You can spend days in Lagos and experience different beaches and activities every day, but you might also want to explore more of the region and its culture. For that, Silves and Sagres are the most recommended destinations. If you arrived in Lagos from Lisbon, you might also want to visit Faro, the capital of Algarve. Silves is inland and is home to the Algarve’s best-preserved castle, while Sagres is further down the coast, on the southwestern tip of the European continent. Faro has a number of historic sights and a couple of islands with long sandy beaches. Silves doesn’t have beaches; Sagres does, and they’re quite different from those in Lagos. Here the coast is windier, and waves are bigger and the landscape wilder, so it mostly attracts surfers and naturists. Here are more details about what to expect in these destinations:
30 minutes by car or 35 minutes by train
Before Faro, Silves was the capital of Algarve. It was quite a rich city during the Moorish occupation (8th to 12th centuries), but most of its ancient buildings were destroyed in the great earthquake of 1755. However, its massive castle still stands, and is one of the region’s most important monuments. This is a very peaceful and even rather sleepy town, with cobbled lanes leading down to the Arade River. You can see all of it in just a few hours, but it’s worth the trip to travel back in time and experience a different side of Algarve. Although it’s best reached by car (it’s about 30 minutes away on highway A22), you can also get there by train (there are no direct buses from Lagos to Silves).
See the complete guide to a day trip to Silves from Lagos.
40 minutes by car or 1 hour by bus
If you want to say that you’ve been to the “end of the world,” head to Sagres. In fact, this town is probably the most recommended and most popular day trip from Lagos. Its dramatic scenery is breathtaking and perfect for photos. Ideally you’ll stay for the sunset on Cape St. Vincent, which is one of Portugal’s most beautiful, but if you’re relying on public transportation you’ll have to leave before that. By car, you’re there in 40 minutes, but by bus the journey takes about one hour (there are no trains to Sagres). A visit should include a stop at the cape and at Prince Henry the Navigator’s fortress, and you still have time to get your feet in the sand (Praia do Tonel is the beach closest to the fortress, but you also want to stop at Praia do Beliche, the beach by Cape St. Vincent).
See the complete guide to a day trip to Sagres from Lagos.
1 hour by car, 1 hour and 45 minutes by train or 2 hours and 10 minutes by bus
As the capital of Algarve, Faro has the largest concentration of historic monuments in the region, which includes a walled Old Town, a gothic cathedral, and a baroque church with a macabre chapel covered with human bones. It’s the perfect destination for a cultural day trip, but it also has beaches -- the best ones on islands easily accessible by boat. You won’t have time to visit the monuments and also head to the beaches on a day trip, so you have to choose what you’d like to experience (although Faro is just one hour from Lagos by car, the train takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes and the bus 2 hours and 10 minutes, as they make several stops on the way). Ideally, you’d stay in Faro for at least two days, but it’s quite possible to make it a day trip if you’re on an extended holiday in Lagos.
See the complete Faro tourism guide.