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Portugal is the land of summer, and the Algarve region is known for everything that makes a beautiful summer vacation. Long stretches of beautiful beach, an exhilarating nightlife, and a city abounding with history make this region a great place for any vacation. The region has long been reliant on its location on the southern coast of Portugal, which allowed the small fishing village to prosper and evolve into the scenic, bustling center that it is today.

Lagos is a relatively small city. With a population of just over 30000, visitors should not expect a big city feel but rather the environment of a beautiful resort town. In the summer is when this region really comes alive, with the Algarve region boasting more than 50 million visitors! (Compare that to the population of the region, which is only about 500,000). People coming to Lagos in the summer should be prepared for this, and expect to have to work a bit to get away from the tourists.

Overall, Lagos is a beautiful place to visit, and it has something for everyone! Whether you come for the history, the beach, the delicious food or the nightlife, we are sure you’ll find something great to do in Lagos!





Important dates in Portugal

  • Jan 1 – New Year’s Day
  • Feb 28 – Carnival/Shrove
  • Apr 14 – Good Friday
  • Apr 16 – Easter
  • Apr 25 – Liberty Day
  • May 1 – Labor Day / May Day
  • Jun 10 – Portugal Day
  • Jun 15 – Corpus Christi
  • Aug 15 – Assumption of Mary
  • Oct 5 – Republic Implantation
  • Nov 1 – All Saints’ Day
  • Dec 1 – Restoration of Independence
  • Dec 8 – Feast of the Immaculate Conception
  • Dec 25 – Christmas Day

Interesting facts

  • Algarve, the region of Portugal in which Lagos sits, has had human presence since the Paleolithic and Neolithic eras, which span 10 Million to 4000 years ago. Some ancient monuments remain, like the Cabeço do Rochedo, a monument which dates back to this era.
  • Portugal is the oldest established country in Europe.
  • Algarve used to be a Moorish city, and it wasn’t until 1241 AD that the region came under Portuguese control with the conquest of King Sancho the first.

Good to know

Portugal can get very rainy in the off season, and Lagos is no exception. The city averages more than 50mm of rain from October-May, so it’s definitely best to visit during high season!

Dom Rodrigos is a traditional desert which Lagos specializes in! Make sure you try it while you’re there.

If you’re coming to Portugal with intentions of utilizing Spanish expertise, think again. The two languages are as linguistically different as are the cultures, and the assumption that Spanish is interchangeable could be taken as an insult to the Portugal locals.

Culture and Etiquette in Portugal

You will notice that waiters bring bread, olives and other goodies to your table the moment you sit down. This unordered appetizer is called couvert and can cost upwards to over 10 euros a plate. If you aren’t interested in eating it, no problem- send it back to the kitchen and you avoid getting charged.

Portuguese food doesn’t have the same public appeal as other European cuisines, but the traditional flavors are quite enjoyable. The nation eats rather fresh with large amounts of grilled fish and meat. They are most famous for their salted cod.

Pescatarians will get by, but serious vegetarians might have to search a bit further in Portugal. Even vegetable dishes usually include meat with soups including the bones. If you like to eat on the run, you may notice considerably fewer options than in North American culture. Prepared, frozen foods are unusual in this part of the world.

It’s customary to leave a few coins adding up to 5-10% in establishments that exceed your prior expectation. Always ask if they accept credit cards, if you’re planning to use one. You do not want to finish your plate, then be embarrassed by your lack of acceptable payment.

Although not strict, when visiting churches or other religious buildings, try to wear appropriate clothes. Cover your shoulders and knees entirely.

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Lagos is quickly becoming one of the top destinations for young people to vacation from colder cities in Europe who are looking for an escape from drab and dreary in their hometowns. This has led to a huge growth in the nightlife opportunities for people visiting this city on the southern coast of Portugal. Today, visitors can enjoy all the natural beauty of the Algarve region during the day and then stay out and explore all the great bars at night. Make sure to bring your adventure pants, because you’re in for the adventure of your life!

Ponta da Piedade

Take a beautiful boat trip from Lagos to this amazing natural rock formation. Ponta de Piedade is a natural arch formation in the water on the coast of Lagos that is truly amazing to look at. A boat tour organized by a local tour company will take you through the arches of this amazing formation. You can also get there by car and hike over the top of the formation for amazing photo opportunities, and even take a swim at the nearby beach.

Get at tan on at Praia do Porto de Mos

This is just one of the countless beaches in Lagos, and to be honest you’ll have a great time at any of them. This one stands out to us because of the nearby restaurants and the relative smallness of the crowds.

Get Enlightened at Ponta da Piedade Lighthouse

A historic lighthouse turned visiting museum offers incredible views of the surrounding sandstone cliffs as well as information on the history of this beautiful area. This is one of the most scenic sites to visit in Lagos.

Get Tipsy but Don’t Tip Over on a Bike+Wine Tour with Volta do Mar

Portugal is famous for it’s wines. (Port, after all, is named after this beautiful country). As a visitor, you should definitely take advantage of the proximity of so many delicious wineries and the relatively inexpensive cost to do a combination tour that combines scenic bicycling with delicious wine tasting.

Grandly let go at the Grand Cafe

One of the only true clubs in Lagos, Grand Cafe is an excellent place to finish off your night of partying. It features decadent interior decorating, delicious and expertly crafted cocktails, and, most importantly, a lively crowd full from all over the world. If you are even a little bit into nightlife, this is a must visit.

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