Lagos, Portugal

Travel Guide

Everything You Need to Know

Visiting Portugal? Lagos is a must-not-miss destination that will take our breath away. Located in the Algarve region, this paradise averages 300 sunny days per year and offers stunning rock formations, white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, mysterious caves, and a booming nightlife scene. We have broken down all the details and recommendations in ourLagos Travel Guide below! 

Quick Tips


The official language of Portugal is Portugese, and it’s a good idea to learn some basic phrases before you visit.

When To Visit

With an average temperature of 66 – 78 degrees fahrenheit, Lagos is a gorgeous destination year round! But if you are after a warm, summer vacation, we recommend visiting between May and September.


The time zone in Lagos is WET in the winter and WEST in the summer.

Getting There

The closest airport to Lagos is the Faro  airport (FAO), located less than an hour away. From Faro, you can rent a car and drive (~ 1 hour), you can take the train (~ 7 EUR / 2 hour ride), or you can grab a taxi (~ 100 EUR). Our preference is the train, as it is the most cost friendly, the most beautiful route, and you really don’t need a car while in Lagos. If traveling to Lagos from Lisbon, which is a bit further away, you can rent a car or hop on the train. The train runs about 21 EUR and takes about 2.5 hours. However, if you are after a more scenic route, we highly recommend renting a car and driving down the beautiful coast! The drivee is a bit longer, but gives you the flexibility to stop at numerous beaches along the way. 

What To Expect

Is Lagos Safe?

We felt extremely safe exploring Lagos! Violent attacks and petty crime are uncommon, but as always, be aware of your surroundings and always keep your valuables secure and out of reach.

What should i wear?

Beach attire! Aside from going to a fancy dinner at a spot like Avenida or Pateo Velho, you don’t need much more than swimsuits, cover-ups, hats, and flip flops. Old town is a very casual place, with most people wandering around day and night in beach attire. But be sure to bring some layers, as it tends to get chilly in the evenings. 


1000000%. With high UV radiation levels, it is absolutely vital to wear sunscreen while in Lagos! Evn on a clody day, be prepared, as you still might burn!  We recommend using Supergoop, which is our favorite brand. You can buy travel size on Amazon. 

How Long Should I Stay?

If you are after a relaxing beach vacation, this is the perfect place to spend a full week. However, if you just want to get a feel for Lagos, you can cover it in 2-3 days.

How do i get around in lagos?

Despite Google maps portraying Lagos as being massive, it’s actually a pretty small town. If you stay right in Old Town, you will be able to walk or bike essentially everywhere. If you do find yourself in need of a ride, Ubers and taxis are very safe and accessible. Ubers are usually the cheapest option.



What about Money?


The Euro (EUR) is the currency used throughout Portugal and other European countries. We recommend exchanging and/or withdrawing euros at an ATM or local bank once you arrive in Portugal to get the best conversion rate. Avoid exchanging money at the airport.


Portugal is known as one of the cheapest destinations to visit in Europe! You can expect to pay 6 – 15 EUR / meal, 1 – 5 EUR / snack, 2 – 3 EUR / beer, 0.5 – 1 EUR / bottle of water. Many places do not accept credit cards or bills larger than 20 EUR, so always be prepared with cash (EUR).


Tipping is not expected, but it is always appreciated! Be sure to keep small coins on hand specifically for tips. 

Neighborhood Guide

Lagos Marina

A center for watersports as well as laid-back lunches, this social center features a great balance of all that Lagos has to offer. You can expect a plethora of boats and yachts, beaches, chilled cafes, fancy dining, bar terraces & more, all located within walking distance of Old Town. This is a great place to stay, as well as a fun place to explore.

Lagos Old Town

The historic center of Lagos, known for both its history and its vibrant nightlife scene! It is located right between the marina and the beaches, making most of the town accessible by foot. With its booming atmosphere of restaurants, shops, and bars, as well as its convenient location, this is our favorite place to stay in Lagos. Be sure to check out our accommodation recommendation in Old Town, The Salty Lodge. 

Batata Beach

If you are looking for beach town vibes, Batata Beach is the place for you! This tiny beach is extremely close to the center of Lagos, and is packed with bars, shops, cafes and all the other amenities that you will expect of a city beach.

Meia Praia

Located 4 miles east of Lagos Old Town, Meia Praia is the largest beach in Lagos and offers a laid-back atmosphere. The neighborhood offers numerous shops, cafes, and restaurants, but is more known for its family-friendly, beach resort vibes.  

Where We Stayed


Offering a terrace and sea views, The Salty Lodge is an award-winning condo-hotel, located right in the heart of Lagos city center, and a quick 5 minute walk to the beach. Inspired by the southernmost Algarve, a region with a truly unique stretch of coast, nature reserves, pristine beaches, and wild coastlines, the hotel offers the most authentic, stylish, and comfortable accommodations around. Every detail of the hotel is designed with comfort and style in mind – the large open floor plans, full kitchens, gorgeous views of Meia Praia beach and the Ocean, incredibly friendly and helpful staff, and even the convenient location! Being right on the main strip of town, it is surrounded with local bars, restaurants, and activities, making it the perfect spot for travelers looking to explore the local area with ease. The hotel features a divine (and massive) rooftop terrace, and offers luggage storage, bicycle rentals, car rentals, and a variety of activities such as surfing, paddle boarding, yoga lessons, and kayaking. The Salty Lodge invites you to live locally, engage in activities, share experiences or learn to surf while feeling at home in a relaxed, stylish and comfortable atmosphere. Between the prime location, affordable prices, spacious and comfortable apartments, and breathtaking views, this truly is the best of the best! Check out our full review of the Salty Lodge linked here! 

Additional Accommodations

Hotel Marina Rio

The perfect holiday hotel with a great atmosphere, this hotel has everything to make your Portugal holiday amazing. There’s a sun terrace and outdoor swimming pool for the days you just want to lounge around in the sun.

Dom Manuel

A charming adult-only hotel with outdoor pool in a tropical palm covered garden. Traditional Portuguese tiles adorn cozy bedrooms and colorful communal areas. Enjoy drinks and bar snacks by the pool or explore the many bars and restaurants nearby. Just 500m from one of Lagos’ best beaches.

Casa Mae

A striking white property standing tall in the historic streets of Lagos. Find a perfect mix of traditional and contemporary design throughout with white on white hues, wooden floors and plenty of glass. An excellent restaurant serves up traditional healthy fare and a choice selection of wines.

Things To Do


Visit the Benagil caves with a local fisherman

All along the Algarve coast, there are countless caves created by the constant encounter of the sea with the rocks over thousands of years. The result is a breathtaking coastline of grand arches, hollow caves of all shapes and sizes, and large natural openings throughout the tops of the caves that allow natural light to enter. The sun’s rays then dip into the seawater, reflecting magical colors everywhere, like the emerald green of the water and the gold of the rocks. Surrounding these gorgeous sea caves are hidden beaches, marine life, hiking paths and more. It is a true spectacle of nature and an absolute MUST-NOT-MISS during your trip to Lagos! 

How do you get there? The caves are accessible only via boat, which is why the local fishermen of Lagos began offering cave tours right off the beaches in their small 5-seater boats many years ago. This is important, as the smaller boats are the only ones that fit into many of the caves. Unfortunately, numerous tour companies saw an opportunity for business and quickly moved into Lagos to start offering large-scale cave tours. Not only have they taken business away from the local fishermen (who market solely via word of mouth), but they continue to fail to mention that their larger boats (holding a minimum of 10 people) do not fit in many of the caves. Our recommendation – seek out the local fishermen on the beaches for the best experience possible! You can expect to pay around 20 EUR per person for a private tour of the caves (which would run a couple hundred EUR through a tour company). If you are feeling active, another great option is to rent a kayak to explore through the caves. 

Lagos Cliffs & Beaches

Lagos beaches have gained fame worldwide, with some even being considered the most beautiful beaches in the world! Among the beaches, there are 8 that we consider to be must-not-miss spots, which can all be visited within two days. What makes these beaches even more unique is the option to hike the gorgeous cliffs of the Algarve coastline from one beach to the next, following hiking trails. Hiking the Lagos cliffs is the perfect way to see some breathtaking views, gain access to a number of hidden beaches, stay active, and check out the famous Ponta da Piedade. We have broken down all the details of the beaches in our full ‘The Beaches of Lagos Travel Guide’, including information on Praia da Batata, Praia dos Estudantes, Praia do Pinhão, Praia de Dona Ana, Praia do Camilo, Ponta da Piedade, Meia Praia, and Praia da Luz. 

Sunset at Ponta da Piedade

With its impressive cliffs and caves, Ponta da Piedade is one of the most extraordinary places in the Algarve. Rocks carved by the wind and tides for thousands of years have formed incredibly beautiful caves and tunnels, surrounded by crystal-clear water. Its unique beauty grows even more impressive as the sun starts to set and the sun’s rays cover the sea in golden, shining tones. Whether you witness it on the cliffs, by boat, or in a bay, you will quickly understand why the sunsets at Ponta da Piedade have been described as the most beautiful sunsets in the world.


Located directly on the coast, Lagos offers a wide variety of watersports! However, it is important to know that nearly all the beaches near Lagos face east, meaning that they are protected from the open ocean. Depending on the type of water activities you are looking to do, you may or may not want to be on the other side of the Ponta da Piedade, where endless rolling waves provide for a watersport paradise! Popular water sports include kayaking, windsurfing, paddleboarding, water skiing and wakeboarding, surfing, jet skiing & more! The three main surf beaches include Praia da Luz (beach, point and reef breaks), Praia do Porto de Mós (beach and reef breaks) and, nearest to the town itself, Meia Praia (beach break). Beginners have several surfing academies to choose from, offering everything from gear rental and group and private lessons, to all-inclusive, surf-oriented holidays. In regards to kite-surfing, Algarve’s honeypot is just east of Lags, in Alvor Lagoon. Regardless of what activities you want to do, there’s a number of tour companies all throughout Lagos where you can book your sessions.  

Get lost in Old Town

Featuring lovely cobblestone streets with different patterns, whitewashed and tiled houses, museums, lovely alleys, picturesque churches, lively squares and a myriad of restaurants, stores, bars and pubs, Lagos’s Old Town is the heart of the city. A few stops to check out include the slave market museum, Mercado Municipal fish market, the monuments, and the shops! Two shops we recommend checking out include Olaria Nova (a gorgeous boutique with unique jewelry, beach attire, and handmade pottery), as well as Mar d’Estorias (a unique shop for authentic souvenirs and a sunny rooftop).

Book an Excursion

Enjoy the gorgeous scenery with some day activities! Popular activities include kayaking in and around the Benagil caves, horseback riding, sunset boat cruises, sailing and more! All of which can be booked once you get to Lagos. If you choose to book tours in advance, be aware that they often cancel at the last minute.

Visit the Monuments

Igreja de Santa Maria de Lagos, Castle of Lagos, and the Forte da Ponta da Bandeira are the three main monuments to checkout, which are all located next to each other. The monuments are impossible to miss while walking from Old Town to the beach. 

Hit the Beaches

We have broken down all the details of the beaches in our full ‘The Beaches of Lagos Travel Guide’, including information on Praia da Batata, Praia dos Estudantes, Praia do Pinhão, Praia de Dona Ana, Praia do Camilo, Ponta da Piedade, Meia Praia, and Praia da Luz. 



The perfect spot for casual bites, craft beer & cocktails, and bohemian vibes – right in the heart of the city center! This chill, outdoor venue is complete with sofas and patio furniture, tapestries, a variety of fruit trees, a BBQ grill, a full bar, amazing service, and a delicious menu. While they are known for their outstanding BBQ, The Garden serves a wide range of global fares such as burgers, fish, meats, and apps, all at an extremely reasonable price. 

This laid-back venue, located in Lagos town center, serves up delicious  tapas, meat dishes, seafood & burgers, plus local wine & cocktails. Between breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and drinks, this is one of our favorite spots!

An upscale eatery with gorgeous views near the marina. You can expect an array of international cuisine that is locally sourced and globally inspired. Expect to be amazed by the different styles of food combined with their selected wines from all over the world.

Cozy cocktail bar known for serving up the best fish & chips in town! You can also expect a regular scene of live music.

Located on the oldest street in Lagos, this barbecue-and-fish joint offers simple, flavor-packed dishes. If you are after dishes such as sea bass, pork ribs, lamb chops and steaks, this is the place for you. To top it off, the dishes are cooked on a grill right in front of you, all by a chef who’s fond of dancing and singing while he cooks. Come prepared – this spot is cash only.

This family-run fish specialist on the cliffs above Praia Camilo is the perfect lunch spot after a morning exploring the Ponta da Piedade headland. The menu focuses on freshly-caught, grilled fish and seafood, while offering breathtaking ocean views. Be sure to book a reservation in advance.

The Green Room

Are you after incredible tacos and cocktails? Look no further! The Green Room is a buzzing Mexican café that provides a festive atmosphere, massive portions, great cocktails, and unbelievable food.

An Australian style restaurant known for its specialty coffee and brunch options. This popular cafe is first come first serve, so be sure to stop by early! But trust us, it is 1000% worth the wait!


Empanadas & Co

Offering every type of empanada under the sun – baked, fried, fish, meat, vegetarian, dessert & more, this is your one stop shop for all of our empanada lovers out there! Pro tip: order them for take away, as they make for the perfect beach snack!

Located at the Tivoli hotel, this seaside restaurant is absolutely stunning! You can expect an open-air dining area with white-washed walls and bougainvillea that looks right out of a greek island. To top it off, this hidden gem offers mouthwatering authentic food and impeccable service.

Drink Spots and Nightlife


Stevie Ray’s

A  grungy live-music joint down the road from the castle and a staple in Lagos’ nightlife. Jazz, blues, rock ‘n’ roll and pop acts appear most evenings of the week, usually taking to the stage at about 11pm and playing into the early hours of the morning. Beers and cocktails are decently priced, so the place fills up quickly on show nights. Arrive before the music starts to get a good standing spot.

Eddie’s Bar

This local dive bar is an absolute gem, located right on the main strip in Old Town. It has the most friendly staff and is the perfect place to start / end an evening out!

Three Monkeys Bar

A budget-friendly, boisterous, late-night joint that’s popular among the backpacking crowd. You can expect a vibrant atmosphere of beer bongs, darts, live sports and pool tables.

Shaker Bar

Simple, cheerful Shaker Bar is another one of the few places in the Old Town that stays open into the early hours (usually 4am), even during the off-season. Try their legendary caipirinha, made with fresh limes. Live music is staged several times a week and there are also a couple of people-watching tables outside, on one of Lagos’s main thoroughfares.

Bon Vivant

Located on the popular nightlife strip, Rua 25 Abril, this is a bar you can’t miss. Popular with locals and tourists alike, it is a great place to have a drink and watch the world go by from its upper windows or terrace. It’s open for afternoon drinks and is still buzzing all the way through to its 4am close.



Personally, we think Lagos is one of the most underrated beach destinations there is. It is a hidden gem (at least among Americans), and has such an authentic & genuine feel to it that is difficult to even explain. It is beautiful, affordable, gorgeous year-round, and offers something for everyone. And for that reason… we hope to retire here one day! Thanks for reading our Lagos Travel Guide! Head over to our destinations page for more! 

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