If you’re planning an upcoming trip to Portugal—or are looking for inspiration for the perfect beach vacation—you’ll want to consider visiting Lagos and its sunny beaches, stunning sandstone sculptures carved by the sea, and laid back vibe. Continuing on from my last post which described our five day itinerary in Lisbon, I’ve compiled the highlights of our trip to Lagos in September 2017 with best places to eat and things to do during your stay.

Getting To & From Lagos

  • If you’re coming from Lisbon like we were, the best way to get there is the train from Oriente Station. It’s a smooth train ride with 1 connection and 4 hours total travelling time. When you arrive, you’ll likely need to get a taxi in to town from the train station.
  • If you’re flying into Lagos (or if you’re planning to fly out when you leave), the best way to get to/from the airport is to book a transfer ahead of time as it’s a fair distance from town. The private transfer was €65 but well worth it; the alternative is cab which would be over £100, or train, in which case you’d need to cab to train station anyway.

Where to Stay: Baluarte da Vila Apartments

  • These lovely apartment-style rooms come with kitchenette, which came in handy
  • 5-15 min walk from main beaches in one direction and Lagos town (restaurants, nightlife) in the other direction
  • There’s a grocery store close by which was great for water, beer and wine, and a few groceries to keep around
  • There’s a pool and hot tub on site but we didn’t use them much because of the beaches (that’s why you’re there, after all!)

Best Places to Eat in Lagos

Restaurants for Breakfast/Brunch

Cafe Odeon — “home of the €3 breakfast”

  • This hole-in-the-wall diner is the defacto breakfast spot and is always busy (expect to wait)
  • They offer a traditional American/English (eggs, home fries, etc.) and caesars and mimosa
  • It’s unquestionably cheap but also pretty busy/cramped and on the greasy side

Lalitana — vegetarian options

  • We discovered this cute little cafe on the floor level of a b&b, offering fresher breakfast options (smoothies, avocado toast with eggs, etc.) for similar prices as Cafe Odeon but a much nicer atmosphere (cleaner, more spacious, not so busy)

Restaurants for Dinner

Ala do casteloget the cataplana for 2! 

  • The place looks underwhelming from the outside (photos of all menu items, not great decor) but the food is delicious and authentic and service was on point
  • The cataplana for 2 takes 45 mins to cook but is well worth the wait; it was the seafood highlight of our trip
  • Their Paella looked amazing but need to order 4 hours ahead; I’d suggest going for it if you can plan ahead!

Nah Nah Bah – world’s top 50 burgers

  • Let’s just say it lived up to its claim—definitely one of best burgers I’ve ever had
  • The side potatoes with cheese and cocktails were amazing 
  • Reasonably priced
  • The vibe here was also great; they were playing 2000s rap music which instantly wins me over

The Green Room – Mexican

  • This spot offers tasty, inexpensive, massive portions; everything was flavourful and was a nice change of pace from so much bread / seafood
  • The chicken fajitas for 2 could feed more (we didn’t need the chimichangas we ordered as a starter)
  • Amazing/cheap sangria
  • Go without reservation; it’s usually busy, but depending size of group, they can get you in; order a margarita while you wait and hang at the bar
  • Younger crowd; lively without being rowdy

Best Activities in Lagos

Lagos’ Beautiful Beaches

Praia don Ana — larger beach in middle

  • When you arrive, head over to the right; the left is pay-per-use day beds and the right has better scenery
  • This is a busy beach, but we never had a problem finding a place to lay when we went
  • Safe to leave bag when you swim
  • Find shade under the cliffs if you need a break
  • Go topless! (photo not included)

Praia do Pinhao — smaller beach closest to the city

  • As you approach the stairs, you’ll see gorgeous view of the coastline and Lagos’ famous sandstone sculptures
  • Low tide allows you to go through a cave to another smaller, more private beach
  • Look out for all of the beautiful, plentiful, and varied sea shells in the sand

Ponta da Piedade

  • Great place to watch the sunset
  • Vantage point of dramatic sandstone formations and cave with a small beach

Activities in Lagos

Rising Cock Booze Cruise (yes, really)

  • Takes you off the coast and offers a great view of the beaches from the water—you’ll go swimming, play drinking games, relax in the sun
  • €40 for all-you-can-drink sangria and beer
  • Young crowd, weird boat (we joked that it looked like a shrimping vessel)
  • Keep an open mind, though—it ended up being a lot of fun
  • We booked our tickets in advance but probably didn’t need to
  • You meet them in the AM of the cruise at the Hostel of the same name to get your bracelet and then met at the Marina at 2:30pm for a 3:00pm departure

Cave & Coast Kayak Tour via Discover

  • Boat takes you out and then drops you into kayaks at prime spots
  • PRO TIP: check tides ahead of time and book at low tide; since we went at high tide we could not safely access many of the caves and grottos we had hoped to see
  • Guide was knowledgeable and helpful
  • Bring your own beer / wine on board
  • Fun but going at low tide would have been better
  • Not for first time kayakers, especially if the tide is high and there are waves; one kayak with 2 girls struggling and held group up

Bar Hopping & Nightlife

  • Lagos is known for its nightlife, and for good reason; while it’s not as wild as say, Ibiza, the town really comes alive at night with patios spilling out into the streets, lots of little bars everywhere, and a big market and square that fills with people at night
  • After dinner, bump around from bar to bar for different drinks, dancing, and great people-watching

Have you visited Lagos before, and if so, what were the highlights for you? Or are you planning a trip soon and have Lagos on your list? Let me know in the comments!

Laura Hawkins Travel

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