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The Best Lagos Travel Guide for Visiting Portugal in 2024

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During the two months I lived in Portugal back in 2023, I had the opportunity to visit Lagos—one of the most beautiful cities in the Algarve. Although I love a good solo trip, my visit to Lagos was anything but solo. Did someone say girls trip? We rented a car, drove the 180 miles from Lisbon to Lagos, and got ready to party it up in one of the most beautiful places in Portugal. Don’t worry—I recorded everything for my Lagos travel guide. 

Whether you’re planning a solo adventure or an ass-kicking girls trip, this guide is your checklist to making the most out of your trip to Lagos. From the sun-kissed beaches to the bustling nightlife and everything in between, I’m thrilled to share the secrets and travel tips that made my stay in Lagos truly magical. Join me (and my girls) as we explore the best of Lagos and ensure your visit is as fabulous and memorable as mine was!

Protect Your Trip to Lagos

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The Lazy Girl’s Lagos Travel Guide




  • Book a sea kayaking excursion 🛶
  • Explore the world-famous Benagil Caves 👀
  • Taste the local flavors on a food tour 🍤
  • Go surfing on some of Portugal’s best beaches 🏄‍♀️
  • Spot some dolphins (if you’re lucky) 🐬
  • Sample the local nightlife scene 🍸
  • Book a spot on a party boat! Or relax on a catamaran coastal cruise 🛥️
  • Explore Old Town Lagos and shop for local souvenirs 🛍️
  • Watch the sunset from Ponta da Piedade 🌅
  • Pay your respects at the Slave Market Museum
  • Eat your fill of fresh seafood at the best restaurants in Lagos 🦑

Things to do in Lagos

A trip to Lagos is guaranteed to offer a blend of adventure, charm, and leisure—making it an essential destination for any Portugal travel itinerary. The diversity of experiences to enjoy in Lagos means it’s the perfect vacation for any and all types of travelers.

Take us for example. We wanted a blend of all of the above, so we relaxed on the beaches, sea kayaked through caves and rock formations, and wandered around the old city. Leisure, adventure, and charm—it’s really that simple. Regardless of your travel style, in this Lagos guide we’ll uncover the top things to do in Lagos that will make your trip truly unforgettable.

Book a Sea Kayaking Tour

If you book one excursion during your time in Lagos, I urge you to book this one. Sea kayaking down the coast of Lagos, swimming in the clear blue waters, and observing the unique rock formations around every corner is an unparalleled experience and one you won’t soon forget after you leave. 

We booked a sea kayaking excursion to the famous Benagil Cave (next on the list), but there are plenty of other kayaking day trips available on tour sites like Viator and TripAdvisor. It’s a great way to get out on the ocean, take in the views, and stay cool in the legendary Algarve heat—just don’t forget your reef-safe sunscreen. 

Did you know that sea kayaking is also one of the most exciting activities to do in Lisbon? Although if you’re only going to kayak once, I recommend saving it for Lagos. Those rock formations are truly a sight to behold. 

👉🏼 Click here to book your sea kayaking adventure in Lagos!

My friend in the front of an orange, two-person kayak, kayaking her way through the caves of Lagos.
My friend Haleigh showing off her mad kayaking skills.
A drone shot of our sea kayaking tour group waving on the beach with our orange and red kayaks in front of us.
Our tour group taking a swim break on a private mini beach.

Explore the Famous Benagil Cave

Even if you didn’t know the name, you probably recognize Benagil Cave from countless Instagram posts, TikTok videos, and Pinterest pins all over the internet. There’s a reason it’s popular—because it’s so damn beautiful. 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s touristy. You see all these gorgeous pictures of the cave without a soul in sight, but let’s be honest—that photographer is just really good at photoshop. There are always a million people touring it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a visit. 

Tours to the Benagil Cave are usually half-day or full-day trips, which means there’s a lot more on the itinerary than just one cave. You’ll stop in, marvel at its beauty, take a couple quick pics, go for a dip, and you’ll be on your way to equally beautiful and less-populated stops. As long as you know what to expect, I highly recommend adding a visit to Benagil Cave to your Lagos travel guide. 

Me and my three friends smiling at the Benagil Cave—a must-add to your Lagos travel guide.
The girls trip having a blast!
Views of the Benagil Cave in Lagos.

Tour the Slave Market (Mercado de Escravos)

Another must on my Lagos travel guide is a visit to the Slave Market Museum or the Mercado de Escravos. This museum serves as a powerful reminder of Portugal’s dark history and participation in the slave trade. The building itself was Europe’s first slave market and was once used to auction off enslaved people as early as 1444. While it’s now been converted into a museum, it still holds the weight of its past. 

Inside, you’ll find exhibits detailing the transatlantic slave trade and its impact on Africa, Portugal, and beyond. It’s a somber, but important, stop to make while in Lagos. The museum also offers guided tours for a deeper understanding of the history and context behind each exhibit. 

Wander Around Old Town Lagos

During your trip to Lagos, you’d be remiss not to factor in some time to wander the cobbled streets, explore the city center, and get to know Old Town Lagos. It’s also the perfect time to shop for traditional Portuguese souvenirs and mementos to bring home with you.

While wandering the streets of Lagos, we stumbled upon an adorable art gallery called Atelier Galeria Corine Thinon. A local artist from Lagos, Corine paints beautiful pieces depicting the towns of Portugal. She offers a nice variety of large pieces (that would most likely need to be shipped home for international visitors) and smaller, easily packable canvases for a reasonable price. (I love exploring artwork by local artists in a new destination. I actually stumbled upon one of my all-time favorite galleries in Vietnam—the Precious Heritage Museum in charming Hoi An.)

Of course, no stroll through downtown Lagos would be complete without stopping at one of the many quaint restaurants tucked away in nooks and crannies. Cool off in the shade with a refreshing glass of vinho verde and a view of the sea 🙌🏼

An aerial shot of the Old Town Lagos skyline at dusk.

Tour the Town Walls and the Castle of Lagos

Another quick stop (and photo op) on your Lagos itinerary is the city walls (the muralhas de Lagos) and the Castle of Lagos. These fortifications were built during the 16th century to protect against pirate attacks. Nowadays, they offer stunning views of the city and coastline.

To get an up-close look at the best-preserved section of the walls, head over to Porta de São Gonçalo. From there, you can follow the path along the walls to a few other lookout points.

Take a Food Tour

Food tours and cooking classes are one of my favorite activities to book when visiting a new city. We just took an amazing food tour in Sevilla (content to come!) and it was probably my favorite activity of the whole trip. 

There’s no better way to get a sense of culture and tradition in a community than by learning about the local food—bonus points if you learn how to cook it. There are plenty of top-rated Lagos food tours on Viator, like this classic tour that takes you to local Algarve taverns and restaurants around the city. 

👉🏼 Click here to book your Lagos food tour!

A heaping plate of pan-fried squid and french fries.

Book a Party Boat

On our trip to Lagos, we were in the mood for a trashy party boat 😂, so we booked our boat tour through the Rising Cock Hostel (yes—that’s actually the name, but the mascot is a rooster if that makes you feel better). Sadly, as of March of 2024, the hostel is temporarily closed (fingers crossed it’s only temporary). 

Don’t fret—there are plenty of other boat tours to book in Lagos. Depending on your boat tour vibe, you could book a half-day sailing tour around the coast, a coastal cruise to Ponta da Piedade on a budget-friendly vessel, or a catamaran cruise that includes lunch. If a trashy boat party is more your vibe too, ask around at the local hostels—that’s really their area of expertise!

👉🏼 Click here to book your catamaran cruise down the Lagos coast!

A selfie with me and my two friends on our party boat in Lagos. A boat tour is an essential activity on this Lagos travel guide!
The girls' group on our Lagos boat tour.

Regardless of what kind of boat you book, you’ll be treated to some truly spectacular views of the Lagos coastline. There’s nothing like chilling in the sun, enjoying an ice-cold beer, and cruising past gorgeous rock formations and hidden caves.

A catamaran sailing the blue seas off the coast of Lagos.
A hidden beach framed by sandstone cliffs and blue ocean.

Explore some Beautiful Beaches

Lagos is known for its beautiful beaches, so make sure to enjoy your fill of beach days while you’re here. Pack your flip-flops and a good beach read, because it’s about to get beachy! (Consult the map below for an easy guide to my favorite Lagos beaches.)

Praia do Camilo’s geography, tucked between towering cliffs and jutting headlands, makes it the perfect location for a windless beach day in the Algarve. Although getting to this beach is a bit of a hike—trust me, it’s well worth it.

You’ll be rewarded with golden sand, turquoise waters, and spectacular views of the Atlantic to enjoy while you nap in the sun, get lost in a good book, or enjoy a couple of cold ones with friends.

A view of Praia do Camilo from the air.

Located in between Praia do Camilo and Praia do Pinhão, Praia Dona Ana is another breathtaking spot to add to your Lagos itinerary. Sheltered from the coastal breeze by towering sandstone cliffs, Dona Ana is actually known as the most beautiful beach in the Algarve.

Keep in mind that, like many of Lagos’ beaches, Dona Ana is only accessible by a wooden staircase down to the coast—so get ready to climb on the way back up.

If you have social media, chances are you probably recognize the photo below. This is Praia dos Estudantes—one of Lagos’ most beautiful beaches and the location of the famous stone bridge that’s been the star of thousands of Instagram pics over the years. When the tide is low, you can actually walk under the arch all the way to Praia do Pinhão.

Surprisingly, this beach was not as crowded as you’d think it would be! I highly recommend visiting during your trip to Lagos—even if it’s just for the pic.

The famous stone bridge on Praia dos Estudantes—one of the best beaches to add to your Lagos travel guide.
Praia dos Estudantes at high tide.

We spent the last day of our Lagos itinerary relaxing on Praia do Pinhão and it was the perfect goodbye to an amazing trip to the Algarve. The view from the top of the path is incredible—all sandstone cliffs and turquoise waters.

Once you reach the bottom, you’ll be rewarded with golden sand, plenty of sun, and very little wind. Don’t forget to pack sunscreen, the Algarve rays are pretty unforgivable.

An aerial shot of Praia do Pinhão in Lagos.

Also known as Praia de São Roque, Meia Praia is the largest beach in Lagos and the perfect spot for a full-day beach excursion. Divided into two sections by the Odiáxere River to the east, the beach is dubbed Meia Praia or “half beach.”

Both sea and sand here are pristine, making it the perfect spot for families, friends, and swimmers of all ages to enjoy a beach day in Lagos.

Take in the Views from Ponta da Piedade

You know I wouldn’t write a blog post without at least one spectacular viewpoint! Well—here it is. 

Make room on your Lagos travel guide for a visit to Ponta da Piedade. The cliff juts far out from the coast, affording visitors incredible panoramic views of the Lagos coastline and the Atlantic Ocean. If I haven’t already convinced you…check out the photo below. That doesn’t even do it justice—trust me. 

Me and my two friends enjoying the view from the Ponta da Piedade viewpoint. This is a great activity for your Lagos travel guide!

Go Surfing

If you’re itching to hit the waves, there’s no better place than the Algarve. On a windy day, these waves can swell to almost 10 feet, but generally, the waves in Lagos are great for surfers of all experience levels. 

The two best beaches to surf in Lagos are Porto de Mos and Meia Praia. If you rented a car and you’re willing to drive, there are tons of other great surfing beaches within a 10-30 minute drive of Lagos, like Praia da Luz, Praia do Zavial, Praia do Tonel, and Praia do Beliche. If you’re not an experienced surfer, why not learn from the masters? Hire a surf guide during your Lagos trip! 

Sample the Local Nightlife

You know the girls’ group sampled plenty of nightlife during our time in Lagos 😜. Unfortunately, the best pub crawl in town is put on by our party boat operator—the Rising Cock Hostel. Sadly, as of March 2024, this hilariously named hostel is temporarily closed. Hopefully, they’re back open and partying before long! 

Until they’re back, try out some of the bars below to experience the best Lagos nightlife! 

Go Dolphin Watching

Although I was itching to go dolphin watching from the moment we arrived in Lagos, we were traveling Portugal on a budget, so we decided to wait until our trip to Madeira in September. However, if you don’t have a trip to Madeira planned anytime soon—I highly recommend booking a dolphin-watching tour in Lagos.

Enjoy 3-4 glorious hours on a catamaran cruising the Atlantic looking for majestic dolphins and swimming in the ocean on this top-rated Viator cruise. Honestly, there is no limit to how many times you can enjoy watching dolphins. I’ll definitely be booking this cruise on my next trip to Lagos! 

👉🏼 Click here to book your dolphin-watching catamaran cruise in Lagos!

A pod of dolphins spotted off the coast of Madeira.
Dolphins on our trip to Madeira in September 2023.

Where to Eat in Lagos

Where all my foodies at? 

If you love food, you’re going to adore Lagos—trust me.

Whether you’re in the mood for traditional Portuguese cuisine (bacalhau, sardinhas, polvo a lagareiro) or tasty international food (all-you-can-eat sush, bagels, North American brunch, etc.), you’ll find all of it and more at the best restaurants in Lagos. Don’t let the food FOMO get ya—add the yummy eats listed below to your Lagos travel guide.

Pom Pom Bagels

If you’re thinking, “but bagels aren’t Portuguese?”, you would be correct. However, this clearly didn’t stop us from visiting Pom Pom Bagels not once, not twice, but THREE times during our trip to Lagos. 

As a self-proclaimed bagel connoisseur, I’ll be the first to tell you that it isn’t easy to find a good bagel on the Iberian Peninsula. Bagels in Poland? Sure. Bagels in Portugal? Not so much. Pom Pom Bagels was exactly what our hungover, overtired, and sunburned bodies needed…so we took advantage. 

Pro tip: Try “The Favorite” with goat cheese, honey, pesto, and candied walnuts. 

An everything bagel and lox from Pom Pom Bagels in Lagos.

Black and White

Another great option for a North American brunch in Lagos, Black and White was definitely worth the 30-minute wait. 

We ordered artsy hot lattes (which was maybe not the best call in that steamy Mediterranean climate), a breakfast sandwich with bacon, egg, and avocado, and a hearty breakfast burrito stuffed with scrambled eggs, potatoes, and more bacon. Everything was delicious and it was the perfect start to our day of exploring Old Town Lagos. 

An artsy latte from Black and White brunch cafe in Lagos.
A heaping breakfast sandwich and breakfast burrito from Black and White Lagos.

Barbosa Bar and Kitchen

Getting to the actual Portuguese food, Barbosa Bar and Kitchen was my friend’s find—and boy were we happy she found it. 

Alicia had read that the Algarve is known for its flaming chorizo (A.K.A. chouriço à bombeiro), so naturally we had to find some. The chorizo was served as an appetizer, along with some fresh burrata and tomatoes we ordered, and lit on fire at the table. You let it burn for a while before eating to allow it time to get nice n’ crispy. 

Accompanied by some much-needed salads, our meal at Barbosa Bar left us full, happy, and itching to go back. 

Flaming chorizo and fresh burrata from Barbosa Bar and Kitchen.
Burrata and flaming chorizo.
A fresh salad from Barbosa Bar and Kitchen.

Dragon Sushi

Although I pretty much get all-you-can-eat sushi in every city I visit (seriously—I’m addicted), I normally don’t include it in my blog posts. Dragon Sushi in Lagos is the exception because it was quite literally the best all-you-can-eat sushi of my life. 

At only €17.90 per person for dinner, we enjoyed so much sushi between the three of us that we didn’t look nearly as good in our going-out outfits as we had when we left the hostel. Honestly? Totally worth it. 

We also enjoyed a round of espresso martinis and a bottle of chilled white wine. Even though it wasn’t traditional Portuguese cuisine, it was honestly one of my favorite meals in Lagos. If you have plenty of time in Portugal to try all the best local Portuguese food, then make room for a Dragon Sushi dinner on your Lagos city guide. If you only have a few days in the country, maybe skip it in favor of a more culturally relevant option. 

All-you-can-eat sushi from Dragon Sushi in Lagos.
Probably the best all-you-can-eat sushi I’ve ever had in my life.
A California roll and nigiri from Dragon Sushi.

Frango Dourado

On our second night in Lagos, we were a bit late heading out for dinner and found that many places around us were closed. Thankfully, we stumbled upon Frango Dourado

This local “chicken restaurant” served plenty of traditional favorites like pan-fried squid and Portuguese steak with fried egg on top. We ordered some chilled vinho verde to accompany our meal and headed back to the hostel very full and very happy. 

Pan-fried squid, french fries, rice, and salad from Frango Dourado in Lagos.

Restaurante A Forja

Sadly, we didn’t have time to make it to Restaurante A Forja during our 4 days in Lagos. Before our trip, I had read that this is one of the best traditional Portuguese restaurants in town, so I’m sad we missed it. It’ll be our first stop next time! 

This appearance of the restaurant is a humble, no-frills, wooden structure. The food is where A Forja excels! However, their culinary excellence is no secret—and you’ll find both tourists and locals lining up for dinner as early as 7 o’clock (early by Lagos standards). I recommend making reservations or stopping by for an early dinner to make sure you’re not waiting forever for your meal. Try the ameixoas a bulhao pato (clams in vinho verde sauce), the rack of lamb, or the roasted chicken. 

How to Get to Lagos

Thankfully, getting to Lagos internationally or from other destinations in Portugal is quite straightforward.

We decided to rent a car and drive from Lisbon (after watching a glorious sunrise from the Miradouro de Santa Luzia). However, renting a car is only really an option if you’re already in Portugal.

If you’re flying into Lagos, you’ll want to fly into Faro Airport (FAO). From the airport, you can either rent a car (which can be helpful if you want to explore far away beaches in other parts of the Algarve) or by taking a shuttle into Lagos. Bus #56 (Aerobus) departs directly from the airport and takes passengers into Lagos in about an hour and 20 minutes for 11 EUR per person.

The drive itself only takes about an hour, so if you’re in a hurry you could either book a private transfer or hire a car on Uber or Bolt. One of my best Lagos tips is don’t be afraid to hire Ubers and Bolts—they’re cheaper than you think!

Lagos Itinerary FAQs:

When is the best time to visit Lagos Portugal?

The best time to visit Lagos is during the summer months (June-August) when the weather is warm and perfect for beach days. However, if you want to avoid larger crowds, consider visiting in May or September.

Does Lagos have great beaches?

Yes, Lagos has some of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal—great for surfing, swimming, and relaxing with a good book. Some must-visit beaches include Praia do Camilo, Praia dos Estudantes, and Meia Praia.

Is Lagos worth visiting?

Absolutely, Lagos is definitely worth a visit! Lagos is a charming and picturesque town with plenty to offer. From stunning beaches, historical sites, delicious food, and exciting nightlife, there’s something for everyone in Lagos.
Hint: Lisbon is also worth a visit, and a trip to Porto is a must on every Portugal itinerary.

Is Lagos Portugal touristy?

While Lagos does attract a fair amount of tourists, it still maintains its authentic Portuguese charm. The town has a lively atmosphere and plenty of local businesses, making it a great destination for both tourists and locals alike. Yes, Lagos can be considered touristy, but the abundance of outdoor activities makes it easy to avoid the touristy crowd. Additionally, visiting in the shoulder season can help you avoid crowds of tourists in Lagos.

Is Lagos a walkable city?

Yes, Lagos is a very walkable city. Most of the main attractions, restaurants, and beaches are within walking distance from each other. This makes it easy to explore the town on foot and take in all its beauty. Plus, with the pleasant weather and beautiful scenery, it’s a great way to get some exercise while sightseeing. For those who prefer not to walk, booking a ride on Uber or Bolt (a useful app to download for Portugal) is both cheap and easy.

Is Lagos an expensive city?

Lagos, Portugal can be considered a moderately priced tourist destination, with prices varying depending on the season and location. The peak summer months tend to see higher prices for accommodations and activities, while visiting during the shoulder season can offer more budget-friendly options. However, there are also plenty of affordable dining options and free activities in Lagos that make it accessible for all budgets. It’s always a good idea to do some research and plan ahead to find the best deals.

Final Thoughts

To be honest with you, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed my trip to Lagos. I had seen so many coastal towns—in Europe and otherwise—that the idea of visiting didn’t seem that exciting to me. I’m glad to say that I was 100% wrong. This stunning Portuguese town stole my heart and made me eager to come back for more. 

Whether you’re interested in boutique souvenir shopping, stunning panoramic views, water activities of all sorts, or anything in between—my ultimate Lagos travel guide is sure to offer the perfect Algarve itinerary for you. Get ready for amazing food, views, and nightlife, because Lagos has them all in spades. Happy travels! 

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Pinterest image from my Lagos travel guide blog post.
Pinterest image from my Lagos travel guide blog post.

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