With family in town I had the perfect excuse to plan a weekend getaway to one of my favorite cities in Portugal…Lagos! I love visiting Lagos for its quaint historic center, balmy weather, gorgeous grottos, and lively party scene—not to mention it’s home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches!
Javi and I have spent many weekends in Lagos and other parts of Algarve, Portugal’s southernmost region, due to its close proximity to Sanlúcar. Below you’ll find my latest tips on enjoying this little slice of Portuguese paradise—and you can get additional tips on Lagos here and Sagres here.
Where to stay in Lagos
Being a creature of habit my go-to accommodation options are usually Hotel Carvi and LC’s Guesthouse. Hotel Carvi is farther from the city center (15 – 20 minute walk) but it’s located on one of the most beautiful beaches in Lagos and LC’s Guesthouse offers budget-friendly privacy and comfort in the city center. BUT, since we planned this trip on short notice everything was booked up. Luckily I came across Gil’s Guest House on Airbnb—the location of the rental was perfect (it’s within walking distance of everything), there is free parking nearby, the hosts are lovely and it’s super budget-friendly for groups. My family enjoyed their stay here and I think it’s a great option for groups of friends looking to find cheap accommodation in Lagos. For those who don’t mind spending a bit more, there was a cute B&B directly in front of our rental, Lalitana Guest House, where we ate a delicious breakfast both mornings and the rooms looked fabulous too.
Pro traveler tip: If you’re new to Airbnb use this link to get a $35 discount on your first reservation!
Beaches you can’t miss
Algarve touches the Atlantic Ocean but it looks like the Mediterranean coast with its jagged cliffs and turquoise water. There are several gorgeous beaches in the area, but every time we visit Lagos we’ve got to stop by Praia da Dona Ana. This beach has been named Europe’s most beautiful beach, the best beach in the world, etc. by the likes of Condé Nast Traveler and World Traveler Awards—once you see it for yourself you’ll understand why!
We also had the chance to enjoy Praia Dos Estudantes which is a short walk from the city center. There’s also a tunnel you can use to access Praia da Batata from this beach. If you fancy a snack (or piña colada hehe) head to Cafe Do Mar (accessible from Praia Dos Estudantes) and enjoy great views of the water below.
Grotto tours in Lagos
You can’t go to Lagos without seeing its gorgeous grottos. You can hire local fishermen to show you the grottos in a small motor boat (usually people wait in line on the beach and it’s first come first serve), but keep in mind there are certain caves that can only be accessed by kayak (due to small entry points). For this reason we prefer to do kayak tours in Lagos.
Last time we booked our tour through Kayak Adventures, but this time we went with Kayak Explorers (as the other company was booked up). We had an awesome tour with Kayak Explorers and I would definitely recommend either company when you visit (prices are usually the same as well as tour routes).
Pro traveler tip: Something important to keep in mind is the tide schedules; some grottos are inaccessible during high tide (because the entrance is underwater) so make sure to schedule your tour during low tide!
Restaurants & Bars
We were pleased to discover the Garden Restaurant was super close to our rental. It was packed every night but we had the chance to stop by for drinks Saturday night and lunch on Monday. The food wasn’t mindblowing, but we really enjoyed the overall experience of this place. I think the best dishes to order here are the BBQ fish or meat platters; you’ll get a ton of food for a great price (including a drink!) and the fish was super fresh.
We also stopped by our favorite burger spot in Lagos, Nah Nah Bah—we’ve been coming here for six years and it never disappoints! You can learn more about Nah Nah Bah and the nightlife scene in Lagos in this post.