Lagos Travel Guide

Praia Dona Ana
Praia Dona Ana © Jaime Pérez

Today Lagos is one of the Algarve's most popular holiday destinations and there are hotels in Lagos catering for all needs. This once ancient port city boasts some of the area's best beaches within walking distance from most of the hotels in Lagos. Arguably the most splendid beach is Meia Praia to the east of town, where some of the best apartments in Lagos are to be found.

The southern peninsula features some sheltered cove beaches, many of which are close to some of the best hotels in Lagos; while Praia de Dona Ana is very picturesque but usually overcrowded in summer. There is much to do other than relaxing on the beaches or in the hotels in Lagos, such as a visit to the old town which has a fascinating history dating back to the Carthaginians. During the great Portuguese age of discovery the port became a caravel shipyard and was the jumping-off point for many a voyage to the East. Although much of the town was destroyed in the earthquake of 1755, there are still some ruins of interest remaining among the many restaurants, bars and hotels in Lagos.

Cheap holidays in Lagos have something for the whole family and hotels in Lagos can be booked through major travel agencies. Self catering apartments in Lagos may often be the cheapest option.

Besides an ongoing flea market that sprawls through the streets, Lagos boasts numerous fascinating shops and boutiques, especially in the pedestrianised old city. Browsing is as pleasurable as buying in the well-stocked shops that are bristling with attractive local wares, from wickerwork to filigree jewellery, copperware and leather goods to wine and pastries.

Eating out is part of the pleasure of a holiday on the Algarve, and Lagos offers the best of the best choices of establishments in which to indulge. Seafood lovers will be ecstatic, but no one, even vegetarians, will be disappointed or go hungry. A good choice would be to visit the marina, where restaurants serve waterfront breakfasts, lunches and dinners seven days a week. For creative international cuisine, visit some of the establishments in town, which cater to almost everyone, including vegetarians. Truly gourmet local specialities like pork chops with figs, savoury shrimp and succulent shellfish, are enjoyed at upper class spots all around Lagos and many having big wine cellars to boast.

The centre of Lagos comes alive in the evenings with buskers and street entertainers, and the nightlife in Lagos can compete with any holiday resort in the Algarve, with several energetic dance clubs and character-filled bars strewn through the main part of town. Most establishments have live music, darts, pool tables and Sky TV sports channels, and stay open late until 2 or 4am.

In Lagos, there is little need to do anything more to enjoy your holiday other than sprawl on the sandy beach with an occasional dip in the ocean, but those who need more activity can choose between dozens of pursuits like sailing, wind-surfing, fishing, para-sailing, microlight flights and scuba diving. Golf is a major attraction here as it is throughout the Algarve, with the Palmares and Alto courses nearby, offering a round with sea views. There is also the challenge of the Penina Championship Course, site of many a Portuguese Open. Those who hire a car will be well-rewarded in exploring the adjacent coastline and seeking out unspoilt villages and beaches. There are also a few sightseeing opportunities in the town, including an interesting museum.

There is not a lot for children to do in Lagos but there is a zoo and an excellent water park not too far away.