9 Fun Things To Do in Lagos Portugal
Ah, Lagos, the town that finally convinced me to visit Portugal. Maybe it was its rocky cliffs or impossibly clear water, but no matter what drew me to this Portuguese beach town, Lagos is a dream. Located in the in southern Portugal's Algarve region, the town boasts unique landscape and rich history. It attracts all kind of visitors from family to outdoor adventurers. But despite its popularity, Lagos still maintains its small-town charm.
I spent three days in Lagos, but I could have easily stayed an extra day or two. Wondering what to do in Lagos Portugal? Plenty! The town offers a wide range of activities; whether you love exploring cobblestone streets and picturesque squares, or go on reinvigorating hikes and then simmer under the sun, there's something to do for everybody.
What to do in Lagos? Here are 9 Fun Things To Do in Lagos Portugal
For such a small beach town, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Lagos has a wide range of things to do - although I wouldn't have minded lying by the beach all day long. But alas, let's enjoy everything this town has to offer!
Explore Lagos Old Town
In the heart of Lagos, you will find the old city. It is wanderers' heaven with its colorful buildings, cobblestone streets, and vibrant ambiance. Dedicate at least a few hours or half-day to explore it.
One of the best ways to sightsee the incredibly scenic coastline of Lagos is by kayaking! You get to explore the breathtaking caves as well as the secret beaches. You can rent a kayak or go on a guided tour – highly recommend this option if you are a newbie. Check out this 2-hour guided kayak tour that takes to Ponta da Piedade.
Enjoy freshly caught seafood
Seafood lover, rejoice! If you are in Lagos, savoring fresh seafood is a must. The catch of the day? More like the catch of the hour because it is that fresh. Check out these restaurants for a delicious seafood feast.
Tasca Do Kiko
Estr. de São Roque A, 8600-315 Lagos | More Info
Inventive seafood tapas or how Portuguese call it, petiscos.
Estr. de São Roque A, 8600-315 Lagos | More Info
No-fuss fresh seafood.
R. Gil Eanes n5 A, 8600-752 Lagos | More Info
Traditional Portuguese seafood dishes and more.
Taberna do Comilao
R. Soeiro da Costa 26a, 8600-525 Lagos | More info
Traditional seafood petiscos.
Grotto Boat tour
If you want to see Lago's coastline and kayaking is not your thing, don't worry, I got you covered! Another great way to check out Lagos' incredible caves and rock formation is by going on a boat tour. I took this 75-minute boat tour, and they were great. The company uses small boats that can go in and out most caves – so we were up close and personal - unlike other tours.
Enjoy Lagos Beaches
In Lagos, you will find some of the best beaches in the world! The golden sand, crystal clear water, and rocky formation make for dreamy beaches along Portugal's Algarve coast. Some of the most beautiful and popular beaches in Lagos are Praia do Camilo, Praia de Dona Ana, and Praia do Pinhão. But there's also Praia Grande, Praia dos Estudantes, and Praia Batata.
Praia do Camilo
Praia do Camilo, with its glorious scenery and crystal clear water is one of the most beautiful beaches in Lagos – but honestly, all beaches in Lagos are beautiful. Enclosed by the rocky cliff, Praia do Camilo feels like a secluded beach.
Praia de Dona Ana
Praia Dona Ana is probably the most popular beach in Lagos. Even if you decide not to go to the beach, the scenery from the clifftop is beautiful. It can get very busy, so make sure to arrive early.
Praia do Pinhão
Praia do Pinhão, though not as popular as Camilo and Dona Ana, is a favorite among locals and those who seek smaller crowd. The beach is smaller than Dona Ana but wider than Camilo, nonetheless just as beautiful - nestled by towering cliffs and quiet coves.
You can find free parking by the beaches, but make sure to arrive early, as it gets filled up fast.
Bring some cover! Or you will roast faster than bacalhau on St. Anthony's day – Portuguese reference, ha! Some of the beaches have umbrella plus chair for you to rent.
Bring water and snacks – There aren't any vendors at the beach so you will have to make your way back to the top if you want anything.
And most importantly, bring sunscreen! This one by Shiseido is my current favorite one - that I can get in the U.S.
Check out Ponta da Piedade
Ponta da Piedade is without a doubt the main attraction in Lagos – at least in my opinion. The beautiful golden rock formation amid impossibly blue water is simply jaw-dropping. There are two ways to see Ponta da Piedade: by sea and by land. By water, you can go on a boat or kayaking tour, either way, you get up close. By land, you can walk the clifftop boardwalk and make your way to the long set of stairs that takes you to one of the coves. Walking will give you the best view of Ponta da Piedade. I highly recommend checking it out both by water and land.
How to get to Ponta da Piedade?
There's no public transportation to Ponta da Piedade, so your options are walking, driving, or taxi. There is, however, if you visit in the summer, the Lagos Tourist Train. It's a small tourist train that stops in convenient tourist location including Ponta da Piedade. For more information, check out their website. If you are driving, at the beginning of the boardwalk, there's a parking lot next to the lighthouse by Praia Grande.
Want to do something different in Lagos? Go marvel at dolphins in their natural habitat - the right way to enjoy Mother Nature's wonders. You can go on a boat tour to spot dolphins. Tour companies don't guarantee dolphin sighting - if they did, I wouldn't trust them – but there's a high chance of seeing dolphins. Check out this tour operated by the same company I used.
Go Hiking in Lagos
Want to enjoy the best views in Lagos? Go hiking! It's the best way to admire the golden coastline in the Algarve region. And because of its rocky cliffs, there are plenty of hiking trails along the coast. My favorite hiking trail was the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail.
Seven Hanging Valleys Trail
The Percurso do Sete Vales Suspenso or Seven Hanging Valleys Trail is technically located outside of Lagos - a 40-minute drive by car. But it is one of the most scenic hikes that you simply cannot miss. The trail is 3.7 miles (7.4 miles round-trip) and goes from Praia do Marinha to Praia de Vale Centeanes. I didn't have time to complete the hike, but you will get jaw-dropping vista from the get-go. So don't feel like you are missing out if you do not complete the trail, but you will be rewarded with the view from above of the Benagil Cave if you do.
Since the trail is 40 minutes away, you can make it a day - or half-day - trip and include the Benagil Cave tour to your itinerary. There are also a few beautiful beaches in the area like Praia Marinha and Praia da Mesquita that you will want to check out.
Parking: There's a free parking lot at Marinha Beach. It gets filled fast, so make sure to arrive early – before 10 am.
Bring a light jacket or windbreaker – even if it's warm, it can get very windy.
Wear appropriate shoes, preferably hiking shoes, as part of the trail is very rocky.
Bring snacks and water.
See The Iconic Benagil Cave
If you research the Algarve region of Portugal, you will see pictures of the Benagil Cave pop-up everywhere. It is one of the most iconic attractions in the area. If you plan to check it out, I recommend doing so by boat tour or kayak tour. You could also go on your own by renting a kayak and make your way there, but I do not recommend swimming there. If you do the Seven Hanging Valleys hike, you get to see the cave from above!
Tours in Lagos
How to get to Lagos
Depending on where you arrive in Portugal, there are several ways to get to Lagos.
Lagos doesn't have an airport, so you will have to fly to the nearest one in Faro (FAO) and then make your way to Lagos either by car or bus.
Right outside Faro Airport – walking distance – you will find the car rental companies. Pick up your car there, and make your way to Lagos.
If you opt for taking the bus, you will have to get to the city first as the buses depart from Faro city center.
Whether you pick up your car at Faro Airport or any other city, driving in Portugal is very easy and convenient. The roads are in great shape, and drivers tend to be relaxed. What about driving in Lagos? It was straightforward, and there are several parking lots in the city center and by the beaches. Just make sure to rent the Via Verde transponder to pay for tolls electronically.
From Lisbon to Lagos By Train
You can travel to Lagos from Lisbon – or any other city in Portugal - by train. It takes about 4 hours, and tickets cost 19€ - 40€. The only downside of traveling by train to Lagos from Lisbon is that you will have to switch train in Tunes. You can buy the ticket online and depart from either Lisboa Oriente or Entrecampos.
From Lisbon to Lagos By Bus
The most convenient way to travel from Lisbon to Lagos - if you are not renting a car - is probably by bus. It's a 4-hour ride and cost about 19€ -30€. You can buy the ticket online departing from Lisboa Oriente or Lisboa Sete Rios.
How I traveled to Lagos
Since Lagos was the starting point of my road trip through Portugal, I made my way to Faro airport, picked up my rental car there, and drove to Lagos. Let the adventure begin!
Where to stay in Lagos
There are many accommodations within the town and right outside. If you are looking for a boho-chic hotel, with a promising restaurant, and convenient location, check out Casa Mãe. I initially wanted to stay here but waited too long to book it, and they were sold out. Don't make the same mistake!
Another great option if you have a car is Aldeia Azul, located 10 minutes away from the town's center. It's a beach resort type villa that comes with a full kitchen and laundry machine. It also has a great restaurant and parking lot. I ended up staying here and really enjoyed it.
If you want to treat yourself to a relaxing getaway, check out Onyria Palmares Beach House Hotel. The modern and minimalistic design amid the blue scenery of Meia Praia and Lagos Bay is the perfect oasis you didn't know you deserved.
Best time to visit Lagos
The best time to visit Lagos is June through September – the warmest months of the year. In the winter, Lagos can get very cold, windy, and rainy. Which will cut in half the activities you can do in town.