Lagos, Portugal

The most peaceful and relaxing beaches do exist, and they are in Lagos.  This historic town lies on the Algarve – Portugal’s southernmost region.  It once used to be a seaport, but now visitors can dine at fantastic restaurants, visit beautiful beaches, and enjoy the wild nightlife.  During the summer, Lagos becomes a party zone for backpackers.  There ate endless bar crawls, booze cruises, and enjoying the sun.  Lagos makes a great home base so you can explore neighboring towns, coves, and other beaches!

MUST GO TO PLACES

Activities – Portugal is a very expensive place for activities.  Museums cost around 6-11 EUR, wine tours around 50 for a day.  Most museums are closed on Mondays and hours are shorter on the winter time.

Transportation – Largos is a very walkable city.  There is a public bus system in town.  Tickets cost around 2 EUR.

  • Relax on the beach The beaches are beautiful.The beaches range from the long, broad Meia Praia on the eastern edge of town, (usually crowded in summer with a young crowd, volleyball games, and beach bars), to the secluded coves beneath the towering cliffs of the Ponta da Piedade.
  • Go scuba-diving/snorkelingThere are many underwater caves and shipwrecks.  A dive can cost around 70 EUR.
  • Fish MarketGet to the market early to see some amazing selections of fresh seafood.  On the first floor, there is a fruit and veg market, and above that are the terrace and rooftop veranda with restaurants.
  • GrottosA few miles from Lagos, there isPonte de Piedade where you have some of the nicest rock formations in Portugal.  This makes for a great day trip where you can relax in the sun and swim in the beautiful water.
  • Old Slave Market – In one corner of the Praca da Republica, under the arches of the old customs house is what was Europe’s first slave market.  The museum for the slave market is open daily except for Mondays from 10am-12:30pm and 2pm-5:30pm. Admission is 4 EUR.
  • Church of Santa Maria – This 16th century church became the parish church of Lagos in the mid-18th century after the old parish church was destroyed in the 1755 earthquake.
  • Church of Santo AntónioThis 18th century church sits just off the waterfront The altar is decorated with some of Portugal’s most notable baroque gilt carvings.
  • City Castle – There is a small castle sitting by the river that has been very nicely restored and turned into a small museum.  Bring your camera because the at the top there are breathtaking views of the sea.  It’s located close to the town center.
  • Municipal MuseumNext to St. Anthony’s church.  It is home to a collection of archaeological artifacts, and religious art.  Entrance is 3 EUR.
  • Surf – The Algarve is a popular spot for surfing and other water sports.  It’s easy to find rental equipment and arrange lessons.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Dorm style rooms are around 9 EUR per night in a centrally-located hostel.  Hostels here offer free linens and free WiFi.  Many also offer free breakfast.

  • Nations HostelLocated in the old town center surrounded by the city walls, overlooking the sea, marina and the “Gil Eanes” square.  Free WiFi and provides a free daily buffet breakfast served on the living room with access to the terrace offering suburb views of the beach.  10 EUR per night.
  • Racing Mackerel Hostel – Relax, unwind, and hang out with friends in the open shared spaces. Cook up a decent breakfast in the kitchen before hitting the beach.  10 EUR per night.
  • White Sun HostelEnjoy the on-site bar,terrace, or balcony that are featured in certain rooms. Each room comes with a shared bathroom. They offer free WiFi throughout the property.  20 EUR per night.
  • Bunk House Hostel – Offering a barbecue nights, a terrace, enjoy the on-site bar.  15 EUR per night.

BARS & RESTAURANTS

Dining in Lagos is very affordable.  Snacks in bakeries can cost as little as 2 EUR, light meals and sandwiches cost 7 EUR.  Eating gluten free is also really easy too.

  • Baffi Bar – One of the draws are the games dotted around the tables. You can play cards or even a game of Connect Four with your drink.  

  • Bora CafeMediterranean cafe with a ton of gluten free options.  This is a tapas restaurant that has all food is fresh food ingredients.  

  • Cafe do MarSmall seafood, Mediterranean, Portugese styled restaurant with many gluten free options.  You even get a spectacular view of the ocean while dining.
  • Restaurante AlkibirA local hangout that is being run by Maria, a Physiotherapist who really understands celiacs disease.  The restaurant will be sure to take great care of you and will provide you with any gluten free option.

  • Troy – Restaurant, Bar & Night ClubThe perfect place to relax after a hard day of lounging on the beach.  They have good music, good food, excellent service, game for the matured mind, guaranteed security and cool fresh air from the lagoon on your skin.
  • The Red Eye BarThe surfers watering hole. It draws a good crowd of surfer dudes and chics, so if thats what you’re after, this is your place.  They offer 2 for 1 cocktails during happy hour, darts, pool, sky sports, a fun atmosphere and great music. An excellent way to end the day.  
  • InsideOut BarFamous for their fishbowl cocktails and dancing.  Go early to enjoy drink specials, including 2 for 1 drinks until midnight!  Enjoy a game of pool or one of their legendary fishbowl cocktails.
  • The TavernEase into your evening with some rounds of pool, darts, table tennis, or watching live sports on huge screens.
    At night the Tavern hosts a range of wild theme parties and drinking challenges. Your night is likely to involve dancing on the bar, supersize cocktails, shots and possibly some neon paint and costumes!
  • Three MonkeysOpened all afternoon, offering pool, darts & battleshots. As night falls get ready to rock with the friendliest crew in lagos… Be prepared for a crazy night involving shots, beer bongs and dancing on the bar!
  • Black Cat BarDrink and party with the locals.  The amazing staff will introduce you to the potent Portuguese drink medronho – a traditional fruit brandy from the medronho fruit aka strawberry tree. 
  • The JamWhere sober strangers become drunken buddies.  host theme parties, quiz nights and other events, and the staff are always good fun, so drop in for a few and you could get lucky by getting a free shot or two.
  • Whytes BarLively bar with 2 levels.  The perfect place to party.  Take their famous 9 Deadly Sins Challenge and try to beat the record if you dare.
  • Ala do CasteloThe best place to get a traditional Portuguese meal with the best fresh seafood.  Meals are so cheap and the portions are huge!  
  • Dragon RestaurantEat away at an amazing sushi restaurant.  They have over 100 freshly prepared dishes.  Order as many as you like, as many times as you like for the set price of 11.90 EUR at lunch, or 13.90 EUR at dinner.
  • Casa do PregoModern Portuguese with tredny style food.  They serve a range of tapas and traditional Portuguese meals, with a modern twist. Their generous, flavoursome portions at affordable prices make for great value meals.  Their rooftop bar also provides a great place for soaking up the Algarve sun while enjoying a drink.
  • Meu LimãoThey offer flavorsome Portuguese tapas matched with selected local wines.  It’s a quaint place with a Portuguese touch and an outdoor terrace.  Everything is prepared fresh daily. There are a lot of great seafood options.  Get a mixed tapas plate and enjoy a range of delicious flavors.  If you are a wine buff, this is a great place to try some Portuguese wines. Their list includes wines from several regions.

MONEY SAVING TIPS

  • Free MuseumsMost museums are free on Sundays.
  • Say no to bread While eating out, bread and olives will be brought to your table.  These are not free; say no to save more money.
  • CouchsurfPlan ahead and you can find nice Couchsurfing hosts in the country.  Using this app you have a great place to stay and you’ll have a local that can tell you the best places to go and things to see.

Picture credit

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