in me as we explore the enchanting, cobbled streets of the historic old town, soak in the sun on golden beaches framed by dramatic cliffs, and savor the flavors of Portuguese cuisine. From ancient forts to lively nightlife, Lagos offers a diverse array of activities for every traveler. Let’s embark on a journey through the top things to see and do in this charming town, where each discovery unveils a new layer of its captivating allure.
History of Lagos
Nestled along the golden shores of Portugal’s Algarve region, Lagos is a treasure trove of history and natural splendor. With a legacy dating back to the Roman era, this charming town has witnessed centuries of maritime adventures and cultural exchanges.
Tips for Your Visit
- To experience Lagos at its best, plan your visit between late spring and early autumn, when the weather is warm and the beaches are at their most inviting.
- The currency used in Portugal is the euro. Make sure to have some cash on hand for small expenses.
- For the most part, many people speak English, but the official language is Portuguese. Maybe learn a few phrases before you arrive.
- You will find a wide variety of cuisine, so get your taste buds ready to go on an adventure!
Historic Old Town
The heart of Lagos beats in its enchanting old town. As you stroll through narrow cobblestone streets, you’ll encounter centuries-old architecture, charming boutiques, and lively cafes. Don’t forget to visit the historic city walls, which offer panoramic views of the town and the vast Atlantic Ocean.
Scenic View at Miradouro Praia da Batata
For breathtaking views of Lagos’ coastline and the sea, visit Miradouro Praia da Batata. This picturesque lookout point offers a peaceful escape and a chance to connect with the natural beauty of the Algarve.
Fort da Ponta da Bandeira
The Fort da Ponta da Bandeira is a well-preserved 17th-century fortress that once protected Lagos from pirate attacks. Explore its battlements and tunnels while enjoying panoramic views of the coast.
Next to Fort da Ponta da Bandeira is Cais da Solaria Beach.
- Hours: 9:00–17:30 (Closed on Mondays)
- Admission: €4 for adults, €2 for children (under 12)
Castelo dos Governadores
The Castelo dos Governadores, first built by the Moors, became the Manueline Window Dorn Sebastiao addressed his troops before leading them to disaster at the Battle of Alcacer-Quibir in Morocco in 1578.
These thick walls were built to protect the town and coast of the Algarve from pirate raids.
In front of the Castelo dos Governadores is the Arco de Sao Goncalo. This is the site of the saint’s birthplace in 1360. He is the patron saint of fishermen in Lagos.
Igreja de Santa Maria (Church of Santa Maria)
The Church of Santa Maria dates back to the entrance being built in the 16th century, while the rest of the building was built in the 19th century after a devastating fire took place. You will find on the interior several prominent images of Nossa Senhora da Assuncao and of Nossa Senhora da Piedade.
Museu de Lagos Dr. Jose Formosinho
Immerse yourself in Lagos’ rich history at the Museu de Lagos Dr. Jose Formosinho. This museum houses a fascinating collection of artifacts and artworks that trace the town’s past, from its maritime adventures to its cultural heritage.
- Hours: 11:30–20:30 (Closed on Fridays)
- Admission: €3 for adults, €1.50 for children (under 12)
Slave Market Museum
Lagos played a pivotal role in Portugal’s Age of Discovery, including the less-celebrated history of the transatlantic slave trade. The Lagos Slave Market Museum sheds light on this dark past through informative exhibits, making it a thought-provoking stop for history enthusiasts.
- Hours: 10:00–18:00 (Closed on Mondays)
- Admission: €4 for adults, €2 for children (under 12)
Igreja de Santo Antonio
Igreja de Santo Antonio, with its impressive architecture and serene ambiance, is another architectural marvel in Lagos. Step inside to admire the intricate details and immerse yourself in the town’s spiritual heritage.
- Hours: 9:00–17:30 (Closed on Sundays)
- Admission: €3 for adults, free for children (under 12)
Pinaho Fort Bridge offers a picturesque stone arch bridge between two sandstone rocks. The ruins here are from a Phoenician fort, and later Romans connected it to the shores by way of a bridge. Further down the coastline is Praia do Pinaho.
For a day of sun and surf, head to Praia Dona Ana, one of Lagos’ most stunning beaches. With its golden cliffs and crystal-clear waters, this beach is a paradise for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports. Stay until sunset to witness the sky ablaze with colors.
Indulge in Portuguese Cuisine
Sample the rich flavors of Portuguese cuisine at local restaurants in Lagos. Savor fresh seafood dishes, such as grilled sardines and cataplana (seafood stew), and don’t forget to try the renowned Portuguese custard tarts, known as pastéis de nata.
Embark on a Coastal Cave Tour
Lagos’ coastline is adorned with dramatic caves and grottoes that beg exploration. Join a boat tour to discover hidden sea caves, including the famous Ponta da Piedade, where you can witness the mesmerizing interplay of light and shadow in the rocky formations.
Side Trip to Sagres
Just a short drive from Lagos lies Sagres, a coastal town that beckons with its wild beauty. Make it a part of your day in Lagos and explore:
Start your Sagres adventure at Cabo de Sao Vicente, Europe’s southwesternmost point. Here, you’ll be awestruck by the rugged cliffs and powerful waves crashing against the shoreline. This is a prime spot to catch a breathtaking sunset.
Discover history at the Fortaleza de Sagres, a 15th-century fortress perched on a cliff. Explore the well-preserved battlements and take in commanding views of the surrounding seascape.
Take a glimpse of one of the centuries-old fortresses on a rocky headland with panoramic views of the sea and a lighthouse at Fort Santo Antonio de Belixe.
Enjoy a brunch at Sao Vicente Spot where you will find something good to eat and do a little souvenir shopping.
Check out Sagres:Tales from the Edge of Europe
Best Transportation Options to Get to Lagos
Getting to Lagos is convenient, and you have several options:
Faro Airport: Fly into Faro Airport and take a train, bus, or taxi to Lagos. The journey takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.
Train: Lagos is well-connected by train, with services from Faro and other major cities in Portugal.
Bus: Buses run regularly from Faro and other Algarve towns to Lagos, offering a cost-effective way to reach the town.
Car Rental: Renting a car is ideal for exploring Lagos and its surroundings at your own pace. The road network is well-maintained and easy to navigate.
Lagos promises an adventure-filled getaway for adventurous women seeking to immerse themselves in history, culture, and the beauty of the Algarve coast. Whether you’re exploring historic streets, relaxing on picturesque beaches, or embarking on coastal adventures, Lagos will leave you with cherished memories of your Algarve escapade. So, pack your bags and let Lagos’ coastal charm captivate your soul!
Enjoy your travels! Please read my blogs about other exciting places around the world at Traveling Lens Photography.