Lagos Portugal is a European traveler’s ultimate beach paradise. When I first arrived into Lagos as a backpacker in my early twenties I was taken aback by its beauty. Set against a dramatic backstop of sandstone cliffs, mystical grottos, white sand beaches and turquoise waters, this laid-back fishing town is the perfect place to relax outside of the typical European hustle and bustle. When I returned nearly ten years later, I could confidently conclude that Lagos is a true gem.
While Lagos has long been both a backpacker’s beach-party stop and a favourite family-friendly hidden gem for sun seeking UK holiday makers, it remains a relative European beach side secret for those in the know. Though most who happen upon the gorgeous Portuguese Algarve focus their time in either Faro or Albufeira, you will be well rewarded to head a little further west to enjoy the stunning beaches, friendly locals, and reasonable prices offered in sunny Lagos.
The cobbled and walled city centre is car-free and rife with small shops and cafes. With not a single chain restaurant in the pedestrian town centre, Lagos treats you to the locals’ hospitality all the way. Town squares with late night summer dances, sunny sangria patios, and phenomenal beaches are all yours to explore. Here is your vegetarian guide to Lagos…
Easily accessed by either a rental car or charter coach from Lisbon or Faro, our favourite way to arrive in Lagos is by train from Lisbon, via Tunes. The 4.5 hr trip winds through the lush Portuguese hillsides along routes inaccessible by road.
VEGETARIAN FOOD & DRINKS
Walk the cobbled streets of Lagos at dusk and you may start to question if you’ll ever find something to eat besides Peri Peri chicken or fish of the day. Yes, you may need to expand your horizons past ‘traditional’ Portuguese food to find something vegan or vegetarian in this town, but there are still plenty of delicious places to eat, drink, and soak up the magic of Lagos. Here are some of our favorite vegan and vegetarian friendly restaurants, bars, and cafes in town.
Don’t forget to check out the map at the end of the post to help plan your trip and find out what’s located near your hotel.
- Nah Nah Bah | Come for the decadent “World’s-Best” Nah Nah Bah Burgers, stay for the great reggae vibes. Ask to swap any of the burgers with a house-made vegan patty. A chill-out atmosphere with strong cocktails & great company. The place to watch the Portuguese national football matches. (pictured below)
- Mama’s Table | You’ll need to be enjoying the world famous atmosphere of the Rising Cock Hostel or its Guest House to get a seat at Mama’s Table for breakfast, but for those do you’ll be treated to handmade crepes and Tika Tika Tea, made with love by Mama herself. Luckily for those who aren’t, we’ve got the recipes straight from Mama… though I doubt you have a lemon tree in your backyard!
- Beats & Burritos | Mexican food made with fresh ingredients. Easy to customize vegetarian or vegan with a build-your-own menu.
- The Green Room | Casual Mexican joint with fun indoor/outdoor atmosphere. Good cocktails & hot sauces. No credit cards.
- Maharaja Tasty Indian | Very tasty Indian food with great outdoor seating along the cobblestoned streets. (pictured below)
- Restaurant Kohinoor | Another delicious Indian restaurant! Always a great vegetarian option.
- Croissanteria 29 | A must stop for a quick breakfast or lunch, this tiny cafe serves unforgettable croissant sandwiches straight out of the oven.
- Mimar Snack & Wine Bar | This casual hang-out serves homemade meals, pastries, wines & tapas.
- Meu Limao | A good place for happy hour drinks and sangrias, with a solid selection of vegan and vegetarian tapas. Sidewalk seating next to the St. Anthony Church makes for great people watching. (pictured below)
- Bora Cafe | Try this tiny indoor/outdoor cafe for healthy breakfasts, lunches and juices. Gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options available.
- Cafe do Mar | Although not the best option for vegetarian food, this place simply can’t be beat for it’s fantastic oceanside view while enjoying a cocktail. Stop in for a cold drink on the way up from Praia Dos Estudantes.
BEST BEACHES IN LAGOS
This is the reason you came to Lagos! These beaches are some of the most stunning in the world. Start near town at Praia dos Estudantes, and from there walk along the cliffs hitting one beach after another and taking in the beautiful views. The natural beauty of the Algarve Coast is one of a kind.
- Praia dos Estudantes | One of the best beaches, this small sandy beach is located right near town. It’s quick and easy to get to, but not too overcrowded. When you need to cool down, stop at nearby Cafe do Mar for a drink with a gorgeous view.
- Praia do Pinhão | A dramatic beach set against towering cliffs. Very photogenic spot. You can swim and walk through the caves from Praia dos Estudantes.
- Praia Dona Ana | Voted “best beach in the world” by Conde Nast Traveller Magazine. As you can imagine, Dona Ana gets very busy on the weekend.
- Praia de Camilo | A small and beautiful beach that gets busy in the afternoon, this was one of our favorites. During low tide you can explore the nearby caves and formations. Be prepared to climb a lot of steps, but it’s worth it!
- Praia de Pinheiros | A little harder to get to, this small, secluded beach is sheltered from the wind and has calm open waters.
- Ponta da Piedade | This is a popular place south of Lagos for people to gather on the cliff and watch the sunsets. It’s about a half an hour walk from Lagos or you can take a boat trip and get up close to the cliffs formations. Look for the tunnel to joining beaches.
One of the best ways to see the Algarve Coast is by boat. You could rent a ski boat, go kayaking, or even take sailing lessons for the day. Here are our top picks for boat activities in Lagos.
- Algarve Boat Rentals | Rent a ski boat or charter a sail boat. Go in the morning when there are less people and be sure to bring your boating license.
- rusailing | Get out on the ocean by take sailing lessons for the day.
- Days of Adventure | Take a boat trip to see dolphins in the wild or a kayak tour of the grottos. #1 on Trip Advisor.
- Algarve Freedom Kayaks | Go on a kayak tour to see the caves and visit a secluded beach where you can swim and snorkel.
Click on the arrow on the top left corner to hide/unhide the list of locations on the map.
We hope you get a chance to visit this gem on the coast of Portugal for a truly relaxing holiday!
PORTUGAL CITY GUIDES
If you are planning a trip around Portugal, check out the rest of Sails & Spices Portugal City Guides:
- Sipping Ginja in Obidos
- Lisbon City Guide
- A Wine Lover’s Dream in Douro Valley
- Pena Palace in Sintra
- Pastries and Parapetes in Belem
- A Romantic Weekend in Porto