First Impressions of Lagos, Portugal.

Prior to coming to Spain I had not even heard of Lagos. At least not the one in Portugal anyway… I did know of the Lagos in Nigeria! For those who don’t already know, Lagos is a small town on the southern Portuguese coast, located in the Algarve. It’s actually quite a popular place for people to holiday, and for backpackers to visit during the summer months, but for some reason it had not been on my radar until now. The following are the things that stood out most for me about Lagos.. hopefully they’ll help you decide whether or not Lagos is somewhere you might enjoy to visit if you are ever in or around Portugal.

Beautiful beaches

By far and away the best thing about Lagos is the beaches! They are simply stunning. I actually had some people asking me where in Thailand I had been, as they were looking at the my pictures from Lagos on facebook, and mistook them for the paradise beaches of SE Asia. Lagos is split into two for me when it comes to beaches. First, you have the main beach which runs for what seems like miles, has lot’s of space, and water sports facilities available. It’s much bigger than the other beaches available along the cliff side, and what I love most about this beach is that it does not have one hotel running along side it. Everywhere you go in Europe it seems, if you get a long running stretch of beach, there always seems to be a row of hotels running along side it too, but not in Lagos! You can look right along the beach, and not see a hotel in sight. This, for me, was priceless. Where the best beaches in Lagos are however are along the cliff side. The cliffs, rock formations, and caves are an incredible backdrop. If you keep swimming along side the cliff side you will find many little secluded beaches, with great waves, and not another soul in sight. The first couple are usually crowded, so you do need to swim out quite a bit, and if you’re not up for the swim, you can always rent a boat taxi to take you, or walk along the cliff side and then down the steps.

Cool caves

I took a trip by speed boat out along the cliff sides and rock formations in Lagos. The guide to me into the caves by boat, showed me where the best secluded beaches were, and took me to some of the most breathtaking bits of scenery. It cost €10, lasted just over an hour, and was completely worth it! Aside from getting a bit of inside knowledge on the best caves and beaches, the scenery alone was just out of this world. At times we would have to duck right down onto the bottom of the boat just so we could squeeze into the cave entrance. Inside, the formations were beautiful, the water glowing, and the waves mesmerising. By far the best thing I’ve done on this entire trip, and something I would highly recommend going to Lagos for!

Backpacker style nightlife

Prior to coming to Lagos I’d been told a lot about it’s nightlife from people in Sevilla who had just come from there. It certainly was cheap. Most places offered a free shot with your first drink, with other places offering a free shot with every drink. It was possible to get pints of cocktails for €4 – €5 in some bars, and in general there was just a lot of places geared towards the backpacker style of nightlife, trying to get you drunk quickly, at an affordable price. Depending on the hostel you stayed as I think determined how “wild” your stay in Lagos could be. I never got a chance to stay at the “Rising Cock” hostel in Lagos as it was around €10 per night more expensive than anywhere else when I was booking, but from the stories I’ve heard if you want a crazy night in Lagos then this is the place to be! Generally speaking, for me, I’m of the opinion that you can get drunk anywhere. I’ve had crazier nights back home in Scotland than I had in Lagos, but then, I do like to party hard! That being said, I was really in Lagos for the beaches, and if you do want to have a wild time, then there is certainly easy and cheap access to booze every night of the week!

A bit too English speaking..

Lagos is basically like mini-Australia. You can’t go anywhere without hearing an Australian accent. If it’s not Australian, then it’s Canadian! I love the Australians, and the Canadians are cool too, but don’t be under any illusions if you do go to Lagos. It’s not the kind of place to go if you are looking to experience true Portuguese culture. I found Lagos to be a really cool place, and I enjoyed my time there a lot, but I just don’t want anyone to be under any illusions that this is a true representation of Portugal, because everywhere I went people spoke to me in English before I even got the chance to attempt Portuguese. That being said, after spending a lot of time in parts of Spain where next to no one spoke English, it was nice for a little while to be able to do things like go to the pharmacy, or go for a haircut without having to worry about problems with the translation!

Food

For such a small place Lagos has so many cafes, restaurants, and places to eat it is unbelievable! If you like sea food, then you will also love it here! Everything is fresh out the sea, and even though I’m not hugely into sea food personally, it did look amazing! I tried my best to find local Portuguese food while in Lagos, but with Lagos relying so much on tourism for it’s local economy, the majority of it’s food outlets catered to the nationalities which tended to flock there. Instead, I tried to experience a variety of international cuisine while there, with everything from Indian, Turkish, British, German, Italian, and much more on offer. One Portuguese dish I did love there however was peri-peri chicken, cooked right in front of me at a lovely little independent Portuguese restaurant (I wish I could remember the name! 🙁 )

Lagos is definitely somewhere I would recommend to anyone going to Europe on their travels! It is certainly a tourist destination, but as soon as you set eyes on the beaches here, I promise you, you really won’t care.

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