Lagos is a popular town in the Barlavento region of the Algarve. It is a small city; you can pretty much walk everywhere. Lagos still retains much of the Portuguese authenticity that other resorts seem to have lost when adapting to mass tourism.

Lagos is one of the most visited cities in the Algarve and Portugal, due to its variety of tourist-friendly beaches, bars, restaurants, and hotels, renowned for its vibrant summer nightlife and parties. Yet, Lagos is also a historic centre of the Portuguese Age of Discovery, frequent home of Henry the Navigator, historical shipyard and, at one time, centre of the European slave trade.

Waterfront in Lagos, Algarve

Waterfront in Lagos. Photo by Lacobrigo


There is a great variety of things to see:

  • The city center is sculped with traditional architecture and colors from the region.
  • Beaches vary in shape and style from long sandy beaches to almost private ones hidden by cliffs:
    Meia Praia (Half beach) – With soft and white sand, is one of the biggest bays in Europe and has a calm sea due to its width. Owing to its lack of rocks it is ideal for nautical sports. When the wind is strong, there are many sheltered sand beaches between the cliffs.
    Praia da Batata (Potato beach) – It’s a small beach tucked between two small cliffs, where the river meets the Atlantic Ocean. It is also known by the small music festivals that take place there during Summer.
    Praia da Dona Ana – Probably the beach most frequented by tourists, and for good reason. The sand on Dona Ana is slightly thicker than the beaches in the surrounding area, and the beach itself is bounded by lovely rock formations. Many different shapes come alive when you look at the rock formation, a birthday cake, the titanic, and the sphynx’s to name a few. Dona Ana is essentially split into two beaches with a protruding cliff separating the two sides at high tide.
    Praia da Luz (Light beach) – A beach in the popular nearby tourist town of Luz, the beach has watersports facilities and is bounded on its Eastern side by the so-called ‘Rocha Negra’.
    Praia dos Estudantes (Students’ beach) – A small sandy beach, sheltered by rock formations.
    Praia Solaria (Sunny beach) – This is the closest to the town centre beach providing plenty of golden sand for your relaxation.
    Praia do Canavial (Canavial Beach) – This beach, visible from the Ponte da Piade looking west, is a long strip of protected sand. There are no roads and it is only accessible by some precarious paths.
    Praia de Camilo (Camilo Beach) – This sandy beach exposed to a panorama of rocks and sea grottos provides good opportunity for snorkelling.
  • Ponta da Piedade is a beautiful spot with a nice lighthouse from where you can make boat tours to the natural caves.
  • The harbour in the morning is full of activity, if you like to wake up early don’t miss it. Also the fish market is an interesting spot.
Praia da Dona Ana, Lagos, Algarve

Praia da Dona Ana near Lagos. Photo by Steven Fruitsmaak


Lagos has things to do for just about anyone, from the relaxing beaches to the exciting dolphin tours.

  • The beaches are great for exploration. Beaches outside of town are long desolate stretches of sand with tall cliffs that are excellent for privacy. Many sea caves can be explored during low tide.
  • One of the more popular events in Lagos are the Dolphin Tours, different companies offer tours to see dolphins. Whilst you might be unlucky and not see a dolphin, it’s still worth it if you’ve ever wanted a ride on a high powered boat.
  • Rent sea kayaks – may only be available in the summer
    Boat tours of the grottos – leave from the harbor for 10 Euros / person
  • You can go on a motorbike and sidecar tour with Sidecar Experience; a breathtaking way to take in the wonderful scenery of South West Portugal.
Waterfront in Lagos, Algarve

Solaria beach. Photo by Lacobrigo


Southern Portugal is famous for its ceramics, and Lagos won’t let you down. Ceramic dishes and tiles of all price ranges, styles, and colors are available. Some stores don’t provide boxes for your goods, only newspaper wrapping, so ask before you buy, if it matters to you.
There is sometimes a small fair in front of the church near the harbor where unique clothing can be bought.


There are some wonderful family run operations in Lagos. Many of the restaurants are starving for business in the off peak time and will go way out of their way to make your visit to their restaurant a pleasurable experience.


Lagos bars are quite fun, catering to the young back-packing crowds. Often one can find a Brit or American helping to serve drinks (for a little under the table wage).


There is a large youth hostel in the centre of the city. However if you arrive in Lagos by bus there will usually be people there asking if you need accommodation. These are generally cheap and small, and a great option.
There is a campsite near where the N125 crosses Estr. da Ponta da Piedade
* Pestana Alvor Praia, Praia dos Três Irmãos 8501-904 Alvor, +351 28 240 09 00 (fax:+351 28 240 09 75) ( One of the outstanding pleasures of a stay in Lagos is to walk the long riverside ‘promenade’ under the avenue of palm tees from the Marina to the sea
* Monte d’Oiro Refugio Design Hotel
* Costa d’Oiro Ambiance Village Hotel

Get out

If you want to get away from the backpacking tourists, head to Vila do Bispo. It’s about an hours bus ride from the garage. From the Vila do Bispo bus stop it’s about 5 kilometers to the beach. It’s not a bad walk, and there are hiking trails that head off into the hills if you’re interested too. The beaches are gorgeous and seem to never end. Beaches are clothing optional, but most people are clothed. Visit:drive to beaches of Salema,Luz,both outside the city. Monchique town/spa(mountain). City of Silves (moorish castle).

Ponta da Piedade, Lagos, Algarve

Ponta da Piedade, Lagos. Photo by António M.L. Cabral