Marina’s Travel Guide to Lagos, Portugal

I’m finally getting around to continuing writing about our trip to Europe this past May. If you missed it, I already wrote about our time in Barcelona here and Alella, Spain, here. Now, it’s time to recap the Portugal part of the trip, starting with Lagos.

Lagos is a part of the Algarve Coast in Portugal and is one of the many seaside towns in Portugal. It’s almost three hours south of Lisbon and is accessible by train or car. We rented a car and drove to Lagos after flying from Barcelona to Lisbon. I’d highly recommend taking a car because it’s a little quicker and if you’re looking for a scenic drive, we heard from multiple people that the drive to and from Lisbon on the coast is breathtaking. Unfortunately, we wanted to get back to Lisbon quickly to enjoy the city as much as we could and we decided to take the route that went straight through Portugal. It was still very pretty and an easy route, but we would have loved to drive along the coast.

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Now back to Lagos. Lagos was paradise for us. We only got to stay for two nights and if we could go back again, we would have at least stayed a couple nights more. It was unbelievably relaxing, had the most breathtaking views and the most delicious food. It was incredible and I can’t even explain how hard it was to leave.

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Where We Stayed

Casa Mae

I’m convinced that our time in Lagos was so perfect because of our stay the Casa Mae Hotel. I researched places to stay when planning our vacation and came across Casa Mae and the beautiful grounds of the hotel. Turns out, the hotel was a million times better than I had imagined and truly one of the best places we’ve stayed on vacation.

We were greeted with a welcome drink and the receptionist sat down with us and walked us through a map of the hotel and town, as well as the hotel’s recommendations for restaurants and things to do (everything they recommended was spot on!). She brought us to our bright and airy room with fresh apricots on the bed (that came straight from their apricot trees), a hammock on the balcony and relaxing music playing. It was a dream. We were very impressed by the room and the overall feel of the hotel. Walking through the grounds was beautiful. The hotel has three separate buildings, a pool and a garden where they grow herbs, vegetables and fruits they use at their restaurant. Their restaurant is phenomenal by the way – more on that below!

Because Casa Mae is a very desirable hotel, they didn’t have enough room for us to stay in the same place for two nights, so we had to switch rooms during our stay. The first night, we stayed in a room in the Jogo da Bola building and the second night stayed in Casa Mae. Both were absolutely wonderful, but our room in the Jogo da Bola buliding was the best. If you’re going to Lagos, book your stay STAT!!

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What We Did

Kayaking Through the Caves

We booked this experience through Get Your Guide, here. We loved it. It was the perfect amount of time in the water exploring and it was the coolest thing seeing the caves, grottos and rock formations up close. Unfortunately, we didn’t bring our phones because we were nervous they would get wet (even though we had a waterproof case). If you go, bring your phone because you’ll be totally fine if you have a waterproof pouch or case. If kayaking isn’t your thing, there are plenty of boat tours that go near the caves and rock formations.

Ponta da Piedade

Lagos is walking distance to the coast and cliffs and there are three main lookout points: Prai Dona Ana, Praia do Camilo and Ponta da Piedade. If we had more time in Lagos, I would have loved to experience the entire walking trail all the way to the Ponta da Piedade, but we were able to drive there and it was so gorgeous. Pictures don’t do it justice and there are so many lookouts and an area to walk down to the water and see the caves and rock formations. I could have spent hours just taking in the sights.

Explore the City

Lagos has a quaint little “downtown” area and we enjoyed frolicking through the streets and checking the beautiful mosaic tiles. Along the dock, there were street vendors and I believe on certain days there is a fish market and farmer’s market. Ugh, I wish we had more time to explore, because I know we missed out on so much Lagos had to offer!

Time at the Spa

My first time at a spa ever!! I know… how in the world did I wait this long?? The Casa Mae has an incredible spa and I got a full body massage and mini facial. It was to die for. Talk about relaxation!

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Where We Ate

Orta

This was Casa Mae’s restaurant and it was BOMB. Just so good. We ate here for breakfast, snacks and dinner. Everything was superb and fresh, and everything we ever wanted while soaking up paradise in Lagos. If you don’t stay at Casa Mae, you at least have to visit the restaurant.

Mar d’Estórias

One of the coolest places we visited. The bottom floor was a store filled with products made only in Portugal (soaps, prints, etc.) and the top floor and rooftop was a delicious restaurant with tapas and all the wine.

Tasca Do Kiko

Tasca Do Kiko was our first stop when we arrived in Lagos and after eating there, we knew the town was going to make our foodie hearts so happy! Everything was so flavorful and bright. We looooooved this restaurant.

Carvi Beach Hotel

The Carvi Beach Hotel rooftop restaurant was a recommendation from someone we know and after she mentioned the octopus, I knew we had to visit (octopus is my favorite)! The octopus really was out-of-this-world and the views are beautiful too. We’re so glad we visited!

Other places that we would have loved to check out include: O Camino, Tasca Jota, and Patio.

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That about sums up our trip. As with all of the other posts, reliving the moments and experiences we had makes me want to cry. I am so thankful for our time in Lagos and the memories we made.

If you have any questions about traveling to Lagos, feel free to leave them in the comments below. Happy traveling!!

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