Full of historical interest, yet still appealing to laid-back visitors, Lagos is a place where you can revel in the town’s culture as much as you can revel in its good surf and beach bars. 16th-century walls surround the old town and the modern marina contrasts against the churches lining the streets. Enjoy the town’s Celtic, Roman and Moorish roots, as well as its Portuguese culture, and soak up the sun while you’re at it!
At one time, Lagos had a volcanic topography and lava flows were commonplace. Today, things are a little more pleasantly warm in the area, with average temperatures in the months of June to August resting comfortably in the low to mid-twenties. This is a little cooler than most of the Algarve, making Lagos a perfect spot for those who like a gentle breeze to take the edge off the scorching hot summer days.
Step out of Lagos town centre and go soak up the sun on Meia Praia beach. This 4km stretch of golden sand, lined by grassy dunes, has calm and shallow water which is great for young families. Across Bensafrim River lies Batata beach which has a great view of Lagos’ fortress or alternatively there is the sheltered Dona Ana beach, which is surrounded by the dramatic, yellow coloured cliffs the Algarve is famous for.
Perhaps the best way to entertain the family is with a trip to Lagos Zoo, where an awesome collection of exotic birds is among the main draws. Open all year round because of the favourable climate, it even includes a petting farm for the kids to enjoy.
Lagos is a town steeped in history and there is no better place to see this history other than the old town. Explore the cobbled streets surrounding the square of Praca do Infante where you’ll see the Church of St Anthony, a fine example of Portuguese architecture with an elaborately decorated interior. Further into the old town is the square of Praca de Gil Eanes which comes alive at night with evening entertainment.
Golf opportunities are also plentiful here, be they through 18-hole courses for the serious player or crazy golf facilities for the whole family to enjoy.
Not surprisingly in this Mediterranean getaway spot, it’s well worth sampling the pick of the fare from the sea ith a view over the stunning boats on the water. Delicious razor clams, known here as ‘lingueiroes’, are certainly a must-try. In typical Portuguese fashion, chefs like to catch their diners out with bold flavours like piri piri and tabasco, keeping every mouthful interesting and complementing a locally fermented wine or almond liqueur superbly.
While this local food is a treat, it’s far from the only option. Whether you have a fondness for Chinese, Thai, Indian, Italian or good old English dishes, you’ll find something in Lagos to satisfy your stomach.
Lagos holidays are particularly popular with young party people, and a wide variety of musical tastes is covered by the town’s bars and clubs. Offering everything from live bands to action-packed DJ sets, Lagos is as exciting a place as anywhere in the Algarve when the sun goes down.
During a night out, brave revellers might want to try a shot or two of Medronho – a brandy made from the fruit of local strawberry trees. Often nicknamed ‘firewater’ and carrying an alcohol content of around 48%, it’s not one for the faint-hearted!