10 Unforgettable Things to Do in Lagos, Portugal


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For being a comparatively small nation, Portugal sure has a wide range of locations which might be must-visits. Like the cities of Lisbon and Porto; the fairytale-esque castles in Sintra; the terraced vineyards of the Douro Valley; and the gorgeous cliffs and coastlines of the Algarve.

If you are seeking to plan a beachy getaway in Portugal’s southern Algarve area, there are various cities you can select base your self in – like Faro or Albufeira or Portimão. But my however my private decide is Lagos.

The little city of Lagos (pronounced “LAH-goash“) is normally considered the prettiest within the Algarve, being recognized for its historic city middle, lovely seashores, and entry to among the most dramatic elements of the southern coast.

If you are solely going to go to the Algarve for a short while, then Lagos is the place you wish to be.

Lagos view from the marina
Lagos view from the marina
Sunset over the beach in Lagos
Sunset over the seashore in Lagos

RELATED: How to Spend a Fantastic 3 Days in Lagos, Portugal (Without a Car)

When to go to Lagos, Portugal

The Algarve area of Portugal has a Mediterranean local weather, that means it experiences scorching and dry summers and delicate winters. The Algarve could be very sunny (Lagos will get 300 days of solar per yr on common), which is why it such a well-liked seashore vacation spot.

High season in Lagos and the Algarve runs from late June via August. This is when it is the most popular and busiest – and I personally wouldn’t go to right now of yr!

I really visited the Algarve in March, when it was low season. This was excellent for me, because it meant cooler temperatures, a really quiet city, and cheaper costs. I had no bother discovering lodging or going to eating places sans reservations in March.

Wisteria blooming in Lagos, Portugal
Wisteria blooming in Lagos in March

BUT, I’d say the BEST occasions to go to Lagos are in all probability late April-May and September-early October if you would like good climate and fewer crowds, however nonetheless loads of issues to do. There have been some locations nonetheless not open and a few excursions not operating after I went in March. (But for those who love low season journey, then November-March is it in Lagos!)

Top 10 issues to do in Lagos

Lagos is small – the entire municipality solely has a inhabitants of about 30,000, and you’ll simply get round the primary metropolis middle on foot.

I spent 3 days in Lagos on my first go to, and had no bother retaining busy. Here are all of the issues I like to recommend doing in Lagos, primarily based by myself journey there:

1. Explore Lagos Old Town

Square in Lagos, Portugal
Square in Lagos

The historic middle of Lagos is small and charming, with white-washed buildings and cobbled streets. And whereas there are hills, they are not practically as brutal as those you may discover in Lisbon or Porto.

You can simply see all of the highlights of Lagos in only a couple hours. The predominant issues I like to recommend doing embrace:

  • Visiting the Markthalle seafood market close to the marina.
  • Looking out for fascinating avenue artwork and fairly squares.
  • Admiring among the previous structure just like the Porta de São Gonçalo, Castelo de Lagos, and Forte da Ponta da Bandeira (although be aware the “castle” and “fort” right here aren’t essentially the most thrilling issues to really go to).
  • Watching a sundown from Miradouro Praia da Batata.
Forte da Ponta da Bandeira in Lagos
Forte da Ponta da Bandeira
Snail street art in Lagos, Portugal
Street artwork in Lagos

Lagos Old Town can be the middle of eating and nightlife, and it comes alive within the evenings as everybody heads out for drinks and dinner.

I like to recommend beginning with drinks at Bon Vivant, which has a rooftop tiki bar. Then you may seize dinner at one in all these spots:

  • Cantinho Algarvio (good native meals)
  • Tasca Jota Lagos (tapas-style)
  • Nah Nah Bah (unbelievable burgers)
  • Empanadas & Co. (all types of tasty empanadas)
  • The Green Room (fairly good Tex-Mex)

2. Visit the Museu de Lagos

Altar at Igreja de Santo António in Lagos
Altar at Igreja de Santo António

While you are in Lagos Old Town, do not miss entering into Igreja de Santo António, a phenomenal Baroque church housing a museum devoted to artwork, archaeology, and the historical past of Lagos.

The Museu de Lagos was based in 1930 by its patron Dr. José Formosinho, and is housed in an annex of the church. And with an entry payment of solely €3, it is value a go to for those who’re enthusiastic about studying extra in regards to the historical past of Lagos and seeing elements of the church (together with the unbelievable Baroque altar, pictured above).

3. See the Mercado de Escravos

Mercado de Escravos in Lagos
Mercado de Escravos show

While you are exploring Lagos, it is also value visiting the Mercado de Escravos, a museum devoted to the historical past of slavery in Lagos and Portugal as a complete. It’s positioned on the positioning of the town’s former slave market, which was the primary slave market in Europe, courting again to 1444.

I’m actually glad that this museum exists (the subjects of slavery and colonialism are very entwined with the historical past of Portugal, in any case), and on the floor it seems like a tidy little museum with some artifacts and multimedia displays. However, to me the museum felt very random and disjointed, and the message bought misplaced a bit within the presentation.

But with an entry payment of only a couple euros, it is value trying out this museum for your self.

4. Walk from Praia da Batata to Praia dos Estudantes at low tide

Bridge at Praia dos Estudantes
Bridge at Praia dos Estudantes

Lagos is thought for its dramatic rocky seashores, and one of the vital distinctive issues to do is to stroll via the rock tunnels connecting the town seashores at low tide.

The hottest seashore in Lagos is named Praia da Batata (which, sure, interprets to “Potato Beach”), and it is mainly only a few steps from the town middle. At low tide (which varies from daily; try a tide desk right here), you may stroll from this seashore to different smaller seashores which might be related by rock tunnels.

Lagos beach tunnel at low tide
Walking via a pure seashore tunnel

At low tide (and I don’t counsel attempting this at excessive tide), you may stroll to Praia dos Estudantes, the place you may admire the Ponte do Antigo Forte do Pinhão, a tall stone bridge.

Just remember that the cliffs across the seashores listed below are fairly brittle, and rock falls are doable.

5. Admire the Lagos Marina

Lagos marina
The marina in Lagos

Just a brief stroll from the middle of Lagos is the marina. This is the place many boat excursions depart from, nevertheless it’s value strolling round even for those who’re not going out on the water.

It’s a picturesque place for a stroll to admire the boats, and is lined with a number of eating places, too. And, proper throughout the road from the marina (throughout a really cool pedestrian bridge), you may as well discover the Mercado Municipal/Markthalle, a fish market the place recent native seafood is on the market.

It’s additionally a brief stroll to the boardwalks and sand at Duna Beach, which is a big sandy seashore simply exterior of central Lagos.

6. Have a seashore day at Praia de Dona Ana

Praia de Dona Ana beach in Lagos
Praia de Dona Ana
Praia de Dona Ana beach
Praia de Dona Ana

Although Lagos is stuffed with beautiful seashores, Praia de Dona Ana is without doubt one of the greatest for a correct seashore day.

It’s a big seashore, so there’s loads of room to place a towel down and loosen up. The seashore is a couple of 20-minute stroll from Lagos Old Town. There can be a free car parking zone on the entrance to the seashore, however for those who’re driving, you may wish to get there early to discover a area.

Some different nice seashores in Lagos embrace:

  • Praia do Camilo
  • Praia do Pinhão
  • Praia de São Roque

7. Boat cruise out to Ponte da Piedade

Lagos coastal boat tour
The boat excursions provide the greatest views

One of the perfect issues to do Lagos is to take a ship cruise out to Ponte da Piedade, which is a headland just below 2 miles from the middle of Lagos recognized for its dramatic cliffs, grottos, and sea arches.

Boat journeys out to Ponte da Piedade go away from the marina close to the practice station, and are very inexpensive. You can take a 75-minute sightseeing boat tour for lower than $25, which is able to embrace crusing via some sea arches and into some very cool grottos. (I booked this boat tour and liked it.)

This is a must-do in Lagos, and a ship tour is the simplest strategy to go to Ponte da Piedade. I like to recommend going within the morning for among the greatest mild.

Boat going through a sea arch
Going via a sea arch

You may also e-book a guided kayaking tour to the identical space for those who go to in the course of the summer time months. These excursions are a bit longer, and normally embrace kayaking and time to swim.

Book a ship tour right here

8. Hike out to Ponte da Piedade

Another strategy to go to Ponte da Piedade is by mountain climbing. The hike is simply a few miles from central Lagos, and offers you utterly totally different views than you see from the water.

Hiking views along the Algarve coast
A view alongside the hike

There was once a winding strolling path that stretched from the top of Lagos city alongside the sting of the cliffs all the way in which out to Ponte da Piedade. Erosion and landslides have made this path unsafe, nonetheless – and elements of it are literally utterly washed out now.

But fortunately they have been engaged on making this stroll simple to do as soon as once more with the assistance of a wood boardwalk system.

You can both stroll or take a taxi from central Lagos to the “Ponta da Piedade Walkway Entry” (that is the way it’s marked on Google Maps), which is simply past the parking space for Praia de Dona Ana seashore. The boardwalk will lead you all the way in which out to Ponte da Piedade

New boardwalks in Lagos
New boardwalks alongside the coast

One detour it is best to take off the boardwalk is the steps all the way down to Praia do Camilo, which is arguably the prettiest seashore alongside this coast. There are loads of steps to get all the way down to the small seashore, nevertheless it’s undoubtedly value seeing.

Praia do Camilo in Lagos
Praia do Camilo

The stroll from the beginning of the boardwalk to Praia do Camilo is barely about 10-Quarter-hour, after which it is one other Quarter-hour alongside the boardwalk to Ponta da Piedade.

When you get to Ponta da Piedade, there are a number of totally different spots to view the grottos and sea arches from above, and you may as well climb down into the grottos through a stone staircase. Definitely enable a while to discover!

Steps down into the grottos at Ponta da Piedade
Ponte de Piadade

There’s one other boardwalk that follows the coast to the west from the Ponta da Piedade lighthouse, too. You can stroll out to the Miradouro da Praia do Canavial in one other 20 minutes or so, stopping for extra nice views alongside the way in which.

9. Eat Portuguese meals

Calamari in Portugal
Expect a number of seafood choices!

While Lagos is stuffed with eating places catering to vacationers with virtually each sort of delicacies you may think about, there are additionally nice native eating places the place you may attempt genuine Portuguese meals.

Cantinho Algarvio is a pleasant spot for Portuguese meals, together with Don Sebastião. Both eating places provide standard Portuguese dishes with a coastal aptitude.

When it involves sweets, pastel de nata (custard tart) is the preferred dessert in Portugal. You can discover this at most bakeries all through Lagos.

10. Take a day journey

Algarve views

Although there’s a lot to do in Lagos, you should not miss exploring the Algarve area additional on a day journey if in case you have the time. Train tickets are low cost, and lots of different cities within the Algarve may be reached in lower than an hour.

You might go to Portimão (20 minutes by practice), and possibly e-book a tour from there to the well-known Benagil Sea Cave. You can do a 2-hour boat tour, or a kayak tour to this placing cave – although be aware that the kayak tour is the one one that can will let you go to the seashore contained in the cave.

Or for those who’ve had sufficient of seashores, you can take a practice to Silves (40 minutes by practice), which is an inland city on the Arade River that was the traditional capital of the Algarve in the course of the centuries of Muslim rule. Explore cobbled streets and go to the crimson sandstone Castelo de Silves.

If you resolve to hire a automobile in your Algarve journey, another choice is to drive out to Sagres on the excessive western tip of the Algarve. This rugged tip of land is very well-known for browsing. (There are additionally guided journeys out there to Sagres, like this half-day journey or this full-day journey.)

And listed below are another day journey choices/actions you may attempt from Lagos:

How to get to Lagos

Boats at Ponte de Piadade
Boats at Ponte de Piadade

Driving to Lagos might be the most-recommended possibility, because it means you may fly into any metropolis in Portugal. The drive from Lisbon to Lagos is about 3 hours, whereas it is only a 1-hour drive from Faro.

I didn’t hire a automobile for my journey to Lagos, nonetheless (I really have by no means rented a automobile in Portugal!), so I opted to take the practice to Lagos.

You can fly into Faro and take the practice to Lagos from there (the native practice from Faro to Lagos takes about 2 hours, with a practice change in Tunes), or you may journey by practice to Lagos from Lisbon (whole journey time of about 4 hours, with one practice change in Tunes).

The practice takes a bit longer than driving, however practice journey is my most well-liked approach of touring round Europe. It’s a lot much less disturbing than aircraft journey, and it is a lot kinder on the surroundings, too.

READ NEXT: The Perfect 10-Days in Portugal Itinerary (Without a Car)

You can use Omio to seek for practice tickets to Lagos (I paid lower than $40 for a roundtrip practice ticket between Lisbon and Lagos).

Once you arrive in Lagos, the practice station is a brief stroll or Uber trip from the previous a part of city (as a result of sure, there are taxis and Ubers there).

Street in Lagos, Portugal
Street in Lagos

Where to remain in Lagos, Portugal

Lagos is a small city, nevertheless it’s additionally a well-liked vacationer vacation spot, that means there are many lodging choices.

When I visited in March (within the low season, bear in mind), I had no bother discovering very inexpensive choices a pair weeks earlier than my journey. But if you are going to be visiting throughout excessive season, you may undoubtedly wish to e-book properly prematurely.

Where I stayed in Lagos:

I stayed on the Baluarte da Vila Apartments, which is an condo lodge inside strolling distance to all the primary sights in Lagos. The residences are giant (mine was 3 flooring and included a rooftop terrace!), and the constructing has a pleasant pool and a pair lounge areas.

Pool at Baluarte da Vila Apartments in Lagos
Pool at Baluarte da Vila Apartments

This was a pleasant possibility for me since I used to be visiting throughout off-season, and it was simpler for me to have some meals (primarily breakfast) in my condo quite than looking for an open restaurant. The worth was additionally nice!

The solely draw back is that the Baluarte da Vila Apartments are on the high of a hill, so that you do should stroll again as much as it everytime you exit.

Read evaluations on TripAdvisor | Book a room right here

Other good lodge choices in Lagos embrace:

From its historic Old Town to its proximity to among the most gorgeous coastlines in Portugal, Lagos is certainly value placing in your journey bucket listing!

Have you ever been to Lagos? If not, would you wish to go?


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