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1 week in Lagos Portugal, a suggested itinerary and tour

Lagos is a charming and historic town that makes for a fantastic holiday destination. The town is situated on the western Algarve, a coastline of dramatic sandstone cliffs, vast sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. Lagos has developed responsibly into a popular tourist destination, offering a combination of great tourist facilities while still retain its character and heritage.

 

The centre of Lagos is filled with a varied selection of restaurants, family-run hotels and lively bars. In short, Lagos has a lot to offer tourists and will provide for a memorable holiday. This guide will detail a suggested 1-week itinerary and tour of Lagos Portugal.

Overview of the suggested 7-day itinerary

• Day 1 - Historic Centre and the Ponta da Piedade

• Day 2 - A day on the beach

• Day 3 - Day trip to Silves

• Day 4 - Day trip to Sagres

• Day 5 - Theme park or day on the beach

• Day 6 - Day trip to Portimão and Praia de Rocha

• Day 7 - Bike Ride or day trip to Praia de Luz

All of the above day trips are possible to reach with the use of buses or trains and public transport in Portugal is inexpensive, if sometimes slow.

Please note this is a suggested tour to provide inspirations and ideas for your holiday to Lagos and Portugal, we do not provide these tours. The following section details each of the days and provides links to further information.

Day 1 - Lagos Historic Centre and the Ponta da Piedade

For the first day it is suggested to explore the historic sights of central Lagos and then in the afternoon visit the fascinating cliff formations of the Ponta da Piedade.

historic centre of Lagos

The historic centre of Lagos

Lagos’ history has revolved around the exploits of the sea, first as a fortified port town controlled by the North African Moors and later as a centre of exploration and trade during the Portuguese golden era of the 14-15th centuries. Both periods have left their district mark on the city and is reflected in the variety of sights in Lagos, which include the solid city walls, a delightful fort, ornate churches and even a slave market.

Ponta da Piedade lagos

The Ponta da Piedade coastline, near Lagos

The Ponta da Piedade is a series of highly weathered cliffs that form the southern headland of Lagos. The powerful Atlantic Ocean has chiselled stone arches, grottos and sea caves into the colourful sandstone cliffs and these cliffs are considered the best natural feature of the Algarve. The Ponta da Piedade formations can be seen viewed from cliff tops but a much more enjoyable approach is to hire a boat and view them from the water.

Day 2 Day on the Beach, Praia do Ana

No holiday is complete without a relaxing day on the beach and Lagos is blessed with a varied selection of wonderful beaches. Two of the most visually stunning beaches, which are of the finest in Portugal, are the Praia do Ana and the Praia do Camilo. These two small beaches are set along the same coastline as the Ponta da Piedade and provide soft golden sands, crystal clear waters and are surrounded by the distinctive sandstone cliffs. In 2016 the Praia Dona Ana beach was vastly expanded by dredging sand from the seabed and covering many of the rock pools – this has lost some of the natural appeal but it still is a pretty beach.

Dona Ana beach lagos

Dona Ana beach is set along a stunning coastline

The largest beach in the Lagos region is the vast Meia Praia (Half Beach), named due to the beach be divided into two by the Ribeira de Odiáxere estuary. This huge expanse of golden sand extends for 3km from Lagos harbour and is within walking distance of central Lagos. To the west of the Ponta da Piedade headland is the second largest beach of the Lagos region, the Praia Porto de Mos. This beach is similar to Meia Praia with decent surfing waves, golden sands and excellent tourist facilities. For a guide to the beaches of Lagos please click here.

1 week in Lagos Day 3 - Day trip to Silves

Silves is a delightful and historic town that was once the capital of the Algarve during the Moors era (7-13th century). Remnants of the might and importance of Silves remain to this day, with the massive red brick castle dominating the skyline and sections of the impenetrable stone walls incorporated into the town. Today the pace of life in Silves is as fast as the slow flowing Arade River, which meanders along the edge of the town and passes beneath the ancient Roman Bridge but the town boast the unmistakable charm of traditional Portugal.

silves portugal

The pretty town of Silves and the imposing castle

Silves is a scenic town and is sufficiently away from the hectic Algarve coastline to provide visitors a glimpse of the traditional and rural side of Portugal. Silves is comparatively small but the town makes for an enjoyable excursion from Lagos. Silves is connected to Lagos by the Algarve regional railway but there are only a handful of daily departures, so pick up the latest timetable from the station. There are no direct buses from Lagos to Silves and a connection is need in Lagoa or Portimão. From Silves station it is a1.5km walk to the historic centre which is down a steep hill and along a busy road.

Day 4 - Day trip to Sagres

Sagres is situated on the south western tip of mainland Europe, and is an exposed region of stark and dramatic scenery. The huge waves that pound the coastline have made Sagres a popular surfing destination and this has in turn made the town understatedly trendy. Sagres is a destination for visitors who appreciate natures raw power and enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, surfing or cycling.

Praia da Mareta sagres beach

The popular surfing beach of Praia da Mareta in Sagres

There are three main sections for a day trip to Sagres; the Cabo Sao Vicente, the town and Sagres Fort. The Cabo Sao Vicente is the western tip of Sagres and up until the 14th century the headland was believed to be the end of the known world. In the town is the working fishing harbour, the beautiful beach of Praia da Mareta and a selection of surfing cafes and bars. Fortaleza de Sagres is the distinctive fort, as three sides are defended by the sheer cliffs of Sagres. There are direct buses from Lagos to Sagres but there is very limited service to Cabo Sao Vicente. For a full guide to a day trip to Sagres please click here.

cliffs of Cabo Sao Vicente

The massive 75m cliffs of Cabo Sao Vicente

Day 5 - Theme park or Day on the beach

Within the central Algarve region there are a selection of excellent theme parks and water parks, two of the best are Zoomarine and Slide and Splash. Zoomarine is part wildlife park, which specialises in marine life (dolphins and sea lions) and part water park, while Slide and Splash is, as the name implies, a water park with some of the Iberian Peninsula’s largest water slides. Both parks provide transport from Lagos and tickets (which are expensive) can be purchased from ticket sellers in Lagos town centre

 

Closer to Lagos and significantly smaller is Lagos Zoo, which has an excellent monkey enclosure and is ideal for younger families. An alternative for the theme parks is a relaxing day on the beach; Praia Porto de Mos has a very different atmosphere to the beaches close to Lagos and is connected by a regular bus service.

Day 6 Day trip to Portimão and Praia de Rocha

For the sixth day it is suggested visit the historic but mainly residential city of Portimão and the hectic resort town of Praia da Rocha. Praia da Rocha is located on a beautiful beach, while the town that has developed due to tourism is completely devoid of charm, with huge hotels, theme bars and tourist gift shops. Praia de Rocha is loud, brash and the location for a big (and expensive) night out.

beach Praia da Rocha

The massive beach of Praia da Rocha

Portimão is inland from Praia de Rocha and is a port city that is the main residential area for the surrounding beach resorts. Portimão has some of the best shopping in the western Algarve and the town centre is filled with plazas and pedestrianised shopping streets. A pleasant walk is from the harbour of Portimão around to Praia da Rocha and along the coastline.

Portimao church

The main church of Portimão

The day trip to Portimão and Praia da Rocha could be spent relaxing on the beach, exploring the history and sights of Portimão or simply drinking a refreshing cocktail in one bars that overlook the glorious beaches of Praia da Rocha. There are direct bus and train services from Lagos to Portimão and it is a short taxi ride to Praia de Rocha from either the station.

Day 7 - Bike Ride or day trip to Praia de Luz

Praia de Luz is a quiet little resort town to the west of Lagos and it can be visited as a day trip or destination of a 15km cycle ride. Bikes can be hired from Lagos for €13-15 per day and the bike ride that follows the coast takes around an hour. The route can be extended to include the fishing village of Burgau and the pretty resort of Salema which is approximately 30k. For those not wishing to cycle there are bus services from Lagos to Luz.

Praia de Luz

The beach front of Praia de Luz

Luz is set around a beautiful beach and a pleasant promenade the stretches the length of the beach. The town has a large expat (English) community and there is a very welcoming atmosphere in the cafes and restaurants. A short but challenging hike is to the summit of the Rocha Negra, the huge cliff that overlooks Luz, and from this vantage point are wonder views of the region.

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