There are many things to do in Lagos, Portugal. This charming town is located on the Algarve Coast and is well known for its beautiful beaches and stunning scenery. You can go hiking in the hills, take a road trip to discover the region, enjoy the many different beaches or go kayaking on the ocean. If you’re looking for a great vacation, Lagos has plenty of options available as well. In this article, we will provide an overview of the 12 best things to do in Lagos as well as some helpful travel tips.
Also, you get to know why Lagos is recommended to visit instead of the popular Albufeira or other places in the Algarve.
12 Things to do in Lagos
Lagos is a beautiful city on the Algarve coast of Portugal. This charming town has a lot to offer, whether you want to have a relaxing holiday or get active, Lagos has it all. Below we give an overview of the 12 best things to do in Lagos.
Tip: the map of Lagos below shows where the best things in Lagos can be found. To enlarge the map, click on the top right corner. To save this map in your Google Maps account, click on the star symbol next to the title. In the folder, you can show or hide different categories. You can then use this map to navigate when you are at your destination.
#1 Make some hikes
One of the things to do in Lagos is to go for a hike. Hiking through the hills surrounding the town allows you to have an incredible view of the coastline and gives you a chance to explore some hidden spots. Two hikes that are worth doing are close to Ponta da Piedade and Praia da Marinha.
#1.1 Ponta da Piedade hike
This is one of the most popular things to do in Lagos and it’s easy to see why – this stunning viewpoint offers a beautiful view over the ocean and the cliffs. There are many places to explore when you hike to Ponta da Piedade, such as hidden caves and coves that are perfect for swimming. The benefit of this hike is that it’s less touristic than the next hike at Praia da Marinha, so the atmosphere is entirely different.
Start the hike at Praia do Camilo and walk via Miradouro da Ponta da Piedade to Miradouro da Prata do Canavial. As you walk through this route, you get to see all of the highlights of this area. It should take you around 1 hour and it’s not too difficult to do, so it’s suitable for most people.
The easiest way to start the hike is to walk from Lagos to Ponta da Piedade in 30 minutes or park at the parking at Ponta da Piedade.
#1.2 Praia da Marinha hike
The Praia da Marinha hike is a great way to explore the stunning landscape of Portugal’s Algarve coast. Along the route, you will be able to take in views of some spectacular formations carved into the cliffs, as well as hidden beaches and coves tucked away from view. The walk starts at the parking lot of Praia da Marinha and takes around an hour to reach its destination at Praia de Benagil. However, it is possible to continue further if one has the time and energy.
The hike offers plenty of sights along the way, including the Benagil cave which can only be accessed by boat or kayak. Additionally, you will find yourself walking past stunning rock formations that have been carved into the cliffs by the pounding of the waves over time. As you make your way down towards Benagil Beach, you will be treated to some remarkable views of the coastline and its many coves and inlets.
Tip: start hiking early in the morning because it’s not that busy yet, it is cooler and you can park at Praia da Marinha. If you come later in the day, it’s possible that the parking lot is full and you’ll have to walk 15 minutes from the public lot shown on this map.
#2 Kayaking and cave tour
Kayaking is a great way to explore the coastline and delve into its hidden coves and caves. There is nothing quite like being able to paddle through crystal clear waters, admire beautiful rock formations, and take in the stunning views of the ocean. Whether you are a thrill seeker or prefer a leisurely adventure, kayaking is an activity that everyone can enjoy!
We recommended doing it via a tour because of unpredictable weather conditions and the potential risks of trapping or getting into an accident. There are many caves along the coast that can only be accessed by kayak which makes for an even more interesting experience! With a guide, you can explore these caves in safety.
We highly recommend this kayak tour, they offer a great kayak tour where you can explore the stunning coastline and get to visit some secret spots. The guides are knowledgeable and friendly, so you will be sure to have an amazing time! A significant advantage to this tour is that you explore the Ponta da Piedade instead of the Benagil cave, which is too crowded.
Where to stay in Lagos
Beach | budget: Belmar Spa & Beach Resort has a private beach with an outdoor pool, a spa, and several restaurants.
Beach | luxury: Baia da Luz Resort is a luxury resort offering guests all the amenities they could wish for, including an outdoor pool, spa, and several restaurants and bars. The hotel also has a private beach.
Centrum | budget: Apartamentos Pinhão are apartments that are close to the center which is ideal if you want to be within walking distance of all the restaurants and bars.
Centrum | Luxury: Tivoli Lagos offers guests a range of amenities including an outdoor pool, spa, and fitness center.
#3 Beaches of Algarve
The beaches of the Algarve are famous for their crystal clear waters and golden sands. From secluded coves to busier resorts, the region has something for everyone. Below, find the five beaches that are most definitely worth visiting. Although, remember that there are many more mesmerizing beaches to discover. We only recommended these because they are not as crowded as some of the larger ones.
#3.1 Praia do Barranco do Martinho
One of the most incredible beaches in the Algarve is Praia do Barranco do Martinho. Near Ponta da Piedade, it’s a little more difficult to visit since you have to hike down, but that also means fewer crowds. This was our favorite because it felt like our own private beach! Just be careful when swimming since the current can get pretty strong.
#3.2 Praia do Camilo
Praia do Camilo is one of the most popular beaches in the Algarve for good reason. It’s a stunning beach with crystal clear waters and white sand beaches that make it an ideal spot for swimming, snorkeling, sunbathing, and exploring the many rock formations. The beach becomes very populated during the day, so it is best to go in the morning and leave before it gets too crowded.
You can either park at the Praia do Camilo parking lot or walk in from Lagos to the beach in 30 minutes.
#3.3 Praia de Dona Ana
Praia de Dona Ana is one of the most famous beaches in the Algarve because it’s pretty big and has stunning rock formations and hidden coves that can only be accessed via the staircase carved into the rocky cliffs. It’s a great place for swimming and to visit when you travel with children because you can better overlook the beach.
Avoid the beach during peak season by visiting in the morning. You can park at parking Dona Ana next to the beach or walk from Lagos in 24 minutes.
#3.4 Praia do Vau
Praia do Vau is the biggest beach of the beaches we recommend visiting. This beach also has stunning golden sand and is perfect to swim and relax. The big benefit of this beach is that you can enjoy some remarkable views of the nearby cliffs. You can walk through it if you want to do something active.
This beach is located next to the town of Vua Da Rocha and is a 30-minute drive from Lagos. You can combine a visit to Praia do Vau when you go hiking at Praia de Marinha.
#3.5 Praia de Marinha
Marinha Beach is a must-see when you start the cliff hike. Of course, don’t forget to visit the beach too! We recommend starting with the hike and then relaxing at the beach. If you want to enjoy it without the crowd, we recommend visiting this beach during the morning or afternoon hours so that you can enjoy it with not too many people around you.
Praia de Marinha is easy to reach by car (40 minutes from Lagos). Free parking is available at the beach.
#4 West coastline of Portugal
We love the West Coastline of Portugal because it’s raw and unrefined. Plus, there are tons of wonderful spots to discover. And, if you’re visiting Lagos, you’re conveniently located near the West Coast! The best way to explore is by car so you can take your time and soak everything in.
Tip: if you’re coming from the north and headed towards Lagos, it’s a great opportunity to stop at some of the beaches further north.
#4.1 Praia das Furnas
Praia das Furnas is the most remote beach on this list but it’s worth the effort to get there. The crystal clear waters, golden sands, and views were breathtaking! We loved it so much that we visited twice during our stay in Lagos. It also provides a great opportunity to spot some dolphins playing around in the water, if you’re lucky.
One big benefit is that it’s only a 30-minute drive from Lagos. It’s also much different than the Algarve because here you’re almost alone on a huge beach. It is worth mentioning that this beach is also visited by nudists. This did not cause us any issues as the beach is quite large, allowing for plenty of space to go around and enjoy your time there.
#4.2 Mini road trip Estrada da Praia
The 5 km / 3.11 miles loop is the best route because it takes you to 10 indicated viewpoints, each with a unique view of the coast. You’ll love Praia do Amado, Pontal da Carrapateira, and Praia da Bordeira!
Praia do Amado is perfect for surfing since the waves can reach up to 3 meters, making it an ideal spot. Pontal da Carrapateira is a beautiful beach with golden sand and dunes that make you feel like you’re in a desert oasis! Finally, Bordeira’s beach is known for having one of the most amazing sunsets in all of Portugal.
The mini road trip takes about one hour, so you can easily combine it with your visit to the west coast. There is plenty of free parking along the route and signage with information about each beach.
#4.3 Praia da Amoreira
Praia da Amoreira is a beautiful beach located 45 minutes away from Lagos. It’s a relatively uncrowded spot, making it perfect for those who want to escape the busy beaches.
This beach is one of the best spots to go surfing or if you can’t surf yet, for learning it at the Atlantic Riders Surf School. The beach is also great to relax. There is free parking available.
#4.4 Vila Nova de Milfontes
Vila Nova de Milfontes is a charming little fishing village located 90 minutes away from Lagos. It’s a great place to do something different than only visiting beaches, here you can walk over the boardwalk and sit on one of the terraces. A Choupana is a perfect place to go if you’re looking for fresh seafood. This Portuguese eatery is only open during peak season.
#4.5 Praia da Zambujeiro do Mar
This is probably one of the most amazing beaches we visited on the West Coast Line. Located 1 hour away from Lagos, it’s one of the wildest with some rock formations that will take your breath away. We recommend going during low tide because you’re able to explore through a narrow tunnel between rocks and get to a secret beach which is only accessible during that time.
Another highlight of Praia da Zambujeiro do Mar is the Capela de Nossa Senhora do Mar, an old chapel built in 1670 that is built next to the sea. It’s a beautiful sight surrounded by nature and it’s worth exploring!
Finally, we recommended ordering a sandwich with fresh juice at Pôr-do-sol which can be found in the village.
Do you want to book a nice tour?
Check the widget below for the best tours in Lagos
#5 Discover the villages of the Algarve
The villages of the Algarve are worth discovering because each village has its own culture and charm, with plenty to explore. We recommend visiting Lagos, Luz, Ferragudo, Carvoeiro, and Albufeira.
We adored our stay in Lagos because it was right near the Algarve highlights and the wild western coast. You can always find an empty beach or enjoy a lovely meal at one of several restaurants in town during the evening hours.
Luz is one of our favorite spots and it’s located near Lagos. It offers stunning views over the nature reserve Parque Natural da Ria Formosa and its famous sandbank, the Ilha de Faro. Luz is also known for having some fantastic seafood restaurants with amazing views over the sea.
Ferragudo is a picturesque old fishing village. It’s situated close to Portimão and it’s less crowded than most of the other villages on this list. The best things to do in Ferragudo are strolling along the old streets, visiting the imposing Castelo de Sao Joao do Arade, and having lunch or dinner at one of the many seafood restaurants.
Carvoeiro is an old fishing village located near Lagos. It has a beautiful beach, Praia do Carvoeiro, and plenty of things to do like visiting the old lighthouse or exploring nearby caves. Carvoeiro is a great spot to visit when you are traveling with children.
Albufeira is the perfect place to go if you’re looking for vibrant nightlife. However, there’s not much to see during the day, so it’s best to skip this town if you’re not interested in the party scene.
When you are in Lagos is worth visiting Sagres, this is the westernmost point in Europe and it has been declared a National Geographic Reserve by UNESCO. One of the best things to do is visit the old fortress for €3 /$3 per person. You can walk along the cliffs and have stunning views from up high of both the fortress and incredible, steep surrounding cliffs.
Located 35 minutes away from Lagos, Sagres is the perfect place to visit if you’re looking to explore the west coastline. Although Sagres itself might not be spectacular, we believe that visiting the fortress is more than enough. You can park the car for free at the fortress.
#7 Go surfing or learn it
Of course, we can’t forget to mention the thing that makes Portugal so special: surfing. Portugal is one of Europe’s top surfing destinations and it has world-class waves on some of its beaches like Praia do Amado or Carrapateira. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, everyone can enjoy surfing here.
We recommend checking out the site of Algarve Surf School, they provide surf classes, boards, and wetsuits rental.
#8 Benagil cave
The Benagil Cave is one of the most spectacular things you can visit in Lagos. This cave is impressive from the outside with its entrance facing the sea, but it gets even more beautiful when you take a boat or kayak tour to explore the inside.
We skipped the Benagil Cave because we noticed during our hike at Praia da Marinha that it would be very crowded. On the internet, you see amazing pictures which it is but you need to visit it early in the morning. By afternoon, there are so many people that you can’t enjoy it. If you have time, definitely go see for yourself, but if you’re tight on time like we were, then we recommend skipping it.
#9 Boat tour
We recommend that you take a boat tour while you’re in Algarve if you do not go kayaking. It’s a fun experience and it offers breathtaking views of the incredible cliffs, caves, and beaches that line the coastline.
You can find many boat tours in the area. We recommend the two below tours
- If you want to explore the area close to Lagos we recommend this boat tour.
- A great tour to book is the sunset boat tour where you explore Benagil cave.
#10 Discover the local cuisine of Lagos
Lagos is known for its delicious local cuisine, it’s the perfect place to explore and discover Portugal’s traditional recipes. Some of the dishes you can try are caldeirada (fish stew), arroz de marisco (seafood rice), and carne de porco à alentejana (pork and clams).
For the best gastronomic experience, we recommend that you visit the local restaurants. Most of them are family owned and serve freshly cooked dishes with seafood directly from the market.
We recommend visiting The Garden and Taberna da Mó in Lagos, both places serve delicious food.
#11 Go for a night out
Lagos is known for its lively nightlife. If you’re looking for a place to have fun and dance, Lagos is a perfect choice! There are many nightclubs, bars, and pubs in the city center that offer great music, drinks, and company.
If you’re looking for bigger clubs, concerts, or festivals, Albufeira is the best place to check out. We are not the type of travelers that go out every night but we liked to chill in one of the bars and cafes. We recommend that you simply walk through the streets and check which place you prefer to sit on the spot.
#12 What else is fun to do in Lagos and the surroundings
Lagos is a perfect destination for anyone who loves the outdoors, but there are also plenty of other activities to enjoy. You can go shopping or take a stroll along the boulevard.
For those who like to go shopping, we recommend visiting Ceramica Paraiso. Here you can buy ceramics, jewelry, and other souvenirs that are handmade by local artisans. This location is only 30 minutes from Lagos, making it the perfect stopover when traveling to Sagres or Portugal’s west coast.
Arts and culture enthusiasts can also walk along the boulevard which is filled with interesting sculptures, street art, and other forms of art. The walk from the historical center of Lagos to the harbor is also fun to do.
Why is Lagos the best place to explore the Algarve in Portugal
Lagos is one of the best places to explore Portugal’s Algarve region for several reasons. Firstly, it has a stunning coastline and beaches that have been voted as some of the best in Europe. Secondly, it is full of culture and history, with its old town center featuring cobbled streets and whitewashed buildings. Thirdly, the location is very good because it is closely located on the west coastline. Lastly, it has to offer Lagos as a destination for every type of traveler, whether you’re looking for a relaxing vacation or want to party.
How many days do you need for Lagos?
We recommend at least 4 full days (4 nights) to explore Lagos and the Algarve region. With 4 days you can easily cover most of the activities on this list. However, if you have the opportunity to stay longer in Lagos, take that chance! You’ll be able to enjoy the beaches more and relax during your vacation.
Where to stay in Lagos
You have two options when it comes to accommodation in Lagos: you can either stay in the city center, where you can walk through its historical center and explore the nightlife. Alternatively, if you want a bit more luxury and relaxation, there are great accommodations outside of Lagos which are closer to the beaches.
Personal preference determines of course which one you choose. Per area we provide two recommendations (luxury and budget-friendly). A side note is that outside the city center, it is difficult to find budget-friendly accommodations. Book your accommodation as soon as possible. This way, you will have more options to choose from.
Budget: The Belmar Spa & Beach Resort is a 4-star hotel located in the town of Luz, which is about a 15-minute drive from Lagos. This resort offers guests a range of amenities, including an outdoor pool, a spa, and several restaurants and bars. The resort also has a private beach, which makes it the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun.
Luxury: We stayed in the Baia da Luz Resort which is a 4-star hotel located in the town of Burgau, which is about a 20-minute drive from Lagos. This luxurious resort offers guests all the amenities they could want, including an outdoor pool, a spa, and several restaurants and bars. The hotel also has a private beach, which makes it the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun.
Budget: For those looking for a more budget-friendly option, Apartamentos Pinhão is a great choice. These apartments are located close to the city center and offer guests air conditioning, a kitchenette, and Wi-Fi. They’re also within walking distance of all the best restaurants and bars in town.
Luxury: Tivoli Lagos is a 4-star hotel located in the city center of Lagos, making it the perfect accommodation for those who want to be close to all the action. The hotel has a contemporary design and offers guests a range of amenities, including an outdoor pool, a spa, and a fitness center. The hotel is also home to several restaurants and bars, ensuring that guests have plenty of options when it comes to food and drinks.
Where to eat in Lagos
Lagos is full of great restaurants that offer a variety of cuisines. If you want to eat something in the evening we recommended to go to The Garden, Taberna da mó, Santa Maria, and Pizzolino. In the morning Coffee & Waves is a good place to have breakfast.
The Garden is a restaurant located in the heart of Lagos that serves traditional Portuguese cuisine with a modern twist. The menu features dishes such as grilled fish, fresh salads, and various tapas options. The great benefit of this restaurant is the wonderful atmosphere, but you need a reservation. Make sure to visit on the first day to make a reservation! Prices range from €10-€15 / $10-$15 per meal on average.
Taberna da Mó is a traditional Portuguese restaurant located in the historic center of Lagos. The menu features classic dishes such as bacalhau com natas, cataplana de marisco, and arroz doce. Prices range from €12-€20 / $12-$20 per meal on average.
If you’re in the mood for some good Mexican food, then Santa Maria is the perfect spot. Order a burger, and some tortilla chips, and don’t forget to try one of their traditional drinks! Prices range from €10-€15 / $10-$15 per meal on average.
Coffee & Waves is an Italian-style cafe that offers both breakfast and lunch/dinner options. In the morning, you can order waffles or yogurt, and in the afternoon/evening, you can order salads, sandwiches, pastas, or pizzas. Prices range from €8-€15 / $8-$15 per meal on average.
If you want to eat Italian you have to go to Pizzolino, they serve freshly-made pizzas. The menu includes classic dishes such as margherita, quattro formaggi and salami. Prices range from €10-€15 / $10-$15 per meal on average.
Transportation in Lagos
When getting around Lagos, the best way to walk or by public transportation. Some buses and taxis can take you wherever you need to go in the city. The bus system is reliable and affordable with prices ranging from €1-€2 / $1-$2 per ride. Taxis are also available but can be slightly more expensive depending on where you are going. You should always ask the driver for a price before getting in the taxi.
If you want to explore outside of Lagos you need to have a car. We always book our rental cars through Rentalcars because they are user-friendly and we can count on them.
How to get to Lagos
The easiest way to get to Lagos is by flying into Faro airport. From the airport, you can take a bus, taxi, or rental car. The bus takes about 1 hour and costs €4 / $4 one way. Taxis cost around €50 / $50 one-way depending on where you’re going. If you plan on traveling around the area we recommend you rent a car via Rentalcars. It will provide you with more freedom to explore different parts of Lagos and the Algarve.
You can also get to Lagos by taking the train from Lisbon. The journey takes around 4-5 hours and costs around €20 / $20 one way. The train station in Lagos is located in the center of town and is easy to access by foot or public transportation. Train and bus tickets to get to Lagos can be bought here.
You can also travel to Lagos by car and park your vehicle at any of the recommended accommodations. You can see how long it would take to reach Lagos from some popular destinations in the overview below:
- Lisbon to Lagos: 2 hours and 50 minutes | 301km / 187 miles
- Nazaré to Lagos: 3 hours and 45 minutes | 400km / 250 miles
- Óbidos to Lagos: 3 hours and 30 minutes | 370km / 230 miles
- Coimbra to Lagos: 4 hours and 15 minutes | 460km / 285 miles
- Evora to Lagos: 2 hours and 45 minutes | 250km / 155 miles
- Faro to Lagos: 1 hour | 90 km / 55 miles
The best time to visit Lagos
The best time to visit Lagos is during the spring or fall months when the weather is warm and comfortable. The weather in summer tends to be very hot, while in winter can be quite chilly. Spring and fall are the perfect times to enjoy outdoor activities such as surfing, sailing, kayaking, and hiking. If you’re looking for a good beach day, the best time to visit is during the summer months.
If you’re looking for some peace, avoid visiting Lagos in August as this is when most European tourists visit. The peak season runs from June to September, so be sure to book your accommodation in advance if you’re planning on traveling during that time!
What to do in Lagos FAQ
1. What are the best beaches for children in Lagos?
Lagos is one of the best places to explore the Algarve region in Portugal. It offers plenty of things to do for adults, as well as children. For those traveling with kids, many child-friendly beaches around Lagos are safe and offer great snorkeling opportunities. Praia da Rocha is the most popular beach for children in Lagos, and it offers plenty of space to dig in the sand or explore rock pools. Other family-friendly beaches include Praia do Pinhao, Praia de Dona Ana, and Praia da Meia Praia. Additionally, several waterparks around Lagos are a great place for the whole family.
Do you want to see more in Portugal?
From Lagos, you can easily visit Lisbon, Nazaré, Óbidos, Coimbra, Évora, and Elvas. Our 3-week Portugal itinerary inspires you for the best way to travel throughout this country.
In Lisbon, you can explore the historic districts and take a tour of the many monuments that make up the city. In Nazaré, you can admire the imposing cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean or take a stroll along its sandy beaches. Óbidos is a picturesque medieval town filled with cobblestone streets and charming houses. Coimbra is home to the oldest university in Portugal and has some of the most impressive baroque architecture in all of Europe. Évora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with plenty of Roman monuments to explore, such as the Temple of Diana. Finally, Elvas is an impressive walled city surrounded by seven kilometers of defensive walls and bastions.
No matter where you go from Lagos, you are sure to find plenty of things to do and explore in Portugal! With so many different cities to visit within easy reach, it’s a great place to start or end your Portuguese journey.
What do you think of Lagos? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Disclaimer: the prices mentioned in this article may differ from the current situation. We regularly update our articles. Would you like to help us to provide to best possible insights to help other travelers leave a comment with the latest information. Thanks!
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