On the west of the Algarve coastline is Lagos (pronounced lah-goosh), the lively and historic heart of the south-west region. With glorious beaches and an eclectic nightlife, Lagos ticks all of the right boxes.
But with its historic and charming centre, complete with cobbled lanes, 16th century town walls and eclectic architecture, this is a destination that offers more than just beaches and sunshine.
Founded originally by the Romans, and then taken over by the Moors, Lagos is unique in that it has managed to retain much of this history over the centuries. Beyond the centre, beach lovers will be drawn to the stunning shores along this stretch of coast, from long sandy bays to private coves hidden behind cliffs. And when the sun goes down, there is no stopping the lively nightlife. There really is something for everyone in Lagos.
The summers in Lagos are long and hot (with over 3,000 hours of sun!), and with temperatures a maximum of 35 degrees this is the place to spend your summers. That being said, spring and autumn are also incredibly pleasant and are often the quieter periods, too.
If you’re simply looking for excellent sunbathing opportunities on golden sandy beaches, then look no further. Better still, Lagos is also a great place to start from if you wish to explore the entire western Algarve, with plenty of day trips and easy-to-use public transport.
This nearby medieval city might be mistaken for being all about its history, but the second city of the Algarve is in fact the region’s shopping hotspot. With roadside stalls and artisan shops throughout, as well as a famous Moorish-style covered market offering all kinds of delicacies, Loule makes a great day trip for the shopaholic in all of us.
A short trip down the coast will take you to Sagres. With its impressive bay and glorious views of the cape of SãoVicente this is one of the highlights of the Algarve and is not to be missed. Expect to find large and beautiful beaches and impressive rolling waves to match, perfect for surfers or those looking to learn.
Alvor is authentic Portugal at its best. Having retained its roots with low-rise buildings and narrow cobbled streets that lead down to the harbour, Alvor is truly unique in the Algarve. If you’d rather steer away from ex-pat bars and are looking for something quieter, we certainly recommend Alvor. Or for a taste of adventure, Alvor offers canoeing trips down the Alvor River, suitable for all ages. With spectacular views from the get-go, you won’t want to miss it!
Slide and Splash Water Park
Slide and Splash is the largest water park in Portugal. There is plenty of variety on offer here, from giant water rides to a jacuzzi relaxation area. There is also a fully featured children’s area with a team of lifeguards so you don’t need to worry. This is the perfect place for the entire family to enjoy the sun.
The Ponta de Piedade
With its beautiful Atlantic Ocean cliffs and gorgeous lighthouse, this is really what Lagos is most famous for, and you won’t want to miss it. The cliffs are filled with natural stone arches and sea caves that are fun for the whole family to explore. And there are plenty of boat tours to take you out to the more exciting nooks and crannies on the cliffs, too.
This beach is the go-to spot in Lagos. This impressive stretch of sand is a brief 15 minutes walk from town and considered to be the most beautiful beach in the Algarve. We really recommend making a day of it and maybe a night too, as Meia Praia is also home to the best beach bars in Lagos.
Museu Municipal and Igreja de Santo Antonio
Lagos’s town museum is an eclectic collection of every different kind of art imaginable, from portraits to minerals, coins and Roman mosaics. The museum also serves as the entrance to the Igreja de Santo Antonio, a small church intricately decorated with fascinating hand painted tiles (azulejo).
The cuisine of the Algarve centres around fresh produce, specifically fish but also a variety of vegetables and fruit. It’s also famous for its flor de sal (salt flower), the perfect accompaniment for local dishes. You definitely won’t want to miss out on the famous carapaus alimados and grilled sardines, which will be available in most restaurants and are perfect for dripping on bread or adding to a montanheira salad. The Algarve is the best place to experience the freshest of seafood cooked in the simplest of ways.
The restaurants in Lagos cater for every palate, from Michelin-starred restaurants to tapas bars and beachside bars. But the star in Lagos is always going to be the fresh fish – usually caught the very same day, evening meals are an unforgettable experience.
A visit to Lagos isn’t complete without sampling some of the desserts on offer. The Moorish influence can be felt here, with the papo-de-anjo (angels’ cheeks) and the toucinho do ceu (heaven’s bacon) it has been said that the desserts here are “too sweet”, but usually because most visitors can’t get enough.
Lagos holidays are made for holidaymakers from all walks of life. From party animals to families. With day trips to Portimao and elsewhere in the area as well as world-class golfing facilities, water sports, historic treasures and of course unrivalled beaches; this is a vibrant and beautiful place to visit year-round.
Booking your holiday to Lagos with easyJet holidays is the best way to get to this must-see destination hassle-free. Best of all, you can save on your holiday when you book your flight and hotel together with easyJet holidays.
Lagos not quite sealing the deal? Have a read of our other Algarve destination guides for further inspiration and temptation!