Located in the Algarve region of southern Portugal, Lagos is a sun-drenched destination fit for any traveller’s bucket list.
In Lagos, mosaic-tiled pathways that zig zag through the old quarter in vibrant patterns. Clear blue water crashes against golden cliffs, and sea views seem to last for days.
You might say Lagos charmed me immediately.
While it’s known for being a summer hot spot for European travellers, the beauty of Lagos can be enjoyed all year round.
Perfect for water sports enthusiasts, history buffs, and those looking for a relaxing getaway by the sea, there’s a lot to love and lots of things to do in Lagos, Portugal.
This Lagos Travel Guide will cover some of the best things to do in Lagos Portugal to help you make the most of your trip.
10 days in Portugal is the perfect time to see a lot of the country.
Best Things To Do In Lagos
Find places to stay in Lagos here.
Visit the Forte da Ponta da Bandeira:
Built in the late 1600s, this small but mighty fortress is now a well-preserved piece of Lagos history. Guests can now visit the fort to take a tour of the small chapel and museum exhibitions inside.
This fort is a quick Lagos attraction to visit and a must-see for anyone interested in Portuguese maritime history.
Find The Hidden Roman Bridge:
To find one of my favorite spots in Lagos Portugal, head to Praia dos Estudantes and take the stairs down to the beach. Head to the right and you’ll see a cave with passage onto a second hidden beach!
From this special spot, you can see the spectacular Lagos Roman-style bridge. This spot is easier to get to at low tide so don’t forget to check the tide schedule before you go.
Take A Walk Along The Cliff Trails:
One of the most popular things to do in Lagos Portugal is the scenic cliff walk. These hiking trails and paths begin at the Praia da Batata and take visitors along one of the most stunning stretches of coast in Portugal.
As you walk, you’ll discover new viewpoints, hidden beaches, and of course, photo opportunities galore.
In the next section, I’ll talk about each beach in more detail, but if you want to see the Lagos cliffs in all their glory, the cliff hike is the way to do it.
Go Kayaking and SUP Boarding:
Another way to experience the striking natural coastline of Lagos is by renting a kayak or SUP board.
While the cliff hike allows you to see these limestone formations from above, kayaking or SUP boarding lets you see them up close.
You can choose to participate in these water sports as part of an organized tour or you can rent a kayak hourly from one of the companies along the beach.
The best place to rent kayaks and SUP boards is at Praia da Batata and around the Forte da Ponta da Bandeira.
Explore Old City:
Lagos was a major seaport for Portuguese explorers during the 15th and 16th centuries.
Today, visitors can see some of this history in the sections of fortress walls that still surround the old city.
If you want to dig deeper into the history of Lagos and the Portuguese explorers, you can do so at the Museu Municipal Dr. Jose Formosinho or the Portuguese Discoveries Wax Museum.
In addition to being the historical epicenter of Lagos, the old town area is lively throughout the day and long into the night. The mosaic-tiled streets are lined with stylish shops, charming cafes, and bars where you can dance the night away.
Try a Pastel de Nata at Pastelaria Gomba:
No trip to Portugal is complete without trying a signature cream pastry, the Pastel de nata.
After sampling dozens around town, my favorite Pastel de nata came from the homey Pastelaria Gomba in Old Town.
Watch the sunset at Mar Restaurant:
Located high on the cliffs between Praia da Batata and Praia dos Estudantes, the Mar Restaurant has one of the best sea views in town.
Enjoy a glass of their signature Sangria or try a fresh seafood dish in the outdoor seating area with epic cliff and marina views.
Take a day trip to Sagres:
If you have a bit more time in Lagos, consider taking a day trip to the nearby town of Sagres.
Sagres is the westernmost tip of Portugal and has a much more rugged appearance than Lagos.
Find where the rough sea meets the jagged edge of Europe in this extreme, barren landscape. You’ll definitely feel the power of nature when visiting Sagres.
Sagres is popular among surfers, photographers, and history enthusiasts. You won’t want to miss the southernmost point of mainland Europe, Cabo de Sao Vicente, or the sprawling fortress, Fortaleza de Sagres.
You can either rent a car and do a self-guided day trip to Sagres or join an organized tour group from Lagos.
Best Lagos Portugal Beaches
While there are plenty of activities to do in Lagos, Portugal, one of the most common reasons people travel here is for the beaches.
The Algarve region of Portugal is known to be a beach-lovers paradise, and Lagos is no exception.
If you’re heading to Lagos to soak up some sun, these are some of the best beaches you need to see.
Praia da Batata:
This is the closest beach to Lagos Town and the easiest one to get to.
Because of its proximity to the city, it’s usually more crowded. But as a result, you’ll find amenities like restaurants, snack shops, and kayak rentals close by.
Praia de Batata is also close to the Forte da Ponta da Bandeira, so you could easily see both Lagos attractions in the same afternoon.
Praia dos Estudantes:
Located next to Praia de Batata, this small sandy beach is surrounded by tall stone cliffs.
As I mentioned earlier, at low tide, you can walk through a tunnel in the rocks to a smaller, hidden beach with an impressive Roman-style bridge.
Praia do Pinhao:
As you continue down the coastline, you’ll come to Praia do Pinhao next. This beach is small and surrounded by cliffs with breathtaking views out to sea.
Because it’s a bit of a walk away from town, Praia do Pinhao is usually less crowded.
Praia Dona Ana:
If you want to spend the day at a popular beach with plenty of amenities, Praia Dona Ana is the place to be.
While not as secluded as some of the other beaches on this list, Praia Dona Ana is a great choice if you want to rent a beach chair or have access to restaurants while enjoying the scenery.
Ponta da Piedade:
Of all the beaches listed, Ponta de Piedade is the farthest away from Lagos Town, but the rugged scenery is well worth the trip.
Guests love the hidden turquoise cove, viewing boardwalk, elaborate stone formations of this exposed headland.
Tips for Visiting Lagos
If you hope to spend time at the beaches while visiting Lagos, I’d recommend hiking the cliff trail from Praia da Batata to Ponta da Piedade early in your trip.
This will give you a chance to see each of the beaches and decide which ones you want to spend more time exploring.
Because some historical sites and museums have atypical hours, remember to check the open days and times before departing for the day.
I made this mistake when I tried to visit the Fortress on a day when it was closed. Luckily, I was able to return later in my trip.
If you’d prefer to do any of these Lagos activities as part of an organized tour, there are several highly rated tour experiences available on websites like Get Your Guide and Viator.
Give those tours a look before your trip to find unique experiences like surfing lessons, clear-bottom kayaking, and Portuguese food tours.
In Lagos, you’ll notice a laid-back, relaxed atmosphere.
Remember to spend time taking in your surroundings. Allow yourself to get lost among the narrow streets of the old town. Go exploring and uncover a new cove down at the shore.
You never know what you might discover in Lagos, Portugal.
Guest Author Bio:
Nicola is an online English teacher who’s seeing the world, one house sit at a time. When she’s not befriending giant iguanas or sampling every pastry she can find, you can find her writing her travel blog, www.seenicwander.com Social: https://www.instagram.com/seenicwander/
You can see more about Portugal and also southern-Spain in my backpacking Portugal and Andalucia post.
Pick up Lonely Planet Portugal as a guidebook.
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