Situated in the Barlavento region of the Algarve, Lagos (pronounced: lah-goosh) has enough diverse appeal to suit people of all ages and tastes, which is perhaps why it was voted number one in travel website TripAdvisor’s 2012 list of “15 destinations on the rise” worldwide.
Its beautiful coastline includes more than half a dozen stunning beaches that cater to every water sport imaginable, although the beauty of Lagos’ quiet sandy coves and dramatic cliffy shoreline would more than suffice for less sporty Brits amongst you. And this winning variety is reflected in the nature of the town itself.
There is a rich heritage within Lagos’ 16th-century walls that enclose the old town’s Moorish-inspired architecture, charming cobbled streets and picture perfect plazas and churches.
History buffs will, of course, know that the town launched many naval excursions during Portugal’s extraordinary Age of Discovery and was, rather less commendably, one time centre of the European slave trade. So there’s plenty here for culture vultures to explore.
For foodies and fun-timers, Lagos’ large marina and modern sprawl of shops, bars and good restaurants should see you right. Local delicacies include Dom Rodrigos and Morgados – cookies based on local products such as almonds and figs, and Aguardente de Medronhos – a traditional strong fruit brandy.
Lagos is also renowned for its vibrant, exciting nightlife – which attracts lots of people. In summer, the influx of visiting tourists and seasonal residents can make the town feel hectic and a little claustrophobic; however, there are quieter, more sparsely inhabited inland areas to visit that offer respite from the crowds, allowing you to dip in and out of all the festivities.
The simplest way to get to Lagos from multiple locations in the UK is by air, flying to its nearest airport – Faro. Flights take about 3 hours, followed by an hour’s (80km) car journey. Portugal’s superb network of new motorways and dual carriageways means that is also possible to drive to Lagos from the UK, however, this will take a significant amount of time.
Where to buy in Lagos
As mentioned, Lagos is itself a ‘hotspot’ within the ever popular Algarve – synonymous with golf holidays and over 3,000 hours of sunshine a year. However, within the town – two areas are proving particularly hot and featuring high in property searches: Meia Praia and Porto de Mos. Perhaps it’s unsurprising that both areas are located around beautiful beaches.
Meia Praia is the largest and most famous beach in Lagos. Its two-and-a-half mile stretch of clean sand, turquoise water and scattering of small beach cafés and bars gives it an attractive low-key atmosphere popular with surfers, sun-worshippers and house hunters.
Property in the area tends to mostly be contemporary apartments, villas, townhouses and condos with prices reflecting their proximity to the big draw beach and Lagos marina. However, despite such a great location, competitively priced homes are available.
A luxury one-bed apartment can be found for €140,000 , although you’ll be looking to spend between €180 – 220,000 for a two-bed flat in the area. For something larger, four-bedroom villas will usually set you back €550 - €700,000, like this one.
Porto de Mos
The Praia (“beach”) do Porto de Mos – the second largest beach in the region after Meia Praia - lies about two miles south west of the main tourist centre. The only Lagos beach not sheltered from the Atlantic by the Ponta de Piedade headland, it’s the best for surfing/body boarding but can sometimes suffer from strong winds.
Porto de Mos’ sought-after main advantage, reflected in the area’s property prices, is that it’s always significantly quieter and less crowded than other parts of Lagos due to its distance from the main town.
As such, prices here are steeper than in Meia Praia. You’re unlikely to get anything under €200,000 and for this price you’re talking plots of land to build on. Four-bedroom villas here are usually of a luxury order and will set you back upwards of €850,000.