side of Meia Praia
To get to Praia do Vale da Lama on the east side (from where you can see Alvor) you have to drive around Vale de Lame to the kite club at the lagoon and walk from there. If you enjoy walking you can visit Alvor boardwalk. Following the circular route you can explore Alvor Beach and the Alvor river bank.
Uber works very well in Lagos and because the town is relatively small it is never too expensive.
Getting to Lagos
Get to Lagos from Faro Airport (FAO) by direct shuttle bus. Renting a car is a very convenient option and will allow you to explore the different surf spots in the area on your own. The cheapest way of getting to Lagos from Lisbon is by bus. There are several direct daily buses that connect two cities.
Accommodation Close to Meia Praia
Our top pick – The Captain’s Nest by Seewest, nice apartment walking distance from Praia de Sao Roque.