– Written by Victoria Philpott
Lagos is a beautiful holiday destination on the south coast of Portugal in the western Algarve. As well as being a beach side city it’s also filled with history and has plenty to keep your camera snapping finger busy while you’re there. The beautiful Old Town is surrounded by the 16th Century city walls and the new town is filled with tourist-friendly beaches, bars, restaurants, and hotels making it one of the most visited cities in the Algarve. Here are some top tips on how you can do your holiday in Lagos on the cheap.
#1 Lagos Markets
Every Saturday morning there’s a food market opposite the Marina footbridge near the bus station. Here you’ll find all the fresh fruits, vegetables, olives, honey, figs and almonds you’ll ever need. It’s a popular market so make sure to get there early and take some small change with you. If you’re after some juicy meats and fat fish there’s a meat market in town and the top floor has a restaurant and fantastic views across Lagos Bay.
#2 Beautiful viewpoints
The best view is from the Ponte da Piedade by the lighthouse. You can see across the bay with the Monchique Hills as your backdrop. From here you can see all the way to Sagres to the west and past Albufeira to the east.
#3 Lagos Zoo
Lagos Zoo is big on conservation, education and protection. The zoo owners are proud of the happy environments they’ve created around the animals there and apparently the fact their animals are all at it (breeding I mean) means they’re happy where they are!
There’s a children’s petting farm, a playground, a snack bar and a small souvenir shop too. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a picnic too – just grab a picnic bench and watch the animals. Or there’s a Portuguese restaurant there too if you want something more substantial.
Adults €14/children €10
#4 Scuba diving and snorkelling
The Algarve area around Lagos is surrounded by clear blue waters – perfect for scuba diving and snorkelling. If you don’t have your PADI certificate you can sign up to a course at the Lagos Diving School and you can get it in less than a week. Or you can just join the instructors and go out for a dive if you prefer. The view below the sea is beautiful: underwater reefs, caves, wrecks and marine life galore!
#5 Water parks
The Slide and Splash Water Park is just 20 minutes from Lagos. If you don’t have a car you can easily get a transfer in your ticket on one of the buses for just €8 each. It’s the biggest water park in Portugal and one of the biggest in Europe. There are 4 acres of swimming pools, kamikaze runs, soft slopes, black holes, rapid rivers, Jacuzzis and tornados.
Adults €24.50/children €18
#6 Eco Karting
The western end of the Algarve is known for a few hefty winds. Make the most of them with new sport Eco-Kart Landsailing. I haven’t tried it, but it’s apparently easy to learn, fun, fast and exciting – so their website says. It looks immense – with go-karts attached to sails that will pull you across the beach area.
1 hour = €25pp or have two in a car for just €10 more.
#7 Wine tasting
Now this is what tops my list. Think Algarve, and I think delicious wine. There are quite a few vineyards across Lagos open to tourists to come along and try before they buy. The best/biggest ones are:
- Monte da Casteleja Vineyard, near Sargacal, Lagos
- Única (Adega Cooperativa do Algarve) in Lagoa on the main road.
- Quinta do Moragdo da Torre, Penina (near Alvor).
Make sure you phone ahead before you venture out to check they’re open to tourists and willing to have you.
#8 Extreme water sports
The wind in the Algarve makes it the perfect place to learn to kitesurf, surf, sail and wakeboard. You can do anything from a course for a few hours to a camp for a summer. Prices vary, but if you’re planning on learning the tricks rather than just doing them then expect to pay quite a bit more.
#9 Horse riding
There are two places you can go to horse ride in Lagos.
These centres cater for anyone from beginner standard to experienced. You can join in on a range of activities depending on your ability – you could even go on a 5-day tour of the Algarve on horseback if you like.
Prices start from €25pp per hour.