Lagos is one of the best places to visit in Portugal and all over Europe.
If you love spending time on the beach, or enjoy waters sports activities, love climbing and learning more about the history – you can find all of it in Lagos.
In this travel guide, I will tell you what to do in Lagos in summer and winter, especially if you come here just for a weekend.
How to get to Lagos
Lagos is a small town but a very popular resort. So, in the summertime, it gets several times more populated than in winter.
However, there are also lots of activities in Lagos for the winter time.
The town doesn’t have its own airport, but there is a couple of other airports nearby. The largest one in the neighborhood is in Faro.
It takes about two hours by bus or train or less than 1,5 hours by car to get to Lagos from this airport. You can check all public transportation options on GoEuro (you might need to change the language when you open this link)
Where to stay in Lagos
Lagos has many accommodation options and it is not hard to get lost in this variety.
One option is finding an apartment on Airbnb (get 23 euro off your first booking). It provides a more 'local' experience, but you'll need to take care of everything on your own (buying and cooking food, looking for outside tours, guides and so on).
A hostel can be also a good idea for your stay in Lagos. First time in Lagos I stayed in Orange 3 Hostel. It is very close to the old town and has an amazing garden. When I stayed, there we made dinner altogether and sit in the backyard with wine and pasta.
But you know, it is a hostel, so we needed to share a room with about 15 other people. It's ok for backpackers, but most people wouldn't agree on such conditions. If it's ok for you, you can look for the best hostel in Lagos here.
However, for such resorts as Lagos, I prefer staying in a spacious hotel room to enjoy the service and not to worry about anything, just enjoy my weekend in Portugal.
I did so on my trip to Lagos in November. I stayed in a great hotel called Marina Club Lagos Resort. This large hotel looked so cozy when we were just some of the few guests there.
We felt a very personalized approach and it seemed like they made that delicious breakfast just for us. While having a breakfast, we were sitting in the restaurant next to the picturesque wharf enjoying the tranquility of the low season. You can learn more about this hotel here.
Or check other hotels available in the city.
Best Time to Visit Lagos
Most of the people visit resorts like Lagos in the summertime. It is a great place for summer vacations.
But I don't do so...
Summer is a nice season anywhere in Europe, so I prefer being in Germany, Poland or Belarus for summer, and visit warm southern resorts during the low season. When it's about 0 degrees in northern Europe, you will enjoy 20 degrees in the south much more than 30 degrees in summer.
Some more benefits to it: if you like isolated beaches, you should go to South Portugal not in summer, but in autumn or spring. Then you have time and space just for yourself. Moreover, the prices are also lower! For both hotels and flights. Sometimes even two-three times lower.
Why not come for a weekend to Lagos just to enjoy some sun in the middle of Autumn?
Best Places to Visit in Lagos
Lagos has a lot of places to visit, both natural and architectural. Below you can find a list of the best attractions in the city and nearby.
Cliffs and Beaches
Most of the Lagos travel guides name solely such points of interest, although they can be visited in just one 2-hour walk if you want to. The views are truly amazing, and they are the main reason why people visit Lagos (but there are lots of other interesting attractions in the city).
You can find lots of surreal pictures on Instagram made in Lagos.
You should definitely visit Ponta de Piedade cliff, all small beaches on the way to it from the city of Lagos, and some larger ones like Praia de Porto de Mos and Praia Canavial.
To stay safe while climbing, order a climbing experience with an instructor.
Of course, if you like beach vacations, you can just spend the whole weekend on various beaches of Faro. I'm not a fan of such lazy trips. If you also like trying new amazing activities while you travel, you can find them in the next section after places to visit in Lagos.
But if you spend a weekend in Lagos in autumn, you should expect that one of the days the weather might be a bit too cold and the sky gloomy.
Out of 4 days I spent in Lagos in November, one was like that. But I wasn't feeling bored, as the city has many activities for bad weather.
One of the places to visit in Lagos when it's raining is the museum of slavery (Mercado de Escravos). It is a relatively small museum, but it tells about the history of slavery and how it looked like in Algarve.
The museum is very small but worth visiting anyway. Especially when the price is just 4 euros for adults and 2 for students.
Address: Praca do Infante Dom Henrique
Another small museum that you might want to visit on a rainy day is Museu de Cera dos Descobrimentos which is an unusual wax figure museum with important figures from the times of the era of Great Geographical Discoveries.
- Entrance fee: 6 euro - full price, 4 euro - discounted price
- Address: Urbanização Marina da Lagos - Edifício Astrolábio, Lote 24, Loja 3
One more museum with visiting in Lagos is Museu Municipal Dr. José Formosinho. A unique feature of it is that it is a local history museum based on archeological discoveries located in a baroque cathedral.
- Entrance fee: 3 euro
- Address: Rua General Alberto da Silveira
Fort of Lagos
I don't want to mention the old town of Lagos as it is an obvious stop even if you come to the city just for a coffee. It is nice and charming.
An attraction of Lagos worth mentioning is the city fort located just next to the old town walls. As all museums of Lagos, it is paid but extremely cheap, just 1,5 euro.
Hundreds of years ago, the fort was used to defend the city from any possible invaders. Now, it is a nice decoration of the city.
Wharf of Lagos
Whether you booked a boat tour or just want to chill near the water watching luxurious yachts, go to the wharf of Lagos (Marina de Lagos).
You can find numerous hotels, restaurants, bars and tour companies there.
One of the best places to visit in Lagos for families is the local zoo. There are over 350 species of animals and plants represented there.
The tickets are also not very expensive. You can buy them here.
As in any Portuguese (and I'd say, European) town, there are several nice churches you can visit in Lagos. Here they are Igreja de Sao Sebastiao, Igreja de Santa Maria de Lagos, and Igreja de Santo Antonio.
No need to spend half an hour there, order tours or anything. Just lurk in for a couple of minutes when not far from them. Worth a visit.
Unusual Things to Do in Lagos
I don't like visiting typical attractions and do things that most tourists do. That is why I researched a dozen different websites to find some local or less known places to visit and things to do in Lagos.
And I found some!
Here they are:
- Main Market (Mercado Municipal de Lagos) - the main market of the city with a wide variety of different products, but mainly selling fish. It is open every day until about 11 am. If watching a sunrise is not a good enough reason to wake up early, at least this should be 😉
- Local Farmers Market - on Sundays until the noon, there is a local farmers market in the building of Lagos bus station. A great place to buy some fresh fruit and get more local (as the market is mainly made for locals, not tourists).
- Casa Mae - this is a unique guest house created on the principle of sustainability. They use fruit and vegetables from their own garden, have a fresh water well, a market with products of Portuguese artisans from all around Portugal and much more. You don't have to stay there to visit it. You can just pop in for a coffee on a terrace or to buy a local souvenir.
- Tapas in Arc de Velha - to try some local tapas (snacks or small samples of complete dishes), go to Arc de Velha in the old town. It is a great place for a unique cultural (and food) experience.
- Mar d'Estorias - my absolutely favorite indoor place to visit in Lagos. This is a three-story shop with products, souvenirs, and books telling the history of the region of Algarve and whole Portugal. They also have a cafeteria and some sofas to read their books or to find the next place to visit in this amazing country 😉
Alright, it was a list of places to visit in Lagos.
To have a more active vacation spending more time outside, check amazing activities listed below:
Here is a list of best activities to try in Lagos with links to pages, where you can find description and book your session:
- Sunset Boat Tour
- Climbing Course
- Kayak Cave Explorer Tour
- Paddleboarding Lesson
- Stand-up Paddle Board Rental
- Electric Bike Rental
- Surfing Lesson
- Classic Food Tour
- 15000-feet Skydive Experience
If you try at least three of them, you'll have the most incredible experience from all the trips you've ever had! I assure you.
One-day Trips from Lagos
People visiting Lagos, usually visit some nearby towns and cities to explore Algarve better.
I won't mention the coastline with numerous amazing beaches, as the whole southern coast of Portugal is amazing. You just need to rent a car to visit all the beautiful hidden spots.
This small town is located on the very south-west corner of Portugal. Come here for amazing views and definitely stay until the sunset sipping the beer of the eponymous brand name.
You can book a tour around the Western coast of Algarve including Sagres here.
If you like hiking, definitely visit Monchique. This town is lost in the mountains with lots of great spots to have a view of all Algarve. Book a half-day tour to Monchique here.
Even if you don't fly to Faro, you should visit this town, as it is the capital of Algarve and the largest town in the region. It also has a university making the nightlife more vibrant and diverse.
A convenient way to explore Faro is by booking a 90-minute Segway tour.
The old capital of Algarve which is less popular among tourists which makes it more authentic. You'll get bored if you spend there more than one day, but in my opinion, it is the best place in Algarve to have an authentic 'local' experience.
Worth visiting is the cathedral, old Roman bridge, and the large castle on the hill.
Book a 3-in-1 full-day tour to Silves, Caldas, and Monchique here.
It was my weekend guide to Lagos and the surrounding area. I wish you to have a great trip to Algarve!