7 unique things to do in Lagos

by Andrea Gambaro  |  Published August 13, 2018

In addition to the attractions of the Algarve coast, a stay in Lagos brings with it a different array of urban activities. Here are seven unique things to do in and around the town.

Street art in Lagos (Photo: Fabrizio Sciami via Flickr)

Sunbathing sessions, sea adventures, nightlife and quality beach time are excellent ways to enjoy Lagos and the surrounding coast. But the town also offers an occasion to delve into the Portuguese culture, explore the local cuisine, and find a relaxing refuge away from the summer crowds.

Explore a ‘Sea of Stories’

Mar d’Estórias is a multifunctional space promoting the culture, traditions and customs of Portugal, with a particular focus on the Algarve region. Whether you visit for breakfast or later in the day, the cosy café-bistro offers all kinds of options, including a tempting selection of Portuguese petiscos to nibble at. The shop area showcases delicacies, wines, liquors and homeware, while the mezzanine is dedicated to books and audio-visuals. Finally, the events gallery hosts art exhibitions, workshops, conferences and thematic dinners. The view from the rooftop bar will be a perfect end to your visit.

Rua Silva Lopes 30, Lagos 8600-623

The shop area at Mar d’Estorias (Photo: Mar d’Estorias)

Petiscar in a local tavern

Often described as the Portuguese version of tapas, petiscos are small portions of large dishes, which allow diners to share and taste several recipes. There is a specific verb for that, petiscar, and Arc’da Velha is one of the best places in Lagos to practice it. A wide range of Algarvian specialties is served in this local tavern, as the seasonal menu may include the likes of boiled horse mackerel, fried sardine fillets, cuttlefish in tomato sauce and a selection of black puddings.

Rua Gil Eanes 15, Lagos 8600-742

Go local at Arc’da Velha (Photo: Arc’da Velha)

Explore the beaches and grottos of the Algarve on a kayak trip

Paddle your way along the coast in a sea kayak and explore the splendid beaches and grottos of the Algarve. Kayak Adventures Lagos adds snorkelling to the equation, making the sea adventure even more exciting. During this two-and-a-half hour tour, you’ll discover the caves and rock formations this region is famous for, before stopping at an isolated spot of the coast to relax, sunbathe and snorkel. Kayak Adventures Lagos also organises sunrise kayak trips for early birds, to enjoy the Atlantic Ocean at this special time of the day.

Meeting point – Avenida dos Descobrimentos Cais da Solaria, Lagos 860

A sea adventure is the best way to enjoy the grottos of the Algarve (Photo: Kayak Adventures Lagos)

Think like a Portuguese explorer at the Science Museum

An interactive museum for children of all ages, the Ciência Viva Centre is an ideal refuge for families who need a break from the busy streets of Lagos. This educational space brings together history, science and technology, presenting a range of fun and entertaining modules that explore the theme of discovery in its many aspects. Inspired by the journeys of the Portuguese seafarers of the past, the exhibition space is divided into ‘aboard’ rooms, including a submarine, a boat garden and a lighthouse. Visitors are invited to adopt the same exploratory mindset as the famous discoverers.

R. Dr. Faria e Silva 34, Lagos 8600-734

The Science Museum’s submarine (Photo: Ciência Viva Centre)

Enjoy the traditional fado music

Focussing on Portugal’s traditional music, a fado-themed night is one of the guided tours run by Volta Do Mar. Starting from Lagos, a jeep ride will take you to the countryside, where you’ll enjoy a full meal, drinks and, of course, the expressive voice of a fado singer accompanied by string instruments. This experience will bring you face to face with the soul of Portugal, which mixes melancholy, resignation and hopefulness. Volta Do Mar also runs many other tours, exploring different aspects of the region’s cultural and natural beauties.

Meeting point to be arranged

A fado night with Volta Do Mar (Photo: Volta Do Mar)

Become one with the peaceful nature of the Algarve on a yoga retreat

The peaceful Algarvian countryside makes a perfect setting for a Yoga retreat. One of Algarve Yoga’s centres is located in Figueira, roughly a half-an-hour drive away from Lagos. Housed in a charming rustic house with a meditation garden and a swimming pool, the retreats include Yoga Surf Holidays, Yoga Delight Holidays and the Hormone Yoga Retreats. All of them come with nutritious vegetarian food sourced locally, while special diet requests can be arranged. Beginners, intermediate and experienced yogis are all welcome.

Quinta da Rosa, Figueira

Stay at a holiday home driven by community and sustainability

Casa Mãe renovated an abandoned estate by the sea to create a modern and innovative holiday residence. Rooms are chic, vintage and minimalist. Vegetables are grown in the on-site garden, eggs are provided by the chicken farm and other produce is responsibly-sourced locally, reflecting a strong commitment to a sustainable lifestyle. Everything here promotes local artisans and homemade, eco-friendly products, from the furniture and accessories to the goods on sale in the concept store. Casa Mãe also aims to provide a space for creative people to develop their passions and share them with the other guests and the local community.

Rua do Jogo da Bola 41, Lagos 8600-712

One of Casa Mãe’s cabanas (Photo: Casa Mãe)