As the town’s countless international expats will attest, Lagos (pop. 17,400) is a black hole: Come for two days and you’ll stay for two months. Lagos keeps you soaking in the view from the cliffs, the sun on the beach, and the drinks at the bars.
Trains: 282 79 23 61. Across the river (over the pedestrian suspension bridge) from the main part of town. To Evora (6hr. 8:20am and 5:15pm, ‚13) and Lisbon (4-4V4hr. 5-6 per day, ‚14).
Buses: The EVA bus station (282 76 29 44), off Av. Descobrimentos, is across the channel from the train station. To: Lisbon (5hr. 12 per day, ‚15) and Sagres (lhr. 17 per day, ‚2.80).
Taxis: Lagos Central Taxi (282 76 24 69). 24hr. service to Lagos and environs.
Car Rental: Min. age 21 for vehicles, 16 for motorbikes.
Marina Rent A Car, Av. Descobrimentos 43 (282 76 47 89). July-Aug. cars start at ‚45 per day; May-June and Sept. ‚35; Oct.-Apr. ‚30; tax and insurance included. Rent for two days and get a third free. AmExMCV.
Motoride, R. Jose Afonso lote 23-C (282 76 17 20). Rents bikes (‚10 per day) and scooters (‚28 per day; min. age 16; must have license). Open daily 9:30am-7pm.
Hertz-Portuguesa, Rossio de S. Joao Ed. Panorama 3 (282 76 98 09), behind the bus station off Av. Descobrimentos. Cars start at ‚45 per day, tax and insurance included. MCV.
ORIENTATION AND PRACTICAL INFORMATION
Running the length of the channel, Avenida dos Descobrimentos is the main road that carries traffic to and from Lagos. From the train station, walk through the pastel pink marina and cross the channel over the pedestrian suspension bridge; turn left onto Av. Descobrimentos. From the bus station, walk straight until you hit Av. Descobrimentos, then turn right. After 15m, take another right onto R. Porta de Portugal to reach Praga Gil Eanes, the center of the old town. The local tourist office is on the comer of R. Lima Leitao, which extends from Pr. Gil Eanes. A cluster of restaurants and accommodations surround the statue of Dom Sebastiao in the square. From Praga Gil Eanes, bars and hostels line Rua Afonso Dalmeida, Rua 25 de Abril, and Rua Silva Lopes. Follow R. Silva Lopes to R. General Alberto Silveira to reach the grotto-lined beach of Praia Dona Ana.
Tourist Office: R. Vasco de Gama (282 76 30 31), a 25min. walk from the bus station. Open July-Aug. M-Sa 10am-8pm; Sept.-June M-F 10am-6pm.
Emergency: 112. Police: (282 76 29 30), R. General Alberto Silva.
Medical Services: Hospital (282 77 01 00), R. Castelo dos Governadores.
Internet Access: The Em@il Box (Ciaxa de Correio), R. Candido dos Reis 112 (282 76 89 50). ‚3.50 per hr. Open M-F 9:30am-8pm, Sa-Su 10am-3pm.
Luggage Storage: Futebol Mania, R. Professor Luis de Azevedo 4 (962 74 63 42), off of R. Candido dos Reis. ‚5 per day.
Laundromat: Lavandaria Miele, Av. Descobrimentos 27 (282 76 39 69). Wash and dry ‚6.50 per 5kg. Open M-F 9am-lpm and 3-7pm, Sa 9am-lpm.
Pharmacy: Farmacia Silva, R. 25 de Abril 9 (282 76 28 59).
Post Office: R. Portas de Portugal (282 77 02 50), between Pr. Gil Eanes and the river. Open M-F 9am-lpm and 3-6pm. Postal Code: 8600.
In the summertime, pensdes (and the youth hostel) fill up quickly and cost a bundle. Reserve rooms over a week in advance. Rooms in casas particulares run around ‚15-20 per person in summer.
IS Pousada da Juventude de Lagos (HI), R. Langarote de Freitas 50 (282 76 19 70; www.hostalbooking.com), off R. 25 de Abril. Friendly staff and lodgers congregate in the courtyard. Breakfast included. In summer, book through the central Movijovem office (213 59 60 00). June 16-Sept. 15 dorms ‚15; doubles with bath ‚42. Sept. 16-June 15 ‚1028. MCV. O
IS Olinda Teresa Maria Quartos, R. Langarote de Freitas 37 (282 08 23 29; cell 966 32 40 41), across the street from the youth hostel. Offers doubles or dorm rooms with shared kitchen, terrace, and bath. If the owner is not in, check at the youth hostel. June 16-Sept. 15 dorms ‚15; doubles ‚24. Sept. 16-June 15 ‚1030. O
Residencial Rubi Mar, R. Barroca 70 (282 76 31 65; fax 282 76 77 49), off Pr. Gil Eanes toward Pr. Infante Dom Henrique. July-Oct. doubles ‚40, with bath ‚45; quads ‚75. Nov.-June ‚283350. Prices vary, call ahead. O
Residencial Lagosmar, R. Dr. Faria da Silva 13 (282 76 37 22), up from Pr. Gil Eanes. Friendly 24hr. reception. July-Aug. singles ‚60; doubles ‚70; extra bed ‚22. June and Sept. ‚354013. Nov.-Feb. ‚22259. Mar.-May and Oct. ‚303511. Residencial Caravela, R. 25 de Abril 8 ( 282 76 33 61), just up the street from Pr. Gil Eanes. Singles ‚24; doubles ‚33, with bath ‚36; triples ‚50.
Camping Trindade ( 282 76 38 93), just outside of town. Follow Av. Descobrimentos toward Sagres. The way most Europeans experience the Algarve. ‚3 per person; ‚3.50 per tent, ‚4 per car.
Camping Valverde (282 78 92 11), 6km outside Lagos and 1.5km west of Praia da Luz. Showers, grocery, and pool. ‚4.80 per person; ‚4 per tent, ‚6 per car.
Peruse multilingual menus around Praga Gil Eanes and Rua 25 de Abril. The market,
on Av. Descobrimentos, 5min. from the town center, is cheap (open Sa). Supermer-cado Sao Toque, R. Portas de Portugal 61, is opposite the post office. (Open July-Sept. M-F 9am-8pm, Sa 9am-7pm; Oct. June M-F 9am-7:30pm, Sa 9am-7pm.)
Casa Rosa, Tv. Ferrador 22. Hordes of backpackers enjoy ‚3.50 meals. Many vegetarian options. Open daily 6pm-midnight.
Mediterraneo, R. Senhora da Graga 2. Mediterranean and Thai cuisine. Entrees ‚7.50-9. Open Tu-Sa.
Mullen’s, R. Candido dos Reis 86, serves Portuguese and international cuisine. Try the duck in orange sauce or the spicy frango grelhado. Entrees ‚7-10. Open noon-2:30pm, 7:30-10pm and midnight-2am.
Snack-Bar Caravela, R. 25 de Abril 14, just off Pr. Gil Eanes. The pizza is the best in town. Pizzas and pasta ‚4.50-7.10. Try the supreme strawberry ice cream. Open June-Sept. daily 9am-midnight; Oct.-Mar. 9am-llpm. AmExMCV.
A Forja, R. dos Ferreiros 17 (282 76 85 88). Traditional Portuguese restaurant that locals swear by. Serves Algarvian seafood with all its tricks but sans the steep prices. Entrees ‚5.50-13. Open noon-3pm and 6:30-10pm.
SIGHTS AND BEACHES
Although sunbathing and non-stop debauchery have long erased memories of Lagos’s rugged, sea-faring past, it’s worth taking some time away from the beach or bars to visit the city’s 16th-century fortifications and a few other interesting sights. The Fortaleza da Ponta da Bandeira, a 17th-century fortress which holds maritime exhibitions, overlooks the marina. (282 76 14 10. Open Tu-Sa lOam-lpm and 2-6pm, Su 10am-lpm. ‚1.90, students ‚1. Under-13 free.) Also on the waterfront is the old Mercado de Escravos (slave market), where the first sale of African slaves in Portugal took place in 1441. Opposite the Mercado dos Escravos is a museum, located inside the Igreja de Santo Antonio, which houses artifacts from several ruling powers in Lagos, from the Neolithic age to the Republic. The mural painted on the ceiling of the chapel depicts the life of the church patron, St. Anthony. (Open Su and Tu-Sa 9:30am-12:30pm and 2-5pm. ‚2.)
Today, the waterfront and marina offer jet-ski rentals, scuba diving lessons, sailboat trips, and motorboat tours of the coastal rocks and grottoes. Flat, smooth sands can be found at the 4km-long Mela Praia, across the river from town. Hop on
the 30-second ferry near Pr. Republica (‚0.50 each way). For beautiful cliffs that plunge into the sea with less-crowded beaches and caves, follow Av. Descobri-mentos toward Sagres to Praia de Pinhao (20min.). A bit farther, Praia Dona Ana features the sculpted cliffs and grottoes that grace the majority of Algarve postcards.
WATER SPORTS AND ACTIVITIES
Lagos offers a wide variety of outdoor sports from scuba diving to surfing to (booze) cruising.
Grotto Boat Tours: Companies offering tours of the coastal cliffs and grottoes set up shop on Av. dos Descobrimentos. Most tours are 45min. and start at ‚25 for 2 people. Smaller boats are preferable, as they can maneuver into rock caves and formations. Surfing: Surf Experience, R. dos Ferreiros 21 (282 76 19 43; www.surf-experi-ence.com). 1- or 2-week surfing trips including lessons, transportation, and accommodations in Lagos. All levels welcome. Daytrips when space available. Apr.-Nov. 1-week ‚435; 2-week ‚747. Dec.-Mar. ‚388700. Board and wet suit rental ‚78 per week; ‚117 per 2 weeks.
Booze Cruise: This extremely popular cruise offers swimming, snorkeling, tours of the nearby grottoes (caves), a live DJ, and, of course, cheap drinks. Cruises on M, W, and Sa. ‚15, depending on the length of the cruise. Fortickets call 963 01 26 92, or purchase them at the youth hostel.
The streets of Lagos pick up as the sun dips down, and by midnight the city’s walls are shaking. The area between Pra§a Gil Eanes and Pra$a Luis de Camoes is filled with cafes. For late-night bars and clubs, try Rua Candldo dos Reis and Rua do Ferra-dor, as well as the intersection of R. 25 de Abril, R. Silva Lopes, and R. Soeiro da Costa. Staggered Happy Hours make drinking easy on the tightest of budgets.
@ Three Monkeys, R. Langarote de Freitas. One of the newest bars in Lagos; quickly becomes packed. Open daily lpm-2am. Beer ‚2-3. Mixed drinks ‚4. Happy Hour 1-9pm. Open daily lpm-2am.
Eddie’s, R. 25 de Abril 99. An easy-going bar popular with backpackers. Beer ‚2. Open M-Sa 4pm-2am, Su 8pm-2am.
Taverna Velha (The Old Tavern), R. Langarote de Freitas 34, down the street from Pousada da Juventude. The only air-conditioned bar in Lagos. Beer ‚1.25-2.50. Open M-Sa 4pm-2am, Su 8pm-2am.
Whyte’s Bar, R. Ferrador 7. A Lagos institution. Has a live DJ and the 9 Deadly Sins shot drinking contest. Beer ‚3. Mixed drinks ‚2.50-3.50. Open July-Sept. daily 7pm-2am; Oct.-June 8pm-2am.
DAYTRIPS FROM LAGOS
SAGRES. Marooned atop a desert plateau at the most southwestern point in Europe, desolate Sagres and its cape were once considered the edge of the world. Near the town lurks the KFortaleza de Sagres, the fortress where Prince Henry stroked his beard, decided to map the world, and founded his famous school of navigation. (Open May-Sept. daily 10am-8:30pm; Oct.-Apr. 10am-6:30pm. ‚3, under-25 ‚1.50.) Six kilometers west lies the dramatic Cabo de Sao Vicente, where the second-most powerful lighthouse in Europe shines over 100km out to sea. To get
there on weekdays, take the bus from the bus station on R. Comandante Matos near the tourist office (lOmin.; Il!l5am, 12:30 and 4:15pm; ‚1). Alternatively, hike
Past the several fortresses perched atop the cliffs. The most notable beach in the area is Mareta, at the bottom of the road from the town center. The nearby coves of Salema and Luz are intimate and picturesque. At night, a young crowd fills lively Rosa dos Ventos, famous for its sangria, inPr. Republica. (Beer‚l. Open Su-Tu and Th-Sa 10am-2am.) EVA buses ( 282 76 29 44) ran from Lagos (lhr. 17 per day, ‚2.60). The tourist office, on R. Comandante Matoso, is up the street from the bus stop. ( 282 62 48 73. Open Tu-Sa 9:30am-lpm and 2-5:30pm.)
PRAIA DA ROCHA. A short jaunt from Lagos, this grand beach is perhaps the very best the Algarve has to offer. With vast expanses of sand, surfable waves, rocky red cliffs, and plenty of secluded coves, Praia da Rocha has a well-deserved reputation and the crowds to match. From Lagos, take a bus to Portimao (40min. 14 per day, ‚1.80), then switch to the Praia da Rocha bus (lOmin. every 30min.7:30am-8:30pm, ‚1.30). The tourist office is at the end of R. Tomas Cabreina. f 282 41 91 32. Open May-Sept. daily 9:30am-7pm; Oct.-Apr. M-F 9:30am-12:30pm and 2-5:30pm, Sa-Su 9:30am-12:30pm.)
Tavira (pop. 11,000) invites its visitors with whitewashed houses and cobblestone streets. The Castelo de Tavira, begun in the Neolithic period and later improved by the Phoenicians, Moors, and Christians, sits next to Igreja de Santa Maria do Castelo. (Castle open M-F 8am-5pm and Sa-Su 10am-7pm. Church open daily 9:30am-12:30pm and 2-5pm. Free.) UMoinha da Rocha is a beautiful hidden waterfall located 5km outside of town at the source of the Rio Gilao. To reach the golden shores of llha da Tavira, an island 2km away, take the ferry from the end of Estrada das 4 Aguas (round-trip ‚1.20).
Trains (s’281 32 23 54) leave Tavira for Faro (40min. 15-20 per day, ‚1.80) and Vila Real de Santo Antonio (30min. 9-13 per day, ‚1.20). EVA buses (a 281 32 25 46) leave from the station upriver from Pr. Republica for Faro (lhr. 12-13 per day, ‚2.50). The town is a short 5-10min. walk down Av. Dr. Teixeira de Azevedo from the train station, or you can catch the local TUT bus to the town center (lOmin. every 30min. ‚0.50). Postal Code: 8800.
The Algarve’s capital, largest city, and transportation hub, Faro (pop. 55,000) is untouristed despite its charm. Its cidade velha, a medley of museums, handicraft shops, and ornate churches, begins at the Arco da Vila, a stone arch. In Largo Carmo is the Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Carmo and its Capela dos Ossos
(Chapel of Bones), a macabre bonanza of bones and skulls borrowed from the adjacent cemetery. (Open May-Sept. daily lOam-lpm and 3-6pm; Oct.-Apr. M-F lOam-lpm and 3-5pm, Sa lOam-lpm. Chapel ‚0.80. Church free.) Faro’s beach hides on an islet off the coast. Take bus #16 from the bus station or the stop in front of the tourist office (5-10min. every hr. ‚1).
Trains (s’289 82 64 72) run from Largo Estagao to: Evora (5hr. 9am and 5:30pm, ‚11); Lagos (2hr. 6 per day 8am-9pm, ‚4.10); and Lisbon (5-6hr. 6 per day 7:20am-11pm, ‚14). EVA buses ( 289 89 97 00) go from Av. Republica to: Lagos (2hr. 8 per day 7:30am-5:30pm, ‚4) and Tavira (lhr. 11 per day 7:15am-7:30pm, ‚2.40). Renex ( 289 81 29 80), across the street, provides express long-distance bus service to: Braga (8%hr. 8 per day 5:30am-l:30am, ‚21); Lisbon (4hr. 11-15 per day 5:30am-1:30am, ‚15); and Porto (7!4hr. 6-13 per day 5:30am-l:30am, ‚20). From the stations, turn right down Av. Republica along the harbor, then turn left past the garden to reach the tourist office, R. da Misericordia 8, at the entrance to the old town, (a 289 80 36 04. Open May-Sept. daily 9:30am-7pm; Oct.-Apr. 9:30am-5:30pm.) Travelers sleep easy at Pousada da Juventude (HI) O, R. Policia de Seguranga Publica, opposite the police station. (afax 289 82 65 21. Dorms ‚9.50; doubles ‚23, with bath ‚27. AmExMCV.) Enjoy coffee and the local marzipan at cafes along Rua Conselheiro Bfvar and Pra?a Dr. Francisco Gomes.
LAGOS PORTUGAL Photo Gallery
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