Most tourists arrive in Lagos on a bus from Lisbon or on a train from Faro. Once in the center of the city, they can walk to just about anywhere (the exception is a couple of the beaches, for which there are buses). The nearest airport is that of Faro, which is connected to major cities in Europe and has several daily flights from Lisbon. This is your guide to getting to and around Lagos:
Transportation from Lisbon to Lagos
The only direct (and therefore the fastest) way to go from Lisbon to Lagos by public transportation is by bus. There are no direct trains from Lisbon to Lagos.
Bus to Lagos from Lisbon
In Lisbon (in the city or from the airport), take the Metro to Jardim Zoológico station (on the blue line), and outside (up an escalator) you’ll find the Sete Rios bus terminal, which has connections to the main cities in Portugal, including Lagos. The bus to Lagos takes about 3 hours and 45 minutes, and departs several times a day. Regular tickets are €20 or €22, depending on the bus company. Three different companies make this trip -- Rede Expressos, Mundial Turismo and Renex -- the only differences between each service are the frequency and stops in between the cities (there are usually just three to five stops before Lagos). Check the schedules at rede-expressos.pt
Train to Lagos from Lisbon
Although there are no direct Lisbon-Lagos trains, you can connect in Faro or the small town of Tunes. Connecting in Faro is more time-consuming -- when connecting in Tunes the journey is shorter -- anywhere between 3h45m and 4h10m. Keep in mind that there are just five daily trains (departing from Lisbon’s Oriente Station) -- three of the Intercidades service and two of the slightly faster Alfa Pendular service. On the Intercidades (IC), the regular (“second class”) ticket is €22.65 and the first class ticket is €28.30. On the Alfa Pendular, it’s €24.05 for second class and €30.95 for first class. For the train schedule, see the cp.pt website.
Transportation from Faro to Lagos
From Faro Airport to Lagos by Public Transportation
Faro’s airport is about 90km from Lagos, or about 1 hour by car. Vamus bus 56 (also called "Aerobus") stops at the airport and continues to different locations in Algarve, terminating in Lagos. However, there are just five departures per day at irregular intervals. Another option is to go to the center of Faro and take the train or bus 57 from there. The buses from the airport depart from just outside the arrivals hall (the stop is across the road, by the taxis). A bus to the center of Faro passes by every 30 minutes and takes just 15 to 20 minutes to reach the last stop, Faro’s bus station (alternatively, take a taxi -- it should cost between 10 and 15 euros). For the bus to Lagos (number 57), head inside the station to buy your ticket. There are just over half a dozen departures on weekdays and only about a couple on weekends, and the service is operated by Vamus. The journey takes 2 hours and 10 minutes, and Lagos’ bus station is a short walk from the center, walking down the avenue (Avenida dos Descobrimentos), along the waterfront. If your hotel is outside the center of town or if you have a lot of luggage, you may want to take a taxi. However, taxis don’t come often to the bus station, so you’ll likely have to walk to the taxi rank down on Avenida dos Descobrimentos (less than 10 minutes away, a few feet from the building of the Mercado Municipal, or the town market). If your hotel is in the old town, which is largely pedestrianized, you can easily walk from the station.
From Faro Airport to Lagos by Car
If you’re hiring a car at the airport or in the center of Faro, head west on highway A22. This highway does charge a toll, so if you want to save a few euros, take the small road N125 instead, which doesn’t have tolls. However, it does go through several towns, and there can be traffic, meaning the trip is a few minutes longer. It’s recommended that you take the A22 highway instead.
Transfers from Faro Airport to Lagos
You may book a private transfer from Faro’s airport to Lagos. When you add up the price of renting a car, plus gas and tolls, the transfer just may come out cheaper. You have the choice of a shared transfer or a private transfer.
Trains from Faro to Lagos
The train station in Faro is in a central location (down the road from the bus station; about a 5-minute walk), and has about 10 daily connections to Lagos. The journey time is around 1 hour and 45 minutes, and tickets are €7.45. See the cp.pt website for the departure times.
Taxis or Uber from Faro to Lagos
A taxi or Uber from Faro to Lagos can cost between 75 and 100 euros, and is therefore not recommended. It does, however, have the advantage of being faster than the train or bus, reaching Lagos in about 1 hour.
Getting Around Lagos
Buses in Lagos
Tourist attractions (including most of the beaches) in Lagos are within walking distance of the center. However, for the popular beaches of Meia Praia and Porto de Mós, you need to take the bus. That’s number 2 of the A Onda network of local buses, which also stops by the famous Praia da Dona Ana. Regular tickets are €1.20 or €1.60, depending on the destination, and you may buy them onboard, from the driver. It departs once per hour and does a circular route -- the more convenient stop to catch it at is by the train station. The “A Onda” network has several other routes, but only the number 2 is useful to tourists, as it’s the only one that goes to the beaches. Departure times may change at any time, but the first one of the day is at 7:10am and the last one at 6:30pm (11:10pm in the months of July and August).
Parking in Lagos
There’s convenient underground parking on Avenida dos Descobrimentos, by the waterfront square Praça Infante D. Henrique. This is for those staying in the Old Town or visiting the beaches in the center. There’s another covered car park, but it’s outside the old center -- it’s at the northern end of Estrada da Ponta da Piedade, by a roundabout. These parks charge by the hour and can be expensive. Most parking spaces on the streets of Lagos are also charged, except for a few limited free spots behind the marina.
From Lagos to Seville
Lagos is as far from Lisbon as it is from Seville, so there are tourists who do cross the border to Spain and visit the historic Spanish city when traveling around southern Portugal. It takes about 2 hours and 40 minutes to drive from Lagos to Seville, but there’s also a bus service. It does take much longer (4 hours and 15 minutes) because it stops in Albufeira, Faro and Tavira before continuing to Spain, and there are just two services per day. Tickets can be between 15 and 39 euros, depending on online deals, and the buses are clean, air conditioned and comfortable. The last stop, in Seville, is the Plaza de Armas bus terminal, right in the center of the city. It's operated by the Spanish company Alsa, and you can check the website for times and ticket information: www.alsa.com
Lagos Train Station
Lagos’ first train station was inaugurated in 1922 and was beautifully decorated with Art Nouveau tiles. It closed in 2003, when a new station opened a few feet away. It’s Europe’s westernmost station and one of the two most extreme points in the Eurasian rail network (the other is in Phuoc Diem, Vietnam). It’s found in the northern part of town.