Last Updated on October 4, 2023
If you’re making Lagos your Algarve home base, be sure to plan some day trips from Lagos!
Lagos is perfectly positioned along the coast to connect you to beautiful beaches, landmarks, and towns throughout the Algarve region. While having a car (your own, or a rental) is the best way to get around, the Algarve has a solid network of trains and busses that you can rely on for day trips, too.
On my most recent trip to the Algarve, my parents and I got a car rental for a full week. During that week, we got up bright and early and headed to an Algarve town, beach, or other day trip location.
Then, we came back to Lagos in the afternoon to enjoy the rest of the day in our home base. This was the perfect way to see the Algarve coast while also enjoying Lagos!
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- Best Day Trips From Lagos
- Final Thoughts: Best Day Trips From Lagos
Best Day Trips From Lagos
Ready to start planning your day trips from Lagos? Here are 10 of my favorite day trips to do while staying in this Algarve town.
- Need a car rental for your Algarve adventures? Discover Cars compares the prices for a vehicle from a variety of suppliers to ensure you get the cheapest rate, and you can reserve your car rental in advance. Reserve a car rental here!
1. Ponta da Piedade
Ponta da Piedade is a cluster of rock formations that rise up to 20 meters above the Atlantic Ocean on the southern coast of Portugal. They are an amazing sight to see because the rocks form caves, towers, and natural arches.
Ponta da Piedade is quite close to Lagos – I have actually walked there from town! When I did the walk, it took about 45 minutes, but the time flew by because it’s a gorgeous walking route.
Despite being close to Lagos, I do consider Ponta da Piedade to be a day trip, because you can easily spend a day exploring the coast on foot, and then hopping on a boat for a tour of the area.
At the top of Ponta da Piedade there is a set of around 200 stairs that take you down to the water for a different perspective of the coastline.
From the platform at the bottom, you can see into the grottos, arches and little caves. And, you can observe the power of the ocean’s waves! There are usually local fishing boats at the bottom, and for a fee you can hop on for a tour of the area.
From Ponta da Piedade there is also a relatively new boardwalk that takes you all the way to Canavial beach. It’s a lovely walk to take, especially at sunset. The boardwalk that goes west along the coastline. It’s a wide boardwalk, suitable for wheelchairs and baby strollers. The boardwalk has several safe lookout points where you can admire the Algarve coastal views.
Accessible by public transport? There are busses that run from Portas de Portugal in Lagos to Estrada Ponta da Piedade. From there, it’s a 20 minute walk to Ponta da Piedade. The walk is scenic!
Drive time? It’s a 15 minute drive from Lagos to Ponta da Piedade by taxi or by your own car. There is free parking at the site.
2. Benagil Cave
Benagil Cave is one of the most famous coastal caves in Portugal, making it one of the best day trips from Lagos. It’s a massive cave that has a big hole in the middle of its roof, which is sometimes called “the eye.” Light streams into the cave through the hole in its roof, creating a beautiful effect inside the cave.
When the tide is low inside Benagil Cave, there is a small beach inside that visitors can stand on. From the beach, you can admire the cathedral-like cave, and take plenty of photos.
Benagil is just around the corner from a small beach called Praia de Benagil, but it’s only accessible by boat. There are a couple ways to reach the cave. You can rent a kayak or SUP from one of the rental shops on Praia de Benagil, or join a boat tour.
Motorized boat tours go inside the cave, but on these tours, you aren’t let out onto the beach inside the cave. If you’d like to stand on the beach, you’ll need to go on a kayak or SUP tour.
Below is my favourite Benagil Cave tour! I did this tour with a friend while visiting Portugal in winter. By going early in the morning and during low season, we had the cave almost entirely to ourselves!
- If the below Benagil Cave tour doesn’t strike your fancy, read my full guide: 6 of the Best Benagil Cave Tours (2023 Guide)
The Sunrise or Sunset Benagil Cave Kayak Tour is a 1.5 hour long tour that brings you to the cave either early in the morning, or later in the evening. This way you don’t have to brave the crowds during the rush of visitors that arrive midday.
This tour starts with an introduction to the basics of kayaking from your expert guide. Then your adventure begins! You’ll hop into your kayak and make your way towards the Benagil Cave.
By visiting the cave either early in the morning, or late in the afternoon, you’ll have tons of time to take photos of the stunning cave, and relax on the small beach inside the cave.
On this tour, you spend about 30 minutes inside the cave. You also get to kayak to two other smaller caves on the Algarve coast.
Accessible by public transport? Yes, but the trip can be quite long. You’ll need to catch a bus from Lagos to Lagoa, and then from Lagoa to Carvoeiro. From there, it’s just a short walk to the beach.
Drive time? The drive from Lagos to Benagil Beach is about 40 minutes. There is free public parking just a short walk up the hill that leads down to the beach. The parking lot is right across from the restaurant O Litoral.
Silves is a historic Algarve town known for its medieval castle, old city gate, beautiful cathedral, and quaint, winding streets.
The Algarve is known for its ocean-side fishing towns, coastal views, and beaches. Silves, though, is inland, along the Arade River. I think this is what makes visiting this town so special – it’s a chance to see another perspective of life in the Algarve.
If you make Silves one of your day trips from Lagos, you can visit Silves Castle, the town’s archaeological museum, Silves Cathedral, the Old City Gate, and Ponta da Romana bridge. After seeing the main sites, take your time wandering around town.
There’s a nice strip of restaurants with outdoor seating on Rua Elias Garcia. D. Sancho Café & Bar is also a beautiful spot to stop for a drink. It’s just outside the Silves Castle, and has a gorgeous patio area.
Accessible by public transport? Comboios De Portugal operates a train from Lagos to Silves. Tickets cost a couple euro and the journey takes 40 to 60 minutes (depending on which time you book).
Drive time? The drive from Lagos to Silves is an easy 35 minutes.
Ferragudo is a small town right on the Arade estuary, across from the city of Portimão. A visit to Ferragudo is one of the best day trips from Lagos is popular because the towns are quite close to each other.
Ferragudo started out as a fishing village, but over the years, it’s become a destination for tourists. The town today has a traditional feel, with whitewashed homes, winding streets lined with flowers, a historic castle, and even a beach.
Although tourism has become popular in Ferragudo, fishing continues to be a key industry in the town. In the mornings, you’ll see fishermen along the river pulling up their nets full of fish. And of course, Ferragudo is the perfect spot to try fresh Portuguese sardines.
A day trip to Ferragudo from Lagos is a great way to see one of the Algarve’s most beautiful towns. In this guide, you’ll learn how to visit Ferragudo from Lagos, and the best things to see and do in Ferragudo.
Accessible by public transport? Comboios De Portugal operates a train from Lagos to Ferragudo. Tickets cost a couple euro and the journey takes about 25 minutes. The train runs both directions, several times a day.
Drive time? The drive from Lagos to Ferragudo is an easy 30 minutes.
5. Sagres and Cabo de São Vicente
Sagres is a town on the western coast of the Algarve. It’s a nice town to explore and a good spot to enjoy a seafood lunch. One of the main draws to Sagres though, is Cabo de São Vicente (Cape of Saint Vincent).
This cape is a few kilometers northwest of Sagres. It juts out into the Atlantic Ocean, becoming the most southwestern point of mainland Europe. Back in the 14th century and earlier, many Europeans believed that Cabo de São Vicente was the end of the world.
At Cabo de São Vicente you can see the ruins of an old monastery that was damaged by Portugal’s 1755 earthquake. There is also an iconic, working lighthouse on the cliffs. Attached to the lighthouse is a small museum and gift shop.
There are also several surf schools that operate out of Sagres, typically bringing their daily groups to Tonel Beach (although depending on conditions they’ll sometimes go to another beach). Surf schools provide all the equipment you need as well as beginner lessons to help you get started!
Accessible by public transport? There is a direct bus that runs from Lagos to Sagres. The trip takes about 1 hour each way.
Drive time? The drive from Lagos to Sagres is about 35 minutes.
6. Praia da Cordoama
Praia da Cordoama is a beautiful Algarve beach on the west coast. The beach is several kilometers long, and it’s sheltered by tall, dark cliffs. Because this beach faces west, it often has high winds and big waves. Over time, the tides have eroded the cliffs and the rocks on the beach into interesting formations.
Praia da Cordoama isn’t considered a good swimming beach because the waves can be very intense. But, walking the length of this beach is a magical experience, particularly at sunset.
Just be sure to time your visit for low tide so that you can keep a safe distance from the beach’s surrounding cliffs. The beach becomes narrow at high tide, and you don’t want to get too close to the cliffs because there is a risk of landslides and falling stones.
There is one restaurant at the parking lot for the beach called Bar da Praia. It’s the perfect spot for a sunset drink! Just beware that this restaurant isn’t open during low season in the Algarve.
After exploring the beach, drive or walk up to Miradouro da Cordoama (Cordoama Viewpoint) for an incredible aerial view of the beach, hills, and ocean.
Accessible by public transport? Praia da Cordoama is only accessible by car.
Drive time? Praia da Cordoama is a 40 minute drive from Lagos.
7. Fishermen’s Trail Hike
There are many exciting things to do in Algarve, Portugal from kayaking, to dining out, and simply relaxing on the beach. But one of the best ways to experience the Algarve’s coastal scenery and beaches is by hiking. Hiking the Fishermen’s Trail is one of the best day trips from Lagos!
The Fishermen’s Trail is part of a large network of trails that follow Portugal’s coastline. These trails allow you to enjoy the outdoors, take in incredible views of the coast and the sea, and enjoy some of the Algarve’s less busy beaches.
For a solid day of hiking, walk along the Fishermen’s Trail from the town of Figueira to the town of Sagres. This route is around 20 kilometers, perfect for a day trip.
Park your car in Figueira, and walk down to Salema, where you’ll start the trail at Salema Beach, following it all the way to the town of Sagres. Once you reach Sagres, you can catch a direct bus back to Figueira, to your car (or take a taxi).
Accessible by public transport? If you don’t have a car, you can use the public bus system to go from Lagos to Figueira (the start of the trail) and then from Sagres back to Lagos.
Drive time? The start of the trail in Figueira is a 25 minute drive from Lagos.
8. Ria Formosa Natural Park
Ria Formosa Natural Park is a lagoon, created by a system of barrier islands that connects to the sea through six inlets.
In the park, you can see the Santa Maria Lighthouse on the little island of Farol. On the island Deserta, you can admire the rolling dunes and unique landscapes.
Ria Formosa Natural Park also has plenty of swimming spots. Farol and Deserta both have quiet beaches. Look out for unique flora and fauna, including chameleons!
To visit this natural park, you’ll go to Faro, and catch a boat tour. Below is a highly-rated boat tour that you can book in advance.
This Ria Formosa Faro Islands Catamaran Tour is 3 hours long and departs from Faro. You’ll board a small boat that weaves through the Ria Formosa channels before reaching Ria Formosa Natural Park.
The Catamaran Tour makes two stops, one at the island of Farol, and one at the island Deserta. On board, you’ll learn about the islands and the park with insightful commentary from your guide in various languages.
Accessible by public transport? If you don’t have a car, you can take the train from Lagos to Faro. The trip takes about 2 hours each way.
Drive time? The drive from Lagos to Faro is about 1 hour.
9. Carvoeiro and Algar Seco
Carvoeiro is a small Algarve town that was formerly a fishing village. The town has white-washed buildings built in a horseshoe shape around a sandy beach. Surrounding the beach are tall sandstone cliffs, rock formations, and caves, which makes Carvoerio beach one of the best Algarve beaches.
Aside from wandering the picturesque town and relaxing on the beach, there’s plenty to do in Carvoeiro as a day trip from Lagos. You can walk the boardwalk of Carvoeiro, which guides you along the top of the cliffs that surround the village.
Just outside the village is Algar Seco, a natural coastal rock formation. The wind and ocean has sculpted beautiful rock formations, rock holes, and natural pools that you can explore. For a short hike, walk from Carvoeiro to the nearby Alfanzina Lighthouse. The lighthouse is perched on rock cliffs overseeing the ocean.
Accessible by public transport? You can use the bus to get to Carvoeira. You’ll take a bus from Lagos to Lagoa, and then a connecting bus from Lagoa to Carvoeira. This trip takes 1.5 to 2 hours each way.
Drive time? The drive from Lagos to Carvoeira is about 35 minutes.
Monchique is a small town in the northern Algarve. The town is located inland, within the mountain range of Serra de Monchique. It’s surrounded by beautiful rolling hills, forests, rivers and streams, which gives it a very different feel from the coastal Algarve towns.
Monchique is known for its beautiful traditional houses and architecture. You’ll see colorful doors and windows, white walls, stonework and more. It’s a perfect town to wander on foot, with winding, narrow streets to explore.
Nearby Monchique is the Mount Foia Viewpoint. Going up the Serra de Monchique to this viewpoint is a unique Algarve experience. It’s the highest point in the Algarve, at 902 meters above sea level.
Accessible by public transport? You can use the bus to get to Monchique. You’ll take a bus from Lagos to Portimao, and then a connecting bus from Portimao to Monchique. This trip takes 1.5 each way.
Drive time? The drive from Lagos to Monchique is about 45 minutes.
Final Thoughts: Best Day Trips From Lagos
Going on a few day trips from Lagos is a great way to diversify your experience of the Algarve. You can see what life is like along the coast, as well as inland. Learn about coastal rock formations and natural parks on a boat tour, or go beach-hopping to see how the terrain changes throughout the region.
On my last trip to the Algarve, I stayed with my parents, who rented a car for the trip. Having a car made all of our day trips from Lagos very easy! I definitely recommend renting a car if you can.
Discover Cars compares the prices for a vehicle from a variety of suppliers to ensure you get the cheapest rate, and you can reserve your car rental in advance. Reserve a car rental here!
Which of these best day trips from Lagos are your favorite? Tell me in the comments!
More on the Algarve from Pina Travels:
- Algarve in Winter: What to Expect & Things to Do
- 13 of the Best Algarve Beaches
- Benagil Cave From Lagos: Your Complete Guide
Erin has been traveling for over a decade, both solo, and with her partner. She’s now traveled to countries across 6 continents, and has lived in 2 countries abroad. Erin also hosts the travel podcast, Curious Tourism, where she interviews travel industry thought leaders and experts about responsible tourism. Learn more about Erin, and get in touch with her, here.