Lagos sits about 300km to the south of Lisbon on the Algarve coast which itself is on the Atlantic ocean (and is only 200km from the tip of Africa).
We were delighted on our first full day as the weather was perfect, warm day of about 22 degrees, sharp clear skies, and no wind at all. Apart from a rainy day and some wind this weather held for the time we were there and when we left on November 21st the 10 day forecast still showed more of the same. So it would seem that for much of the autumn season, Lagos has perfect weather.
The coastal walks, cliffs, beaches and open spaces are what really made us enjoy Lagos. We found that we had plenty of options for different length walks from 8km to 20km that took us along some stunning routes.
The most iconic walk is the coastal walk from Lagos down to Ponta da Piedade, then along the boardwalks across the cliffs, through some delightful suburb streets and down to huge beach of Praia de Porto de Mos. That out and back walk was about 14km and took in the best scenery of the area.
Other walks included the cliff tops between Praia de Porto de Mos and the resort town of Praia da Luz, and the long wide sandy beach of Meia Praia to the east of Lagos.
All of these walks we did are sections of the recently completed and well marked Fishermans Trail - a 226 km coastal trail which makes up a part of the bigger Rota Vincentina.
The city of Lagos sits on the West bank of the Bensafrim river. The old city center, once a walled city, is surrounded by more modern medium density urban area. Large sections of the city walls remain and provide some great ambience to the city.
The old town itself is typical of the region, narrow cobblestone streets and lanes criss cross the area and there are large pedestrian only areas lined with cafes and restaurants. Being shoulder season and the COVID era, these were mostly quiet.
We stayed just outside the city walls in a (relatively) more modern area with lots of apartment buildings. Ours was the tallest in the neighbourhood at seven stories. Since we were on the sixth floor and the building was at the top of the hill we had pretty good district views and saw some lovely sunrises and sunsets.
Beyond the urban areas it gets into some low density suburban areas and resort style properties close to the coast.
Across the Bensafrim river from Lagos are two large marinas. One is the fishing marina which has its own colony of well fed healthy cats called the Lagos Ferry Cats, and the other is the recreation boat and tourist boat marina. Also on this side of the river is the massive Meia Praia and large resort areas.
The whole city and region in general was exceptionally well maintained, clean, and everything seemed to function well from a local government perspective.
The Algarve coast is 150kms of rocky cliffs, small private beaches, long sandy beaches, and cute towns. Lagos is well situated as a base to explore many of these areas either by bus, by train, or by car.
We decided to rent a car for five days so that we could explore the area, and then have an easy way to get to the airport in Faro on our last day.
We covered a lot of the Algarve coast from the barren windswept point known as the End of the World where Europe ends at the Atlantic, to long sandy gentle beaches, to mountain top towns with thermal spas. This region really has something for everyone. You can read about our Favourite Things to Do and See in Algarve.
Looking at it as a place to stay for a longer time instead of just a resort area, Lagos has everything that you would need. There were plenty of supermarkets with everything from Aldi & Lidl through to a massive Pingo Doce and at the higher end a huge Continete and Intermarche.
There was no shortage of bars, cafes and restaurants, two good sized fish markets, and enough beaches, walks, and nearby towns to explore to keep you entertained for a few months.
The only downside is transport in and out of Lagos for international connections. There are no direct trains from Lisbon to Lagos so without a car you either need to get a bus or fly or change trains. The main airport for the region is about 90kms from Lagos with no real public transport options.
All up we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves in Lagos. If we had the chance to redo our three months in Portugal we would switch our times in Porto and Lagos around so that we had one full month in Lagos and only two weeks in Porto.