Lagos – not the Nigerian capital, but the coastal town near Portugal’s southwestern tip – offers an enticing mix of qualities perfect for travellers looking for some sea and sun. The town boasts stunning beaches and rock formations, plenty of sea life and lots of opportunity for swimming and water sports.
Active families can have a ball here – this blog post will take you through all the very best family-friendly spots and activities to get you inspired. Get ready for kayaking, dolphin watching, and some good old-fashioned exploration.
Ponta da Piedade
The beaches of the western Algarve are set against towering sandstone cliffs, which over time have eroded and formed interesting shapes, now known as the Ponta da Piedade. There are a number of local services which offer boat tours of the area, typically running under €30 for two hours. You may also find the opportunity to snorkel amid the rocks if you find the right operator. Most operators can be found on the Lagos promenade.
If you prefer, you can hire a fishing boat and discover the cliffs, caves and grottos from the water, either on your own or with a guide. Alternatively, stay on land and explore the headlands by foot. Either way, you will see some truly incredible sights.
Kayaking Off the Coast
For the adventurous types, some operators offer a kayak service where they’ll take you out on a catamaran before allowing you to go off independently in the kayak. Once you have balanced yourself, you can explore the formations at your own pace and feel the cool sea spray on your face as you glide across the water. The locals will show you around the cliffs and caves, giving guidance and assistance where it’s needed. It’s certainly a solid workout, but if you’re up to it (and you don’t forget your waterproof sunscreen), it’s an awesome experience.
Top Tip: If you’re looking to take pictures, definitely bring a waterproof bag for your camera – and don’t bring your phone unless it’s insured!
The Local Wildlife
Aside from the more stationary geological features in the area, there’s a huge amount of life in the water just waiting to be discovered. The must-try animal experience in Lagos Marina is spotting dolphins off the coast – children and adults alike will adore this activity. Some companies boast a 95% success rate in finding dolphins on their outings, so you’ll have a great chance of spotting these beautiful creatures. Trips usually last around an hour and a half, and it’s even possible to see other species of fish and aquatic mammals like whales, sharks and shoals of sardines.
Top Tip: It can get bumpy offshore, so it’s not advisable to do this if you’re pregnant or have back or neck problems. Again, bring sunscreen, and a wind jacket if the weather is looking temperamental.
The coast is lined with some phenomenal beaches – some suit more active lifestyles, whereas others are made accessible for wheelchair users or those with pushchairs.
- Meia Praia is the most famous beach in Lagos. The 4km stretch of coastline runs down to the Odiáxere river delta and boasts clean white sands. This beach also promises a cool breeze no matter how warm the sun gets, so children will not overheat. There are several bars and restaurants along the marina, with wooden walkways and ramps for easy access –in summer months, water taxis are also available.
- Praia de Batata beach is set against the Old Town’s medieval fortress, so has a truly stunning backdrop. Cliffs on each side provide plenty of shelter, and there are a number of smaller coves within the beach, divided from each other by holes in the rock. Families enjoy this beach as it is slightly more sheltered and provides plenty of privacy. This is also opportunity for water sports here – perfect for older children.
- Praia de Dona Ana and Praia do Camilo are a little outside of town and tend to be quieter, making them popular for families with young children. These beaches are ideal for swimming and exploring.
Where to Stay
Belmar Spa & Beach Resort – This well-positioned four-star offers plenty of facilities, and is situated just 150m from Porto do Mos Beach for swimming and surfing.
Carvi Beach Hotel – This is a three-star hotel with a spacious roof terrace, beautiful pool and great location – just beside Dona Ana Beach.
How to Get There
Flying into Faro Airport (FAO) is the best way to reach the Algarve, since it is just over two and a half hours from London. You can find a return flight here for a great price, and there’s a choice of four airlines. Once you land, Lagos is more than an hour away, so I’d advise booking an end-to-end transfer in advance. A Shuttle Direct transfer can get you to your hotel with no hassle, allowing you and the kids to get on with the holiday and start exploring!
About Shuttle Direct
For more than forty years, Shuttle Direct have been helping travellers get their holidays off to the best start possible. Our professional drivers will strive to make your travelling as stress free as possible.