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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO - STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD (foreign office travel advice)

Lagos

Lagos Holidays

Lagos was once the capital of Portugal and remains an attractive, bustling town. It has a lively centre with plenty of activities and a vibrant nightlife. With large beaches and fun, interesting attractions, Lagos is the ideal sunshine destination for families, couples and groups of friends looking for holidays to Portugal.

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Shops, markets and bars

The centre of Lagos, known as the 'old town', is small enough so you feel at home, but big enough to have lots to see and do. As well as a wide range of shops to browse, there are two big markets held in the area each month. These give you the opportunity to take a leisurely wander around the stalls and pick up locally grown fruits and vegetables, traditional hand-crafted items and souvenirs.

A good selection of restaurants can be found in the old town area, as well as along the main beachfront and by the marina. Many of these serve traditional Portuguese favourites of freshly caught fish and seafood dishes cooked in aromatic herbs and spices. You'll find laid-back beachside lounges and family-friendly pubs and bars where you can take the kids for a bite to eat and relax with a few drinks.

Lagos is well-known for its busy nightlife and is a popular party destination. When the sun goes down lively late-night bars and clubs open up. Most of the big venues lie along the main beach strip, where you can keep on partying until sunrise.

Quick Tips

  • Roman Catholic
  • Euro
  • Portuguese
  • Approx 8million
  • GMT - None

Popular and quiet beaches

Lagos is warm and sunny from March through to November, with average temperatures of 20°C to 30°C. It has several large beaches, so you'll find plenty of room to spread out with your beach towel and flip-flops or bucket and spade. Cheap holidays to the Algarve are widely available in both the warmest and cooler parts of the year, so there's no need to scrimp on sunshine when you visit.

Meia Praia is the most popular beach, featuring a four-kilometre stretch of golden sand that starts at the old town and ends at the marina. Its shallow water and gentle waves make it a favourite for families with children. There are also a good selection of watersports available if you'd like to keep active and adrenaline-fuelled.

Head for Camilo Beach or Dona Ana Beach if you're looking for a quieter spot where you can chill out completely. Both are hidden away and protected by steep, rocky cliffs – perfect spots for secluded bliss.

Days out and festivals

Between beach days there's a lot to see in and around Lagos, with a variety of fun activities and excursions available. You can go horse riding in the nearby countryside and there are boat tours from which you can get a closer look at the marine life and coastline. If you're feeling adventurous you can test your driving skills on a rugged off-road motorcycle tour, or take things slower and explore the surrounding area on foot.

For the kids, make a visit to Lagos Zoo to have a go at imitating the call of a laughing kookaburra bird and get laughed at by the chimpanzees. You can get your face painted, or even book your own party day there surrounded by the animals.

If you're visiting during July, join in the festivities of the Lagos Arte Doce competition and fair. This lively annual event features artwork made from traditional sweets plus live music in the evenings.

A rich maritime past

Lagos is an ancient site known to have existed for at least the last 2,000 years. You can spot evidence of its long maritime history in several buildings, statues and monuments around the city.

The Ponta da Piedade Lighthouse is a great place to go for far-reaching views over the coastline and out to sea. You can also visit the local Church of St Anthony, where fishermen and sailors traditionally asked for blessings and protection on their sea journeys.

A beautiful natural environment

For nature lovers there are several interesting sites in and around Lagos where you can get to see the natural beauty of the wildlife and environment. Make a trip to the fascinating Golden Coast Grottos, or the beautiful Lagoon of Alvor.

Or head to the National Forest of the Baron of Saint John, a huge nature park with six trails to meander through. With picnic and barbecue areas, a sports field and an obstacle course to play on, you can make it into a full day trip.