Lagos Holidays – On the way up.
Lagos was the centre of the Portuguese Age of Discovery, when the country’s seafarers were at in the forefront of European overseas exploration, and holds the dubious honour of being the first port in Europe to receive slaves from Africa. These days its visitors and tourists looking for a great holiday, and whether you are a history buff, a sports enthusiast, a food lover, searcher after bohemian bars, or a beach babe, there is something for you on a holiday in Lagos. TripAdvisor recently classified Lagos as the number one travel destination, on a list of fifteen destinations on the rise worldwide.
Wander the old town, perhaps taking in the Capela dos Ossos (Bone Chapel) of the Igreja do Sao Sebastiano. The climb up the bell tower rewards you with fabulous views.Take to the water in a sea kayak, a leisurely cruise, or a more powerful ride on one of the boats takes you dolphin watching. If you are an early riser even on holiday, take a stroll to the harbour, which is full of activity first thing. Late-night life mostly takes place in the old town; the Marina is the place to go for a quiet drink as the sun sets.
When to go
A great deal depends on what you are looking for in a holiday in Lagos as to when you will choose to go. Obviously the high season periods of Easter, and July and August are the hottest if all you want to do is bake in the sand, but keep in mind that almost everywhere will be more crowded, with longer queues and higher prices, and you might not feel inclined to indulge in anything too active.
On the other hand, if you enjoy walks, wandering narrow streets looking for history and culture, or taking a bike ride into the mountains, spring and autumn would be your best choice, when the countryside is coming into blossom or the heat of summer has waned.
The weather in Lagos
Summer temperatures in Lagos can occasionally tip over into the 30s, but more usually stay around 28º during the day, 18º at night during August. High temperatures are slightly negated by a cooling breeze from the Atlantic, but remember that the sun can still be very strong, so take precautions.
Rain won’t be a consideration unless you go between November and February, and even then it will be minimal as the coast only receives about two inches of rainfall each year. Spring and autumn can be idyllic, comfortably warm without the extremes of summer.
Getting the best deals
One of the benefits of taking a holiday in Lagos out of high season is that not only will you feel less crowded but you will also have a better chance of deals with hotels and flights. Check flights into Lisbon, because though it is twice the travelling time to Lagos than it is from Faro, it gives you more opportunity to find a well-priced flight.
Lagos isn’t just a holiday resort, but obviously tourism has a very big impact on restaurants, bars, cafes and services, so have a look at what deals are on offer when you arrive. A couple of reduced price meals may not make a major difference to your holiday budget, but it all helps.For the best deals to Lagos have a look below, and check out our late deal offers.
Airport and transport need to know
For a flight to Lagos you have the choice of Faro, about an hour-and-a-half’s drive, or Lisbon, two-to-three hours. Flights from the UK to Lisbon are limited to Aer Lingus, British Airways and EasyJet, but Ryanair, Jet2, Thomson Flights, Monarch and Air Berlin all fly into Faro, in addition to the three that have routes to Lisbon. Over twenty airports in the UK and Ireland service flights into Faro.
The national rail system, Comboios de Portugal (www.cp.pt, the site is in English), is very efficient, and runs services from both airports to Lagos, as does Eva Transportes, the main regional bus service, (www.eva-bus.com). A taxi from Faro will cost around 78€ (£62) between 6am and 9pm, 93€ (£75) outside those hours and at weekends and public holidays, when a 20% surcharge applies. For groups or large families it might be worth checking the price of a shuttle bus.
The best beaches in Lagos
Lagos is blessed with plenty of wonderful beaches. If your preference is for lots of space, Meia Praia, to the east of Lagos is the place to go. To the west are lots of secluded coves below the cliffs.
The blue flag Meia beach is in one of the largest bays in Europe, a curve of golden sand that runs from Lagos Marina to Alvor. It is so long that you will never feel overcrowded, even though it is very popular with locals as well as holidaymakers. It is safe for children to paddle in the gently shelving waters, and there are plenty of amenities including snack bars and sun bed hire, and during the summer season a life guard is stationed about every 500 metres along the beach. You can look way across the bay to Carvoeiro, Praia da Rocha and Alvor.
Praia da Batata, Praia do Pinhão, and Praia Dona Ana are three small local beaches with crystal clear water perfect for snorkelling, and weird grottoes and rock formations to explore. If you want a glorious sunset, head for Porto Mós.
Areias Sao Joao
Armacao de Pera
Praia da Falesia
Praia da Luz
Praia da Rocha
Praia de Oura
Quinta do Lago
Vale de Parra