Last updated on December 22nd, 2019
Whether you’re ready for an adrenaline rush or a day spent lying on the beach, here are the best things to do in Lagos, Portugal.
I’m going to let you guys in on a little secret. The prettiest beaches aren’t necessarily on the coast of Mexico or the islands of Bali. In fact, they’re tucked away at the southern end of Portugal in Lagos. Perfect white sand surrounding by stunning red rock formations jutting up out of the water. It doesn’t get much better than that, does it?
I’ll do you one better: whether you’re just dipping our toes into adventure travel or have been going adventuring for years, Lagos is the perfect place to have an adventure.
I found Lagos to be particularly good for newbie adventurers like me largely because there are just so many opportunities for surfing lessons, guided kayak and SUP tours, etc. for really reasonable prices.
Madison and I spent four days in Lagos adventuring and having an absolute ball experiencing all of the different things to do in Lagos, Portugal. Here are a few of our favorites as well as a mini guide to Lagos, Portugal!
HOW TO GET TO LAGOS, PORTUGAL
The nearest airport to Lagos, Portugal is Faro, which many budget airlines fly into. From Faro, you can get a train, bus, or shuttle to Lagos.
Lagos is well-served by trains from other parts of Portugal as well as southern Spain, though you may need to change in Tunes. This is definitely the best option for getting to Lagos from both Lisbon and Faro, as it is both the cheaper and faster option.
- From Lisbon: 3 ½ hours, tickets from €10,70
- From Faro: 1 hour 50 minutes, tickets from €7,40
I wouldn’t suggest taking the bus from Faro to Lagos, as it costs about the same amount of money and takes significantly longer. The same is true coming from Lisbon
Lagos is a 3-hour drive from Lisbon and a 1-hour drive from Faro.
WHERE TO STAY IN LAGOS, PORTUGAL
If you’re looking for places to stay in Lagos, Portugal, then I couldn’t recommend the Bura Surfhouse more. This hostel/guesthouse is the perfect place to stay if you’re on a budget but don’t really want to feel like you’re on a budget (there’s even a pool!).
Madison and I were there right before high season started so there wasn’t too much going on, but the staff were so unbelievably friednly that it hardly even felt like we were basically the only guests there. There was also an unbelievably cute hostel dog!
My blogger friend Sarah from Endless Distances stayed a few months after we did and she also has a rave review!
WHAT TO PACK FOR LAGOS, PORTUGAL
While you wouldn’t think that packing for a beach destination is a hard task, I was surprised at just how unprepared I was when it came to packing for Lagos. Here are a few things I definitely suggest bringing along.
- Swimsuits (at least 2) – Okay, so this one is probably a no-brainer, but I thought I’d include it anyway. Bring swimsuits when you go to Lagos! I’d recommend at least two so you always have a dry one.
- Clothes that can get wet – if you’re planning on taking a kayak tour or even just spending some time on the beach, bring some clothes that can get wet. Don’t make my mistake and wear jeans on a kayak tour. Seriously. Don’t be me.
- Hiking boots – Lagos is an AMAZING place to hike (just check out my cliff hike guide for proof). Be sure to bring along a good pair of hiking boots if you have them! If you don’t yet and are thinking about investing in a pair, I am in LOVE with my Ahnu Sugarpine Boots.
- A wetsuit/surfing gear if you have it – if you own a wetsuit or surfing gear it’s not a bad idea to bring it along. Lagos is an awesome surfing spot!
- A windbreaker or other warm layer for hiking the cliffs or evenings – Even though it’s on the southern tip of Portugal, Lagos can get a little chilly at night, so it’s not a bad idea to bring along a windbreaker or other warm jacket. Especially if you’re thinking about going on a cliff walk, where it’s super windy!
- Travel towel – a travel towel is a must if you’re staying in a hostel dorm, where they often don’t provide towels. It’s also nice to have to bring along to the beach! Here’s one that similar to the one I own.
HOW LONG TO SPEND IN LAGOS, PORTUGAL
Madison and I spent four days and five nights in Lagos and felt like we just barely scratched the surface. I suggest you spend AT LEAST 4-5 days in Lagos, and even more if you have the time.
If you want to do absolutely everything there is to do in Lagos, I suggest at least a week or more, especially if you want to explore some of the nearby towns! We didn’t get to venture out to any of them but they’re supposed to be amazing.
THINGS TO DO IN LAGOS, PORTUGAL FOR NEWBIE ADVENTURERS
There is seriously no lack of things to do in Lagos, Portugal (hence why I suggest you spend so much time there). There are plenty of lists of things to do in Lagos, Portugal already, so I figured I’d tailor mine specifically to newbie adventurers like myself.
Here were some of my favorite adventurous things to do in Lagos, Portugal!
Go on a Kayak or SUP Tour
Going on a Kayak or SUP tour in Lagos is an absolute must. With a kayak or stand up paddleboard, you’re able to weave around the coast of Lagos, dipping into small caves and through archways that the big boat tours just can’t do. Sitting in a tiny cave with the only light coming in from a hole in the ceiling is one of the most surreal things I’ve done in my life.
You don’t really need to plan ahead to take a SUP or kayak tour in Lagos, either. There are at least two different companies that run tours every half hour, so you can just head down to Praia da Batata (Potato Beach) and hop on the next one that’s leaving.
Take a Surf Lesson
Madison and I are both major clutzes. So when we messaged our group chat one night saying that we were taking a surfing lesson the next morning, they were all yelling NOOOOO. In the end, she ended up ripping a muscle off the bone in her thumb and I had blisters all over my hands so they were probably right. But hey. We had fun???
Injuries aside, we had a truly great time on our surf lesson and the instructors couldn’t have been more supportive.
We went with the Surf Experience (which is also a hostel). For €55 we got on-shore technique lessons and then 2 hours in the water perfecting our surf stance (or, well, just attempting to get up on the board…). They also provided all of the wetsuits, boards, and anything else we might have needed for our surf attempts. We even had a delicious veggie lunch after!
If you’re looking to take a surfing lesson in Lagos, The Surf Experience is a great choice!
P.S. Another great place to try out surfing in Portugal is in Madeira! Check out this post on surfing in Madeira 🙂
Hike the Lagos Cliffs
Hiking is one of my absolute favorite things to do (especially with Madison – I visited her in Denver last year and we basically just spent 5 days hiking) so hiking was a must on our list of things to do in Lagos, Portugal.
We kept hearing whispers of a secret cliff walk, and when we finally just went and did it, it was one of the coolest things ever. I mean, just look at these pictures.
For a complete guide to hiking the Lagos cliffs, be sure to check out this post I wrote about it!
Hang Out on the Beach
With so much time spent adventuring, you might want to take an afternoon or two just to lay out on the beach. And with so many of them in Lagos to choose from, not spending time on the beach would basically be a crime.
Praia da Batata is the beach closest to town and I was actually surprised by just how much I liked it. Although there are quite a few people there once you get past the kayak-tour-hawking vendors it’s pretty much just you, the sand, and a group of hot guys playing soccer. I would also recommend trying out a few of the other, less visited beaches, though!
In March the water was absolutely freezing, and I’m told that it stays like that even through the summer, so swimming is mostly for the brave of heart. But the beach is pretty great just on it’s own.
Yoga is a great way to stretch out after some serious adventuring and find your center again. Bura Surfhouse does rooftop yoga (we, unfortunately, missed out on this) and there are also loads of yoga schools around town to choose from! And in such a beautiful place, how could you not want to do some yoga???
Whether you take a kayak tour, try your hand at surfing, or just hang out on the beach, Lagos is a fab place to go for newbie adventurers and you should definitely check it out! Have you booked your ticket yet?