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Lagos Portugal - activities, things to do and see

Lagos is a fantastic city that boasts, stunning beaches, a charming historic centre and a buzzing nightlife. This all combines to form the ideal holiday destination for tourists who want more than just great beaches and glorious weather for their holiday. This guide will detail the most popular activities and things to do while on holiday to Lagos.

Explore the historic centre of Lagos

Unlike many other resort towns, Lagos is an important city that is steeped in history, and the variety of historical monuments and buildings reflect this varied past. Fascinating buildings include the beautiful Santo Antonio church, the Mercado dos Escravos (Europe’s first slave market) and the charming 17th century Bandeira Fort.

water front of Lagos

The water front of Lagos

Half a day can be easily spent exploring the historic centre with its narrow cobbled streets, traditional houses and pretty harbour front. Very few towns in the Algarve have the variety of historic buildings, and this is why Lagos is so popular as a day trip from the surrounding region.

The Ponta da Piedade

The Ponta da Piedade are a series of beautiful sandstone cliffs, that are considered as the finest natural feature of the western Algarve. This headland to the south of Lagos has been eroded over the millennia by powerful winter storms to form unique cliff formations, which include sea arches, grottos and smugglers caves. The beautiful yellow and oranges of the sandstone cliffs are lapped by turquoise sea waters, which are teeming with sea life. The Ponta da Piedade can be explored from the pathways that cross and climb the cliffs but a much more enjoyable approach is to join one of the boat tours that depart from Lagos marina. For a full guide to the Ponta da Piedade, please click here. Ponte da Piedade

A sea arch at the Ponta da Piedade

Relaxing on the Beaches of Lagos

Lagos has a wonderful coastline that comprises of vast beaches, sandstone cliffs and small sandy coves. Within the Lagos region there is a beach to satisfy all, and range from the massive the Meia Praia, to the surfing waves of Porto de Mós and the picturesque Praia da Dona Ana. For a guide to the beaches of the Lagos region please click here.

Meia Praia lagos

The golden sands of the Meia Praia (half beach)

The Meia Praia beach extends for over 5km to the east of Lagos and provides soft golden sands with crystal clear sea waters; the beach is ideal for families or tourists who simply want to embrace the glorious Algarve climate. The coast south from Lagos to the Ponta da Piedade is formed of beautiful sandy coves, while further to the south-west is the Praia de Porto de Mós a beach that is popular for surfing, due to the powerful waves.

 

 

 

Day Trip to Silves

Silves was the ancient capital of the Algarve and during the Moors era (9-11th century) was an important trading town and port. Today Silves is an unhurried and scenic town, with remnants of this once importance dotted throughout the town. The town is dominated by the huge redbrick castle and leading down to the slow flowing Arade River are cobbled streets lined with traditional houses. Silves makes for an enjoyable day trip from Lagos and is connected by the regional railway. For a guide to Silves please click here.

silves portugal

Silves is a charming town for a day trip

Lagos Zoo

Lagos zoo is a small zoo which is suited for families with younger children. The animals are well cared for and the selection of animals includes birds, wild cats, and a petting farm for small children. The standout feature is the monkey island which contains many adorable monkeys! The entrance fee is €16/€12 (adult/child) and the zoo is open all year round. More information can be found at their website:

http://www.zoolagos.com/en/

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Day trip to Sagres and the Cabo Sao Vincente

Sagres is at the western edge of the Algarve and is characterised by massive cliffs, raging seas and windswept landscapes. The power seas and expansive beaches attract surfers from all over Europe and this has provided Sagres with an understated trendy vibe, which aligns with the ramshackle appearance of the town.

Further along the coast is the Cabo Sao Vincente, the south-westerly tip of mainland Europe, and is a dramatic but barren region with towering cliffs and ceases winds. The Sagres region is ideal for visitors who appreciate nature's raw power and enjoy outdoor activities, be that surfing hiking or cycling. There is a regular bus service from Lagos to Sagres and it makes for an enjoyable alternative day trip. For a guide to a day trip to Sagres, please click here..

Cabo Sao Vincente sagres

The Cabo Sao Vincente, the most south-westerly point of mainland Europe

Hire a bike and cycle

Surrounding Lagos are quiet roads, pretty villages and a beautiful coastline, all of which are great to explore by bike. One of the best cycling routes is along the coast from Lagos to the peaceful resort town Praia da Luz (8km from Lagos) or to the sleepy village of Burgau (13km from Lagos). Bikes can be hired for €10-15 per day.

Bikes for rent lagos

Bikes for rent in the centre of Lagos

Surf at Praia de Porto de Mós

The Praia de Mós beach is 3km to the south-west of central Lagos and, as faces a south westerly direction, is exposed to some of the largest waves of the Lagos region. This makes the beach a popular destination for surfing or body boarding and there are surfing schools to master the skills and shops to hire equipment. Mós beach is connected to Lagos by the local bus network.

plage de Mós

There are surf lessons at Mós beach

High Ropes and forest adventure

Tired of all of that eating and sitting around? Well then head to Luso Aventura for a forest adventure of high rope walkways, vertical nets, cobweb and monkey bridges that span the forests just to the east of Lagos. There are different circuits to challenge both children and adults, and the two-hour “fearless” course cost €17. For more information see the Luso Aventura website:

http://www.lusoaventura.com/uploads/PDF/Folheto_Parque%20Aventura_Lagos.pdf

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Eat and drink – Things to do in Lagos

Lagos has an excellent section of restaurants, cafes and bars which cater for both tourists and locals. Many of the tourist-focused restaurants are nestled in the historic centre and provide enough variety to cover every taste, preference and cuisine style. Dining out in Portugal is significantly cheaper than back at home, and at lunch there will be “meal of the day” offers. There is an equally good mix of bars and late night establishments, and Lagos has a vibrant nightlife scene.

Sagres beer lagos

A glass of Sagres beer is the best way to start any night in Lagos

Boat trips, tours and fishing trips – Lagos things to do

Departing from the Lagos Marina are an assortment of different boat trips, which include tours of the coastline, dolphin watching or deep sea fishing trips. For the more adventurous there are speed boat tours, jet boats or jet-skis. The full range of different tours can be seen by walking along the estuary promenade which is lined with numerous ticket offices. Costs of the boat tour vary depending on the style of tour and novelty of the boat, but typical prices are:

• 2 hour caves/grottos tour €20/€10 (adult/child)

• 2 hour Dolphin tour €40/ €30 (adult/child)

• 3 hour fishing for snapper, mackerel, grouper €40/€25 (adult/child)tour boat lagos

A tour boat along the Algarve coastline

Try Portuguese Food

Lagos is an ideal location to try local and authentic Portuguese cuisines. Portuguese foods tend to be filling and hearty (often served with rice, chips and bread as a starter) and Algarve specialities are often based around freshly caught fish or shellfish. One dish to try is Cataplana, a seafood rice stew, that is both cooked and served in a large copper dish that resembles the key ingredient, clams. Cataplana is designed to be shared, with the copper dish being placed in the centre of the table. Locally produced wines are the perfect accompaniment for any meal!

A delicious prawn Cataplana

A delicious prawn Cataplana

Water Parks – Lagos activities

There are many great water parks in the central Algarve region and the closest to Lagos is Slide and Splash (near the town of Lagoa). These water parks are great fun for children, teenagers and adults and within the safe and well-maintained complexes are gravity defying flumes, near vertical slides and colossal rubber ring rides. The only downside are the overly inflated entrance fees of around €27/€19 (adult/child), which will dampen the bill payer’s spirits. Transfers can be organised from Lagos (which is 25km away) and Slide and Splash website can be found here:

http://www.slidesplash.com/en/

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flume water park lagos
Zoomarine – Lagos sights

Zoomarine is wonderful marine park that specialises in dolphins, marine life and topical birds. In the marine park there is a diverse selection of activities including dolphin shows, aquariums, and a good water park with slides, wave pools and rapids. The animals of Zoomarine are kept in modern facilities and all are well cared for. The variety of attractions means Zoomarine is ideal for both families and young couples but again has a steep entrance fee of €29/ €19 (adult/child). Zoomarine is in the central Algarve (40km drive) region but is a great day trip for families.

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