With its spectacular rocky landscape, beautiful beaches and warm, sunny climate, Lagos, in the Algarve region of southern Portugal, is a favourite summer tourist haunt. Renowned for its picturesque walled old town, with its 16th century cobbled streets and delicate architecture as well as more contemporary delights including the famous nightlife, Lagos is an ‘everyman’ holiday destination – with something for any kind of traveller.
One attraction of Lagos that crosses age, gender and demographic is its wonderful cuisine. Eating like the locals and with the locals is the very best way to experience the tastiest, freshest and most authentic delicacies.
Seafood – Lagos Style
Its geography means that, naturally, much of the cuisine in Lagos is seafood based. But it is seafood unlike anything you may ever have tried before. Many restaurants in the backstreets of the Quartiera area of the city will display their ‘catch of the day’ out the front. Choose from an array of sardines, crab, octopus, clams and more unusual offerings like gooseneck barnacles and percebes (which are foraged from rocks far off the coast by local fishermen). Sauces are often based on a simple but delicious combination of garlic, butter, fresh tomatoes and olive oil to enhance the fresher than fresh flavour of the seafood.
The Hearty Fare of the Rural Interior
Get away from the town and into the mountains to savour the hearty cuisine of the inland Algarve. Rustic recipes make the most of ingredients like wild boar, rabbit, black pork ham, and the local salty sheep’s cheese – quijo serpa. Sauces are rich and thick, often based in honey, garlic, wine and port. They marry perfectly with the succulent local meats and mop up beautifully with a slab of home baked bread. In terms of vegetables, anything goes, but cabbage plays a big part as the base for stews and casseroles. Cozido monchique is a popular cabbage stew, flavoured with black pudding and smoked sausages. If there’s any room left for pudding, try the delightfully decadent traditional Algarvian fig, carob and almond cake.
The high visibility tourist areas of Lagos are awash with restaurants, cafes and eateries. There’s enough that you can try a different one every day, if you like. But if you want to experience the authentic taste of traditional food the locals have enjoyed for centuries, get off the beaten track and wander the backstreets of the Old Town, or head out into the rural surrounds to enjoy simple, delicious food, prepared with heart.
How to Get to Lagos
To get to Lagos, the most direct method is to fly into Faro airport, which services the Algarve region of Portugal. From there, direct Faro airport transfers can deliver you quickly and conveniently to your accommodation in Lagos in around an hour. For those coming from other regions of Portugal, you can take a train or bus from Lisbon to Faro, then a shuttle transfer to your final destination.
Private Taxi Service: A private taxi service will enable you to reach your final destination in Lagos in style and comfort in less than an hour.
Shared Shuttle Service: For those with an eye on the budget, a shared shuttle service will get you to your accommodation in Lagos quickly and efficiently.
Where to Stay
Hotel Mar Azul – Just a short walk from the beach and with views of Lagos Bay, the Hotel Mar Azul offers comfortable budget accommodation in a convenient location. With a choice of shared or private facilities, free Wi-Fi and satellite TV, the rooms are simple, clean and comfortable. Cafes and restaurants are just a five-minute walk away.
Iberlagos – Picturesque views, a tranquil garden setting and a convenient location define the features of Iberlagos. The self-catering apartments include well-equipped kitchens, balconies and some have ocean views. The complex features an outdoor pool area with superb panoramic views, children’s pool, snack bar and relaxing garden setting. Iberlagos is just a few minutes away from the historic town centre.
Cascade Wellness & Lifestyle Resort – In a spectacular ocean vista garden setting, the Cascade Wellness & Lifestyle Resort offers style, luxury and the ultimate in pampering. The wellness centre offers an extensive range of treatments as well as a sauna and hot tub. The rooms and apartments are decorated in an elegant contemporary style, with luxurious amenities including designer shower products, satellite TV and under floor heating in the bathrooms. The resort offers a choice of two in-house restaurants.