The Old Town of Lagos – a detailed guide

Lagos is well-known for its stunning beaches and picturesque limestone cliffs but there is much more to discover in the town. The Old Town is located 700 m from Praia de Batata and Estudantes Beach and 1 km from the Marina de Lagos. The Old Town 

The highlight of the Old Town

Despite its relatively small size, the historical centre of Lagos has many attractions that are worth visiting. 

  • The Town Walls of Lagos
  • São Gonçalo Gate
  • Ponta da Bandeira Fort
  • The Church of Santa Maria
  • Infante Dom Henrique Square
  • The Church of San Antonio
  • Gil Eanes Square
  • The Fish Market
  • The Science Museum
  • The Church of Sao Sebastiao
  • The Green House (a house covered in green colour tiles) at Luís de Camões Square
One of the pedestrian streets in the Old Town of Lagos
Rua Silva Lopez, one of the streets in the Old Town of Lagos

Things to do in the Old Town of Lagos

Spend some time wandering along the cobbled streets discovering hidden corners of the town, stopping at charming street cafes, and visiting small curiosity shops. You can easily spend a couple of hours exploring every corner of the Old Town. In the peak season, early morning is the best time to explore the Old Town before it gets too crowded. Most cafes open between 8 am and 9 am. Shops and most businesses open between 9 am and 10 am.

Visit the Fish Market of Lagos (Mercado Municipal). Even if you’re not going to buy anything it’s worth visiting this amazing fresh food market to see what kind of fish and seafood is found in the waters near Lagos. 

Exploring Lagos Walls that surround the historical centre of the town is a must-do thing in Lagos. This impressive fortifications were built in the 16th century. The best views of the Walls you can get from Avenida dos Descobrimentos and Estrada da Ponta da Piedade next to the mini golf course.

Lagos city wall and Sao Goncalo gate
The impressive Walls of Lagos at Porta Sao Goncalo, the entrance to the Old Town

Enjoy the tranquility at the city park (Parque da Cidade de Lagos) next to the Town Walls. Even during the busiest months it’s quiet here. 

Play mini golf at Pro Putting Garden just outside the city walls. It’s a small picturesque mini golf course in the city park with funky sculptures, small pools, artificial grass, fountains, etc. It’s open from 10 am to 7 pm. The fee is from 3 euros for children and from 5 euros for adults.

Visit the Science Museum of Lagos. The museum will be interesting for travellers with children. It’s a fun place for kids of any age from toddlers to teens. It’s open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm. The admission fee: adults – 5 euros, children (6-17) – 2,5 euros, children under 6 – free.

Driving a car in the Old Town is quite tricky because of the narrow one way streets. As an alternative to get around the historical center of Lagos you can rent an electric bike. It solves the parking problem. With an electric bike you can visit attractions outside the Old Town such as Ponta da Piedade, Dona Ana Beach, etc.

Discover street art in the Old Town. Lagos like many other Portuguese cities has a great “collection” of murals spread throughout the town many of them are in the historical center. Some of the most interesting pieces of street art include 

An old man in a cap mural in the Old Town of Lagos
One of Lagos murals at the corner of Rua Marechal Furtado and Largo dos Quarteis

Where to eat?

There are hundreds of places to eat in the Old Town of Lagos for any taste and budget. From fancy restaurants that serve a 3-course meal to take-away places. We try to visit a new place regularly but it’s difficult to keep up and sometimes we find something we really like and for a while, we eat only there. It’s impossible to list all food places in the Old Town we decided to mention the best of them for different categories.

Best coffee shop

The Coffee Studio is for sure our favorite coffee shop in the Old Town. They roast their own beans, coffee here is great. Food is delicious we love having one of their sandwiches for breakfast. Vegan and gluten free options. It’s a great place to come for a couple of hours to work online as many people do. Open Mondays to Saturdays from 8 am to 5 pm (on Fridays open till 10 pm).

Breakfast toasts and a smoothie at the Coffee Studio in the Old Town of Lagos
Salmon toast and avocado toast with a smoothie at the Coffee Studio in the Old Town of Lagos

Best pizza place

The Italian restaurant Kisa is definitely our favorite pizza place in the historical center of Lagos. They have woodfire pizza with different toppings including gluten-free and vegan pizzas. We love their sour daugh pizza called pinsa. Their menu includes pastas, salads, burgers, and starters. It’s a nice place to come for dinner. Open Tue – Sun from 12.30 pm to 11 pm.

Best outdoor restaurant

The Garden Restaurant has definitely the best terrace in the town. The name 100% reflects it; lush green vegetation all around, flowers, and funky decoration. It’s super cozy! Food here is great BBQ meat, fish, and vegetables. The Garden is the best place in Lagos to come on a windy day if you want to sit outside. The terraces is protected by the high wall.  

Best restaurant for travelers with kids

Family cafe O Ninho is a must-visit if you travel with children. We’re regulars here and come at least once a week. The food here is great, big portions, home-made pastry, very good organic coffee and many vegan-friendly dishes. The best thing about this place is their space on the top floor with toys, books, play tents, etc. You can enjoy your meal while your kids are busy playing, painting, or reading. Open Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun from 9 am to 6.30 pm. Thursdays from 9 am to 3.30 pm.

A beautiful mural with a kids table and toys in O Ninho cafe in the Old Town of Lagos
O Ninho Cafe in the Old Town of Lagos is our favorite place to come with Summer

We’ll continue adding more places to this post as time goes.

Where to do shopping?

Despite the small size of the Old Town, you can buy pretty much anything you need here.

Souvenirs

There are plenty of places in the Old Town where you can buy souvenirs, local produce like pottery, painting, items made of cork (bags, purses), etc. The best streets for souvenir shopping are Rua Infante de Sagres, Rua 25 de Abril, Rua Silva Lopes, Gil Eanes Square.

During the season (from April to October) you can find many stands selling souvenirs along the promenade on the stretch between the Old Town and the pedestrian bridge at the Marina de Lagos.

Clothes

If you want to buy flip flops, boardshorts, T-shirts, bikini, etc. you can find all these in one of the surf shops in the Old Town. These places sell and rent surfboards an paddle boards as well. Jah Shaka Surrf shop in Rua Candido dos Reis, Quicksilver shop at Luís de Camões Square, Ericeira Surf & Skate in Lima Leitao Street are the main surf shops in Lagos. 

To buy underwear and bikini go to Tezenis, Calzedonia, and Intimissimi in Rua Porta de Portugal.

There are many small local shops that sell clothes, bags, and shoes.

Santa Maria Church in Lagos, Portugal
Santa Maria Church on Infante Dom Henrique Square in Lagos

Grocery shopping

If you’re staying in a place with a kitchen and like cooking don’t miss a chance to try some freshly caught local fish and seafood. The local market Mercado Municipal de Lagos is open Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 2 pm. There you can buy fresh fish, seafood, vegetables, fruit, and dairy products. All fish is caught by local fishermen and comes directly from the harbour. Doing your grocery shopping there you support locals. 

Spar is the nearest supermarket to the Old Town. It’s located just outside the city wall. It’s not very big though. In the Old Town itself there are small grocery stores they’re great for buying water and snack but not for a big shopping. There are several big supermarkets in Lagos Pingo Doce, Lidle, Aldi, Continente, InterMarche. They all are about 1 km to 1,5 km from the center. Pingo Doce and Lidle are the closest two.

Pharmacy

There are four pharmacies in the historical center. Two close to Gil Eanes Square and two near Infante Dom Henrique Square. 

How to get to Lagos Old Town?

If you arrive in Lagos by bus and don’t have a lot of luggage you can walk from the bus station to the Old Town, it’s about 700 m away. The bus is the best option for getting to Lagos from Lisbon

The train station is 1 km away from the Old Town. If you travel light you can walk to the centre or take a bus, a taxi, or an Uber. Bus #1 connects the train station with the Old Town and the bus station. Bus #2 goes from the train station past the Old Town to the main beaches of Lagos. You can get to Lagos from Faro or Portimao by train.

Where to stay in the Old Town?

If you want to stay in the center of Lagos close to bars, restaurants, some beaches, and the harbour staying in the Old Town is the best option for you. There are plenty of hotels and hostels to choose from. In the peak season (July to September) it’s highly recommended to book your accommodation a couple of months in advance.

One of the small squares of Lagos with a beautiful house covered in green tiles
The Green House at Luís de Camões Square in the Old Town of Lagos

Where to park?

Like in any historical center parking is a problem in the Old Town of Lagos. It’s basically impossible to find parking within the city walls. You best option for free parking are parking lots just outside the town walls. Luckily the town is quite small even if you park outside the Town Walls you’ll have to walk 10 minutes to get the Old Town. 

There are several free spacious parking lots just outside the city walls. Even during the peak season you will be able find a spot there. The closest to the Old Town free parking lot is one at the corner of Rua Infante de Sagres and Estrada do Biker. One more free paved parking lot is at the intersection (roundabout) of Rua da Gafaria and Estrada to Biker. The third free parking space is a bit further; at the corner of Avenida dos Descobrimentos and Rua do Baluarte, about 300 m from the city wall. 

There is a paid underground parking at Estrada da Ponta da Piedade just outside the wall at the mini golf course. It’s quite cheap 4 euros for 24 hours. A big advantage of parking here in the summer is that your car won’t be searching hot when you get in.

If you want to leave your car for an hour or two you can park it at paid parking lots along Avenida dos Descobrimentos. 

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