One Perfect Day: Top Things to do in Lagos, Portugal

It’s not hard to have a perfect day in Lagos, Portugal. With an average of over 300 sunny days per year, breathtaking beaches, and a historic old town, Lagos quickly won my heart.

Lagos is located in the Algarve region in the southernmost part of Portugal. It’s dramatic coastline and laid-back atmosphere make it a popular holiday destination in the region.

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Perfect day in Lagos Portugal

Here’s what you should see and do to have the perfect day in Lagos!

Top things to do in Lagos Portugal

Whether you’re visiting as part of a longer Portugal Itinerary or only passing through for a few days, be sure to spend at least one day in Lagos, Portugal.

It’s easy for travelers to gravitate towards the bigger, more well-known cities like Lisbon and Porto. While these cities are worth visiting, this hidden gem in the Algarve has a relaxed vibe and opportunities for outdoor adventures.

Visit the Old Fort

The Forte da Ponta da Bandeira was built about 300 years ago to protect the Lagos harbor and town. Now, it holds a chapel and maritime museum and can be visited by guests for about one euro.

It’s located on the water beside one of the popular beaches, so it’s worth a quick visit if you’re interested in maritime history.

Best beaches lagos portugal

Walk the Beaches and Cliffs

Without a doubt, one of the most impressive things to see in Lagos is the coastline. You can walk for miles among the sea and cliffs, discovering one secluded beach after the next.

Starting at the old town and heading away from the marina, these are the beaches you’ll see:

  • Praia de Batata
  • Praia dos Estudantes
  • The Lagos Roman Bridge
  • Praia do Pinhao
  • Praia Dona Ana

If the weather is warm, which it usually is, you’ll see sunbathers at each of these beaches. I’d recommend walking along the cliff trails to each one before deciding where to set up for the day.

You can’t miss the Lagos Roman Bridge

While exploring the coastline, make sure to take a detour to the Lagos Roman Bridge. It’s located between Praia dos Estudantes and Praia do Pinhao.

At low tide, walk down to Praia dos Estudantes. On the right side of the beach, you’ll see a tunnel that’s been dug through the cliff.

You can walk through this tunnel and onto a second hidden beach with a view of the Lagos Roman Bridge.

Perfect day in lagos portugal - roman bridge

Rent kayak or paddleboard to explore the caves

Water sports are a way to see the coastline from a different perspective. It’s also the only way to access some of the caves and coves nestled between the cliffs around Lagos.

At Praia de Batata, you’ll be able to find kayaks, stand up paddleboards, and other beach gear to rent for the day. You can also book organized tours online in advance. 

Take a boat tour

A boat tour will allow you to see even more of the coastline and caves. Especially if you only have a short amount of time in Lagos, consider booking an afternoon on a Catamaran or a Sunset Cruise to see as much as possible.

Top Places to Eat

Coffee and Breakfast at Pastelaria Gomba

I’ve tried my share of Pastels de Natas while in Portugal and this spot had one of my favorites. They also have nice coffees, so I’d recommend starting your day in Lagos right here at Pastelaria Gomba, a family-style bakery in the heart of old town.

Must-Try: No trip to Portugal would be complete without trying a famous Pastel De Nata. And when in Lagos, Portugal, You must try a Pastel De Nata from Pastelaria Gomba.

Brunch or Lunch Goji Lounge Cafe

When lunchtime rolls around (or brunch if you prefer to sleep in), head to the old town for a healthy meal at Goji Lounge Cafe.

Goji Lounge Cafe is veggie-friendly with colorful, inspired food offerings that would put the trendiest brunch place to shame. There is usually a wait but it’s worth it.

Dinner at Casa do Prego

For dinner, you can’t go wrong with Casa do Prego. This low-key dinner restaurant is also in the old town and was one of our top meals on our trip to Portugal. With traditional Portuguese food and international offerings, this is a dinner spot you want to prioritize.

Old Town Things to do Lagos Portugal

Hotels in Lagos Portugal

The price of accommodation in Lagos is generally quite affordable. Especially if you’re traveling outside of peak season, you’ll be able to find deals on attractive properties close to the things you want to see.

Budget Option: Mo House Center Guest House

If you’re traveling on a budget, check out the Mo House Center Guesthouse. This inexpensive option is ideal if you’re traveling with a friend or partner since you’ll pay per 2-person room. According to reviews, the unit is cute, clean, affordable, and centrally located. It’s a good choice if you need to stick to a budget and have privacy.

High-End Option: Hotel Marina Rio

If you’re traveling on a mid-range to high budget, look at the Hotel Marina Rio. This highly-rated hotel is located on the waterfront just a 10-minute walk from the city center. Guests love the rooftop pool and sun terrace with sweeping marina views.

Day trips from Lagos, Portugal

If you have more time to explore Lagos and the surrounding areas, consider taking a day trip neighboring Sagres. Sagres is more rugged and rural than Lagos but it’s home to famous look-out points and world-class surf.

Sagres is about a 30-40 minute drive from Lagos if you’re driving yourself or a bit longer if you’re taking the bus.

Once you get to Sagres, check out the Cabo de Sao Vicente. This is the westernmost tip of continental Europe and you can see cliffs and a lighthouse. You should also stop by the Sagres Fort for panoramic ocean views.

Best Time to Visit Lagos, Portugal

With a warm and sunny climate most of the year, there isn’t a bad time to visit Portugal. Portugal is a popular getaway when the weather turns chilly elsewhere. Summers are hot and winters are milder. Temperatures rarely drop below freezing in Lagos.

If you want to beat the crowds, avoid going during high season which runs from July-August.

We experienced Lagos in October and the days were warm enough for teeshirts and beach attire. The evenings were chillier so we made sure to carry light jackets.

Lagos Portugal

5 Fun Facts about Lagos, Portugal

  1. The Algarve region of Portugal is home to 8 Michelin star restaurants as of 2019. Foodie travelers, get excited! 
  2. The roads on old town Lagos are paved in an intricate mosaic of limestone and basalt. They are so shiny and smooth they practically twinkle in the sunlight
  3. Praia Dona Ana was ranked #21 Worlds Best Beaches by Flight Network in 2018! 
  4. There’s a popular spirit in the Algarve region called Aguardente de Medronhos. If you choose to drink, give this strong local favorite a taste while you’re in town.
  5. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to try Queijo or local Portuguese cheese. This cheese is strong, soft, and fresh as can be. Try it with bread, fruit, or a splash of olive oil and prepare to be amazed.

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One Perfect Day: Top Things to do in Lagos, Portugal

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