Lagos served as the base for my time in the Algarve in Portugal. Due to its good location, tourist infrastructure and the beautiful old town, Lagos is often considered the most beautiful city in the region. In this guide I put together my best tips and things to do in Lagos you can use to plan your own trip.
I decided to take a break from surfing in Cascais and explored the Algarve starting from Lagos. I was in and around Lagos for altogether 2 weeks and was lucky enough to be shown around by my local friends. Use this navigation to navigate to the tips and things to do in Lagos you'd like to explore:
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1. Best Sights & Things to do in Lagos
Due to its long history and beautiful coastline you can find a variety of sights and things to do in Lagos. This seaside town offers a range of activities for beach lovers as well as history buffs. On top of that most of Lagos tips mentioned here are in walking distance to each other.
a) Old Town
Due to the fact that it is so well preserved, the old town of Lagos is one of the must-see attractions in the Algarve. Located west of the harbor entrance, you will find all the important historical sights in Lagos as well as numerous restaurants, bars and cafés within walking distance of each other.
If you get in by car, you can park it in the large car park to the west (right next to the city wall) and then stroll through the small streets of the historic center on foot.
b) Street Art
On your walk through the old town you will come across some incredible street art. The greatest artworks can be found in R. Lançarote de Freitas (by ROA opposite the hostel & by Gonçalo Mar by the Cultural Center) and in R. Dom Vasco da Gama with R. Victor da Costa e Silva (a whole block of graffiti and stencils by the Hamburg artist TONA).
In addition, there are many murals scattered throughout the city. Look out for the many power boxes that have been/are still in the process of being painted by various artists.
c) Old City Wall & Fortress
The 17th-century Forte da Ponta da Bandeira is located right next to the harbor. The fort once served to defend the harbor and can now be entered for a fee of €2 (although you can only go to the roof and see a different angle).
Opposite the fortress is the Porta de São Gonçalo city gate, another historic sight of Lagos. Here you can admire parts of the impressive old city wall which used to protect the center of Lagos.
d) Ponta da Piedade
The Ponta da Piedade is often referred to as one of the most beautiful things to do in Lagos. It is the tip of a picturesque promontory with numerous rocky cliffs, caves and hidden grottos. The lighthouse of the same name is located right above the cliff.
There is a network of paths and stairways that will take you through the clifftop landscape and down to hidden coves and caves. However, the best and undoubtedly safest way to visit the grottos and caves is a short boat tour, which you can book in advance (see below).
I recommend bringing some time to explore the surrounding bays and walk westwards along the promenade (see next point).
e) Promenade, Praia do Canavial & Praia de Porto Mos
Starting from the lighthouse of Ponta da Piedade a panoramic path on wooden poles leads along the rocky coast to the viewpoint Miradouro da Praia do Canavial. I recommend this 15-minute walk especially during sunset as you can make use of the many beautiful photo spots here.
If you want to go a little further you should aim for the beautiful sandy beach Praia do Porto de Mós in the west of the city. Starting from the Miradouro da Praia do Canavial a small path meanders between the rocky coast, the Praia do Canavial beach and the golf course finishing in a residential area above the Praia de Porto Mos. From there it is about 15 minutes down to the beach.
2. Best Beaches in Lagos
Starting from the old town a long walk along the coastal hiking trail past the unique beaches to the Ponta da Piedade (see above) is particularly impressive. If you are in good shape you can even consider hiking to the beach “Praia do Canavial” (see above).
If you prefer to relax instead, you can of course also use the following list of the best beaches in Lagos to choose the best beach for you!
a) Praia da Batata & Praia do Pinhao
We'll start this list right next to the harbor entrance, with the Praia da Batata beach. Due to its proximity to the old town and the port there is always something going on here – e.g. you will find some rental stations for kayaks and SUPs.
Things are a little quieter at Praia do Pinhão which can be found just a few minutes' walk south. This is a small, picturesque bay surrounded by the typical orange rocks.
b) Praia de Dona Ana
Probably the best known and often referred to as the best beach in Lagos is directly adjacent to Praia do Pinhão. Due to its location -framed by steep rocky cliffs on either side- Dona Ana is probably one of the most photographed beaches in the Algarve.
The sheltered bay makes Praia da Dona Ana an ideal destination for families. In addition to restaurants, toilets and showers, there are also lifeguards on duty here.
c) Praia do Camillo
At the southern end of Praia da Dona Ana there is a narrow coastal path that leads you after a few minutes to the small sandy beach Praia do Camillo, including a viewpoint. The rock formations and crystal clear water make this my clear favorite among Lagos beaches. Since this is quite small and has a parking lot, it can get quite crowded in summer. So I recommend coming early in the morning. From Praia do Camillo it is only a 10-15 minute walk to Ponta da Piedade.
Please note: the beach drops off quite quickly here and is usually not guarded!
d) Meia Praia
The most suitable beach for families is undoubtedly Meia Praia located on the other side of the port entrance to the east. Reason being is due to the fact that it is a 5 km long sandy beach without a rocky coast and a gently sloping shore without big waves. In addition you can find a good tourist infrastructure, including a beach promenade and an extensive dune landscape as well as some holiday resorts and restaurants.
3. Tours in Lagos
In addition to the beaches and classic things to do in Lagos, a few guided tours and day trips are definitely a good option to make your vacation even more interesting.
Best of all, the following recommendations do not require a rental car for the day tours, as transport is already included in the tour price.
a) Boat Tours
The best way to see the sights of Lagos from the water is of course a boat tour. This way you can cover greater distances.
I list different options below, most boat trips can be easily combined with your sightseeing program. With GetYourGuide you can book the tour in advance and thus have planning security for your Lagos vacation:
- Algarve Cruise by Catamaran (3h)
- Lagos: 2-Hour Boat Trip to the Benagil Caves (2h)
- Lagos: Boat Cruise to Ponta da Piedade (1,5h)
- Dolphin Watching with Marine Biologists
b) Kayaking & SUP / Surfing
If you prefer to be active on the water, you should consider a kayak tour or a SUP / surf course:
c) Jeep Tours
Here you can head inland. On these tours you have the opportunity to get to know the other side of the Algarve. Paired with a a visit to a distillery the experience of being out and about in an off-road vehicle, you can make your Lagos vacation even more action-packed:
4. Restaurants & Cafés
In addition to the sights & things to do in Lagos the culinary side should of course not be neglected. I mainly focused on restaurants that offer regional dishes. Below I list all the restaurants that I consider particularly recommendable.
a) Casinha do Petisco
My absolute highlight was this small restaurant in a side street of the old town, where I was able to enjoy a very tasty selection of typical regional dishes. Word has gotten around about what was once an insider tip, so I recommend reserving a table in advance.
If you still have to wait: it's worth it. Be sure to order the Cataplana for 2 people!
Mon.-Sat. 5:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Closed on Sundays
R. da Oliveira 51, 8600-700 Lagos, Portugal (Google Maps)
You will find this pearl of a restaurant just outside the old town. Best of all, due to the fact that this restaurant is run by an Italian-Portuguese couple, you'll find the best of both worlds on one menu here.
In addition to the typical Portuguese dishes (I recommend the Bife a Portuguesa & Prego no Prato), I can particularly recommend the pizza from the traditional stone oven!
Tues. – Fri. from 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. & 6:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Sat. & Sun. from 6:00 p.m
R. Dr. António Guerreiro Tello 10 store B, lot, 8600-672 Lagos, Portugal (Google Maps)
c) Tasca da Lota
If you like it very typically Portuguese, you should definitely come here. This restaurant is a classic Tasca, meaning it serves solid food at reasonable prices.
The Tasca da Lota is located right in the harbor and is particularly known to the locals for its fish dishes from the charcoal grill. Absolutely recommended!
Tuesday – Sunday from 06:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Closed on Mondays
Doca Pesca, 8600-000 Lagos, Portugal (Google Maps)
d) O Antonio
Located directly on the beach of Praia de Porto Mós a visit to this restaurant with a great sea view is particularly recommended on the hike from Ponta da Piedade (see 1e).
If you like fish and seafood this is the place to go. I highly recommend the Bacalhau à Brás.
daily from 09:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Closed on Mondays
Av. Ferdinand Magellan, Lagos, Portugal (Google Maps)
e) The Coffee Studio
This is a very special Café in Lagos which also offers a variety of brunch and snack options. On the one hand they offer really good coffee from their own roastery in Luz, on the other hand the founders are good friends and travel buddies of mine. I spent 3 weeks in Mexico with Brendan & Jodie (see my video series about Mexico City & Chiapas).
During my time in Lagos, Brendan showed me his new home and I had the opportunity to get to know his new passion which is coffee roasting. Be sure to try the flat white and the delicious waffles!
Mon – Thu from 08:00 – 17:00,
Fri from 08:00 – 22:00
Sat from 08:00 – 17:00
R. Soeiro da Costa 20, 8600-624 Lagos, Portugal (Google Maps)
5. Hostels & Hotels in Lagos
In addition to all the things to do in Lagos I also sum up my personal hotel/hostel recommendations for a stay in the city. I have several recommendations, depending on your budget to offer:
Lagos: UpTown Lagos (Bed & Breakfast) – my choice
Located right next to the old town, the Lagos Uptown B&B is a great option for a relaxed Algarve holiday based in Lagos. In addition to the modern double rooms, the roof terrace is particularly impressive. There is also a small kitchen with a refrigerator on each floor, which can be used by all guests.
Due to the central location and the friendly hosts, this B&B is an ideal starting point to get to know Lagos with all its facets. Another plus point: A quite extensive breakfast is also included in all tariffs!
Alternative options in Lagos:
- Casa Luma B&B – located directly in the old town, modern interior & breakfast included
- Apartamentos Pinhão – Affordable, modern furnished apartments within walking distance to Praia Pinhão
- Olive Hostel Lagos – affordable dorms & single rooms in the heart of Lagos
Any things to do in Lagos, Portugal you'd like to add?
I wrote this Lagos travel guide based on my own travel experience. If you have been to Lagos as well and you have something to add to this list of things to do in Lagos please feel free to leave a comment below. In case you liked the guide and found it helpful, I would appreciate if you could share it with your friends or link to it from your homepage!
Disclosure: This post contains Affiliate Links for services and products I’m using on my travels – therefore I can highly recommend them. By using these links you won’t pay any additional fees! All recommendations, Lagos tips, opinions, and ironic remarks are, as always, my own.