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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
Things To Do
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
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!