LAGOS, THE CITY OF WONDERS • AN AWESOME TRAVEL GUIDE (2020)
Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Lagos is a town located in the Southwest of Portugal, a region also known as Algarve.
The reputation of Lagos came mainly from its gorgeous beaches and cliffs. From long sandy bays to tiny hidden caves, there are beaches of all descriptions.
The lovely streets of the old town will amaze you with their Portuguese pavement. On the other hand, down to the port, its sights will transport you back to the Age of Discovery.
Indeed Lagos is, like many other old European ports, a multicultural city with thousands of years of history behind.
Not only a historically and culturally rich destination, but it's also a paradise for all sunset and sunrise lovers. Indeed, many viewpoints and beaches allow you to enjoy the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Sometimes both depending on which spot.
On many aspects, Lagos is a coastal city worth visiting and able to convince every kind of travelers.
Want to know more ? Let's go explore it together then.
↠ Currency - Euros
↠ Best time to go - From April until the end of October, the weather conditions are great. If possible, you should avoid July & August though, it's awfully crowded. ↠ Prices - Cheap
↠ Airport - Faro International Airport
↠ Best way to travel - If you want to do a road trip along the Algarve's region, you better rent a car. The roads are well maintained and the gas is cheaper compared to other European countries. The city itself and the surrounding beaches are easily doable by walk or by bike.
Top 10 things to do
1 - Sunrise at Praia do Camilo
We don't know a better way to start a day than admiring the sunrise at the beach and Praia do Camilo ain't a typical one. This beach is a fabulous cove at the foot of ochre-tinged cliffs.
The adventure starts with the way down, as you have to descend around 200 steps on a wooden stairway etched into the rock.
While you are heading down, be sure to get a break and take in the azure ocean becoming as golden as the sand and the captivating reddish hues of the rocks. An incredible morning show.
Related article : Algarve Beach Guide.
2 - Visit Lagos Old Town
The historic core of Lagos has beautiful white houses, linked to each other by stones pathways, still partially contained by its 16th-century walls.
You can find the Jardim da Constituição by its walls. Its purpose was the protection of the Governors Seats of the Algarve province when Lagos was capital for 2 centuries (from 1576 to 1756). This place will also offer you the best view of the old Lagos.
3 - Visit Igreja de Santo António
From outside, it's simply an unadorned whitewashed facade crested by two bell-towers.
But the magic of this church is inside, so let's step in. Every surface is coated with woodcarving and paintings, it's resplendent. The ceiling is also a masterpiece, as it's recovered by authentic frescos.
No wonder that this Church is listed as a Portuguese National Monument.
4 - Discover Lagos History at the Museu Municipal Dr José Formosinho
Despite its beaches vibes, Lagos remains a city with an absorbing story to tell, enough to thrill our history fans.
The museum stands nearby the Igreja de Santo António and was inaugurated in 1934.
In its walls, from the Neolithic period to the Age of Discovery, you will learn everything there is to know about the Lagos's history and how it characterised and shaped the city through the Ages.
5 - Water sports
Paddle, kayak, surf, kitesurf, boat...
No surprises in telling you that there are infinite possibilities in such a beautiful coastal town.
You will be able to discover some hidden caves and beaches, only accessible through the water, among other coastal treasures. This is a must while you are visiting this city. The beauty of its coast will leave you speechless.
6 - Sunbathe in Praia Dona Ana
Not too far from Lagos Centre, this is a must-go beach as well.
One of the adjacent beaches of Praia do Camilo, Dona Ana is framed by the same enchanting cliffs, with 50 shades of red.
Praia Dona Ana is a spacious beach, with whole sandbanks covered with shells. Its still and calm water makes it a safe spot for children to swim and an idyllic place for those who want to give a first try to stand-up paddle or kayak.
7 - Have a swim in Meia Praia
Meia Praia is an immense beach, gently curling around the Bay of Bensafrim.
It's actually the connection with Alvor Lagoon, on the east side.
Like a lot of beaches in Algarve, this one is edged by dunes and shelves gently to the water.
The currents are a little stronger though, but it's still fine for children. The light current can be a nice place to experience some kitesurf on a windy day as well.
8 - Explore Lagos Marina
It’s only fair to pay a visit to the Lagos Marina. As well as being the main launchpad for water-based activities, nature-spotting cruises or tours heading to Ponta da Piedade, it's also an important historical point.
As for the boat lovers, they will enjoy a lot having a walk around this elegant marina.
Need one last argument to convince you ?
If you want to get a test to the finest local cuisine, there is a multitude of great restaurants and bars all along the marina.
9 - Sunset at Ponte da Piedade
A true natural wonder, located on a headland, right next to Praia do Camilo. First, when you arrive you will be charmed by the view, which goes as far as the Cape St Vincent in the west.
Then, you will discover that Ponta da Piedade has magnificent cliffs, outcrops and stacks of red, orange and yellow limestone and shimmering water below.
It is truly memorable as you will descend a staircase cut from the cliff face.
On the other side, you can have a walk on its endless wooden patterns, then choose a spot to stop and admire the last colours of the day.
It's without a doubt the spot that we preferred in Lagos, we came to watch the sunset over there 4 nights in a row, it's just splendid.
10 - Enjoy a Fado Concert
Fado, what is that ? Well, also characterised as the Soul of Portuguese music, it's an expressive and profoundly melancholic kind of music.
Originally from Lisbon, this music expanded all around Portugal from the 19th century. It is said that Fado has even older origins and has been brought by travellers from the Middle East and North Africa.
You can easily find restaurants or cafés that propose Fado concert. If you are interested, click on this link for a preview : Fado.
Where to stay ?
Fancy - By the beautiful beach of Meia Praia, Villa Galé Lagos, is a modern and stylish hotel, designed by renowned Portuguese designers.
Mid range - Great for a couple, have a try in the Salty Lodge. Amazingly decorated and well located, this place has everything to make you feel at home.
Don’t break the bank - An authentic and comfortable place for a really cheap price, have a look at the VI Mar Guesthouse.
About us - We booked an Airbnb during our 3 nights in Lagos. A really charming and spacious apartment, in the heart of the city, for a really decent price. And the bonus was : A rooftop. This was one of the most luxurious Airbnb we ever booked, for such a cheap price, that's why we highly recommend it. If you guys want to have a look at it, feel free : Cozy apartment in the city centre.
Where to eat ?
Don Sebastião - R. 25 de Abril 20 ♥︎
Real Portuguese Cuisine - R. Infante de Sagres 38
Barbosa Bar & Kitchen - R. António Barbosa Viana 17
Estúdio Vegetariano - R. da Oliveira 30 ♥︎
Goji Lounge Café - R. Marreiros Netto 61
La Esterella - R. da Oliveira 32
Where to get a drink ?
Taninos - Rua Silva Lopes 19 ♥︎
Three Monkeys Bar - R. Lançarote de Freitas 28
Mellow Loco - R. do Ferrador 9
- Book a boat or kayak tour from the marina in Lagos and you’ll get to pass under natural arches and enter caves of Ponte da Piedade.
- Give a try for a kitesurf session in Alvor Lagoon, east to Lagos. That's Algarve's best spot !
- Get a day trip in Sagres, this surf town is only a 30 minutes drive away from Lagos and will steal your heart.
- Explore the Benagil Caves. You can either book a cruise, or drive until the beach and go there by kayak, paddle or even swimming.
- Enjoy a delicious breakfast at “Goldig Café & Take Away”. There is a large choice of delicious vegan food and beverages. 🌱
- Our special Eco Tip : Keep the beaches clean
No need to tell you how much Lagos beaches are gems and a central piece of this destination. They are magnificent, so let's try to keep them that way.
Be sure not to forget anything when you are leaving and don't hesitate to pick up one piece of litter every day (or more if you can).
Like the quote of Chief Seattle says : "Take only memories, leave only footprints".
Thanks a lot for reading this article. We appreciate so much sharing those travel guides with you and we sincerely hope that you are having a good time reading them as well.
See you soon for a new adventure.