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3 Days in Lagos, Portugal: Travel Guide

Sunrise at

At a Glance

Located on Portugal’s Southern coast in the Algarve region, Lagos is a laid back city home to some of the world’s most dramatic cliffs and beaches. We kicked off our trip to Portugal by spending 3 days in Lagos, hoping bright sunshine and R&R would soothe our jet lag and get our trip started on the right foot. 

Best time to visit - late April to early June, or September and October. Avoid the high summer months because of the heat, higher prices and crowds!

Currency - euros, many places take credit cards

Getting around - rental car and by foot (the historic center of Lagos is very walkable)

The historic center of Lagos.

The historic center of Lagos.

Pretty streets of Lagos.

Pretty streets of Lagos.

Getting There

After flying from Washington-Dulles Airport (IAD) on TAP Air Portugal’s new direct route into Lisbon, then took a very short 35-minute flight into the Faro airport. Note: from most places in the U.S., you will need to do a layover in Lisbon before flying to smaller airports in Faro or Porto. 

From the Faro airport, we picked up our rental car and made the hour journey to Lagos. We would definitely recommend choosing the quick flight into Faro vs. driving from Lisbon after a long-haul flight. We’re both bad at sleeping on planes and driving 3+ hours in a foreign country on zero sleep is not a good idea!

The courtyard at Casa Mae.

The courtyard at Casa Mae.

Casa Mae.

Casa Mae.

Where to Stay

Our experience at Casa Mae, a beautiful boutique property located inside the old city, was one of the highlights of our entire trip. With just 22 rooms in the main house and 8 in the larger cabana rooms, it’s intimate and peaceful. The restaurant located inside the hotel, Orta, sources ingredients from its own gardens and local farms. We had fresh juices, baked goods and coffee every morning while sitting outside in the sunshine on the patio. 

Other highlights of Casa Mae:

  • Our room had a king size bed and a balcony - which is hard to find in many European hotels.

  • There are no TVs in the rooms to encourage you to unplug and relax.

  • Browse clothing, jewelry and gifts made by Portuguese artisans at Loja, the shop located just off the lobby.

  • Don’t miss the triangle-shaped infinity pool! We lounged here for hours taking dips and enjoying the sun.

If you visit Lagos, I highly recommend either staying at Casa Mae or stopping by to visit their shop or restaurant. 

What to Do

We loved being so close to Lagos’ historic center and its shops, bakeries, boutiques and restaurants. Although we had a few activities in mind before we arrived, we kept our time in Lagos largely unstructured so we could relax and do whatever we wanted. Besides exploring the city, here are a few other activities we enjoyed:

  • Visit the postcard beaches - we checked out Praia do Camilo and Praia Dona Ana.

  • Kayak the dramatic coast - we did a 3 hour trip with Kayak Adventures that took us through caves and grottos. I would definitely recommend checking them out if you’re interested in seeing a different perspective of Lagos. 

  • Spend a day at the beach - we drove to Praia dos Meos and rented a set of loungers for the day for about 15 euro.

  • Watch the sunset - we hung out at Praia de Pedidade at sunset with wine and snacks.

Coffee at Twin Fin.

Coffee at Twin Fin.

Alma Lusa.

Alma Lusa.

Catch of the day at the Garden.

Catch of the day at the Garden.

Where to Eat

  • Orta Restaurant at Casa Mae - great coffee and juices, plus fresh and natural foods for breakfast. They also do lunch and dinner here and often have special events such as a Fado night or live music.

  • Coffee & Waves - Australian cafe serving up flat whites .

  • Twin Fin - healthy breakfast and great coffee.

  • Bora Cafe - healthy salads, smoothies and fresh juices.

  • Crema di Gelato - one of the best gelato spots we tried, be sure to read reviews if you’re trying other spots to avoid “fake” gelato!

  • Padaria Central - incredible bakery inside the old city, try the orange cake roll and pasteis de nata.

  • Alma Lusa - one of our favorite restaurants of the entire trip! We loved it so much we went back twice. Try the orange flan cake, sea bass and octopus.

  • Casa do Prego - Portuguese food in a cute courtyard setting.

  • The Garden - bohemian garden and bar in a courtyard. When you just haven’t had enough time outside!

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Jane D'Angelo