Located in the Algarve region in Portugal, Lagos is one of the most beautiful places to visit while traveling to Portugal! With charming alleys, tons of history, and gorgeous beaches, you may find yourself never wanting to leave this beach city. In this Portugal travel guide, I will be sharing some of the best things to do in Lagos that you won’t want to miss!
Additionally, I will share Lagos travel tips and link other helpful Portugal guides for planning your ultimate vacation! Lastly, you will find a free map at the bottom with all these attractions for you to use later.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission at no cost to you. Disclosure.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Best Things to Do in Lagos Portugal
- 1. Explore Old Town Lagos
- 2. Visit Beach Estudantes (Praia dos Estudantes)
- 3. See Lagos from the Water
- 4. Relax at Praia do Camilo
- 5. View Igreja de Santo António & Muse de Lagos (Most visited Church in Lagos)
- 6. See the Forte da Ponta da Bandeira
- 7. Walk to the Front of Castelo de Lagos
- 8. Walk Out To Cais da Solaria
- 9. Walk Along the Lagos Waterfront and Marina
- 10. Check Out Igreja de Santa Maria de Lagos
- 11. Visit Mercado de Escravos – Núcleo Museológico Rota da Escravatura (Slave Trade Museum)
- 12. Hike to Ponta da Piedade for Sunset
- 13. Lagos Beaches
- 14. Day Trip to Benagil Cave
- 15. Relax on Praia da Marinha
- 16. Seven Hanging Valleys Trail
- 17. See the Sunset at Sagres
- 18. Bonus: Lagos Guided Tours
- When to Visit Lagos
- How to Get to Lagos
- Where to Stay in Lagos
- Best Things to Do in Lagos Wrap-up
Best Things to Do in Lagos Portugal
1. Explore Old Town Lagos
One of the best things you can do in Lagos is to explore the Old Town. This charming area is filled with shopping, restaurants, and picturesque squares. Walk down the cobblestone streets and browse through the shops. We found they had pretty good prices compared to other areas in Portugal.
You will also find street art throughout the Old Town, which is like an adventure within itself. Moreover, we always enjoy listening to people playing music in Praca Gil Eanes, and a great place to soak in the Old Town is at Praça Luís de Camões.
2. Visit Beach Estudantes (Praia dos Estudantes)
One of the most unique beaches to visit in Lagos is, by far, Estudantes Beach. This unique beach has caught the eyes of many since this is where you can see the ruins of the Pinhao Fort Bridge built by the Romans.
There is also a restaurant at the top if you get hungry or want a drink!
Lagos Travel Tip: This beach has a very small paid parking lot. Make sure to get here early to secure a spot and pay the meter. Learn more Portugal Travel Tips here.
Address: Praia dos Estudantes, Av. dos Descobrimentos, 8600-465 Lagos, Portugal
3. See Lagos from the Water
Known for its dramatic cliffs, you can’t visit Lagos without seeing it from an ocean viewpoint. Whether that be from a Kayak tour or a boat tour, I highly recommend doing it! We chose to view the hidden grottos and sea cliffs from a Lagos boat tour, and I am very glad we did.
The coastline is so vast that doing a kayak tour could be a challenge for some, and during our visit, there were a couple of areas where the water was rough. However, with ample time, I wouldn’t mind kayaking a smaller area in Lagos, since we love kayaking in general! You can also experience Dolphin cruises and even catamaran experiences.
4. Relax at Praia do Camilo
One of my all-time favorite beaches in all of Portugal is Praia do Camilo, and it is indeed one of the best things to do in Lagos! I must warn you getting down to the beach requires a couple of flights of stairs (around 200), but the seacliffs and water are so beautiful here.
Parking is also currently free, and the lot is much larger! There is also a restaurant at the top of this beach. Additionally, the sunset here is pretty nice!
Address: Estr. da Ponta da Piedade, 8600-544 Lagos, Portugal
5. View Igreja de Santo António & Muse de Lagos (Most visited Church in Lagos)
If you love churches, you should make sure to add Igreja de Santo António to your list of things to do in Lagos. This stunning church was built in 1707 and covered in elaborate gold details.
A small museum is attached with a €3 entry, and it is also worth a view to learn more about Lagos’ rich past. Unfortunately for us, we visited on a Monday, and both were closed, so keep that into account when visiting.
Lagos Travel Tip: Many attractions are closed on Monday, including this church.
Address: R. Gen. Alberto da Silveira 1, 8600-594 Lagos, Portugal
6. See the Forte da Ponta da Bandeira
Located right on the waterfront, you also can’t miss the Forte da Ponta da Bandeira when visiting Lagos. This military fortress was built in the 17th century and was primarily used to defend the quay. It was actually considered one of the most advanced fortresses in the Algarve.
It is just €2 to go inside, but it is almost better to see the fort from the water. However, at such a low cost, feel free to explore the inside!
7. Walk to the Front of Castelo de Lagos
No trip to Lagos would be complete without seeing the Lagos Castle (Castelo de Lagos). For the best view, head to the front of the castle walls. It can be seen from the Jardim da Constituicao.
While not as large as many of the other Portugal Castles, this medieval fortress played a vital defense role in protecting the old city, which was enclosed within the walls. It was built by the Moors in the 14th Century and is free to view and walk around.
8. Walk Out To Cais da Solaria
Another nice place to visit in Lagos is the viewpoint down Cais da Solaria. This walkway/pier is located right next to Praia do Cais da Solária, and offers a path that goes out into the water.
You will also find a lot of boat and kayak rentals around this area.
9. Walk Along the Lagos Waterfront and Marina
If you’re looking for a break from the hills around Lagos, you can enjoy a nice walk along the Lagos Marina. The marina is located in Ribeira de Bensafrim and offers pop-up shopping stalls on either side. You can enjoy this walk right into the Old Town or nearby beaches.
10. Check Out Igreja de Santa Maria de Lagos
A less popular but free church to check out in Lagos is the Santa Maria de Lagos. The original church was built in the 15th century, however, the 1755 Earthquake destroyed it. The church was then rebuilt in the 19th century.
The Santa Maria church is located in Praca Infante Dom Henrique and right next to the Lagos Castle entrance.
11. Visit Mercado de Escravos – Núcleo Museológico Rota da Escravatura (Slave Trade Museum)
Most countries are not proud of some of their past, and Portugal is no different. It is believed that it was in Lagos the first slave trading market opened, and Portugal also played a huge role in the slave trade.
Now, you can learn more about some of Portugal’s unfavorable past at Mercado de Escravos – Núcleo Museológico Rota da Escravatura. This is a small museum that is dedicated to this history.
Address: R. da Sra. da Graça 26, 8600-315 Lagos, Portugal
12. Hike to Ponta da Piedade for Sunset
One of the most scenic viewpoints in Lagos is definitely Ponta da Piedade. From here, you can enjoy dramatic cliff views as you make your way down the boardwalk. It is lovely visiting this viewpoint at any time of the day, but by far, my favorite time to visit is during sunset.
You will also find others enjoying the view with drinks and picnics. Just make sure to get here a little before sunset, as it takes at least 10 minutes to walk out. You can even walk from the parking lot area of Praia do Camilo. You can even visit the Farol da Ponta da Piedade Lagos (lighthouse) while visiting.
13. Lagos Beaches
I’ve mentioned two of my favorite Lagos beaches above, but that is not to say Lagos has some other incredible beaches. Not all beaches require you to climb up and down the cliffs, either.
Some easily accessible beaches include Praia do Cais da Solária, Praia da Batata, and Praia de Porto Mós.
Other lovely beaches include Praia do Pinhão and Praia Dona Ana.
Lagos Travel Tip: Keep in mind the water is almost always cold, even in the heat of the summer!
14. Day Trip to Benagil Cave
The most famous Algarve in Portugal is the Benagil Cave, and it is easily one of the best things to do in Lagos. You have certainly seen this famous cave all over the internet, but it is even more impressive in person!
The Benagil Cave is located outside the city center of Lagos, and it is best reached by car. Just a couple of months ago, we were able to kayak right up to the beach inside and walk around. However, in September 2023, they temporarily closed the beach off to kayakers. It has been closed off to boaters for quite some time.
You can still see inside the cave and other caves by kayak, so I still recommend going on a guided tour. The coast is absolutely beautiful, and you will be able to see what has been coined the most beautiful beach in Portugal from the water: Praia da Marinha.
For a kayak tour, I can highly recommend Benagil: Benagil Caves Kayaking Experience. Our guide was Jack, and he was fantastic.
15. Relax on Praia da Marinha
After you enjoy kayaking around the Benagil Cave and grottos, make your way over to relax on what is considered the most beautiful beach, Praia da Marinha. Due to its popularity, finding parking can be difficult, so just be patient.
This beach also requires you to climb down to the beach, but it has some of the clearest water!
It takes about 30 minutes to get here by car from the Lagos city center. If you didn’t rent a car, hiring an Uber or cab is your next best bet.
16. Seven Hanging Valleys Trail
If you’re the kind of person who has no patience to just relax on the beach, consider hiking the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail instead! This wildly popular trail starts at Praia da Marinha and ends in Praia do Vale de Centeanes.
The hike goes along these beach cliffs and has some of the best views. The trail is about 7.4 miles out and back, and it takes around 6 hours to complete. Make sure to stay hydrated, especially in the summer months!
17. See the Sunset at Sagres
Technically, Sagres is not Lagos, but it makes for the perfect day trip, especially if you’re a sunset lover. It is the Southernmost part of Portugal and faces the west with no cliff obstructions, making it one of the best places to see the sunset from Portugal.
All the locals agree you can experience some of the best summer sunsets when visiting! Some even nickname it the end of the world. While in Sagres, you can also visit the Sagres Fortress and Cabo de Sao Vicente.
18. Bonus: Lagos Guided Tours
If you’re the type of person who likes to do more group activities, there are additional fun things to do in Lagos you might enjoy! Some of these top experiences include:
- From Lagos: Small-Group 4-Hour Wine Tasting Tour
- 1-Hour Carrapateira Horseback Riding Tour
- Algarve: Jeep Safari with Distillery Visit & Lunch
- Algarve: Seville Full-Day Shopping and Sightseeing Tour
When to Visit Lagos
Now that you know some of the best things to do in Lagos, you may be wondering when the best times to visit are.
By far, the most popular time to visit Lagos is during the summer months. This is when Lagos sees the largest crowds and highest prices. If you don’t mind crowds, this is a great time to go for beach weather.
My favorite time to visit Lagos is in the shoulder months. You can experience beach weather in May, September, and even October. Additionally, if you are looking for a warm-weather escape during the winter, Lagos is a great option. The prices are also better during the winter months.
How to Get to Lagos
With Portugal’s extensive public transport, getting to Lagos is relatively easy. I would argue visiting Lagos is best done by renting a car. However, there are many who travel to Portugal by using just public transportation – which is completely fine as well!
You will most likely fly into the Lisbon International Airport. From Lisbon, Lagos is about 3 hours by car or a little over 4 hours by train. The train station is centrally located in Lagos, but there is no direct train to Lagos, so you will have to transfer at Tunes. You will take the train from Lisboa – Santa Apolónia station to Lagos (Lagoa), and it costs around €22-30. Find train tickets here.
Portugal Travel Tip: If you plan on taking the train, it is best to book in advance as there is no set price.
You can also fly into the Faro Airport, which is the capital of the Algarve region. They are even looking to have more direct flights from the USA next year. It is about a 1-hour drive or a 1.5 hour train ride. Additionally, you can consider taking Flixbus.
To find the best flight prices, check Skyscanner!
Where to Stay in Lagos
Whether you’re staying 3 days in Lagos, or a whole week, I’ve done the research on some of the best places to stay for visiting!
Hotel Marina Rio: This hotel overlooks the city marina and is approximately a 10-minute walk to the city center. They have good reviews, and the rooms look nice.
Vila Gale Lagos: Highly rated – especially for families and by the seaside.
Lagos Atlantic Hotel: Lovely grounds and updated rooms and located on the beach.
The Salty Lodge: If you didn’t rent a car, this hotel is located right in the city center.
Tivoli Lagos: A lot of other travel bloggers recommended this hotel, so we stayed here, and I would NOT recommend it. We booked a standard room, and, in my opinion, it felt like a 2-star hotel with 4-star prices. I’ve heard the upgraded rooms are nicer, if you did want a parking lot, which they have.
Best Things to Do in Lagos Wrap-up
As you can see, there are tons of fun things to do in Lagos! I hope this Lagos guide has you excited to visit this part of the Algarve and the rest of Portugal.
Do you have any questions about these things to do in Lagos or feel like I missed something? Just let me know in the comments or via DM/email, and I will be happy to help!
You can save and share this map to use for later! The top left is the legend.