Ponta da Piedade
- an unforgettable experience
Ponta da Piedade is one of those places which you try and try to describe but find there are no words that can truly capture the towering cliffs, emerald waters and views that take your breath away. And then try and explain how it feels to be on a flimsy little kayak as you paddle through caves and along these vast cliffs. Words, photo and video are not enough to convey this breathtaking experience. I'll try but to really understand you need to experience it for yourself.
Ponta da Piedade is simply one of the most extraordinary places in the Algarve. Along the coast of Lagos, the cliffs have been carved by the wind and tides for thousands of years to form intricate caves and tunnels. This combined with the blue-green waters creates a unique landscape that will take your breath away.
While the views are incredible from the top of the cliffs, it reveals it's magic from below. And I got to experience paddling my way along the cliffs, through the tunnels and past the caves. All with pure blue sky overhead, turquoise water below and my best friend freaking out behind me.
Kayaking the Ponta da Piedade
As part of a recent trip to Portugal, I spent a few days in Lagos at the fabulous Cascade Wellness and Lifestyle Resort. One of the days I persuaded my friend to accompany me on a kayak tour of the Ponta da Piedade. Now both of us aren't the most adventurous types and generally anything that means me removing my ass from my sun lounger unless it's the buffet or a spa treatment) isn't something I'm that interested in. But my research of the area and the glorious pictures of the Ponta da Piedade convinced me this would be worth my while.
After talking my friend into it, we made our way down to the Lagos harbour to the Discover Tours boat. After a brief introductory talk, we were off. I love being on boats! There's something about the wind in my hair, the water flying by beneath me, it's one of my happy places. After about 20 minutes or so we reached our mooring point and started the process of getting in the kayaks and being pushed off the boat. A quite simple process, we just got int the kayak and they pushed us off the back of the boat and then we were in the water.
Now I don't have much Kayaking experience, ok I have none, unless you count a few minutes in Irish collage in very still but freezing water (funnily enough with the same friend… kayak buddies for life!) But it was a lot easier than I thought it would be. There were about 6 or 7 kayaks with two in each and our leader.
And we're off!
We set off all constantly bumping into each other. Rule 1 of kayaking. If there is another kayak nearby, your kayak will be drawn to it and you will keep crashing into each other. Anyway, after a few minutes of sorting ourselves out, we were off, paddling our way through the blue-green water and into the towering cliffs.
We spent about an hour bopping along the cliffs, through arches and into caves. Our guide told us all about the formation of the cliffs, the nicknames of some of the formations and fascinating local legends. Apart from a few time it seemed as if the waves would throw us into a cliff, it was incredibly relaxing and peaceful. I'll let the photos the job of describing the experience.
After about an hour we went back to the boat and headed back to the Lagos harbour, zipping by the beautiful Algarve beaches again. I had such an amazing experience and would recommend it for everyone. I found the kayak easy to use and didn't take a lot of effort so even the very unfit could do this. If you don't like the sound of the kayak, you can be taken out in one of the many boats that wait for tourists at the bottom of the Ponte da Piede steps.
Thinking you'd like to do this? Read on for tips on Kayaking the Ponta da Piedade.
Some tips for kayaking the Ponta da Piedade
- Kayaking this incredible area is best done in the offseason if you can. It is one of the most popular activities in the region, maybe even in the whole of Portugal. So the area can get very crowded with boats and kayaks, which takes away from the whole experience. If you are there in the high season (end of June through to August) go first thing in the morning and it hopefully won't be as crowded.
- Bring a towel and a change of clothes! You won't get fully wet, but your bum certainly will!
- Sunscreen, sunscreen and more sunscreen! Wear factor 50 and make sure it's water-resistant and you cover your entire body, especially your nose, shoulders and toes.
- Also, wear a hat if you can, a baseball cap is the best as unless you have a hat you can tie on, it will get blown off.