Lagos on the cost of the Algarve in Portugal is still one of my favorite cities in Europe. The first time I went there was with my mother and sister at the age of 8 and I didn’t like it at all. I was used to the long sandy beaches of Corsica in France and I didn’t want to get used to walking to the beach. But after going there on a regular basis (almost every year) I developed a lot of love for this city.
It’s the combination of beautiful beaches; great food, Nightlife and beautiful small alleys that made it become one of my favorite cities. Now when I go there it feels like a second home to me. Even though the city changed a lot over the years and they started building huge buildings and hotel complexes I still look through them and see the old Lagos, as I know it. Its because I know every corner in this small city that makes it so relaxed. When I go there I do not intend to discover new places or new bars and restaurants. I simply go there to relax completely and just enjoy the things that I always liked and that gave me a lot of satisfaction.
For example the tourists tend to eat in the restaurants in the city center where the majority is just focused on making some fast money due is the quality of food. My favorite dining spots apart from Rais, are a little bit more uphill.
One of my favorite places to eat is the Churrasqueira Mãna. The place does not offer a lot of dishes and they don’t need to. The locals come here mainly for the chicken „Frango com piripiri“ which is in my opinion the best chicken on this planet. Frango com Piripiri is a flat hammered chicken grilled on charcol with some chili(piripiri). When I’m in Lagos I eat there almost every second day. Even though it got a little pricier over the years you still get some great value from Sr. João and his wife and kids.
Ok now some might think why eat chicken when you are at the sea? Once you tried the chicken you will know.
But obviously Lagos also has some great seafood restaurants as well. For sole and only fort the grilled sole I go to „Rais“ one of the few good restaurants in the city center.
But my favorite restaurant for seafood is the restaurant “Prato Cheio” in Rua Francisco Sa Carneio 23 A. They make the best seafood stew (cataplana) and fish skewers in the city. It is very reasonable prized and has a great atmosphere. I just love this place!
At the harbor close to maia praia beach you will find the “Restaurante a Barrigada” a small place that looks like a garage. I believe it was on Wednesday that you could get all you can eat sardines for 10 Euros. The only matter is the sardines are not gilled so it can get a little messy.
If you like fast food go for the Portuguese alternative to McDonalds “Burger Ranch”. All Burgers taste the same but they still taste great especially after a few drinks.
When you are in Portugal don’t miss out on trying “pasteis de nata” the Portuguese custard tarts which I unfortunately cannot eat anymore because I stuffed myself full of them for years. Also very good for a snack are the Portuguese empanadas.
If you enjoy cooking yourself and you are a friend of fresh seafood you should go to the market “Mercado Municipal” on Lagos promenade. Fish lovers will be in paradise. Here you have a wide selection of fresh fish and seafood. The market is open from 7am-2pm but I recommend you to come early for the best selection.
In Lagos and on the Algarve in general there are several nice beaches for every liking. Either you go for one of the smaller beaches directly in the city like Praia da Dona Ana, Praia da Batata o Praia do Camilo which are usually pretty busy since most of the locals hang out here and the foreigners who didn’t manage to get any further after a long night out. You can go for Praia Do Pinhão a very little beautiful beach further up. Or you can head to Maia Praia which is an incredibly long sandy beach that can get a little windy once in a while. To go there just cross the bridge and walk or more conveniently take the little boat in front of the bridge which will get you for 50 Cents right to the beach.
The Lagos Nightlife is huge there are so many bars and nightclubs that I’m not going into detail. Just to name a few regulars I go to usually. These are Kuinns, Zanzibar, Joes Garage, Phoenix club, Bom Vivant, Then Grand Cafe or Whytes. I could go on for a while like this since Lagos is quite a famous party spot. Already in the afternoon people are handing out flyers for happy hours. The drinks are cheap and the parties crazy. Especially the Australians and English tend to start drinking early. But also just hanging out at the streets at night can be a great party. During the summer months you can also find great beach parties at Maia Praia or my favorite at the praia de batata with some great electronic Music.