Attractions in Lagos

11 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Lagos

Lagos enjoys a vibrant character with a cherished maritime tradition and has a reputation as one of the favorite holiday destinations in the south of Portugal. In the western Algarve, approximately 90 kilometers from the regional capital Faro, this attractive holiday resort is celebrated for its picturesque coastline with beautiful beaches and beautiful natural rock formations.

The city has a young, cheerful atmosphere and a wealth of historic sights and fun things to do, with facilities including a modern marina, a nearby zoo and even a science center for children. Exploring Lagos Old Town also allows visitors to enjoy the hospitality of some excellent cafes and restaurants. Or take a stroll along the waterfront promenade or enjoy a boat tour and explore the fantastic sea caves and caves that have placed Lagos well and truly on the Algarve tourist map.

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1 the beach

Some of the Algarve’s most famous beaches are in the Lagos area, with two easily accessible on foot. Two kilometers southwest of the city center, Praia do Camilo is a postcard favorite. Framed by outcrops of fantastic rock formations, this sheltered slide of sand is illuminated in spring by a mantle of colorful flowers clinging to the cliff edge above. Arrive early in summer to find a spot and note that the beach is cast in shade by late afternoon as the sun begins to dip behind the promontory.

The vast Meia Praia starts its run behind the marina and stretches four kilometers to the east. The name in English means “Half Beach” – a curious designation given that this is the longest beach in the region. For sun worshipers, however, this means more sand and plenty of space to relax and bronze. It is an exposed beach and popular with water sports enthusiasts. A number of restaurants along the dunes and a regular bus service from Avenida dos Descobrimentos along the entire length. Outside the city is Porto de Mós . A fantastic coastal walkway leading to the Ponta da Piedade lighthouse takes walkers to this beautiful beach, but allows an hour of walking along the trail.

2 Ponta da Piedade

Point of Pity

One of the most recognized natural monuments in Portugal, the sadly named ” Point of Pity ” is a picturesque headland jutting into the sea at the western edge of Lagos Bay . The dramatic sandstone cliffs appear polished with gold, such is the vibrant sparkle of their burnt ocher hue. Emerging from the transparent water below are enormous rock formations, some bent and twisted as if melted by the sun. Out of sight, hidden beneath the cliff face, is a series of caves and caverns, their bellies carved by restless Atlantic waves. These hidden caves can be explored by boat or (better yet) kayak. Tourists can follow footpaths that wind across the headland to reach a number of viewpoints offering dizzying views over the untidy stacks and steep pillars – a bizarre and beautiful seascape. For a romantic end to the day, gather at the lighthouse that crowns the promontory and wait for the sun to set over the western coast of the Algarve.

Location: about 3 kilometers southwest of the city center, past Praia de Dona Ana

3 Kayaking trips along the coast

Kayaking trips along the coast
Kayaking trips along the coast

The coastline west of Lagos is straight out of a pirate adventure photo book. The scenic, honeycomb cliffs; weird chimney rock formations; and the dozens of hidden sea caves and ancient caves Ponte da Piedade make for exciting exploration and are tourist attractions in their own right. One of the most exciting ways to chart a route around this incredible seascape is to join a guided kayak and snorkeling excursion. Paddle out over warm turquoise shallows for fish-eye views of this wonderfully evocative setting. Later, plunge into the alluring waters of the Atlantic Ocean and marvel at the undersea world that lives beneath you. Between trips, kayakers have the chance to soak up the sun on a deserted beach.

Location: Ponte da Piedade, Lagos

4 Santo António Church / Municipal Museum

Attractions in Lagos
Attractions in Lagos
St. Anthony’s Church / Museum Gemeentelijk Peter Broster / photomodel

One of the Algarve’s most inspiring cultural combinations is the linking of Lagos’ Church of St. Anthony with the city’s municipal museum . Together they represent one of the most rewarding sightseeing experiences in the region. Visitors enter the museum for the first time – an ethnographic collection of oddities, curiosities and curiosities. Permanent objects include a beautiful mini cork altarpiece and a collection of priestly vestments, one of which dates from 1578. A beautiful almost-complete Roman mosaic is surprising in its ancient detail. Visitors can spend an hour or so absorbing this fascinating exhibition, going back and forth through each gallery before entering the adjacent 18th-century church to gaze at one of the most stunning interiors of religious sites in the Algarve. The Baroque rhapsody of ornate gilded carvings and decorative tiles is impressive and a suitably exuberant way to end the tour. Please note: the museum is closed until January 2019 for renovation work.

Address: Rua General Alberto Silveira, Lagos

5 Lagos Adventure Park

The Lagos Adventure Park is a radical activity attraction for all the family and it’s all about following a ropes course at different heights and levels of difficulty through a canopy of swaying, tall trees. Testing nerve and physical skills, the daredevils must face a number of challenges along the way such as crossing bridges, navigating rope nets and riding gigantic cable cars. The ropes courses are set at three levels of complexity: curious, adventurous or fearless. There is no need to limbize, just the will to overcome any obstacle. Darling enthusiasts’ safety is guaranteed under the watchful eye of highly qualified staff, allowing you to complete each circuit under your own steam. Afterwards the feeling of fulfillment will be palpable.

Adres: Rua Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, Meia Praia, Lagos

Official site:

6 Lagos Zoological Park

Lemur at Lagos Zoo Glen Bowman / photo modified
Lemur at Lagos Zoo Glen Bowman / photo modified

Rubber-limbed gummies, marble-eyed rodents and fur ball fur seals are just some of the animals waiting to greet visitors at Lagos Zoo . Joining the primates in this semitropical park, about eight kilometers north of Lagos, are other residents such as the sleek bobcat and rare species such as Indian muntjac deer. On their way to the entertainment is a group of cheeky meerkats. The variety of birds is impressive, and the colorful and exotic flocks include flanked toucans, rainbow lorikeets and the beautifully named chattering lorikeet. Owls and various water birds can also be admired. Furthermore, the zoo’s rural setting is an ideal showcase for the farm’s stock: animals such as sheep, goats and horses. Nearby the “monkey lake” is a picnic area where visitors can observe the antics of the primates while enjoying an outdoor lunch. There is also a rustic restaurant on site. A playground for toddlers will keep the whole family happy with this cheerful and engaging facility.

Address: Quinta Figueiras, Barão de São João

Official site:

7 Fort Ponta da Bandeira

Attractions in Lagos
Attractions in Lagos

Ponta da Bandeira Fort

Built in the 17th century to defend the approaches to Lagos harbour, this square, pocket-sized fortress remains in remarkably good condition considering its age. Situated on a patch of sand overlooking a shallow bay, four turrets shaped like tops at each corner help distinguish the squat profile of the fort. A narrow moat gives the fortress an impregnable quality and tourists must cross a drawbridge to reach the courtyard. The visitor experience is limited to a small 18th-century chapel lined with beautiful azulejos tiles and exhibition space dedicated to Portugal’s Age of Discovery. From the ramparts, visitors can enjoy uninterrupted views across the water and back across the avenue towards the castle walls and fortifications that support the medieval character of the area.

Location: Cais da Solaria, Lagos

8 Slave Market

Attractions in Lagos
Attractions in Lagos
Mercado dos Escravos Christian / personalized

The Slave Market in Lagos is a less salutary chapter in the city’s history, and represents a dark side of Portugal’s otherwise golden Age of Discovery . At this site in 1444, the first European slave market opened, selling slaves captured and transported from Africa. The arcaded building that we see today dates from 1691 and served as a customs office. The small gallery, abandoned for years, now hosts a permanent exhibition on Portugal’s shameful human cargo trade and the role Lagos played in its proliferation. Displays include confiscated personal belongings and a skeleton of one of the unfortunate individuals, which were excavated nearby. The exhibition is limited in scope, but is nevertheless sobering and quite moving – and the authorities have classified the building as a monument of public interest.

Address: Praça Infante do Henrique, Lagos

9 Lagos Live Science Center

The theme of this fascinating Live Science exhibition and cultural center is “The Portuguese Maritime Discoveries”, and it provides a fun and educational way to keep children happy and entertained, especially when the weather is cloudy and there is no beach to speak of. Portugal’s seafaring heritage is brought to life through a series of games, puzzles and interactive modules that bridge the gap between the discoveries of the past and present, and young people are invited to embark on their own journey of discovery. They can help crew a 15th-century caravel, or make an eye patch and join a pirate ship. Meanwhile, the submarine takes everyone to new depths of exploration.

The center is on the top floor of Lagos Market , so of course there’s a lighthouse you can visit, and kids can have loads of fun learning to use semaphore flags to send signals. All the while they learn more about navigation, communication and life on board different seagoing vessels. The concept is simple but hugely enjoyable and a team of enthusiastic multilingual staff are on hand to provide advice and answer questions.

Address: Rua Dr Faria e Silva, Lagos

Official site:

10 Lagos Marina

Attractions in Lagos
Marina de Lagos David R. / photo modified

Yachts and powerboats of all shapes and sizes dock at this premier dock, but Lagos Marina offers much more than just a safe haven for visiting watercraft. Anchored along the promenade are several very good dining options where customers can relax and enjoy the seaside atmosphere. In the evenings, some of these cafes host live music performances. Numerous coastal cruise companies are based here, offering everything from exciting excursions to the rock formations, sea caves and grottos around Ponta da Piedade to fantastic dolphin “seafaris” going into the bay. A swing bridge connects the marina with Avenida dos Descobrimentos , the city’s main street. The yacht basin with 462 berths is also within walking distance of the sweeping Meia Praia beach.

Address: Lagos Marina, Lagos

Official site:

11 Church of Santa Maria-Praça do Infante D. Henrique

Attractions in Lagos
Church of Santa Maria-Praça do Infante D. Henrique

Linking dynamic perspective to Praça do Infante D. Henrique is the late 15th century Church of St. Mary . Located in the northwest corner of the square, the church still has a Renaissance gate, which fortunately survived the great earthquake of 1755. The building was renovated in the second half of the 16th century and significantly expanded in the 18th century, so what visitors see today is an interesting fusion of architectural styles. Inside is a statue of São Gonçalo of Lagos, a fisherman’s son born in 1360 who became a Saint Augustine. The square, embellished with water features, is named after Prince Henry the Navigator , who laid the foundation for Portugal’s maritime expansion in the 15th century and became governor of the Algarve. He sits, cast in bronze, on a plinth in the center of the hall. This is a wonderful area to relax in such noble company, but it is worth going to the Castelo dos Governadores to admire the beautiful manueline window in the facade.

Address: Praça do Infante D. Henrique, Lagos

Where to Stay in Lagos for Sightseeing

We recommend these great hotels in Lagos near the city and beaches:

  • Cascade Wellness & Lifestyle Resort: luxury resort, steps away from beautiful beaches, expansive outdoor pools, holistic spa.
  • Villas D. Dinis: mid-range rates, a short walk to the beaches and town, imaginatively decorated rooms, two beautiful outdoor pools, rain showers.
  • Hotel Marina Rio: great value hotel, marina view, family run, excellent breakfast, easy walk to old town, rooftop pool.
  • Sollagos Apartamentos Turisticos: budget prices, whitewashed Mediterranean-style buildings, apartments with kitchenettes, outdoor pool with plenty of sunbeds.

Tips and tours: how to make the most of your visit to Lagos

  • Half-Day Lagos and Sagres Tour : Lagos is inexorably linked to the historical figure of Henry the Navigator (1394-1460). The city was an important naval center, a shipbuilding center that supplied the caravels that fueled Portugal’s Golden Age of Discovery in the 15th century. Henry’s legendary school was based in Sagres, 25 miles west. Tourists interested in learning more about this fascinating period in the country’s history can consider joining a Half-Day Tour to Lagos and Sagres, which explores both destinations in vivid detail.

Meer must-see-sites in de Algarve

Some of the best places to visit in Portugal are destinations in the Algarve, holiday destinations such as Portimão and Albufeira. Of course, the region’s most popular natural assets are its fantastic beaches, many of which are punctuated by luxury resorts. Golf courses are plentiful. Adding significant weight to the area’s cultural influence are a number of impressive castles, among the top-rated tourist attractions in the Algarve. To make the most of your stay, follow our handy itineraries page and plan your fun in the sun.

Read also: 12 best holiday resorts in Portugal

9 top tourist attractions in Ponta Delgada and easy day trips

14 Top-rated attractions and places to visit in the Algarve

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