Call me crazy, but my favorite moments in Lagos, Portugal weren’t about relaxing on the beach. Don’t get me wrong—the beaches are stunning, and we explored every beach in town, choosing to spend the majority of our time at Praia Don Ana. But what I loved even more than being on the beaches was enjoying the views of what’s around the beaches, particularly the cliffs the jut out from beneath the ocean. I was also pleasantly surprised by how romantic Lagos is since I had heard that it’s a haven for solo backpackers. Whether you’re more of a social butterfly or are searching for QT with your honey, you can find both in Lagos.
- Where to stay: Dom Manuel I
- Flight details: Fly into Faro Airport (FAO) plus a 2 hour train ride or Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS) plus a 4 hour train/bus ride
- Time of year visited: Summer
- Time in Lagos: 4 days
- Portugal itinerary: 3 days in Lagos and Lisbon, 2 days in Porto, plus day trips to Belém and Sintra and a road trip through the Douro Valley (2 weeks off of work!)
Save this map to use on your trip:
- Click the star to the right of the map title
- Open the Google Maps app on your smartphone
- Click on the three lines in the upper left corner and select “Your Places”
- Select “Maps” and the map will be saved there for you to use on your trip. Have fun!
The beauty of the cliffs and rock formations in Lagos is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. As you get further away from town going west, they get bigger and bigger with each beach starting at Praia Don Ana to Praia do Camilo and finally Ponta da Piedade.
Don’t Miss: Sunset at Ponta da Piedade is an experience you’ll remember forever. Gazing out from one of the most western points in Europe, you can almost see the curvature of the earth as the sun dips below the ocean horizon. During July when I visited, the moon also rose in close proximity to the sun, so you could see them both in the sky simultaneously.
Logistics: Get to Ponta da Piedade well before sunset, so you have time to walk down to the coastline and view the rock formations from the bottom before climbing the stairs back up to the top for sunset.
There are so many opportunities for exploring the caves from the water, which is a huge part of the appeal of Lagos. We chose a tandem kayak tour with Days of Adventure, which is perfect for the relatively nimble and adventurous (as the name implies). Cave kayaking in Lagos isn’t going to be your smooth sailing over a glassy lake—remember, you’re out in the ocean and there are rocks all around, so you’ll have to do a bit of maneuvering. That being said, it’s so much more fun than a leisurely row with all of the huge rock formations jutting up around you and the rolling waves.
Don’t Miss: Stay as close to the guide as you can manage. Ours gave so much fun information and anecdotes about the rock formations and caves that we might have missed if we straggled behind.
Logistics: Days of Adventure has two offices in town (marked on the map below)—one for tickets and one to meet your tour. I recommend booking your tour online in advance; however, you’ll want to call ahead to the ticket office on the day of your trip to make sure it’s still going off that day. Kayak tours are subject to the ebbs and flows of the ocean and won’t go out if it’s too rough. Our trip was canceled for the first two days we were in Lagos, but we finally got to go on our last day. With the choppiness of the water, there were two people on our trip who got seasick, so only take this trip if you have a stronger stomach.
Portugal is for lovers, and Lagos really brings it in that category. Despite the beaches busy with tourists, there are quite a few opportunities to turn up the romance. We enjoyed two of the most romantics dinners of our 12 days in Portugal in Lagos at Restaurants O Camilo and Restaurants dos Artistas. You definitely need a reservation for both. Our hotel, Dom Manuel I, was also perfect for couples. It was a short walking distance from both the town of Lagos and Praia Don Ana, plus it had a small private pool in a garden if you want to get away from the crowded beaches.