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20 Best Things to do in Lagos, Portugal

Beaches and 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. The seaside town on the Algarve offers a range of activities for beach lovers as well as history buffs. I've visited Lagos several times over the past few years. In this guide I put together my best tips and things to do in Lagos based on my own experience.

Due to its location in the south the summer in Lagos lasts longer and the winter is warmer than in Lisbon. I was lucky enough to be shown around by my local friends. In order to explore the things to do in Lagos and its surroundings I recommend to stay for about 3 to 5 days. Try to come during the shoulder or low season if possible.

1. Things to do

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. Most of my Lagos tips are in walking distance to each other.

If you also want to visit other destinations in the Algarve region I highly recommend renting a car as public transport around Lagos isn't as good.

map of things to do in lagos portugal with markers
In this map I marked all things to do in Lagos I covered in this travel guide.

a) Old Town

The old town of Lagos is well preserved and therefore 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 from 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 of Lagos on foot.

Lagos Algarve Urlaub
Lagos is, in my opinion, the most beautiful city in the Algarve.
Lagos Kirche Algarve Urlaub
The combination of a pretty old town and the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve in the immediate vicinity make Lagos the perfect base for an Algarve holiday.

b) Street Art

On your walk through the old town of Lagos 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. A bigger variety in street art pieces can only be found in the capital. Check out my article on best things to do in Lisbon for more.

ROA Streetaet Lagos
Well known artists like ROA have left there marks in Lagos. Who would have known you can find street art like this in the Algarve?
TONA Streetart Lagos
Also the Hamburg based artist TONA has been active in Lagos.

c) Fortress

The 17th-century Forte da Ponta da Bandeira is located right next to the harbor of Lagos. The fort once served to defend the harbor. You can now visit it for a fee of 2 Euros (although you can only go to the roof and see a different angle).

Festung Lagos
The fortifications once protected the important port of Lagos in the Algarve.

d) Old City Wall

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.

Stadttor Porta de São Gonçalo
Directly opposite of the Lagos fortress you can find the Porta de São Gonçalo city gate.

e) 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).

Ponta de Piedade
One of my Lagos Tips is to take the stairs downwards to the grottos and caves of the Ponta da Piedade. The cliff formations are some of the most spectacular sights along the coast of the Algarve in Portugal.

f) Promenade to 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 Lagos. 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.

Promenade Ponta de Piedade
The promenade offers a number of scenic viewpoints and vistas to some secluded beaches.
Praia de Porto Mos
If you walk the entire route, you will reach the beach of Porto Mos. Definitely a great day tour to do when you are in Lagos!

2. Beaches

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. The beaches around Lagos are known to be the best in the Algarve region in Portugal.

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. Use the following map of beaches in Lagos to get an overview:

map of the best beaches in lagos portugal
This map shows you my selection of the best beaches in Lagos, Portugal. I covered the beaches of Praia do Canavial and Praia de Porto Mós in the previous segment.

a) Praia da Batata & Praia do Pinhao

We'll start this list of beaches 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.

Praia do Pinhão
Between the beaches of Praia da Batata and Praia do Pinhão there are also numerous other small beaches. Like Praia dos Estudantes

b) Praia de Dona Ana

Often referred to as the best beach in Lagos Praia de Dona Ana 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.

Praia da Dona Ana algarve urlaub
The rugged cliffs make Praia da Dona Ana one of the most beautiful beaches in Lagos. Surely one of the Lagos Tips that isn't a secret anymore 😉

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!

Praia do Camillo Algarve Urlaub
The colors at Praia do Camillo are unique. The view from the stairs is a famous photo motif in the Algarve region of Portugal.

d) Meia Praia

The most suitable of all beaches in Lagos for families is undoubtedly Meia Praia. This beach is 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.

Meia Praia Lagos
The extensive beach of Meia Praia is extremely flat. It is therefore an ideal choice in the Algarve for families with small children.

3. Tours

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 visit in the Algarve even more interesting. A tour offers the chance to learn more about this region in Portugal.

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 bigger distances and visit more sights in a shorter amount of time. By using the small boats you can see the sea cliffs up close or say hi to dolphins.

I list different tour options below, most boat trips can be easily combined with your sightseeing program. With GetYourGuide you can book the boat tour in advance and thus have planning security for your Lagos vacation:

Bootstour Algarve Urlaub
On a boat tour you can get a little closer to the cliffs the Algarve is known for. The boat tours in Lagos offer a different perspective of the famous Ponta da Piedade. Depending on the tour you have different boat sizes.
Only on a boat tour you will be able to access the caves & grottos. With the small boat you can get up close to the sea cliffs.

b) Kayaking & SUP / Surfing

If you prefer to be active on the water, you should consider a kayak tour or a SUP / surf course. Contrary to the boat tours featured above you are more flexible and independent with these active tours.

Kajaking Algarve
If you prefer to be more active, a kayak tour is just the right thing for your Algarve vacation. Because of their small size you can even visit the caves around the Ponta da Piedade on your trip.

c) Jeep Tours

With these tours you can head inland. Jeep tours offer the chance 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:

Jeep Algarve Urlaub
Some unique things to do in Lagos Portugal can only be explored by jeep, so you can see places that you would've missed otherwise!

4. Restaurants & Cafés

In addition to the sights & tours 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 in Lagos 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!

Address & Opening Hours
Casinha do Petisco on Google Maps

Casinha do Petisco Lagos
Mhhmmm… you should definitely order Cataplana at Casinha do Petisco. For me this is one of the best restaurants in the Algarve of Portugal.

b) Calhou

You will find this pearl of a restaurant just outside the old town of Lagis. 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!

Address & Opening hours
Calhou on Google Maps

Another idea for your holiday in the Algarve is the homemade pizza from the stone oven at Calhou.
If you prefer to try the portuguese cuisine you will also find suitable options in this lagos restaurant.

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 of Lagos and is particularly known to the locals for its fish dishes from the charcoal grill. Absolutely recommended!

Address & Opening hours
Tasca da Lota on Google Maps

The Tasca da Lota in Lagis is anything but fancy.
Here you can eat extremely cheap and delicious. A good option for your Lagos trip.

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 along the many beaches (see 1e).

If you like fish and seafood this is the place to go. I highly recommend the Bacalhau à Brás.

Address & Opening Hours
O Antonio on Google Maps

Bacalhau a Bras Porto Mos
A vacation in Portugal isn't complete without trying bacalhau at least once. At O ​​Antonio you should order bacalhau a bras!

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! From all the Cafés in the Algarve the coffee here was by far my favorite.

Address & Opening Hours
The Coffee Studio on Google Maps

If you love coffee you should definitely stop by Brendan's and Jodie's Café while exploring all the things to do in Lagos.
At the “Coffee Studio” you can charge up your batteries or get some work done while enjoying truly good coffee. A great option to start your day or have a break after a tour exploring Lagos.

5. Hotels

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. I recommend using Lagos as your base to explore the Algarve in Portugal. The most stunning beaches and some of the best sights, such as the Ponta da Piedade are located here.

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!

More Hotels & Hostels

I've created a list of alternative accommodation options in Lagos, Portugal for different budgets:

  • 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 and Ponta da Piedade.
  • Olive Hostel Lagos – affordable dorms & single rooms in the heart of Lagos
The rooms at Lagos Uptown are modern and tidy. The B&B is a great option for your vacation in the Algarve.
The highlight of this accommodation is the breakfast on the rooftop terrace where you can enjoy the view over the roof of Lagos, Portugal.

Any things to do in Lagos, Portugal you'd like to add?

I wrote this Lagos travel guide based on my own travel experience in the Algarve. If you have been to Lagos in Portugal 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!

Make the best out of your time exploring the tips and things to do in Lagos featured in this guide. From the cliffs at Ponta da Piedade to the old town of Lagos you have plenty of options fro your visit.

Disclosure: Besides Things to do in Lagos and Tips along the coast of the Algarve in Portugal this post contains Affiliate Links. These links to hotels and tour operators promote products I’m using on my travels. Therefore I can highly recommend them. By using the links you won’t pay any additional fees and you support my work. All recommendations, Lagos tips, opinions, and ironic remarks are, as always, my own.

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