The Algarve coast in western Portugal has long been a sunny holiday escape for European travellers, and Lagos is right at the centre of it. But unlike some of the party-centric towns nearby that lack much character, Lagos has a lovely old town filled with ancient piazzas and cobbled lanes that are perfect for getting lost in. Plus, the town’s stunning beaches and breathtaking grottos along the Ponta de Piedade cliffs make it a great destination for outdoor adventurers.
Thanks to the countless points of interest including parks, museums, sites, beaches and dining options, Lagos is a great place to visit no matter your age. There’s a lively nightlife culture for those who like staying up late, or you can make it a cultural trip by visiting all the historic places and sites.
Museu Municipal Dr Jose Formosinho, inaugurated in 1934 and attached to a Baroque church, features exhibits on the history of Lagos. And Centro Cultural de Lagos (Lagos Cultural Center) puts on a roster of events, exhibitions and musical performances throughout the year.
For all its history and culture, the main drawing point of Lagos is probably its natural wonders. No visit to this city is complete without a tour of the Ponta de Piedade rock formations. This stunning section of the Algarve coast consists of dramatic cliffs and rock pillars and is home to the famous grottos of Lagos. You can also visit the Ponta de Piedade Lighthouse to look at the views and grab a bite of lunch at the restaurant. (Note that the lighthouse itself is closed to visitors, but you can meander around the walkways surrounding it).
Boat tours are a popular way to see the cliffs and the grottos along the Portuguese shoreline. Hop on a boat tour from Marina de Lagos and wind your way around hidden caves and natural tunnels with bright turquoise water inside. You can also kayak your way through the grottos yourself.
Travel tip: The nearest airport to Lagos is Faro, which is about 90km away. Be sure to pre-book your transfer from the airport before you arrive.