When I think of Lagos, Portugal, I think of mosaic-tiled walking streets, breathtaking secluded beaches surrounded by cliffs, and a slower, sunnier pace of life.
On my 10-day road trip through Portugal, Lagos was one of those places I never wanted to leave. Well, to be honest, all of Portugal felt that way. But I think you’ll see why Lagos has something special going on as we cover the 13 best things to do in Lagos, Portugal!
About Lagos, Portugal
Located in the southern Algarve region of Portugal, Lagos offers the perfect balance of history, natural beauty, and beach relaxation. Lagos has been an active seaport for over 2000 years and you can still see ancient walls and fortifications that snake their way through town.
Spend a day wandering the cobbled streets of the historic city center, admiring the tiled buildings that gleam in the sun. Hike through the cliffs to discover secret grottos with clear blue water. No matter your taste, Lagos has something for everyone.
Ready to pack your bags? I sure am! Let’s look at the 13 best things to do in Lagos Portugal, starting with a little bit of vitamin sea…
Praia da Batata
We will start our Lagos tour at Praia da Batata. This is the closest beach to Lagos Old Town and a popular place for visitors and locals to spend the day in the sun. Praia da Batata has places to rent kayaks and stand up paddleboards. There are also amenities like restrooms and restaurants.
If you want to rent kayaks or paddleboards in advance, Get Your Guide offers fun, organized activities starting at Praia da Batata.
The beaches in Lagos are all connected by a series of walking trails and pathways. Follow these paths that hug the sealine to find amazing lookout points, limestone cliffs, and hidden beaches. If you’re coming from downtown, you can start this coastline walk at Praia da Batata.
Praia dos Estudantes
As you continue walking along the coastline away from the old town, you’ll find Praia dos Estudantes. This beach doesn’t have any amenities. It’s just a strip of golden sand surrounded by cliffs and views straight out to sea.
This spot is great for sunbathing or swimming since it’s sheltered from heavy waves. At low tide, you can even walk through a rock tunnel on the right side of the beach to a small hidden cove.
Lagos Roman Bridge
This little cove off of Praia dos Estudantes is where you’ll find the Lagos Roman Bridge. This was one of my favorite Lagos, Portugal things to do and it was totally unexpected!
We went down to Praia dos Estudantes during evening low tide and saw the pathway through the rock. We climbed through and there stood the picturesque Lagos Roman Bridge.
I had trouble finding information about the history of this bridge, but some sources say it was once part of the Pinhão Fortress. The fortress was destroyed over 200 years ago by a tsunami but the bridge still stands tall.
If you’re looking for hidden gems in Portugal, the Lagos Roman Bridge won’t disappoint!
Praia do Pinhao
Rock formations surround Praia do Pinhao, the quiet little beach between Praia dos Estudantes and Praia de Dona Ana. To get here, take the trail along the cliffs and follow the handwritten signs for Pinhao. You’ll know you’re in the right place when you see several flights of stairs zig-zagging down to the beach.
There are no facilities or amenities at this beach. This is a better choice for those who want fewer crowds and a quieter experience.
Praia de Dona Ana
Praia de Dona Ana is one of the most popular beaches in Lagos, Portugal. This scenic spot offers the perfect combination of convenience and beauty. You’ll still get to enjoy golden sand, clear water, and limestone cliff formations at Praia de Dona Ana, but you’ll also have access to restaurants, bathrooms, beach loungers, and water sports rentals like kayaks and paddleboards.
For this reason, Praia de Dona Ana is one of the top things to do in Lagos for families. You can either drive to Praia de Dona Ana from Lagos town or walk along the coastline. It takes about half an hour on foot.
Ponta de Piedade
The Ponta de Piedade headland has a reputation for being a Lagos must-see destination for a good reason. With a lookout point and a lighthouse offering views for miles, Ponta de Piedade is definitely worth the trip.
You can get there by walking along the coast from Lagos town, by driving, or by taking a boat tour. If you choose to walk, it’s about a mile and a half on foot. Next time I’m in Lagos, I want to do one of the boat tours to see this special place from a different angle.
Forte da Ponta da Bandeira
Located beside Praia da Batata near the Lagos old town is the 17th-century fortress, Forte da Ponta da Banderia. It was once a strategic military fort with a moat and drawbridge. Today, visitors can visit for a small fee and explore the little maritime museum and chapel.
The fort is closed to visitors on Mondays, so if you want to tour the inside make sure to come on a different day.
Located just behind the Forte da Ponta da Bandeira is the Lagos Castle. Today, the Lagos Castle refers primarily to the large gates that stand opposite of Forte da Ponta da Banderia and the wall surrounding the old city. This fortification was built during the Roman times and parts of the structure were occupied by people in power until it was damaged by a tsunami in 1755.
The walls and main gates were reconstructed many years later and classified as a National Monument. The best way to experience the Lagos Castle is to walk around the restored castle walls that still surround the city.
Lagos Old Town
One of my favorite Lagos, Portugal things to do is walk around the old part of the city. Here, the streets are narrow and you can discover charming alleyways, clothing boutiques, and delicious restaurants. Many times, the streets converge in squares where you can enjoy street performances or simply relax and people watch.
Many of the pedestrian areas of Lagos town are decorated with elaborate, colorful mosaics on the ground and patterned tiles on the walls of buildings.
Museu Municipal Dr José Formosinho
This museum celebrates all things Lagos! It’s right next to the famous Igreja de Santo António and inside visitors can find archaeological artifacts, artwork, and interesting works about the town of Lagos. You can see the original charter of Lagos as well as daily life items used by citizens hundreds of years ago.
Try a Pastel De Nata at Pastelaria Gomba
In the heart of the old town is Pastelaria Gomba, a cozy pastry shop and cafe serving up delicious coffee and famous Pastel de Nata pastries. Believe me, I did a lot of field research on where to find the best pastel de natas in Portugal. Pastelaria Gomba is pretty high up on that list.
Stay in the cafe to enjoy your treat with a good book or take it to go while you explore the rest of the city. Actually, take two.
Watch the sunset at Mar
Mar is a little seafood restaurant and bar on the cliffs overlooking Praia dos Estudantes. The location and amble outdoor seating make this a great place to watch the sunset over the marina with sangria in hand.
We often found ourselves at Mar in the early evening because the view really couldn’t be beat. Make sure to get there early to get a desirable outdoor table.
Take a Boat Tour
Lagos offers dozens of boat tours that will let you appreciate the landscape from another perspective. Whether you want an action-packed day trip with water activities or a peaceful sunset cruise to enjoy natural beauty, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find a boat tour that fits the bill.
When I was researching all the Lagos boat tours available, I definitely added these highly-rated options to my wishlist!
- 4-hour Boat Tour from Lagos to Cabanas Velhas that includes lunch, snorkeling gear, and water activities
- Sunset cruise to the Ponta da Piedade rock formations including drinks
- Dolphin watching tour includes 90 minutes with an experienced guide
Whether you’re stopping by for a short visit or traveling to the Algarve as part of a longer two week Portugal itinerary, Lagos is a place you don’t want to miss.
Have you ever been to Lagos, Portugal? What’s your favorite thing to do?