Portugal’s beautiful Algarve region is a favourite with sun worshippers and golfers looking for a little piece of paradise to soak up the vibrant atmosphere and stunning beaches. But for those who prefer to holiday a little off the beaten track, the quieter western Atlantic coastline around Lagos offers a wonderful opportunity to discover the nature, culture and gastronomy of the Algarve just slightly removed from the more touristy resorts.
Explore the Nature
While the town itself is fairly buzzing, you don’t have to go far to “get away from it all” and, travelling west, the coastline that leads to Sagres is one of the most beautiful and unspoilt regions in the Algarve.
Just out of town, Ponta da Piedade is a picture perfect natural wonder comprising massive limestone stacks and dramatic cliffs sliced off at the beautiful shoreline. You can explore on foot, navigating the descent to the beach on steps cut out of the sheer cliffs, or kayak on the crystal clear ocean via natural arches and cliff caves.
The next beach along is the tranquil cove of Praia do Camilo, which is accessed by 200 wooden steps down to a delightful beach lapped by calm, safe waters. If you pick your time right it’s not unusual to have the cove to yourself, and when the tide’s out you can explore the sea caves of the bay.
The glorious six-kilometre sandy arc of Meia Praia is in total contrast to the rocky coves on the other side of the town. The gorgeous wide beach never feels crowded and it’s a lovely place to come for a long walk along the dunes or to simply sunbathe in peace.
Immerse in the Culture
Even at its busiest, Lagos is one of the more authentic towns in the Algarve and there are plenty of ways to take in a little culture without feeling too much like a tourist.
The unassuming exterior of Igreja de Santo António belies the magnificence within, and this small church is listed as a Portuguese national monument. Adorned with magnificent frescos, paintings and woodcarvings throughout, its interior resplendence is in stark contrast to its simple, whitewashed façade and bell tower.
A visit to the Museu Municipal Dr José Formosinho is one of the best ways to get some historical background about the region. Its extensive collection covers everything from the Neolithic period, through to the Romans, the Moors and the Age of Discovery, offering a fascinating glimpse into the Algarve’s storied past.
The 17th-century Forte da Ponta da Bandeira was one of the most important defensive bastions on the western coastline during the conflict between Spain and Portugal. The drawbridge entry leads to a lovely chapel inside, and you can take in stunning views over Meia Praia and the rocky coast.
Enjoy the Gastronomy
Portugal’s cuisine is as diverse as it is delicious. Naturally, seafood features heavily, but the region’s many cultural influences ensure a rich array of spices define its outstanding gastronomy. Looking for some insider tips in Lagos? These should get you started!
Padaria Central: If you want to feel like proper local, head to the town’s oldest bakery for a veritable smorgasbord of cakes, breads and fantastic coffee. Don’t expect to linger though as its standing only!
A Forja: With a fantastic ambience and serving up hearty traditional food at great prices, this Italian style trattoria is a local favourite. Everything on the menu is top quality but the seafood is an absolute standout.
Adega da Marina: Don’t let its rustic appearance fool you because this modest establishment serves up some of the best food in Lagos – and the queues in summer back that up. From simple gilled chicken to tender seafood dishes, it’s good, it’s cheap and it’s a local institution.
O Camilo: If you like breathtaking views to aid your digestion this is the place to come for a relaxed, lingering meal. Perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking the pretty beach, O Camilo features a menu heavy on delicious fresh-caught seafood.
How to Get to Lagos
It’s super simple to get to Lagos, even if you’ve only got a few days’ break. You’ll find plenty of budget flights into Faro Airport (FAO), from operators including British Airways and easyJet. With a flight time of less than 3 hours from most UK airports, you can be living it up in Lagos in no time at all.
Once you land at the airport, the easiest way to get right to the door of your hostel or hotel is on a budget-friendly shared Faro airport transfer with Shuttle Direct. Make a quick and easy online booking before you leave home and a driver will meet you at the airport and get you and your luggage into the centre of Lagos in under an hour. Couldn’t be easier!
Where to Stay:
Suntrap Hostel: Living up to its name, the fabulous Suntrap Hostel is located in the heart of the action, just a short walk to the beach and all the attractions of Lagos. With clean, comfortable accommodation in cheery, welcoming surrounds, this friendly hostel provides free Wi-Fi, shared bathrooms and a fantastic sun terrace.
Hotel Lagosmar: Set right in the historic centre of Lagos and a short walk from the beach, the Hotel Lagosmar offers warm family hospitality and magical views from its rooftop terrace. With an unbeatable location, large rooms and great onsite facilities including free Wi-Fi, a games room, a bar and breakfast room, this cosy hotel offers superb value and a friendly, social ambience.
DBV Hostel e Guesthouse: Within walking distance of absolutely everything in Lagos, the DBV Hostel e Guesthouse features simple, comfortable rooms with great amenities, including air-conditioning, ensuite bathrooms, free Wi-Fi and cable TV. You’ll feel right at home with the hostel’s great outdoor BBQ area, lounge and welcoming dining room.
About Shuttle Direct:
Shuttle Direct is the most trusted name in affordable airport transport throughout Europe and North Africa. If you’re looking for the most economical ride from the airport right to the door of your accommodation in Lagos, let us take the hassle out of your onward travel arrangements. Simply make a quick and easy online booking and we’ll do the rest!