Strategically located along the southern coast of the Algarve, Lagos is a small and cozy coastal town. With a picturesque historic center full of bars and restaurants, the city is probably the best option to have as a base during your trip through the region.
So, let’s find out what its fame is all about and where to stay in Lagos, Portugal.
Year after year, the Algarve has confirmed itself as the best area to spend the summer months in Portugal.
With an average of 300 sunny days per year, the Algarve’s beautiful beaches attract millions of tourists every year.
Those are mainly the Portuguese themselves, English, German, and French tourists.
Despite natural beauty and unique rock formations, the region is known for having warmer waters than any other region on the European side of the Atlantic Ocean.
But where to stay when visiting the Algarve? This is one of the most common doubts of those who plan a trip to the region.
Actually, the doubt is between three of the most known cities: Albufeira, which is the most famous city; Faro, the largest city and where the region’s airport is also located; and Lagos, where the best beaches can be found.
Where to stay in Lagos – Guide to Lagos’s best areas
As you might imagine, the logic is simple: the center is in the walled part of town and the most famous beaches are just outside.
There are many options between one area and the other, and you can get from one to the other by bus or walking.
Although the majority of the city’s bars, restaurants, and souvenir stores, are in the historic center, staying in other areas can also be an excellent option.
If you have a car, I don’t think it makes much difference where to stay, the city of Lagos is not big, and everything is easily accessible by car.
If you don’t have a car, I recommend staying near the Historical Center and the Marina of Lagos, because public transport is easier, and you can do more things on foot.
Check out below a list of the best areas to stay in Lagos.
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Old Historical Center
Bordered by the old city wall, Lagos city center is the ideal place for those who want to be in the middle of all the excitement.
Some streets do not allow vehicles to circulate, inviting the tourist to walk and get lost in the many alleys and narrow lanes.
Overall, inside the walled part of town, there are many options of apartments and smaller hostels, generally in older historic buildings for any budget.
And be aware, if you are driving, finding a parking space will not be an easy task.
Marina of Lagos
A few meters away from the old historical center, Lagos Marina, is a more tranquil area where getting around by car is easier.
It’s the harbor area in Lagos that can be accessed by crossing a charming pedestrian bridge that lifts when sailboats need to pass.
There are great lodging options, especially with newer and more modern buildings. In addition, you will be just a short walk from the restaurants in the Marina and the biggest supermarket in town.
And as a bonus, you will be right where you would embark on boat trips to some of the best places in the region, such as Ponta da Piedade and Benagil Cave.
If you keep going a bit further off of the Marina you will reach Meia Praia. Not only is Meia Praia the longest beach in Lagos, with almost 4 miles of flat sand, but it is also the best urban beach in the city.
Brimming with restaurants, beach umbrellas, and chair rental facilities along its entire length, the beach offers a tranquil and comfortable stay.
Some lovely beach resorts are located in this area and include even tennis courts and golf courses. There are also many options for apartments and villas for rent. Not to mention some delightful guest houses.
With a family atmosphere and easy transportation, Meia Praia is located between 10 and 20 minutes from the center of Lagos.
Dona Ana Beach, Camilo Beach and Porto de Mós Beach
Those are some of the most popular Algarve beaches near Lagos situated only a 10-min drive from the historic center.
There you can find incredible stays in residential neighborhoods with nice houses, small resorts, and boutique hotels.
The region is especially indicated for those who are driving and are looking for tranquility in a place with a private balcony and sea view.
A good option is the city’s most famous beach, Dona Ana, which has already been considered the best in the world by the European press.
The nearby Camilo Beach might be a bit more tranquil if you are traveling with kids. And Porto de Mós is where most of the Lagos resorts are located.
Lagos Surrounding Region
If staying directly in Lagos is not your priority, the city’s surroundings offer just as many lodging options for every kind of budget.
There is easy access by car and parking available, and many places can be reached on foot.
And if you are driving to the center, take advantage of the free public parking at the end of the wall. From Praia da Luz to Praia da Rocha, in Portimão, the options are numerous and probably a bit less crowded than staying in Lagos itself.
Where to stay in Lagos Portugal – best budget hotels
Most are in the downtown area, and this makes it very easy if you are using public transportation because they are close to everything.
1. Tag Hostel
If you want to be very close to the bus station and the train station, Tag Hostel is a great budget option. With both shared and private rooms, the hostel is actually installed inside a 19th-century building overlooking the Marina.
2. Olive Hostel
Another accommodation with a perfect location, close to everything in the Old Town, is Olive Hostel.
Very popular for the cozy and warm ambiance, its impeccable cleanness, and outstanding host, this hostel offers both private and shared rooms.
The tranquil atmosphere and comfort are ideal for those travelers who are on a budget but yet care about stylish places. You will also find scented candles all over the place and good music.
3. Top city hostel and Suites
Also in a renovated historical building in the center of Lagos, Top City Hostel & Suites is a modern, airy and comfortable hostel, where the highlight is the terrace with pool and sun loungers that reveals the entire Meia Praia in the background.
A cheap and reliable stay is also a good option for couples who want to save money but still have a private room with a bathroom.
4. Camone Hostel Lagos
Lastly, another great budget option is CamoneHostel Lagos, also located in the Old Town. With a laid-back atmosphere and free breakfast, this hostel is actually very quiet and low-key, but pretty and clean.
5. Suites Inn Lagos
The Suites Inn Lagos is a great value for money in Lagos. With a strategic location, close to all the main attractions, these cute suites are small but very nicely decorated and with all the most modern amenities. Some have a private balcony, others a sun terrace. A delicious breakfast is included.
If you are driving, you can use the free parking in the area. All in all, it is a good option for those who want to stay in the historic part of the city without spending a fortune.
6. Casa Mãe
Also located in the heart of Lagos, the 4-star hotel Casa Mãe is a finely decorated boutique hotel offering a laid-back luxury option with all the convenience. It is hard to describe how charming and delightful this place is, and the indie beach vibes it has.
Immaculate white walls and furniture contrast with the local handmade ceramics, plants, blue and white carpets, and the terracotta floor create a cozy and welcoming ambiance.
The breakfast is fantastic, and the attentive and helpful staff, exquisite cleanliness and easy parking make this hotel one of the most highly rated.
All rooms have a sun terrace and desk, suitable for leisure or work stays. It is the perfect environment for a weekend getaway.
7. Carvi Beach Hotel
And since we are talking about the best beaches in Portugal, the Carvi Beach Hotel is very well rated, and located is in front of Dona Ana beach one of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve.
The hotel has a rooftop pool and rooms with a private balcony overlooking the sea.
The hotel infrastructure includes a spa service with a hot tub and massage, bar, restaurant, gym, and games room. Besides, a delicious breakfast with all the famous Portuguese pastries.
Best Luxury hotels in Lagos Portugal
8. Tivoli Lagos Algarve Resort
For those who like a more resort-like place, Tivoli Lagos Algarve Resort would be a perfect choice. The luxury hotel has more of a corporate feel and look but offers amazing views over the city and spacious rooms. Despite being in the middle of the city, they have an exclusive beach club at Meia Praia beach.
9. Iberostar Selection Lagos Algarve
But if your idea is to stay right by Meia Praia, Iberostar Selection Lagos Algarve is just a stone’s throw away.
The all-inclusive hotel brand offers a spa and wellness center, an indoor pool, and 3 outdoor pools with panoramic ocean views.
Luxury rooms with private balconies either with sea view or garden view. If you are ready to splurge you can even book a room with a private pool.
They serve a superb breakfast but consider the all-inclusive or half-board option as well.
10. Lagos Avenida Hotel
Located right in the Marina, Lagos Avenida Hotel is just a short distance from the historic city center. This means you don’t even need a car to reach restaurants, bars, and beaches.
With a contemporary rustic-sophisticated decoration, this hotel also offers the comfort of air-conditioned rooms. It has a delightful rooftop pool and a simply fabulous buffet breakfast.
11. Don Manuel I Hotel
Although Dom Manuel I is not exactly a hotel but a villa where you can rent apartments, its style is unique with tiles on the bed headboard.
This adults-only accommodation is located within walking distance from both the historic center (15 minutes walking) and Dona Ana beach (5 minutes walking).
Quinta Bonita Country House & Gardens
Located just out of Lagos, Quinta Bonita Country House & Gardens used to be a luxury family residence, now turned into an elegant hideaway offering peaceful and pleasant gardens with cobblestone paths and hand-painted Portuguese tiles surrounding a large pool with sun loungers.
There are eight cozy rooms in the house, high up on a hill in Lagos. As extra perks, the hosts organize picnics, visits to wineries in the area, and surf lessons for guests.
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Practical tips on where to stay in Lagos
What is the best area to stay in Lagos?
Despite being a small town, the hotel options in Lagos are quite diverse and for all budgets. I would recommend staying closer to the central area, so you can have the freedom not only to go to the beach during the day but also to choose restaurants and walk around the city of Lagos at night.
Whether you choose the Marina or the Old Town, it is completely up to your preferences of accommodations since they are both very central.
Is Lagos Portugal too touristy?
As I mentioned, Lagos is one of the most visited cities of the Algarve region and has many attractions, including several options for day trips and tours to paradisiacal beaches.
It has a great structure to serve tourists with a wide network of hotels, bars, restaurants, bank agencies, and tourism agencies.
Not to mention it is the city with the best location in the region making it an ideal base in an Algarve itinerary. This all means that Lagos can be quite crowded and yes, touristy, especially during peak season, from May to September.
How many days do you need in Lagos Portugal?
To get to know the city of Lagos well you need at least 2 full days considering visiting the main beaches and a tour through the historic Old Town as well.
However, if you also want to take the opportunity to visit other areas near Lagos, the minimum stay is 4 days.
Keeping in mind that although it is possible to do everything on foot in Lagos, to move around its surroundings and visit the nearby towns it is essential to rent a car.
Public transportation is not so efficient in the Algarve, especially to go from the train and bus stations to the beaches.
How much is a taxi from Faro to Lagos?
Located 56 miles east of Lagos, Faro Airport is the closest international airport to the city and most likely where you will be arriving in the Algarve if you are not on a Portugal Road trip.
There are many ways to go from the airport to Lagos. Even though buses and trains are the cheapest options, they are not the most practical ones.
With very irregular schedules, you will probably need to take a bus or a taxi from the airport to downtown Faro.
Thus, shuttles are usually the most practical options. A private shuttle costs about €75 and it takes around 1h to get to Lagos, making this the fastest option.
Meanwhile, a shared transfer costs €25, taking around 1:30h. Regardless of your choice, Lagos is one of the destinations I strongly suggest organizing a transfer, as public transportation is so unreliable and a taxi from the airport to Lagos is much more expensive, around €100.
Not to mention its location is the perfect base to visit some of the 100 Algarve beaches.
All in all, if you like beaches and beautiful scenery, it is well worth including Lagos and the Algarve in your Portugal itinerary.
With so many accommodation options you will for sure find something to your liking. From resorts to small local boutique hotels, Lagos is a small town that will surprise you with its rich supply of lodging.
With plenty of history and its totally pedestrian center featuring a wide range of restaurants, besides incredible sandy beaches, Lagos is actually one of the most common vacation destinations in Portugal.
Besides being very central, Lagos is also a very touristic city with a young vibe. With many options of accommodations, Lagos is the perfect place if you are looking for a small, beautiful, and historical town to stay at.
Also, as Lagos has beautiful beaches which are easily accessible, this is the best base for those traveling without a car. In about 15 minutes of walking from the center, you already find breathtaking beaches that are great places for swimming.
For example, Praia Dona Ana, the “best in the world” beach is about a 30-minute walk from the center. But for those who want to get there faster, there is also a bus line from the Marina de Lagos to the beach. The town itself is much smaller and it is possible to get to know most of the city just by walking.
So, where to stay in Lagos? Lagos is a small town that will surprise you with its rich offer of lodging. From resorts to small local accommodations, get ready to learn more about the city and choose the best place for your trip.
For better planning read about the best time to visit Portugal
About the Author
I’m Camila, an Oceanographer from Brazil which is where my journey began. My studies have taken me to unique places around the world since I was a teenager. I found in my academic career the chance to come across different cultures and languages while working as a scientist. By having lived in several countries I have been able to share my experiences as a travel content writer for the last 4 years and I still have plenty more to tell. I have a great passion for the outdoors and animals, especially dogs and seals (which, let’s be honest, are basically sea dogs!).