2 days in Lagos, Portugal.
Greetings to all. I’m in Portugal. My first trip since the Coronavirus lockdowns.
Lagos is at the western end of the Algarve region on the southern coast of Portugal. I’ll be in Portugal for just over a week and will be staying in Lagos, Albufeira, and Lisbon.
Lagos is an ancient maritime town with more than 2000 years of history. Located in southern Portugal’s Algarve region, Lagos attracts vacationers from throughout Europe, especially during the summer months (July & August). The summer season really begins here on July 15th so I am just beating the major crowds. This historical town boasts rugged coastlines, beautiful sandy beaches, a beautiful marina, and crystal-clear waters. Lagos is often a starting point for those who plan to explore more of the Algarve and provides a convenient base for day trips. While researching my trip to Portugal, I saw Lagos, and I knew I had to go!
How to get there
To get to Lagos from Lisbon, it’s under a three-hour drive, or alternatively, you can take a bus or train quite easily. However, I choose a different route flying into Faro from Munich and taking a train to Lagos. The Lisbon train however requires a transfer in Tunes while the Faro to Lagos train is direct. From the train station to the center f town is about a fifteen-minute walk. The bus station is only about 5 minutes from the town center.
Where to stay
In terms of where to stay, there are a ton of different accommodation options in Lagos including AirBnb’s, hotels, and hostels. However, if you’re planning on traveling during the high season (summer) be aware that you will pay more for accommodations, and also, they’ll book up quickly so make sure you book in advance. Since I booked just before the onslaught of tourists I didn’t have any problems. When looking for the perfect spot for you, also ensure you look at the area the accommodation is located in. It’s ideal to be central as you’ll be within walking distance to almost everything and anything you need.
I stayed at the Suites Inn Lagos because of its location close to the Marina, the town, and about a 10-minute walk to the beach. They serve breakfast in a basket to your room which you can eat out on a little balcony.
What to do
Lagos is a beautiful vacation location and has so much to offer, but its beaches are definitely its biggest draw. Maybe stick to Lisbon or Porto instead if you’re not a beach person, but the beaches here will make anyone a beach person. The length of your stay is really determined by how much time you have in Portugal and what interests you. For me, three nights and two days was plenty of time, but I’m very active and cannot lie on beaches for that long. However, if you’re able to stay longer, you can go on hikes and take day trips. This is what I suggest for a two-day visit to this beautiful city in Portugal.
On your first day in Lagos, Portugal, head out on a kayak to see the grottos and caves along the rocky coast. There are different departure times throughout the day, and a number of companies offer this tour. The best time to do it is in the morning, but there are several departure times throughout the day. EZride was recommended to me. A unique aspect of this company was that you kayaked for about 1.5 hours and then get towed back. Unfortunately, the ocean was a little too rough for kayaks so I had to opt for a boat tour of the grottos. The tour cost me around €25 which included a €5 tip.
At lunchtime, I went to Goji Lounge Cafe. This is a vegan and vegetarian restaurant, but they also serve other foods. I was in the mood for some fresh salad and a smoothie as I knew I was going to eat many other not-so-healthy things on the trip. However, if that’s not your thing there are several other places in and around the main town center.
After lunch, you could visit Sagres, a nearby town. You can drive there in about 35 minutes, or take the inexpensive bus that runs by Eva (around €3 one way). There are a number of things that make Sagres famous, but its sunsets are its main draw. So take the afternoon to explore the area and stay for the sunset. In the afternoon, you might want to visit Cabo Sao Vicente (a stunning coastal point), Sagres fort, and the working fishing harbor.
For dinner, I loved La Estrella. La Estrella is run by a couple from Belgium and serves an eclectic mix of different cuisines. Normally all the food is made from scratch but Inga-one of the owners apologized that the toast that the hummus came with was not made from scratch (it was perfectly fine but showed the level of attention and love she puts into her dishes. They also have quite a good selection of Belgian beers to choose from.
- Meia Praia (Half Beach) —the most popular tourist beach, consisting of soft, white sand, Meia Praia is one of the largest open bays in Europe, resulting in calm seas, permitting conditions for many nautical sports like kayaking and sailboarding, while cliffs provide sheltered coves from strong windy conditions of the Atlantic.
- Praia Solaria (Sunny Beach);
- Praia da Batata (Potato Beach) — a small beach tucked between two small cliffs (where the river meets the Atlantic Ocean), it is known for the small music festivals that take place there during summer;
- Praia dos Estudantes (Students’ Beach);
- Praia da Dona Ana (Dona Ana Beach) -its areal is slightly thicker than the beaches in the surrounding area and it is surrounded by striking rock formations.
- Praia do Canavial (Canavial Beach);
- Praia de Camilo (Camilo Beach);
- Praia da Luz (Beach of Light) – located in the parish of Luz, the beach is bounded in the east by Rocha Negra (English: Black Rock), providing summer vacationers with a popular escape during the summer.
- Praia da Balança– located after Praia da Boneca and Praia dos Pinheiros, it is a sandy cove enclosed by towering cliffs.
Enjoy a beautiful coastal hike on your last full day in Lagos before the heat sets in. As you follow the coast, you should be fine, but the signage for trails isn’t the best. If you intend to reach another viewpoint or beach, you may need to go off the trail and back to the main road. For me, the hike started at Praia dos Estudantes, but for others, it may vary depending on where they’re staying.
From Estudantes, I made my way to Praia do Pinhao and Praia Dona Ana. Next, I stopped at Camilo Beach, Ponta de Piedade, and Praia do Canavial and Porto de Mos. I could have kept walking, but I had hiked for around four hours and was in need of some R&R on the beach on my hike back.
For lunch, I ate at Pie. A small pub-style place with rooftop dining. I opted for a chicken pot pie that was quite delicious. If you want some British-style food I can recommend it.
Spend the rest of the day relaxing on the beach of your choice – there are tons of options, and you’ve earned it! If you want to cool off, stop by Crema di Gelato in the main town center. You must try their Porto-flavored ice cream! There is almost always a line for this place. If the line is too long get a gelato at the place across the alley. It is good as well but doesn’t have the marketing.
You can choose from a variety of different dinner options. At this point in my Portugal trip, I was really enjoying dining out and finding food I haven’t seen in over a year. The main center of Lagos is packed with food options within walking distance and the city comes alive at night. You can browse each menu out front to pick and choose what you like. No matter if it’s traditional Portuguese cuisine at Casa do Prego or a famous burger at Nah Nah Bah. Their Toucan Burger was a winner of the Top 50 Burgers in the World Award! A seared beef patty with crispy bacon, juicy pineapple, melted cheese, tomato, onion, lettuce & their secret family sauce. I passed on it for one of my favorite burger styles and got the blue ball buster, a blue cheese burger which was quite good.
There are so many things to do in Lagos and it’s a wonderful place to vacation. There are endless beaches to relax on, beautiful views, and many hiking trails in the area, as well as easy daytrips to explore more of the Algarve.
What to Do at Night in Lagos
For such a small town you can definitely tell that it is a tourist town based on a large number of bars and nightclubs in the city.
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