Lagos, one of the most visited cities in Algarve, called “pearl of Portugal”, is famous for exceptional beaches, unique rock formations, watersports, charming old town, elegant Marina, traditional markets, ocean view restaurants, summer nightlife and parties.
QualityCoast Gold Award received in 2012 and the 450 berth marina, which has both the Euromarina Anchor Award and the Blue Flag award, make Lagos even more known and attractive for tourist all over the globe.
In 2012, travel website TripAdvisor, classified Lagos as the number 1 travel destination, on a list of "15 destinations on the rise" worldwide.
Cittaslow (an organization, which goals include improving the quality of life in towns by slowing down its overall pace) is part of a trend known as the slow movement included Lagos in list of “slow cities”.
"Ancient Portuguese window to the world" with more than 2000 years of history, known as Lacobriga in the past, by the 15th century Lagos became the centre of Portuguese maritime exploration. Lagos was the first step in opening the Muslim world to medieval Europe, which led to Portuguese Age of Discovery. Lagos was frequent home of Henry the Navigator, who established first sailing school in this region (and in fact never sailed himself) and regarded as a patron of Portuguese exploration, when Portugal became one of the largest country, stretching from Brazil to China. In 1498, student of this school, Vasco da Gama became the first European sailor to reach India by sea.
Since 1444, when the first slave market in Europe appeared in Lagos, this town became a centre of the European slave trade for about 250 years and is a reminder that the Age of Discovery had a human cost.
Lagos was a prosperous capital of the Algarve from 1576 to 1755, until it was destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami of 1755. Although some walls from the 16th century still remain, as well as the governor's castle, many of the buildings are from the 17th century with Portuguese pavement in lovely patterns on its streets.
Lagos is surround by a beautiful coastline with 9 diverse beaches, from long sandy bays to ochre-coloured cliffs.
The Meia Praia is the largest beach of Lagos (5 km), and is probably the beach where most tourists spend the majority of their time, with waves suitable for beginners kitesurfing, body boarding, Jet ski, Parasailing, Fly board. Meia Praia translated means “Half Beach” and is named so, as the Odiáxere River divides the beach into two. The other side of the beach is called the Praia do Alvor Meia.
Batata beach is the closest to central Lagos with calm waters and suitable for families. Batata beach is where many of the kayak tours depart from.
The Praia dona Ana beach is one of the most stunning beaches of the coastline. It has covered many of the submerged rocks that were fun to snorkel and swim.
The Praia de Porto de Mós beach is another large sandy beach surrounded by cliffs suitable for different watersports as surfing, wake boarding, windsurfing.
The Praia do Camilo is another idyllic beach set amidst the sandstone cliffs. It famous for its golden sands and calm crystal clear waters and is a perfect place for paddle boarding and kayaking.
At the end of the golden coast line, there’s a lighthouse called Ponta da Piedade, the “mercy point”. So-called because, according to legend, when the men were departing from here, to the unknown, their women would remain on the cliffs, crying for them. Cliffs walk at Ponta da Piedade is one of the most popular attraction in Lagos.
"The sea dictates the table while the almond tree dictates the dessert". One of the biggest temptations, the traditional desserts/sweets of the Algarve came up with the idea of the “Arte Doce” festival that took place, for the first time, in 1986 in Lagos. Lagos has several own specialties like poached mackerel, goose barnacles, deep-fried squid, pork with clams and sardines.
Every Saturday the local farmers come with produce for the Lagos Farmers market. Everything here is fresh, local, cheap and take you back to a time when life was less complicated.
Most of Lagos restaurants are sought after, with the traditional atmosphere and incredible ocean views.
Here are a few restaurant suggestions for you to try:
Restaurante Adega da Marina
This restaurant is located near the Lagos marina and serves traditional Portuguese dishes such as seafood rice and grilled fish. They also have a good selection of wine.
This restaurant is located in the heart of Lagos and serves a variety of Portuguese dishes, including seafood, meat, and vegetarian options. They also have a great selection of wine and a cozy atmosphere.
Casinha do Petisco
This is a great spot for a casual meal or snack. They serve a variety of petiscos (small plates) such as grilled sardines, octopus salad, and fried shrimp. The atmosphere is relaxed and the prices are reasonable.
This restaurant is located on a cliff overlooking Praia do Camilo and serves seafood dishes such as grilled fish, seafood rice, and octopus salad. The view is stunning and the food is delicious.
Restaurante Vila Lisa
This restaurant is located in the countryside just outside Lagos and serves traditional Portuguese dishes with a modern twist. They have a great wine list and a beautiful outdoor terrace.
This restaurant is located near the Lagos marina and offers a mix of Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. They have a varied menu with options such as pasta, seafood, and meat dishes. Their outdoor terrace has a great view of the marina, making it a perfect spot for a romantic dinner or a night out with friends
Surrounded by 16th century walls with churches, you might be thinking that Lagos nightlife is quiet. Lagos used to be the core of the night life for the whole of the Algarve, where you can find yourself dancing on the table, stretching your vocal cords and trying infamous 9 deadly sins shot challenge. More and more young people from all over the World are searching out Lagos. There is a night life to suit all tastes: small bars; night clubs and pubs; discos with local and international dj’s; live music; beach festivals.
As a great family destination, Lagos can offer variety of family-friendly activities and fun things to do, such as Lagos Zoo and Live Science Museum, bicycle tours, horse riding, dolphin watching, kayak, Grotto trips. Just simple ritual of eating an ice cream in the old town, drinking “Galão”with “Pastel de Nata” while listening street music and then heading down to the Marina to walk along the river. Plenty of entertainment for families and kids at some of the hotels, and you’ll be welcome whether you’re staying there or not.