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Your guide to Lagos
All About Lagos
Once a prominent port town and a favourite haunt of smugglers, Lagos occupies an enviable position on the Algarve Coast on Portugal’s southwestern tip. The Moorish presence of centuries ago is still felt in the ornate ironmongery, turrets, and ancient city walls of the Old Town. Narrow cobbled streets, charming squares, and vibrant tiled buildings create a picturesque backdrop for bars, cafes, and street entertainers. The area also features striking natural scenery, with sheltered Atlantic coves and beaches perfect for exploring, particularly the dramatic, weathered cliffs of the Ponta da Piedade headland.
Lagos may be one of the largest towns in the western Algarve, but it’s generally quieter than neighbouring Praia da Rocha or Albufeira. And while the town centre has no shortage of historical landmarks, modern Lagos is focused around the buzzing nightlife of the marina area, where restaurants showcasing the area’s seafaring legacy and lively bars stay open until the early hours. If you’re a true adrenaline junkie, spend a day of two at nearby theme parks and water parks.
The best time to stay in a holiday rental in Lagos
Beach season starts in Lagos in May, when temperatures begin to heat up but peak season hasn’t yet arrived. Consider booking your villa in Lagos this month for some early summer sun. To see the city come to life and enjoy the midsummer vibe of the Algarve, book a holiday rental in Lagos for July or August. Bear in mind that the high temperatures in southern Portugal can be uncomfortable for the uninitiated, and you’ll need plenty of sun protection. Nature enthusiasts are advised to plan a visit to Lagos in early spring, when the Ponta de Piedade cliffs are home to wild figs, blossoming flowers, and nesting herons. The annual Sagres Birdwatching Festival also takes place on the first weekend in October.
Top things to do in Lagos
Marina de Lagos
The modern marina is home to a variety of bars and restaurants, as well as sailboats, glamorous yachts, and catamarans. Wander along the waterfront and take in sea views to one side and bobbing boat masts to the other. This is a scenic spot to sit and watch the world go by while sipping on a vinho verde.
Ponta de Piedade
Just outside of town, the Ponta de Piedade is one of the Algarve’s most prized natural features. Over the millennia, Atlantic storms have worn away the limestone coastline to form rock arches, magical grottos, and sea pillars. You can admire the contrast of golden cliff faces and turquoise waters from land or sea. One adventurous route has you descend 180 wooden stairs to the base of the most beautiful cove.
Igreja de Santo António
From the outside, this Portuguese National Monument appears simply as a pretty, traditional whitewashed church. Once inside, you’re greeted by an ornate Baroque tribute to Saint Anthony, a beloved Lisbon-born saint. The nave is adorned with colourful depictions, gilded wood, and vibrant azulejos. Vaulted ceilings and an abundance of sacred artwork make this church rather special.