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13 Best Things To Do In Lagos Portugal

Looking for the best things to do in Lagos Portugal? Well you are in the right place. I spent a fantastic week staying in a campsite near Lagos town with my family as part of our month-long family road trip through Portugal.  

We regularly travel for half of the year as a digital nomad family and The Algarve was not only one of the highlights of our trip, but also one of the best places we’ve visited in the last year!  We enjoyed it so much that we made it our mission to try all of the fun things to do in Lagos.  

We chose to stay near the little town of Lagos (pronounced “LAH-goash“) because it is regarded as the prettiest in the Algarve and is known for its historic town centre, beautiful beaches, and access to some of the most dramatic parts of the southern coast.

Lagos town itself is small and you can easily walk around it – you’ll be able to see most of the main sites in just a few hours.  Other attractions away from Lagos town can be easily reached either by car, (car rent is relatively inexpensive) or on guided tours.

Want to plan what to do in Lagos Portugal? Well, there’s plenty to keep you busy! I’ve put together our list of the best things to do in Lagos such as beaches, hikes, kayaking and lots more.

Things To Do In Lagos Portugal

Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours, and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress. 
Best Lagos ToursClick here to check out the top Lagos tours
Best Lagos Accommodation: Click here to check out the best accommodation in Lagos
Best Lagos Transport: Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Lagos

Lagos Old Town

Things To Do In Lagos Portugal

One of the best things to do in Lagos is simply to wander around and explore the old town. With a labyrinth of narrow streets and plenty of squares to relax in, Lagos has a great mix of very touristy and more local areas.

Just like in pretty much any of Portugal’s best cities, the old town of Lagos has colorful Portuguese pavements with a variety of different patterns. As well as these, you’ll also find traditional buildings, most of them white with colourful windows and doors, and even some houses with traditional azulejo-tile facades.

Most of the streets in the heart of Lagos old town are lined with shops, restaurants and cafes. Along with this there are also some residential areas.  There you’ll find houses with laundry hanging through the windows, and locals chatting to each other on the streets.

There are a couple of town squares that you shouldn’t miss, especially if you’re looking for some shade to relax under: Plaza Infante Dom Henrique with the Church of Santa Maria de Lagos, Praça Gil Eanes and adjacent Rua da Porta de Portugal with colourful houses, and lastly Praça Luís de Camões.

Things To Do In Lagos Portugal

Whilst Lagos town does have a few museums, the most interesting to see is the town museum, which is called Museu de Lagos (or Museu de Lagos Dr. José Formosinho). It’s located near to the Church of Santo Antonio, a stunning church, which can only be visited with a museum ticket.

This lavishly decorated chapel of Igreja de Santo António inside the church is beautiful and is probably one of the most important landmarks of Lagos. It’s the highlight of this museum and the main reason to visit it.

Lagos museum also has a mix of exhibitions related to the town’s history, but also regional artefacts, religious art, etc.

Top tip: You only need around 20 minutes here to visit the church.  The entrance costs just a few euros, and it’s totally worth it! The museum is open every day except Mondays

Lagos Market

Things To Do In Lagos Portugal

Mercado Municipal de Lagos is a bustling food market and is a great nice place to visit as part of exploring Lagos town. You’ll find colourful fruit and vegetable stands, along with lots of fresh fish and seafood straight from the sea.

The ground floor is dedicated to seafood, and then the first floor is where you’ll find vegetables, fruit, olive oil, and all kinds of local produce. If you’re feeling peckish (we always do when we’re in a market), then there is a nice rooftop restaurant here that serves traditional food.

The market is usually open in the mornings daily (except Sundays), between 8 am to 2 pm.

Lagos Fortress

Things To Do In Lagos Portugal

Forte da Ponta da Bandeira is one of the best-preserved fortresses in the Algarve and is another nice place to explore in Lagos. The 17th-century fort was built to protect the region from pirates (a story that our young son loved when we told him!).  Nowadays there are no pirates and it instead serves as a museum. One of the highlights of the museum is a small chapel lined with traditional Portuguese tiles.

You can visit the fort and climb its roof for a nice view.

City Walls & Lagos Castle

Things To Do In Lagos Portugal

As well as the fortress there is also Lagos Castle, however, in reality, it’s just city walls, which can only be seen from the outside.  The best-restored part of the city walls can be found on the waterside, opposite the Fortress, by Porta de São Gonçalo. We love to wander around towns when we visit, so if you come to see the fortress, you can’t really miss the city walls. It’s a great place for a quick photo stop.

You’ll find more of the remains of the city walls encircling the old town in the other locations. It’s fun to see if you stumble upon it, but not something to go out of your way to look for.

Waterfront & Lagos Marina

Things To Do In Lagos Portugal

Just a short walk from the centre of Lagos you’ll find the marina. This is where you’ll head if you’re going on one of the many boat tours.  Even if you’re not taking a tour it’s worth walking around the marina and soaking up the atmosphere.

It’s a picturesque place for a walk where you can admire the boats, and stop to people watch as it is lined with lots of restaurants, too. Right across the street from the marina (across a very cool pedestrian bridge), you’ll find the Lagos Market which is the local fish market where fresh local seafood is for sale.

From the marina it’s also just a short walk to the boardwalks and sand at Duna Beach, which is a large sandy beach just outside of Lagos old town.

Lagos Beaches

No visit to Lagos would be complete without visiting at least one or two of its beautiful beaches. 

Best beaches close to the town centre

Things To Do In Lagos Portugal

The easiest beaches to visit are Praia do Cais da Solária and nearby which are right next to the city walls and the fortress. There is a seasonal cafe and during the busy season, you can take sailing lessons or kayak tours to Ponta da Piedade.

Not far away is another nice beach called which is famous for the Roman bridge above it that has become a photo hotspot. This beach can be accessed from the top of the hill near to Mar restaurant which is a bit further south of the town centre. The bridge itself can’t be accessed, however, the view from the bottom of it is very nice.

Even further along there is another nice beach called Praia do Pinhão where you can explore some sea caves and rocks on foot, especially when the tide is low.

In the other direction, near to Lagos Marina, you’ll find the flattest and biggest beach in Lagos called Praia de São Roque.  There are no sea cliffs there and so this beach is not as scenic as some of the others. However, the sand dunes are quite nice, and if you are looking for a long stretch of sand for jogging, long walks, or sunbathing then this is a great option.

💡Quick Tip
View my full Europe packing guide here including a downloadable checklist. And check out my Europe Essentials shopping list here.

Most scenic beaches

Things To Do In Lagos Portugal

The most beautiful beaches that you have to visit during your stay in Lagos are Praia Dona Ana and . They are next to each other, just a short walk or drive from Lagos town in the direction of the Ponta da Piedade.

It’s here that you’ll find the stunning picture-perfect Algarve beaches with impressive sea cliffs all around you. Just a little heads up that reaching these beaches involves quite a lot of stairs, especially at Camilo Beach.

Top tip: Parking is limited and it can get extremely busy there in the summer. It’s only about 15-20 minutes to walk to these beaches from the Lagos old town which might be easier than driving there. It’s also easy to head to the Ponta de Piedade whilst you’re there.

You should also check out Praia do Porto de Mos, which is west of the town. This is one of the largest beaches in Lagos and also quite pretty, with a tall ‘wall’ of sea cliffs to see.

Things To Do In Lagos Portugal

is without a doubt one of the the best things to do in Lagos – at least in my opinion. The beautiful golden rock formations set against stunning blue water are simply jaw-dropping. There are two ways that you can see Ponta da Piedade: by sea and by land. If you choose to go by water, you can go on a boat or kayaking tour.  

To get there by land, you can walk the clifftop boardwalk, which we did, and make your way to the long set of stairs that takes you to one of the coves.  Walking will give you the best view of Ponta da Piedade and its surrounding area. I’d highly recommend checking it out both by water and land if you can. 

Go Hiking in Lagos on the trail

Things To Do In Lagos Portugal

This was another of our favourite things to do in Lagos, I think its because we just loved the coastline in this part of the Algarve.  The Percurso do Sete Vales Suspenso or is technically outside of Lagos however, I wanted to include it as something not to miss.  It’s not too far, and just an easy 30-minute drive by car. 

The trail is 3.7 miles and goes from to Praia de Vale Centeanes and you will get jaw-dropping scenery from the get-go.  Once you hike it you’ll see why we’d put it on our bucket list of places to see in Portugal.  Most people walk one way and then take a taxi back to their car.  

Since the trail is 30 minutes away, you could make it a day or half-day trip and include visiting the Benagil Cave tour to your itinerary.  There are also a few beautiful beaches in the area to check out like Praia Marinha and Praia da Mesquita.

Top tip: There’s a free parking lot at Marinha Beach. However, it gets filled fast, so make sure to arrive early – ideally before 9 am.

Kayak Tours & Boat Trips

Things To Do In Lagos Portugal

If you are visiting Lagos in the summer then you should definitely consider booking a boat or a kayak tour.  These are the best way to explore the beautiful coastline around Ponta da Piedade.  Exploring Ponta da Piedade from the water is one of the best things to do in Lagos and is totally worth a trip!

Kayaking in Lagos allows you to get really close to the remarkable rock formations, as you can pass under their natural arches, and enter various sea caves. 

Alternatively, there are some amazing small-boat tours that will take you inside the grottos and sea caves at Ponta da Piedade. You can see the same scenery as from a kayak without the hard work of paddling!  The boat tours take just about 1 hour.

Eat Portuguese food

Things To Do In Lagos Portugal

When you’re travelling there’s something lovely about sitting down for a nice meal at a local restaurant and enjoying authentic cuisine.  We love trying local flavours!  Some of the best dining is, of course, to be found in Lagos old town. However, you should also try the waterfront area by the marina.  Also, lots of the beaches in the high summer season offer some very good options too.

Top tip: If you’re looking for something more authentic to do in Lagos, then a food tour could be it. It’s not just a great way to get introduced to traditional cuisine, it’s also a fun way to discover some local restaurants away from the main tourist routes

Enjoy the street entertainers

As well as enjoying a local meal we also love to try and watch local entertainment, and Lagos was no exception to that.  In the evening we’d take out boys for a ride on the Carrossel Júbilo, grab an ice cream and then head into the old town to watch like musicians and acrobats.  The town has such a good, fun vibe in the evenings and I’d highly recommend heading there at least one evening on your trip.

Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?

The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single-trip cover, annual multi-trip cover, and long-term travel cover. Safety Wing is great value, with monthly coverage starting at $45.08. It’s super easy to use, and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies. 

Excursions & Day Trips from Lagos

Things To Do In Lagos Portugal

Lagos town is a hub for the west part of the Algarve and has some great guided tours that leave from the town.  As I mentioned earlier, lots of the boat tours tend to leave from the Marina so this make it a great place to base yourself if you want to head off exploring the area.

If you’re looking for a day trip suggestion then I’d highly recommend heading over to Sagres.  The beaches over there are stunning you should perhaps try either or Burgau.  And then after your beach time, you should head to Cabo de São Vicente where you’ll have one of the best sunsets in the Algarve!  

If you’re travelling with kids then one of the best day trips you can do is to head to one of the waterparks.  The nearest to Lagos town is Slide & Splash water park about half an hour’s drive from the city.  Another great option for families is the Zoomarine amusement park, about 40 minutes drive from Lagos.  We spent two days at as there was just so much to see and do, and it was much more suited to younger kids like ours than Slide & Splash.  

Looking for somewhere to stay in Lagos? Check out these options!

Charming Residence & Guest House
Carvi Beach Hotel
Villas D. Dinis

Lagos Travel Guide Planning

🧳 Any recommendations on what I should pack for Lagos?

Yes! I have created a whole packing guide to Lagos which you can read here and you can also check out my packing list for Lagos on Amazon here.

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance. I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise, Skyscanner or Expedia are my go-to flight searching platforms.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours in Europe?

I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide. They have a lot of options available!

🚗 Where can I book rental cars or private transportation?

I strongly recommend using RentalCars. They are available in more than 60.000 locations and customer service support in more than 40 languages.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using either Airhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are,, and Expedia. They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack.

Final Thoughts On Best Things To Do In Lagos Portugal

We had an amazing time visiting Lagos, it’s such a welcoming town with lots to see and do.  As well as the old town and beaches, it’s also really well located to be able to explore the rest of the the Algarve such as Sagres and the waterparks.  

Author’s Bio

Things To Do In Lagos Portugal

Sara Young is the author of Big Adventures With Little Feet, a family travel blog with the key aim to inspire parents to travel with their kids. She loves exploring the world with her sons and giving them big adventures, whether that’s hiking or skiing, sailing or surfing. She and her family spend the winters in Antigua in the Caribbean, where her boyfriend works as a yacht captain. They spend their summers travelling the world to find adventures.

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Things To Do In Lagos Portugal