Sun, Sea and Geology in Lagos

More than simply a place to relax and enjoy fresh seafood, crisp, cool wine and wonderful views, Lagos also has some wonderful geological treasures worth exploring…

Lagos is a beach side town in Algarve known for the sea caves that line its beaches. The Benagil caves are intriguing geological formations that are the result of erosion combined with a number of other processes that span ages.  The geological story of these caves can be clearly seen from their odd shapes and exciting colour gradations – the result of limestone build up around twenty million years ago from the Mesozoic era.

lagos cave with hole in ceiling
The cave formation that Lagos is famous for

In them, you can see layers of red sandstone fanned with darker layers of volcanic ash. I’m not quite sure if there is a scientific term for these cave like structures with a roof that’s caved in, I suppose there must be – they are certainly a big attraction! In fact, it was seeing pictures of these “caves” on Pinterest that compelled us to make a stop over of a few days in the area of Lagos.

lagos, pink flower succulents
Beautiful, hardy plants cover the slopes that surround the beach

I can imagine Lagos being very full with tourists during the heat of the season, but when we visited, it wasn’t too bad, and sometimes, when we got up early enough, we felt like we almost had the place to ourselves.

lagos, cliffs, rocks
From certain angles, the cliffs seem like ever watchful sentinels looking over the waters

Lagos is all about its beaches – chilling on our terrace overlooking the sea, taking a boat ride out to see the famous rock formations that line its coast, exploring the beautiful and hardy flora and fauna of the area and most of all, eating the freshest seafood and enjoying a cold glass of white wine in a lovely restaurant with a fantastic view.

seagulls, black and white, ocean
Two seagulls contemplating the vastness ahead

The beaches here do not stretch out never-endingly, they are lined with cliffs that interrupt the flow of the sand, and so you can’t walk for a long time one way or another. This means there are many little coves that are waiting to be discovered – it’s unlikely you’ll find one just all to yourself, but who knows, maybe you’ll get lucky sometime.

Algarve, cliffs in the sea
The sea swirling amongst the broken cliffs of Ponta da Piedade

One of these coves is Ponta da Piedade, lined by cliffs that have been broken up so much that now some simply stand like lone watchmen in the shallow shores around the beach. I find there’s something so special about them. On a boat, it feels like there’s always something new around the next corner.

A moth (not butterfly!) taking off after feeding

At some point on the beach, you can climb up the cliffs so you get to look at the sea and the rock formations from a different perspective. There were some paths that led from one broken cliff to another that were pretty narrow, high and steep which I found fun and exhilarating to navigate.

Portugal, Algarve, Limstone cliffs
Intriguing rock formations that are scattered all over the shore around Lagos

We were in Lagos for a couple of nights, and I felt that that was the perfect amount of time. We’d seen everything we wanted to see and had some time to enjoy the wonderful sea, air, and the sort of serenity that comes with enjoying good food and wine over the sound of distant waves lapping gently upon the shore.

Portugal, algarve
Sunset over Lagos