The jewel of the Algarve region, Lagos is a can’t-miss destination on any trip to Portugal. Lagos has become more and more popular in the past five years, and for good reason. Its spectacular beaches nestled in the red and gold cliffs of the westernmost part of Europe offer scenery beyond your traditional beach vacation. To take full advantage of everything Lagos has to offer, we’ve put together this guide to traveling from Lisbon to Lagos, Portugal.
Now, by no means is Lagos a buzzing metropolis – you can explore most of the town by foot in the better part of an afternoon – but its iconic beaches just minutes from the city centre offer plenty to see and do over the course of a long weekend or short week.
How to Get From Lisbon to Lagos, Portugal
If you’re coming from Lisbon, the bus and the train are both solid options. Both are comparable options in terms of price and time, however, we recommend taking the bus as it is direct, whereas the train requires a transfer.
One way trips from Lisbon to Lagos are around 17 euros, roundtrip is 34 euros. Buses leave multiple times daily from Sete Rios station, in the North end of Lisbon. When booking, be sure to look at the estimated time for the trip, as it varies from 3h45m to upwards of 5 hours. You can book online with Rede Espressos. Be sure to book online at least a few days in advance during the busy season to guarantee your spot. Rede Espressos’ buses are modern, clean, and comfortable. It’s the way to travel from Lisbon to Lagos!
If you’re flying in from outside Portugal, you’ll likely be flying into Faro Airport. From there, there aren’t a lot of great public transportation options, so we would recommend booking a private transfer with Yellowfish Transfers for 71 euros, or 140 euros roundtrip.
Best Beaches to Visit on a Weekend in Lagos
Lagos is all about the sun, the sand, and the sea. But how do you choose which of its National Geographic worthy beaches to visit? Relax, that’s what we’re here for. We visited several beaches during our long weekend visit, and you’ll find our ranking of them below.
Plus, the great news is, you really don’t have to choose just one. Most of the top beaches are very close to each other, all interconnected by a walking path, so you can easily experience multiple in one day!
- Praia do Camilo – Tucked into the cliffs, there’s a large staircase leading down to this gem. Here you’ll find calm swimming areas and a mix of locals and tourists. This was our favourite beach and is a great spot for sunrise!
- Praia da Batata – The most accessible beach from Lagos but still a great one! While you won’t get the “nestled into the cliffs” vibes that you do from some of the other beaches, this beach is easy to get to (does not require ascending/descending large staircases) and provide lots of space with great swimming. Also, there’s a bar at this beach so what’s not to love!
- Praia Dona Ana – One of the biggest beaches in Lagos and one of the most accessible from the town of Lagos. Check out the epic views from the surrounding cliffs and frolic in the big waves crashing up on shore.
- Praia dos Estudantes – Very small beach that’s worth checking out just to see the iconic bridge going overheard. Would not recommend planning to stay that this beach as it’s not the best sand and is busy with tourists coming to photograph the bridge. It’s still worth checking it out on your way to one of the next beaches. Grab a drink after at the nearby cliffside bar called Mar.
If you have extra time and want to check out a few more stunning beaches, check out the Algarve guide my friend Jules put together for some gorgeous pics of Praia da Bordeira, Praia de Marinha and more!
Grab a Coffee or Brunch in Lagos Before Heading to the Beach
Coffee & Waves is a great little Aussie cafe in a quiet part of Lagos. There are better places to go if you’re looking for full-on breakfast or brunch, but the coffee here is as good as you’ll find in Lagos. Stop in for an oat milk latte and surf shack vibes.
Brunch, anyone? If you’re looking for a great spot to get some pre-beach brunch, be sure to check out Twin Fin. It’s a little off the beaten path for most Lagos tourists but its brunch fare is the best in Lagos and is on par with some of the best brunch spots in Lisbon. We recommend the waffle eggs benedict. The sauce is nice and light and the waffle is a delicious touch!
Beach Life Making you Hungry? Here are Some of the Best Spots to Eat in Lagos
I don’t know about you, but to me, seafood always tastes better when you’re right by the source. We spent most of our month living in Lisbon trying out all varieties of the best restaurants available, but when we traveled from Lisbon to Lagos, we primarily feasted at restaurants featuring locally sourced fruits of the sea.
For dinner, we can’t say enough about Quay, a cozy, nautically-inspired seafood restaurant right by the marina. The restaurant is open to the air, featuring views of the sailboats coming and going in the central marina. Here, you’ll find an exceptional cocktail list, and a dinner menu offering the freshest, most mouth-watering seafood dishes of anywhere else in the town.
Do yourself a favour and get the seafood appetizer, which features generous amounts of succulent prawns, crab, and smoked salmon. For mains, we went for the Chef’s specials: The tuna steak and the dorado fillet. Can’t say enough about either, there’s just something about eating seafood by the source.
For something light, yet still satisfying and delicious, head on over to Poke Lagos for either lunch or dinner. They’ve got a cool location in the centre of the town, and have delicious – and very generously portioned – poke bowls of all kinds. A regular-sized bowl is plenty for anyone, and you can build your own or choose from one of their set recipes.
If the beach has you dreaming of Coronas (Coronae?) and margaritas (margaritae? alright, I’ll show myself out…) then you gotta check out Beats and Burritos. They offer your classic Mexican fare – burritos, tacos, enchiladas, all the goods. It’s very fresh, tasty, and reasonably priced. We had to wait in line for maybe 10 minutes, but it was fast service once we got in. Note that it’s cash only.
Activities & Excursions in Lagos
Beyond the beaches, there are plenty of half-day and full day activities that you can book while in Lagos. Some of these include:
- Exploring the coastline from the water via powerboat or sailboat
- Touring the surrounding caves and cliffs via kayak or stand up paddleboard
- Half-day tour to Sagres and Cape St. Vincent – the westernmost point of Europe
- Algarve dolphin and whale watching
- Sunset boat tour
- E-bike rentals and guided bike tours
- Surf the waves of the Sagres area (tours leave daily from Lagos)
And more! Most of these tours can be booked the day before or even the day of, but if visiting with a larger group or during the busy season it may be worth securing your spot further in advance.