BEST things to do in Lagos, Portugal

Lagos, a beautiful town in the Algarve region of Portugal has many amazing things to do. Despite being primarily a beach holiday destination the town offers a great variety of activities for travellers of different ages. It’s a perfect destination for a family holiday, a romantic getaway, or a vacation filled with adventure activities. Whenever you decide to visit Lagos there will be plenty of fun things to do there.

Relax on the beach

The beautiful beaches of Lagos are the main reason tourists come to the town. Relaxing, swimming and tanning on the beach are some of the main things to do in Lagos. All beaches in the city can be reached either walking (depending on where you stay) or by public buses. If you’re looking for a long beach good for walking or running then Meia Praia is a perfect option for you. It’s a 5-kilometres long beach near the Marna de Lagos with beach chairs and umbrellas available for rent during the season. For an iconic Algarve beach with pinnacles sticking out of the water, limestone cliffs, and the turquoise calm water head to Dona Ana Beach. If you’re looking for a “secret” beach hidden between the cliffs check out Praia do Camilo. It’s a small beach on the way from Lagos to Ponta da Piedade with a long wooden staircase. Other beautiful beaches of Lagos include Porto de Mos, Praia dos Estudantes, and Batata Beach.

A visit to Praia do Camilo is a must-do thing in Lagos
A view of the picturesque Camilo Beach from a boat on the way to Ponta da Piedade

Do a boat/kayak tour to Ponta da Piedade

The famous Ponta da Piedade cape is a not-to-miss place in Lagos. If you have to choose only one tour do a boat or a kayak tour to Ponta da Piedade. A boat tour is suitable for anybody including young children. We did it with our 7-months old daughter. Boats to Ponta da Piedade leave from Lagos Marina. The trip takes 1h15min. Sunset is the most romantic time to visit Ponta da Piedade. You can do a sunset boat tour to enjoy the stunning views of the cliffs at sundown.

Kayaking to Ponta da Piedade is a great adventurous thing to do in Lagos. A big advantage of kayaking to Ponta da Piedade is that you have more time to explore the coast and can get closer to the beautiful beaches along the way. You can do a kayak tour from Batata Beach or do a combined boat+kayak tour from the Marina. The first option is more challenging it’s about 3 hours of paddling. The second option is easier and includes 1-hour of paddling, a boat tour, and some swimming/snorkelling at the grottos.

A kayak tour is a not-to-miss activity in Lagos, Portugal
Kayaking along the rugged coast is a must-do thing in Lagos

Walk on boardwalks at Ponta da Piedade

Ponta da Piedade is situated 2 km from the centre of Lagos. To get there you can drive, take a tourist train or walk. A network of boardwalks winding along the cliffs at Ponta da Piedade. If you’re after great views of the rugged limestone coast of Lagos it’s the perfect place to come. The boardwalks cover the total area of 3 km on both sides of the road leading to the Lighthouse. The boardwalks are wide with rails and are suitable for wheelchairs and baby strollers. 

If you decide to walk to Ponta da Piedade from the Old Town you can start at the top of the cliffs past Playa dos Estudantes and continue past Dona Ana Beach towards Ponta da Piedade.

Early morning is the best time to visit Ponta da Piedade if you want to escape tourist crowds. In the evenings the light is great for taking beautiful photos of the coast.

If you enjoy walking and seascape I can recommend a beautiful coastal walk from Praia da Luz to Lagos.

Spectacular scenery at Ponta da Piedade in Lagos
Stunning view of Porto de Mos Beach from a lookout point at Ponta de Piedade, a not-to-miss place in Lagos

Spot dolphins 

A dolphin-watching tour is another great thing to do in Lagos. There are many dolphins in the water around the town. The chances of spotting dolphins during your trip are quite high (90% or so). It’s a far drive in a speed boat to the open sea where you can see dolphins in their natural habitat. On the way, your guide will tell you about the marine life of the Algarve Coast. It’s a fun and educational activity. There are more interesting boat and catamaran tours from Lagos that you can do if you have time. 

Explore the Old Town

Walking around the Old Town of Lagos is a not-to-miss thing. The beautiful historical centre of Lagos with its narrow cobbled streets, colourful houses, charming squares, and many restaurants and shops is a perfect place for walking. One can spend a couple of hours wandering around the historical centre, checking out small souvenirs and curiosity shops, and enjoying a cup of coffee with a Pastel de Nata at one of the terraced cafes. The most interesting streets in the Old Town are Rua Garret, Rua Lima Leitao, Rua 25 de Abril, Rua Infante de Sagres. 

One of the cobbled streets in the Old Town of Lagos, Portugal
Rua Infante de Sagres in Lagos Old Town. Wandering in the historical centre is a not-to-miss thing in Lagos

Go surfing

Surfing in Lagos is a popular activity. If you’re a pro or just starting out you can find good waves for you. Porto de Mos and Meia Praia are two beaches in Lagos that get waves suitable for surfing. Depending on the time of the year and swell the waves are better at Meia Praia or Porto de Mos. If you don’t mind traveling further for good and bigger waves check out Tonel Beach in Sagres or Arrifana Beach on the West Coast. You can find waves using

If you have never surfed before and would like to learn you can take surf lessons. The course includes pick up and drop off at your accommodation in Lagos, a 2-hour surf lesson, a surfboard, and a wetsuit. If you have some surfing experience and only need a board there are a couple of surf shops in Lagos that offer gear rental (e.g. Jah Shaka surf shop).

In the peak summer season try coming to the beach very early in the morning to find a good parking spot and to have some time before the main crowd arrives. It gets extremely busy, especially at Mort de Mos Beach. It might be very hot outside but the water temperature rarely goes over 20°C. To be able to stay in the water for a couple of hours you’ll need a wetsuit.

Admire the Walls of Lagos

The Walls are truly impressive. They surround the entire Old Town and at some places reach 10 m in height and 2 m in width. The current City Walls were built in the 16th century when Lagos became the administrative capital of the Algarve region. The walls were aimed to protect the town from pirates and occasional Spanish invasions. The best places to see the walls are at São Gonçalo Gate and at Lagos Park (Estrada da Ponta da Piedade). 

Walking along the city wall is a must-do thing in Lagos
The impressive walls of Lagos at São Gonçalo Gate

Go diving or snorkelling

Lagos might be not the first choice for a diving holiday. The Algarve coast doesn’t have impressive corral reefs but if you like diving it’s still nice to be underwater and to observe marine life and rock formations in a new place. Summer is the best time for diving around Lagos when the water is clean and there is not much swell. The water temperature varies between 17°C and 20°C. The average visibility is 10 m but on a good day it can reach up to 20 m.

The most popular sites are artificially sunk ship wrecks near Portimao, cliffs at Ponta da Piedade, rock formations near Porto de Mos and Praia da Luz. Diving around Lagos you can see octopus, moray eels, scorpion fish, seahorses, different nudibranchs, and a variety of fish. If you have never dived before you can do a guided scuba diving trip for beginners.

Snorkelling from the beach is a nice way of enjoying the beautiful rock formations and seeing some marine life. In the summer months, boat traffic between the Marina and Ponta da Piedade can be really hectic. If you want to swim out far away from the beach it’s better to do so at Porto de Mos Beach or Praia da Luz where there are no tourist boats. Outside the season you don’t have to worry about boats.

Enjoy the Marina de Lagos

The Maina de Lagos is a great place to come for breakfast or a sundown drink. It’s a new part of Lagos with a modern harbour, hundreds of yachts, many bars and restaurants, and a nice promenade. It’s always lively and busy there in the evenings; live music, and a chilled vibe. We love to come here just before the sunset for a drink. The Marina is one of the best places in Lagos to watch the sunset. All boat tours to Ponta da Piedade, Benagil Cave, etc. leave from the Marina.

Strolling along the promenade at Lagos Marina is a great way to spend an evening
The beautiful Marina de Lagos is a great place to come for a drink at sunset

Visit Santo Antonio Church

The Baroque Church of Santo Antonio is a hidden gem of Lagos. Inside the simple and modest-looking building, you find an impressive wooden-golden altar, marble columns, the elaborated ceiling, and dozens of sculptures of saints. A visit to the church won’t take much of your time and it’ll be an enriching cultural experience. The church is open Tue – Sun from 10 am to 12.30 pm and from 2 pm to 5.30 pm.

Try local cuisine

Portugal in general and Algarve in particular have a great culinary tradition. Local cuisine is famous for its seafood and fish dishes. Trying grilled sardines, fried bacalao, or fresh mussels is a must-do thing in Lagos. There are many restaurants in Lagos that offer traditional Portuguese dishes. Adega da Marina in Avenida dos Descobrementos (near the bus station) and Tasca da Lota in Lagos Marina are two great places to come for fresh seafood and fish. 

Discover street art

You will be surprised by some quite impressive murals that can be found in the narrow streets of the Old Town and in some modern parts of Lagos. The most interesting murals are: 

  • A portrait of an old man smoking in Largo dos Quarteis Street. There are a couple of murals in this streets. 
  • A red and black portrait at the corner of Largo dos Quarteis and Infante de Sagres Streets.
  • An azulejos-inspireed mural in Lanzarote de Freitas Street.
  • A skeleton with a camera in Avenida dos Descobrimentos. 
One of the impressive murals on the streets of Lagos, Portugal
A red and black portrait in Rua Infante de Sagres in Lagos

Visit the market

The Marcado Municipal de Lagos every day gets fresh seafood and fish from local fishermen that deliver it there from the harbour. Visiting it you can get a good idea about the marine life of the Algarve. Besides fish, at the market, you can get vegetables and fruit from local farmers. If you’re renting an apartment or staying in a place with a kitchen you can do your grocery shopping there. The market is open Mon to Sat from 8 am to 2 pm. 

Places to stay in Lagos

Budget | JJs Yard 2 | Boutique Taghostel | Cloud 9 Hostel |
Middle price | Old School Guest House | Palm Villa Estudios | Dream Lagos B&B |
High-end | Villas D. Dinis – Charming Residence (adults only) | Marina Club Lagos Resort |

Getting around

There are many great places to visit outside Lagos. If you’re coming here for a couple of weeks and don’t want to spend your entire holiday on the beach there are plenty of things to do in the region. Renting a car is the best way of moving around the Algarve. You can rent a car at Faro Airport and drop it off when you leave.

If you’re planning to stay most of the time in Lagos you won’t need a car. You can get around the town by bus, walking, or using Uber. It’s easy to get to Lagos from Faro by public transport or a private shuttle. To get from Lisbon to Lagos you can take a direct bus or a train with one connection.

2 comments

  1. We are thinking about going to Lagos mid October this year. Will restaurants and tours be open still since it is off season.

    1. Hello Sandra. Yes, in mid-October restaurants are open and tours are operating. We live in Lagos and mid-October is a very nice time to visit the Algarve.
      Cheers

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