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Lagos Portugal Day Trips and Excursions
Lagos is a popular holiday destination that provides its visitors with fantastic beaches, historic sights and a delightful city centre, full of open air cafes and restaurants. Lagos is the largest city of the region and is ideally situated as a base from which to explore the fascinating Western Algarve.
As Lagos is a major city there are good public transport links to the outlying towns and it is possible to fully discover the area without the use of a rental car. This guide will detail the most popular day trips from Lagos, which are ideal for the independent tourist who wishes to experience more than just beaches during their holiday.
Lagos day trip to Silves
Silves is an ancient fortified town, that during the Moorish era (9-12th century) was the capital of the Algarve and major port and trading town. Today Silves is a sleepy, unhurried place but remnants of the once importance are still visible throughout the town. The skyline is dominated by the massive red brick castle, the fortified city gate has been integrated into the main square, while the slowing flowing Arade River provides passage for boat tours from Portimão.
The pretty town of Silves and the imposing castle
Silves is a delightful mixture of historic monuments, cobbled streets and traditional buildings that boast the unmistakable charm of traditional Portugal. Silves is regarded as the best non-coastal town of the Algarve, and is small enough that it can be easily explored as a day trip. The Algarve regional train connects Lagos to Silves (40km, €2.90 35minutes) but there are limited daily services, so pick up a copy of the latest timetable from Lagos train station before the day trip. There are no direct buses from Lagos to Silves. Silves train station located 1.5km from the historic centre and the walk is not scenic, as it follows a busy road and is down a steep hill. For a guide to a day trip to Silves or how to travel to Silves click on the respective links.
Sagres and Cabo de Sao Vicente Day Trip
Sagres is positioned on the western tip of the Algarve, in a region of massive cliffs, vast beaches and raging seas. These powerful seas attracted experienced surfers and Sagres has developed into a hub for surfing, with numerous surf schools, beach hangouts and laid back bars.
The beaches of Sagres are fantastic
For a day trip Sagres has a working fishing harbour, three great beaches, numerous hiking trails and a unique fort. The Fortaleza de Sagres covers the entire southern headland, with only the northern side conventionally defended with a wall, the three remaining sides are protected by the sheers cliffs. Inside, the fort could be described as sparse but as with everything in Sagres the dramatic scenery is the main attraction.
The Cabo de Sao Vicente is the southwestern tip of main land Europe and is a barren landscape of massive cliffs, pounding waves and a ceaseless wind. Up until the 14th century the headland was believed to be the end of the known world and the bleak landscape only enhances this once belief. The main attraction of the Cabo de Sao Vicente is the distinctive lighthouse that has the second most powerful beam in Europe, with it’s light visible 50km away.
The Sagres coastline was thought to be the end of the world until the 14th century
Both Sagres and Cabo de Sao Vicente can be combined to form an enjoyable day trip from Lagos. There is a regular bus service from Lagos to Sagres, but only two bus services Monday to Friday that travel all the way to Cabo Sao Vicente. For a guide to visiting Sagres as a day trip please click here.
The entrance into the Fortaleza de Sagres
Day trip to Luz, Burgau and Salema
The coastline to the west of Lagos is lined with small and delightful resort towns, each one with its own distinct character and appeal.
The beach front of Praia de Luz
Luz is a peaceful town that is positioned on wide sandy beach and stands in the shadow of the huge and distinctive Rocha Negra cliffs. The town has a welcoming atmosphere where a large expat (English) community relax in the numerous beach front cafes. There is a pleasant promenade which follows the beach front and leads to the white washed church and town centre. The walk to the summit of the Rocha Negra cliffs provides a short but challenging hike which rewards visitors with amazing panoramic views.
Further along the coast is the pretty fishing village of Burgau, with the small sandy bay, cobbled streets and traditional fishermen’s houses. Burgau may be small be it is a charming unhurried town. The final village of the tour is Salema a very small resort, with converted fishing houses lining the beach front.
This day trip can make for a good bike ride and bikes can be hired from Lagos for €13-15 per day. The cycle route follows quiet back roads but be warned there are some very steep hills. It is possible to visit each of the towns via public transport, as there are good bus services from Lagos to Luz, Burgau and Salema but there are limited services between each of the towns.
Day trip to Portimão and Praia de Rocha
Portimão and Praia da Rocha are two vastly differing towns but their closeness means that they can be combined into an alternative day trip. Praia de Rocha is loud, brash and lively, while Portimão is historic, residential and has the best shopping in the western Algarve.
The massive beach of Praia da Rocha
Praia de Rocha is positioned on a beautiful beach but the modern tourist developments of mega hotels and towering apartments has done nothing to enhance the natural beauty of area. On a positive, the main street of Praia de Rocha can be great fun with themed bars, happy hour promotions and a constant holiday atmosphere.
The main church of Portimão
Portimão is north of Praia de Rocha and was once a major port but today the focus is on the large marinas. Portimão has some of the best shopping in the western Algarve and the city centre is filled with pedestrianised shopping streets and pretty plazas. For the day trip there is an enjoyable walk from Portimão harbour, around the exclusive section Praia da Rocha and then along the coastline to the beach of Praia de Vui, where there is a bus back to Portimão. There are both bus and train services Lagos to Portimão and it is a short taxi ride to Praia de Rocha from either of the stations.
The Vila do Bispo Coastline
Vila do Bispo coastline is the area to head to avoid the crowds of the Algarve. This unspoilt and protected coastline stretches along the western side of the Algarve offers visitors stunning beaches, amazing hikes and dramatic landscape. The area lies within a national park and the entire region is protected from development or exploitation.
To explore the area a rental car is required that this remote and untouched region of Portugal is less than 40 minutes from energetic and tourist Lagos. The main town of the region, Vila do Bispo, has a laid back and relaxed ambience that is very hospitable and welcoming.