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Lagos, Portugal

Beautiful beaches, an amazing nightlife and no ‘lads on tour’: Lagos is your new favourite holiday destination.

Welcome to Lagos

Situated alongside the Atlantic Ocean in the Barlavento region of the Algarve, this little town in southern Portugal is already a backpacker’s favourite in the summer months, and having spent 8 nights there over the summer I can totally see why.

With cheap bars aplenty and an abundance of great hostels for budget accommodation, this is the perfect place for students looking to party on a shoestring. Return flights out to Faro (the nearest airport) can be found with Ryanair for as little as £100 and for a transfer from the airport to your accommodation’s doorstep you’re looking at about £30 and an hour long journey.

Budget Beds

I stayed at the excellently named Stumble Inn which set me back £16 a night thanks to a deal on hostelbookers.com, however, I would have happily paid double that. Sparkling clean, excellent staff (if you go, say hello to Meatball for me) and a perfect location right in the centre of town meant I got myself a bargain. The courtyard at the back is brilliant for socialising with your fellow guests and a few evening beers before you hit the town too.


As I said earlier, there’s no shortage of great bars in Lagos, however, some of the best that I came across were The Jam, Whytes and Inside Out. The compact nature of the town means that all of the bars are a maximum of a five minute walk apart which is brilliant for when the night is dragging on and, as is the trend in town, the staff are friendly, chatty and knowledgeable about the area.

The majority of the bars that are dotted about the historical centre of the town close at around 2am. However, for those of you looking to party into the early hours fret not, as there are two or three clubs and bars that stay open until 4am.

One such place is the lavish Grand Café. With two large bars and both a spacious dancefloor and seating area, in the UK you’d queue for hours to get in a place half as nice, and then it’d cost you an arm and a leg in entrance fees. Not in Lagos, however. Here you’re greeted with a smile from the bouncers and it is all free entry, and even the drinks aren’t drastically expensive—€5 for a spirit and mixer being about standard for an upper-end bar.

The crowd in all these places is a welcoming mix of travellers and locals who all just want to have fun, and it’s here that Lagos sets itself apart from places like Zante and Malia which, in the summer months, exude the worst of Kiss-Me-Quick Britain.

Enjoy the View

When you inevitably wake up in the morning feeling a little worse for wear, there are plenty of little cafes serving up some hangover food, none any better in my opinion than Café Odeon. It may look like a mere hole in the wall, but don’t let this put you off— the €3 breakfast followed by a dip in the Atlantic Ocean will have you right as rain and ready to party again in no time!

Alcohol and partying aside, Lagos is also an incredibly beautiful town. You could easily lose a day in the town centre with its narrow alleys and sun bleached walls and the views from the cliffs over the Atlantic truly are breathtaking. If you’re able to, I would highly recommend the cliff walk to the old lighthouse and the grottos— the views from the top being matched only by the way the sea has cut away at the rock beneath.

So if you’re looking for a party holiday without the hordes of tank-topped lads and screaming gangs of girls, give Lagos a try—I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.