top of page

top five guide: lagos, portugal

Updated: Oct 5, 2023

2023 sunset on Praia dos Estudantes beach in Lagos, Portugal

Lagos (pronounced like LAH-GAUCHE) is the jewel of Portugal's southernmost coast, also known as the Algarve region. A popular beach destination famous for its dramatic cliffs, stunning rock formations, charming old town, and vibrant nightlife, Lagos has thankfully adopted a more laid back energy relative to other popular European beach hotspots. Just one hour from Faro Airport or three hours from Lisbon, Lagos is an ideal place to unwind, sip some local wine, and enjoy the Portuguese way of life.

here are my top five tips for LAGOS:

Vila Valverde resort pool 2023 Lagos, Portugal Algarve

1: where to stay & explore

In general you have two options for where to stay in Lagos: in the busier Old Town (which is ideal if you want to be closest to the action and don't have a rental car) or further from the town on a larger hotel or resort property. We chose the latter as we had a rental car and wanted the experience of a more tranquil retreat. If that is your vibe, I highly recommend Vila Valverde (pictured), an arty boutique hotel set on a gorgeous property minutes from the beach and town by car. We loved our time here, but regardless of your choice, be sure to spend a day (and night) exploring the beautiful Old Town as well!

2023 Cave and Grotto Boat Tour Lagos, Portugal Bom Dia Day Trips Algarve

2: grotto boat tour

The best way to appreciate the natural beauty of Lagos coast is by taking one of the many grotto boat tours. There are dozens of services with kiosks around the marina, making it quite easy to book on the spot (we used Bom Dia Boat Trips, by the way, which worked well for us). Most of the tours seem to offer a similar service: an hourlong ride with a small group (about 8 people) to see the beaches, grottoes, and rock formations up close. If you're looking to really get into some tight spaces and are up for a workout, you can also choose to kayak around the same area.

2023 Praia dos Estudances beach arch Lagos, Portugal Algarve

3: praia dos estudantes

Lagos is dotted with several picturesque, laid back beaches that are ideal for a lazy day in the sun with a few canecas (large beers) on hand. Our favorite beach we visited was Praia dos Estudantes, a beach separated from neighboring Praia da Batata by a small series of rock tunnels. While the beach and water are nice enough on their own, the real attraction here is the picturesque bridge connecting two cliffs which makes for the perfect photo spot.

2023 Ponta de Piedade viewpoint from above Lagos, Algarve, Portugal

4: ponta da piedade

One highlight of the boat tour is gliding around the majestic rock formations at Ponta de Piedade, arguably the top attraction of the entire Algarve coast. After the tour, get a different but equally stunning perspective of the rocky cliffs by visiting the Ponta da Piedade lookout point on land (just past the lighthouse). You can take steps down to the grottos at sea level if you wish, or continue walking along the cliffs for a memorable seaside hike.

Luz, Portugal Zazu Beach Club Rooftop Dinner Restaurant Lagos, Portugal Algarve

5: sunset at zazu beach club

Just down the way from Ponta da Piedade is a sleepy little beach town, Luz. While this charming area is quieter than Lagos' Old Town. its a great spot to spend one evening of your trip. Head out to Luz just before sunset and enjoy the views from the rooftop at Zazu Beach Club, where you'll find great vibes and delicious Asian fusion food.

You can't always do it all, so one thing we didn’t do but wish we had:

Hike the cliffside trail from Lagos to Luz. We simply ran out of time to make this happen, but would prioritize it in a heartbeat for our next trip. Bring your hiking shoes!

Have a great trip! Feel free to leave a comment with your own favorites. You can also find these recommendations (and more!) in map format by following me on the Out of Office app.

Lagos Portugal Travel Guide Pinterest Cover Tripping Millennial


bottom of page