Beyond the golf courses and five-star hotels of the Algarve, you’ll find the quaint cobblestone fishing town of Lagos. Book a holiday apartment for a more independent stay. From here, you can easily stroll to the golden sands of Praia do Camilo, learn to surf the Atlantic waves and tuck into chargrilled piri-piri chicken, a Portuguese classic.
Few places in the world can boast a richly historic old town – complete with cobbled lanes, pretty plazas and medieval walls – a hop, skip and jump from seriously spectacular cliff-fringed beaches. But, Lagos is one of them. Add a high-octane nightlife and a top-notch dining scene, and it’s no wonder this is one of the most popular tourist spots in Portugal. Prefer your accommodation with more of a holiday-home vibe? We’ve picked out some top options for just that, which are now bookable with Culture Trip.
Budget-friendly terracotta villa with sunset views
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Courtesy of Amadeus Sunset Villa by Dreamalgarve / Expedia
This family-friendly villa is located among a patchwork of fields in the peaceful rural area of Alagoas, about a 10-minute drive west of Lagos. With three bedrooms, three bathrooms and bunk beds for kids, it can comfortably accommodate up to seven guests. In the garden, there’s a small swimming pool to cool off in, or there are several lovely beaches just 5 minutes away by car.
The undeniable highlight of this three-bedroom villa is its fabulous kidney-shaped pool, big enough for a decent swim and with plenty of poolside loungers. The two-storey rental can sleep up to eight, as well as providing a full kitchen and spacious lounge. Jump in the car, and you can be in Lagos town or Porto de Mós in just 5 minutes.
Part of the Boavista Golf Resort, a big bonus of these apartments is access to the resort’s spa and sports facilities, including tennis courts and the neighbouring golf course. There’s a decent-sized swimming pool to enjoy, just steps from your accommodation, too. Interiors are bright and cheerfully decorated, with two bedrooms and two bathrooms for up to four guests. If you’re craving sand between your toes, it’s under 10 minutes by car to the nearest beach.
Lots of knotty pine furnishings, whitewashed walls and terracotta tiling give this holiday villa more than a touch of the rustic. With five bedrooms and five bathrooms, the two-storey property can sleep up to 10 guests. An outside terrace leads directly to the pool, which is long enough for a decent swim. Alternatively, Meia Beach is 5 minutes by car. Upstairs, you get lovely views of the scenic surroundings of the Vale da Lama bay.
With a private swimming pool set in tidy lawned gardens, outside dining and a barbecue area, you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors, when you stay at this upscale villa. It sleeps groups of up to eight in three bedrooms, plus there are four bathrooms and a fully equipped kitchen. It’s just a 5-minute drive to the nearest beach at Porto de Mós. If you fancy something a little livelier, Lagos town is just under 10 minutes away.
Set in the small seaside settlement of Luz, this charming villa is just a 5-minute stroll from the picturesque Praia da Luz. A sunny garden with orange and lemon trees makes for a lovely spot to unwind; you can even catch sea views over the hedge. With three bedrooms and two updated bathrooms, it easily accommodates up to six people. A modern kitchen and nearby shops make self-catering a breeze.
Casa Celina offers two apartments located on a quiet road in the centre of Lagos town. Each comes with simple kitchens – but, with Lagos’s buzzing dining scene practically on your doorstep, you’ll probably want to eat out. Both apartments sleep two in a queen-size bed, and there are separate lounges, too, if you just want to chill. The location also means a trio of beaches within walking distance, so you have the best of both worlds.
Designed as a retreat, this apartment has lots of little spots to read or relax in between enjoying Lagos’s old town, which is only minutes away on foot. Take a nap in the hammock on the private patio, or gaze at the almond trees that peek into the property. This budget-friendly and fully equipped apartment has two bedrooms and can accommodate up to four guests.
The picturesque Dona Ana Beach, one of the best beaches in Europe, is right in front of this 200-square-metre (2,153sqft) flat, and the views are hard to beat. Located in a condominium, there is 24-hour security and access to the pool area during the summer months, as well as free parking. The town centre is also only approximately 10 minutes away.
Nina Santos contributed additional reporting to this article.
These recommendations were updated on April 20, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.