5 Epic Things To Do In Lagos, Portugal
You did it. You made it to the Algarve coast! And as such, you hardly need this list because there’s really no way to be there and not have the best time ever. But, even we can admit that there are a few things to do in Lagos that rank as absolutely, without a doubt, cannot miss.
Like—a boat tour to the famous Benagil Cave or a stroll along the scenic cliffs of Ponta da Piedade. (We’ll get back to that later.) For a quaint town, you could spend a lifetime here and still be charmed by the area’s collection of beaches and grottos, restaurants and historic streets.
But if you only have a few days, here are some of the very best activities Lagos, Portugal has to offer.
Hike along Ponta da Piedade
Home to the most iconic view in all of Lagos, an afternoon walk along the trails and boardwalks of Ponta da Piedade is pure magic. Sitting just 3km south of Lagos, the limestone headland is known for its stunning beaches, dramatic rock formations and secluded, azure coves.
The path along the cliffs winds along the coastline, offering incredible views of the sea below. Follow the stairs down to picturesque grottos or grab a seat at the cliff top restaurant to enjoy a cold beer while the sun sets over the point.
Want an even better view? Opt for a boat or kayak tour of the Ponta da Piedade cliffs. You’ll get an even better look at the beaches, coves and striking rock formations that define this stretch of coast.
In the summer, this spot can be incredibly busy. While the point itself is a must-see, it also happens to be situated near some of the best beaches in Lagos. Crowds tend to hop from the beach to the trails and back again.
In the low season, the beach might not be quite as inviting, but the views are impeccable as ever. Needless to say, no matter the weather or time of year a Ponta da Piedade walk is a must for anyone visiting Lagos.
Take a boat tour of the Algar de Benagil
All of the Algarve is known for its gorgeous coastline—and the jewel in its crown is the Algar de Benagil, or Benagil Cave.
On the opposite side of Lagos from Ponta da Piedade, the stunning scenery continues. Here, you’ll find more limestone cliffs with grottos, arches and coves, plus dozens of sea caves that carve into the bluff.
The most famous of which is the Benagil Sea Cave. Only accessible from the water, its magic comes from a natural skylight carved into the top of the cave from centuries of wind and waves. Showered in sunlight, the interior of the cave, with its golden sand Benagil Beach and turquoise waters, seems to glow.
You can take a boat trip to the sea caves from Lagos, on a 2-3 hour journey that ends with a visit to the Benagil Cave itself. Along the way, you’ll get an intimate look at more than 20 caves, the area’s beautiful beaches and even have the chance to spot dolphins swimming in the surf.
Wander through the historic streets of Old Town Lagos.
Today, the cobblestone streets of Lagos are all charming. Lively shops, bars and restaurants line the sidewalks, with live music, happy hours and a cool sea breeze around every corner.
But Lagos Old Town hasn’t always been that way—centuries ago, Lagos played a much more somber role in both Portuguese and European history. Prized for its natural harbor and strategic location, the city’s history extends from mariners and slave traders to politicians and religious leaders.
Every street in Lagos Old Town shares a different side of its history. Old architecture is everywhere. Colorful storefronts and mosaic tile plazas pulse through the town, with Baroque churches and ancient fortresses at the city’s edge.
If you’re looking for specific places to see in Lagos, you can’t miss the Igreja de Santa Antônio, with its gold-adorned interior or the towering city walls that guarded the once capital city.
Stop by the Museu Municipal for a deep dive into Lagos’ history. View 17th & 18th century boats and learn about the city’s most pivotal era. Or, make time for the Slave Market Museum, unraveling the often troubling history of Lagos’ role in the start of the European slave trade.
Sip Vinho Verde in the sunshine alongside a seafood feast.
No trip to Portugal would be complete with a long, drawn out lunch on a sun drenched terrace. Oil soaked olives and artisan cheese, marinated carrots, Conquilhas, or clams, dripping in garlic and parsley, grilled sardines and head-on shrimp—all are an essential part of the menu.
Wash it down with a tall glass of local Vinho Verde; a crisp, white wine that pairs perfectly with the region’s seafood dishes. Or, order a pitcher of Sangria. Sip it slowly and watch the boats roll in and out of the Lagos marina.
Relax in the sun on Praia do Camilo.
On a large scale? It might be one of the best beaches in Europe. On a smaller scale, it’s definitely the best beach in Lagos.
At the tip of town, on the stretch of sand before Ponta da Piedade, you’ll find the stunning beach of Praia do Camilo. A pocket of coast tucked between the limestone cliffs, this spot is as picturesque as they come.
A long staircase winds down to the beach, but once there, you’ll be able to swim in clear, azure waters, climb around the rocks or melt in the Portuguese sun. When you scale the cliff back up to the parking lot, be sure to stop at O Camilo, a popular beachside restaurant, for epic sunset views or a fresh seafood snack.
Of all the things to do in Lagos, Portugal these five are the ones you simply can’t miss! Add one or all to your itinerary and you’ll leave in love with the city.