Portugal Guide: Lagos and Lisbon
When to go
If you’re going to check out the amazing beaches of the Algarve, I recommend visiting from May – September when the weather is warmest. We went mid-September and although temps were in the mid-80s during the day, they dipped to 60 at night so make sure to pack a light jacket and long pants.
How to get there
We flew into Lisbon (LIS) from New York (JFK) and the flight was about 6 ½ hours. From there we took a 30-minute flight to Faro (FAO) then drove 1 hour to Lagos. I recommend booking your airport transfer with this company. The transfer is private and costs about 75€ each way which is pretty pricey, but both of the drivers we had were friendly, on time and had clean and spacious vehicles. If you’re traveling with a group and split the cost it makes total sense, but if you’d like to save money you can take a taxi to Faro’s city center and take the number 16 bus or the train to Lagos city center and request an Uber from there to your hotel or apartment.
Getting around Lagos
UBER is 100% the way to go. The prices were so much cheaper than a street taxi, but there aren’t very many and they can take a bit, so plan accordingly.
The currency in Portugal is the Euro. 1€ = $1.09 US dollars (more or less).
Where to stay
There are lots of options in Lagos from apartments on Airbnb to hotels. For this portion of the trip, we booked at Casa Mae Hotel and absolutely loved it. The staff was friendly, the room was great and the hotel was stunning. We almost booked at Lagos Avenida Hotel, which has a spectacular view of the marina, so look into that one as well or stop by for brunch. It was one of our favorite meals in Lagos.
Where to eat
Lagos town is full of cute restaurants and cafes, but here’s what we tried and recommend. If you have any faves, feel free to leave them in the comments section:
Casa Do Prego
Crema Di Gelato
Beats & Burritos
Bahia Beach Bar
What to do
Lagos is located in the Algarve region of Portugal and it’s known for its cliffs, beaches and beautiful streets. I fell in LOVE with Praia Do Camilo. The views are unreal, the water is crystal clear and it has an amazing vibe. Bring your own towels, water and snacks though. The 200 steps you have to walk down to get there are well worth it!
Praia Dona Ana
Ponta Da Piedade
Praia Dos Estudantes (this famous bridge is there)
Marina De Lagos
Church of St Sebastian
Explore the caves on a boat or Kayak
Castle of Lagos
When to go
This beautiful city and capital of Portugal would be great to visit any time of year, but ultimately depends on your preference. I’ve heard it gets really crowded between late May and August since it’s Summer but if you visit March – May or September – October you can still get warm weather, less crowds and cheaper hotel rates. The weather for us was all over the place to be honest. We experienced rain one day, cool temps the next and then sunny/warm days on the others. September can be tricky when traveling to Europe for someone like me that LOVES hot temps but I had a phenomenal time exploring this city and NEED to go back ASAP.
How to get there
As I mentioned above, the flight from JFK was 6 ½ hours so if you live in the East Coast (USA) getting there will be a breeze. We flew back to Lisbon from Faro Airport and I regretted not hiring a driver instead as soon as I got to the airport. It took 1 hour to drive back from Lagos to the Faro airport and we of course had to be there some time before our flight. Add the 30-minute flight, the time spent waiting for our luggage at baggage check plus the time spent in a taxi to the apartment we booked and we realized we could’ve easily shaved 2 hours getting from Lagos to Lisbon had we simply gone direct by car. Book a private transfer with the person you’re traveling with and you’ll be comfortable in the car with AC and peace of mind.
Getting around Lisbon
UBERS are cheap in Lisbon and the drivers were superrrr nice. I don’t recommend street taxis because they over charge and as I’ve said in previous blogs, I feel good knowing that if God forbid something happens at least there’s a way to know what car I was in and my last location. Also, riding through Lisbon in Ubers was a good way to get to know the city and discover places I may have missed while doing research before the trip. It’s a win win!
Where to stay
We spent 5 days in Lisbon and half of it was spent at Dona Graça Apartments and the other at Memmo Alfama Hotel Lisboa. Both stays were wonderful! Dona Graça is located in a residential neighborhood outside of the city center, but literally a few mins away from everything in an Uber and Memmo was walking distance to lots of restaurants and stores since it’s in the popular Alfama neighborhood.
Where to eat
Me oh myyyyyy, it’s like Lisbon knew the way to my heart is through my belly. They have the coolest and yummiest restaurants all over the city. Some of my favorites are:
Time Out Market – lots of restaurants here
Café Janis – brunch or lunch
Heim Café – brunch or lunch
Dear Breakfast – brunch or lunch
Tapisco – tapas style and so ahhhmaziiiing for dinner. Go early because it’s super popular and they don’t take reservations. By early I mean before 7pm. Put your name on the list and go have a drink 2 doors down at Coyo Taco (yes, like the one in Miami).
Amelia – brunch or lunch
Cervejaria Ramiro – Dinner. We didn’t get a chance to go but it was recommended to us by so many people. Definitely going next time.
Topo Rooftop Bar at Martim Moniz – Amazing view of Lisbon during sunset
Park Bar – A rooftop parking lot turned into a park/bar. Very lively and has a gorgeous view of the city at sunset.
What to do
There’s not a shortage of cool things to do in Lisbon but here’s some of what we did:
Praca do Comercio
Padrão dos Descobrimentos
Museum hop (MAAT, Coach, Azulejo)
Miradouro de Santa Luzia
Palacio Dos Marqueses da Fronteira
São Jorge´s Castle (medieval castle)
Casa dos Bicos
Lisbon cathedral or Sé de Lisboa
Elevador da Bica
Go to the beach
Take the train to Cascais for the day
Take the train or Uber to Sintra for the day and while you’re there check out Pena Palace
Did I miss anything cool in Lagos or Lisbon?
Leave a comment with your faves!