Lagos is a small town in the Algarve on the south coast of Portugal. For backpackers it is a major stop on the Europe backpacker trail and every year Van Tour Europe arrives for a week of debauchery.
Lagos is a major party town and activities mostly centre around bars, drinking and booze-fuelled antics. If you turn up in Lagos asking what ‘sights’ you should see, you’ll probably be taken straight to the Three Monkeys Bar for a beer bong.
Most people say they enjoy coming to Lagos because it provides a welcome break from sightseeing. They simply come here to laze on the beach and not have to plan anything.
The town itself is a maze of narrow cobbled streets filled with restaurants, bars and shops selling trinkets and accessories. The entire town is only small and is surrounded by a wall- backpackers rarely ever make it outside the parameters of this wall because they’re too hungover.
The beach in town is called Batata, meaning ‘potato’ beach. It’s a small cove full of young people checking each other out and talking about what happened the night before. If you walk out of town towards the marina you can take the water taxi over to Meia Praia which is a long sandy beach.
The closest airport to Lagos is Faro Airport, but you could also fly to Lisbon and take the bus or the train down.
From Faro Airport you can book an airport pickup to save money on taxis, as it can be VERY expensive. You can also go into the centre of Faro and take the bus or the train to Lagos. If you’re coming from Lisbon, the best thing to do is catch the bus or the train down- I prefer the bus because the bus station is more central in Lagos.
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Hostels in Lagos
If you’re looking for a budget hostel in Lagos then you have plenty of options.
The Rising Cock Hostel- If you want to stay in the biggest party hostel in town then book into the Rising Cock Hostel. It appears on many of the Top 10 Party Hostel lists and it really lives up to its reputation. ‘Mama’ cooks crepes and lemon tea every morning for backpackers who’ve had too many shots the night before.
The Stumble Inn- Run by Ali and Volky, the Stumble Inn has a really friendly atmosphere. It’s in a really central location very close to Eddie’s Bar, so you can easily stumble back from a night out.
Other hostels include the Shangri-Lagos, Carlos House, Gold Coast, Sunny Coast and Lagos Youth Hostel.
Many backpackers visit Lagos planning to stay for the summer season and work in one of the bars. You can find plenty of ‘workers’ hostels and very cheap accommodation for as little as 5 euros per night.
Bars in Lagos
There are so many bars that I will leave you to check out my list of the best bars in Lagos. The Jam Bar, 3 Monkeys, DCs, Whytes Bar, Red Eye, Joe’s Garage, Inside Out and Eddies are just some of the bars on the list.
Restaurants You Should Check Out
Petiscos- This is a typical Portuguese restaurant serving VERY big portions. You can easily share one meal between two. Main meals on average cost around €9-10 and this place gets full up very quickly. If you haven’t booked, get there early during peak season. A popular dish is the pork and clams, yummy!
Nah Nah Bah- Nah Nah Bah is opposite the Rising Cock and is run by the same people that own the hostel. Serving enormous burgers, pasta dishes and salads with a twist, Nah Nah Bah has funky decor and delicious cocktails. Try the ‘Bottom Line’ cocktail and you won’t need anything else to drink all night.
Blue Door- Blue door isn’t called Blue Door, but that’s how everyone refers to it because of the colour of its door. Another typical no-frills Portuguese restaurant, this one specialises in fish and seafood. Big meals at cheap prices.
Green Room- Green Room is a Mexican restaurant with an informal café style.For around 7-8 Euros you can get either Nachos, Burritos or Quesadillas. Wash that food down with a shot of Tequila then start your night.
Mullens- Mullens is a family run restaurant and although it is a little pricier, it serves outstanding food and has a unique rustic atmosphere. Expect candles, wooden benches and live music.
Casa Rosa- Casa Rosa is the home of the 5 euro meal. For backpackers on a budget, these meals will fill you up without having to spend too much money. Do the famous Power Hour for 10 euros- you get a meal plus all you can drink within the hour. Casa Rosa also has a computer with internet, Connect 4 and other games.
‘Things’ to do
As I said there aren’t really any ‘sights’ to see as such. Lagos is about sunny days on the beach and partying until the early hours. But I would recommend the following:
Sea Kayaking- If you want to sweat out the alcohol then go on one of the kayaking tours to explore the caves and grottos. It takes around 3 hours (1 and a half hours each way) and costs around €25. You will kayak along the coastline with your guide to explore the beaches and go inside the caves- it’s quite exhausting but a good way to get to secluded coves. Book the tour down at Batata Beach or at your hostel.
Booze Cruise- If you’re in Lagos to party then sign up for a booze cruise. There’s one run by the Rising Cock Hostel and another by Joe’s Garage. Expect beer funnels, sangria, music and debauchery. Might see a few boobs.
Surfing- Lagos is also the ideal base to learn to surf. The Surf Experience is a popular surf camp based in the town and they’ll take you out to the West Coast in search of the best waves. They cater for all levels of surfer and can provide you with equipment.
Walk along the coastline- From Batata beach walk up the hill and along the coastal path to explore some of the best beaches in the Algarve.