How to spend a day in Lagos

Lagos, known as Lacobriga during the Celtic settlement period, boasts a rich maritime history. Over the centuries, the town saw various civilisations such as the Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians and Romans, with the latter bringing growth and prosperity. The Moors later fortified Lagos in the 10th century, naming it Zawaia. After being conquered by Christians in 1249, it became part of Portuguese territory. In the 15th century, the town became a hub for Portuguese exploration, with caravels sailing to Africa. Despite being devastated by the 1755 earthquake, Lagos regained prosperity in the 19th century through fishing and commerce. Today, Lagos is a vibrant city with a proud history and one of the best things to do there is to embark on a boat tour and explore its stunning coastline. Are you prepared to begin your day in Lagos?54 murals thesanetravel.comP1383786

See the coastline of Lagos from a boat

Explore secluded areas of the Algarve coast that can only be reached by a boat cruise to Ponta da Piedade from Lagos. This tour provides a peaceful escape from the busy crowds on land and is perfect for those with limited time, allowing for unobstructed views of the natural landmarks from the water. I opted for a tour with BlueFleet - Boat Trips and Tours, which lasted just over an hour and departed from Marina de Lagos, and it exceeded my expectations. Their knowledgeable local guides provide insights into the secrets, culture and history of Lagos, while their boats are well-equipped for comfortable and safe exploration of the coastline and caves.13 blue fleet thesanetravel.comP137350715 blue fleet thesanetravel.comP137354818 blue fleet thesanetravel.comP1373580

Visit Lagos Marina and walk the promenade

The Lagos Marina, located in the Bay of Lagos, was established in 1994. Over the years, it has welcomed over 40,000 boats and 100,000 visitors from various parts of the world. The Marina de Lagos is known for its scenic promenade as well as its numerous restaurants and bars, making it a popular destination for tourists looking to enjoy drinks or coffee in Lagos.33 marina thesanetravel.comP137343834 marina thesanetravel.comP138370835 marina thesanetravel.comP1383712

See a replica of a historic caravel

The caravel Boa Esperança is a replica of the ship Bartolomé Díaz used when he passed the Cape of Good Hope in 1488. The vessel, which meets modern safety standards, was constructed in Portugal by skilled shipbuilders using traditional techniques from that era. Launched in 1990, it immediately began ocean sailing and was acquired by the Algarve Tourism Board to showcase the region's history. Since then, the ship has travelled many nautical miles on important missions and participated in regattas. It has also been featured in documentaries and films, offering guided tours to tourists and students about the Age of Discovery and the lives of seafarers from the 15th–17th centuries. During my visit, it was docked near the Lagos Marina90 caravel thesanetravel.comP1373452

Feel the history at Lagos Fortress and the city walls

Constructed in the late 17th century, Lagos Fortress is located at the point where the River Bensafrim meets the Atlantic Ocean. This rectangular fortress features sturdy stone walls and a small drawbridge. Today, it serves as a museum dedicated to the Portuguese Discoveries. Originally built to protect Lagos from potential attacks, the fortress was later utilised as a military service depot for maritime-related activities until the late 20th century. The ancient city walls that still encircle the historic area of Lagos provide a glimpse into the city's rich past. Situated in front of the fortress are the restored twin watchtowers overlooking the water. 30 lagos walls thesanetravel.comP1383676

Go around the statue of Henry the Navigator

The statue of Infante Dom Henrique, also known as Henry the Navigator, was erected in the square bearing his name in 1960 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of his death. Lagos became a prominent port for Portuguese explorations due to its excellent natural harbour during the time of Henry the Navigator in the 15th century. As the governor of the Algarve, he prepared ships and funded expeditions to Africa, marking the beginning of the Portuguese Discoveries. The governor's palace was located within the protective walls of the city.35 henrique thesanetravel.comP1383724

Address: Praça Infante Dom Henrique

Visit Municipal Museum

The Municipal Museum Dr. José Formosinho, established in 1932 and named after its founder, is the primary museum in Lagos. It is widely considered the top museum in the Algarve region, offering various exhibits catering to different interests. A major highlight of the museum is the beautifully decorated interior of the Church of Santo Antonio, which can only be accessed through the museum. Visitors can explore numerous rooms showcasing local history, Portuguese historic coins, military artefacts from the Age of Discovery, artworks and more. The museum's collection also includes archaeological discoveries such as Moorish pottery and findings dating back to Neolithic times. Upon exiting the museum, visitors are treated to the breathtaking interior of the small baroque Church of Santo Antonio, featuring intricate gold leaf decorations alongside charming azulejo tiles.44 museum thesanetravel.comP138375740 museum thesanetravel.comP138373141 museum thesanetravel.comP138373443 museum thesanetravel.comP138375642 museum thesanetravel.comP1383745

Address: R. Gen. Alberto da Silveira 1

Walk around the old town

Explore the picturesque cobblestone streets of the old town of Lagos, lined with charming shops, eateries and historic buildings.46 old town thesanetravel.comP138376647 old town thesanetravel.comP138377148 old town thesanetravel.comP138377456 murals thesanetravel.comP1383790

Have fun spotting street art

Thanks to the unique initiative known as ARTURb, organised by the city council, street art can be found throughout Lagos. This project brings together Portuguese and international street artists to create art in various locations around the city. Take some time to explore and appreciate the different pieces of street art scattered throughout Lagos. Some notable works include a mural of two snails painted by Belgian artist ROA, known for his intricate animal paintings in black and white. 54 murals thesanetravel.comP1383786Another piece to look out for is Hunt, created by artists Wes21 and Onur in 2021.55 murals thesanetravel.comP1383787

Address: R. Lançarote de Freitas 31

Lagos Jungle Fever

The artwork Lagos Jungle Fever, created in 2023, was a joint project involving three artists from different countries. One of them, Le Funky, is a freelance illustrator and graphic designer from Portugal. Another artist, Thomas Kojo Alicoe Appiah, also known as Tetebotan Kali, is a versatile visual artist from Ghana. The third artist, Tars82, is a Brazilian graffiti artist with over 25 years of experience, currently based in Portugal. Each artist has incorporated their unique style into the piece, which aims to promote unity and togetherness among people of diverse backgrounds. Despite coming from different tribes, we are all human beings.51 murals thesanetravel.comP138377952 murals thesanetravel.comP1383781

Address:  Tv. do Cotovelo 6

Finding New Shapes by The Caver, created in 2023.50 murals thesanetravel.comP1383776

Address: R. Lançarote de Freitas 20A

The mural of bears below is the creation of two artists under the alias Pipsqueakwashere.
57 murals thesanetravel.comP1383803On the opposite side of the same tunnel is a mural by Daan Botlek:  De motu corporum ex percussione (On the motion of bodies out of collisions).58 murals thesanetravel.comP1383804Both were created in 2016.

Address: Rossio da Trindade, 8600-513 Lagos

Stroll along the boardwalk

The Ponta da Piedade Trail is a small part of the notable Fishermen's Trail known for its beauty and length. The official start and finish point of the Fishermen's Trail is the Lagos train station; however, it is recommended to begin the walk at Dona Ana Beach. The trail initially consists of wooden walkways with various scenic viewpoints, offering a different perspective of the Lagos coastline compared to a morning boat ride. 60 board walk thesanetravel.comP1383806Visitors can also descend stairs to access some beaches along the route. Dona Ana Beach is known for its golden sands, clear blue waters and impressive limestone cliffs, making it a popular destination for snorkelling. 61 board walk thesanetravel.comP1383809Continuing along the trail will lead to Camilo Beach, another picturesque spot in the Algarve. Visitors can descend a wooden staircase to reach the beach and discover a beloved cove surrounded by cliffs and lush vegetation. The crystal-clear waters are home to a variety of marine life, making it a superb place for exploration. Take some time to admire the rock formations and the unique flora of the Algarve during your walk.63 board walk thesanetravel.comP1383813

The next stop on your hike is Ponta da Piedade, a remarkable geological formation resembling a large, crumbling cake. This site features stunning limestone formations and grottoes shaped by the sea over many years. Take in the breathtaking sea stacks, arches and tunnels, and observe the various birds that inhabit this rocky sanctuary. 67 board walk thesanetravel.comP1383830At the end of the beautiful coastline, you will find a lighthouse called Ponta da Piedade, which in Portuguese means 'mercy point'. Legend has it that women would cry for their departing men from this spot, hence the name. There is a cafe and restroom available for a break and refreshments before continuing to the Canavial Beach viewpoint.70 board walk thesanetravel.comP1383843Canavial Beach, located between cliffs, is a tranquil hideaway that provides a peaceful escape from the busier beaches. From the vantage point of Porto de Mós Beach, one can appreciate the towering rock formations that surround it. These cliffs, made up of various types of rock, including marl, claystone, sandstone and limestone, offer a glimpse into the geological history of the Algarve, which spans millions of years. 79 board walk thesanetravel.comP138388680 board walk thesanetravel.comP1383891Visitors can explore the area on foot for as long as they desire, with the option to return to Lagos using the affordable Bolt service. However, it is necessary to note that internet connectivity may be limited in certain areas, so you may have to walk to a location where the signal is stronger.81 board walk thesanetravel.comP1383902

Practical tip

I did not explore Lagos City Market, but you are more than welcome to do so.31 lagos market thesanetravel.comP1383690I have enclosed a map showing the walking route and main points of this fascinating day trip to Lagos just to give you an idea of the distances and points of interest.

Like it? Pin it! LagosS

What did you think? Have you visited Algarve and Lagos? I would love to hear from you, so please add your comment below.

  • Published by Anita on April 12, 2024
  • Author: Anita Sane

    Anita 03 18

    About the author
    Anita is a part-time traveller, passionate photographer and a retired career woman from Latvia, 
    travelling mostly solo for more than 15 years. She is a skilled travel planner who plans and executes her travels by herself. Anita wants to show you how to travel the world and open your mind to new experiences. Follow her on FacebookInstagramPinterestTwitter and Bloglovin.


    We stayed in Albufeira for a week last year, so had time to explore Lagos a bit as well. We missed some of the street art, like the snails. It was fun for a visit though.
    We loved spending a day in Lagos when we were in the Algarve in Portugal. But we did miss the chance to see this lovely spot from the water in a boat. A perfect way to see the stunning cliffs from below. It was great to explore the history as we wandered too. Next time we will have to visit the Municipal Museum. And find more of the fun colourful street art. All great reasons to return.

    Lagos looks gorgeous. I'd love to see it from the water as the coastline looks magical and then stroll around town looking at the street art. What a great day!
    Wow, this place really looks worth a visit for a day or two. Portugal has been on my wish list for a long time and the list of places to visit is getting longer and longer!
    OK, so I'm not a town person, but having spent a couple of weeks in and around Lagos last month, I can't believe I missed all that street art!

    We did admire and try out all the new boardwalks - hoping they will, at least, reduce the erosion on the cliffs (Ponte da Piedade) and sand dunes (Meia Praia). We noted huge amounts of new building work - some completed since we were last there in 2018, some under construction now - removing some of the green vacant lots within the suburbs, and at least one monstrosity that has not been worked on since 2016.

    Still, we had a pleasant time walking and birdwatching - didn't see much sun, but it did mostly stay dry.

    Wow! So many attractions here. I think I would take 2 days to explore all these attractions. It is totally worth it.

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