10 Reasons to Visit Lagos Portugal in Winter

If you’re wondering whether it’s worth going to Lagos Portugal in winter, you’re in the right place. I’ve spent countless winters in Lagos and it’s starting to become my favorite time of the year there.

First of all, the crowds are fewer even though Lagos sees a lot of RV tourism over the winter. The weather is usually very pleasant (I’ve even enjoyed days by the pool) and there’s a chill winter vibe.

But there’s so much more to Lagos in winter. Especially over the holidays.

If you’re considering going on a Lagos Portugal winter vacation, make sure you read on as I’ll list all the top reasons to visit Lagos at this time of the year.

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Lagos Portugal in winter

Reasons to visit Lagos Portugal in winter

Surf’s up all year round

So, while surf’s up all year round, winter is a great time of the year to go. In fact, most locals will tell you that November to April is the best time for surfing!

Due to big storms far out in the Atlantic Ocean, the waves that hit the coastline are both bigger and smoother – perfect for riding with a board.

Since there are generally more waves across the coastline, there is also more variety of waves meaning both seasoned surfers and beginners will have plenty of options to choose from.

The beaches are also generally quieter and temperatures are comfortable for being active at around 20 degrees Celsius during the daytime.

Lagos in winter

Ideal temperatures for hiking

Lagos winter temperatures are ideal for hiking. Walking along the rugged cliffs, from beach to beach is for sure one of the best things to do in Lagos Portugal.

The views are mind-blowing, especially at sunset. There are trails from the town along the cliffs to Ponta da Piedade and a lovely boardwalk from there.

For one of the most spectacular hikes on the Algarve, head to Seven Hanging Valleys Trail where you’ll walk past sinkholes, natural bridges, and towering rock formations all the way to Marinha Beach.

Empty beaches

Lagos beaches are some of the best in the country and in the winter there are hardly people there making it an ideal time of year to enjoy their beauty, get epic pictures, and on a day without wind, maybe even soak in some Vitamin D.

What I love about the beaches in the Algarve is that even in winter you see locals using them, not only surfers.

Among my favorite beaches are Camilo Beach, Dona Ana Beach, and Estudantes Beach. Dramatic rock formations jut out in the sea while secret passageways lead to secret coves nearby.

There is something magical about these beaches and in the winter you get the chance to explore them properly without the crowds.

If you’re adventurous, you might even go for a dip, but I warn you! It’s really cold. The only reason I would get in the water in Lagos Portugal in winter is surfing with a wet suit. But every year, I see tourists go for a swim.

Lagos winter - Dona Ana beach

Fewer tourists

Fewer tourists are a major draw to spend winter in Lagos Portugal. This is not a sleepy town in Algarve during winter. On the contrary, there’s plenty of life – yet more chill than in the summer making it the perfect place to stay in Algarve for couples and solo travelers alike.

Restaurants and bars are open and you can enjoy fresh, local food and have drinks until late hours. There’s also a great vegan food scene in Lagos.

It’s nice to walk around the cobbled streets of Lagos Old Town in the winter sun. It feels like people are generally more relaxed.

If you travel solo, there are also a lot of great party hostels organizing activities so you don’t have to worry about getting bored.

Take a boat tour to Benagil Cave

One of the best things to do in Lagos Portugal in winter is a boat tour from Lagos to Benagil Cave. In the summer it gets very crowded and it’s hard to get a good look at the cave, and especially a good picture.

But in the winter months, it’s fewer tours and fewer tourists in general making it a more pleasant experience.

The immense sea cave is one of the most impressive sights in the Algarve and a must-visit, so why not do it when it’s quieter?

The only drawback with going in winter is that some days, the sea might be to big to go on a boat tour so you’ll need to be flexible. Nonetheless, I highly recommend booking a tour to see Benagil Cave.

winte in Lagos Portugal - Benagil Cave

Explore Ponta da Piedade

Ponta da Piedade is one of the most astounding spots on the Algarve and is a great place to explore in Lagos in the winter.

The iconic rock formations stand 20 meters high above the crystal-clear turquoise water and make for the perfect photo spot.

Only 10 minutes from Lagos, it’s by far one of the best places to see in the Algarve in winter. While there are fewer crowds, I find it very popular among those campervanning in Portugal, especially escaping cold winters in an RV.

On a calm day, you can also take a boat tour in Lagos to see Ponta da Piedade. This is an incredible way to see the tall rock formations!

Lagos Portugal winter - Ponta da Piedade

Go dolphin watching

One of the top reasons to visit Lagos in winter is to go dolphin watching. If you’re an animal lover you’ll stay away from unethical activities like swimming with dolphins and instead book a boat trip to see them in their natural habitat.

And winter is a great time to see these incredible creatures. Lagos’ waters are full of Bottlenose Dolphins, Common Dolphins, and Rissos Dolphins. If you’re lucky, you might even spot the endangered Harbor Porpoise Dolphins.

Going dolphin watching is by far one of the most rewarding things to do in Algarve.

Sightseeing is great

Sightseeing in Lagos in winter is great. It’s a perfect time of the year to see the attractions with fewer people giving more peace to the sights and of course better photos.

Among the top attractions, you find Ponta da Bandeira Fort which protected the coastline from pirates since the late 17th century.

Step inside Igreja de Santo António to see the gold-draped interior and traditional Portuguese azulejos. Getting inside is a great way to escape any rainy days you might come across on your vacation.

You can also visit the Slave Market Museum where you can learn about the dark history of the slave trade that took place in Lagos from the 15th century. The Museu Municipal has a lot of interesting archaeological finds.

things to do in Lagos Portugal in winter

Mild temperatures and winter sun

Southern Portugal boasts some of the best winter sun and delightful winter temperatures. It’s mostly around 20 degrees Celsius in the daytime making it pleasant to be outside.

You can get windy and rainy days, but it’s still not as cold as other parts of Europe. Basically, it’s very likely that you’ll want to sit on the beach soaking in the sun for at least one day of your Lagos winter vacation.

Every time I get too dressed, I regret it when I reach the beach. I suggest dressing in layers so that you easily can take on and off layers as you feel cold or warm throughout the day.

Perfect for going on day trips

The winter months also offer exciting day trips from Lagos. Wine lovers will love the vineyards in the area and there are plenty of exquisite Algarve wine tours you can choose from.

Head to Sagres to explore the “end of the world” at the 60-meter-tall cliffs towering over the Atlantic Ocean or visit the sleepy fisherman village of Alvor.

I also enjoy taking a trip to Carvoeiro where you can stroll around the enchanting town, see the views of Carvoeiro Beach, walk Carvoeiro Boardwalk, and explore the intriguing landscape at Algar Seco.

Reflections on Lagos in winter

Concluding Lagos in winter, you can expect a mix of sunny and rainy days, plenty of activities, and a way more relaxed vibe than during the summer months.

Personally, I love the warm winter Lagos provides but also the slower pace than the summer. I hope you enjoy this Portuguese paradise too!

Happy travels!