Lagos
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LAGOS

Lagos is famed for magnificent beaches where massive sculptures, carved by the power of the waves, tumble into clear turquoise waters. Hidden coves, caves hewn into the ochre-coloured cliffs and soft golden beaches along the coastline wait to be explored. In early evenings rich sunsets bask the whole area with a golden patina. The town itself was once the capital of the old province of the Algarve. Evidence of its former importance is found in the fine architecture in the old town centre. There's an abundance of things to see and do in Lagos. There are ample restaurants, bars and cafes around to cater to the increasing number of visitors. Despite the growing popularity of Lagos the town retains its cultural identity, and one doesn't feel Lagos has succumbed to mass tourism.

The local population still make their living from the sea. Tuna and sardines are still caught here before being sold in the town's market or served in local restaurants. The Rio Alvor flows through the centre of Lagos and fishing boats can be found moored along its banks. A new marina opened in 1995 that offers day trips and excursions along the coast.

OLD TOWN

Governors Castle – Lagos

|  Governors Castle – Lagos

The hodge-podge of narrow cobbled streets and small interesting squares of the old town medieval town is contained within the remnants of its 16th-century ramparts. The opulence of the churches and fine buildings is testament to Lagos' glorious past. The old town oozes charm with treasure waiting to be discovered around every corner. Most notably in the Rua de São Gonçalo and Rua 5 de Outubro. Here the houses preserve much of their original stonework around windows and doors, in wrought iron balconies and in the balconies where flowers, fig trees and vines grow. In and around the Praça Gil Eanes tiles that adorn the external walls have a 19th century influence and are in the Art Nouveau style.


Town Walls

The walls that face the estuary stand on Carthaginian or Roman foundations. Its along this stretch of walls you'll encounter the well preserved Porta de São Gonçalo (St. Gonçalo’s gate) which is protected by two mighty defensive towers. Originally the gateways was the entrance to a castle of Arab construction, the Governors Castle. During the 16th and 17th centuries it was the residence of the Governors, Captains-General of the Algarve. On the façade there's an ornate window in the Manueline style.

Church of St Anthony (Igreja de Santo António)

The church had to be rebuilt following the earthquake of 1755 and served as the chapel for the Lagos Infantry Regiment. The church is probably one of the finest examples of Baroque in the Algarve. An exuberant interior warranted the church being classified a National Monument.

Inside there are six paintings illustrating the life of St Anthony, complete with descriptions in English and Portuguese. A dado of traditional azulejo tiles adorn the walls. Above the tiles, the walls are lavishly covered in gold-gilded wood carvings. The gold finds its way onto the high altar sitting at the end of the single aisle and holds a statue of St Anthony holding the infant Jesus. The Lagos Infantry Regiment carried this effigy into battle during the Napoleonic Wars. Underneath the choir, there is a carved panel representing the Three Virtues (faith, hope and charity). The church also houses a rare statue of S. Elói - the patron saint of goldsmiths. The distinctive feature of the churches baroque façade are the two bell towers of different heights. Access into the church is via the Museum Municipal with a small entrance fee.
Igreja de Santo António, Rua General Alberto da Silveira, Lagos 8600-594, Portugal.
37° 05' 58.4" N | 08° 40' 17.2" W

Church of St Anthony (Igreja de Santo António)

|  Church of St Anthony (Igreja de Santo António)

Slave Market Museum (Mercado de Escravos)

|  Slave Market Museum (Mercado de Escravos)

Museu Municipal Dr. José Formosinho

Attached to the Church of Santo António (St. Anthony) the municipal museum exhibits a broad collection of religious art and statues from the 17th and 18th centuries. There is an archaeology that celebrates the prehistoric heritage of the area with examples of decorated menhirs (4,000 – 3,000 BC). Here too are items from the Roman and Arabic eras.
Museum & Church: Tuesday - Sunday: 10h00 - 12h30/14h00 – 17h00, Monday: CLOSED | €3.00
R. Gen. 1 Alberto da Silveira, 8600-594 Lagos, Portugal.
37° 05' 57.9" N | 08° 40' 16.8" W

Slave Market Museum (Mercado de Escravos)

Close to the Igreja de Santo António and the municipal museum is another museum which focuses on the darkest side of Portuguese history. Located in the Praça do Infante D. Henrique is Europes first slave market. The Slave Market Museum records the abhorrent history of slavery in Lagos and the Algarve from the arrival of the first slaves in the mid 15th century. Slaves were the most profitable commodity to come from Africa. The profiteers even tried to justify their actions by claiming they were saving the souls of their poor captives.
Tuesday - Sunday: 10h00 - 12h30/14h00 – 17h30, Monday: CLOSED | €4.00
Praça do Infante Dom Henrique, Lagos 8600-525, Portugal.
37° 06' 02.3" N | 08° 40' 16.0" W

Lagos Old Town

|  Lagos Old Town

HISTORY OF LAGOS

Archaeological evidence of human occupation in the municipality of Lagos points back to around 2,000 BC. Lacobriga, the old name for Lagos, is Celtic and was known to the Phoenicians, Greeks and Carthaginians who all traded here. During the Roman period, the town prospered and a number of urban development projects took place. Under Arab occupation in the 10th-century defensive bulwarks were built that held until 1249 when Christian armies took the town.

The town came into prominence during the age of discovery due to its proximity to North Africa. It was an important departure point for Portugal's early explorers who set out to circumnavigate the African continent to gain access to the lucrative Asian spice routes. Henry the Navigator launched many ships during the 15th and 16th centuries from Lagos. Merchants got rich thanks to the trade of ivory, gold, silver and other exotic commodities from Africa and many sumptuous buildings and churches were built during this time.

The success of Lagos precipitated the need for larger ramparts and the town saw expansion during the 16th century. With the invention of artillery, the walls were redesigned in the 17th century and forts were added at strategic places. The devastating earthquake of 1755 and subsequent tsunami were disastrous for Lagos and the town fell into decline. It wasn't until the mid-19th century the town regain much of its prominence thanks to the rise of the fish canning industry and new sources for trade.

Lagos Market (Mercado Municipal)

Located on the Avenida dos Descobrimentos the municipal market is an insight into local life. Spread over three floors this market sells wonderfully fresh produce fromm 33 separate vendors. The ground floor is the fish market where the daily catch is sold. The first floor is where you will find thefruit and vegetables. The are also a great collection of souvenirs if you're looking to take something home. There's a restaurant on the sendon floor where you can enjoy a meal on a terrace whilst admiring views over the marina.
Monday - Saturday: 08h00 - 14h00, Sunday: CLOSED
Avenida dos Descobrimentos, 8600-668 Lagos Portugal. | 37° 06' 15.0" N | 08° 40' 23.0" W

Science Centre (Centro Ciência Viva de Lagos)

This family attraction focusses on an interactive and fun ways to pass on to kids of all ages the subjects of science and technology. The main attraction lies within an old 18th century manor house and there's also a science garden and outdoor patios with panoramic views. The exhibits are all hands-on and there's also simple lessons and debates to encourage the little ones to explore new themes.
Tuesay – Sunday: 10:00h – 13:30h/14:30h – 18:00h, Monday: CLOSED | €5.00
34 Rua Doutor Faria e Silva, 8600-734,Lagos, Portugal. | 37° 06' 14.0" N | 08° 40' 23.5" W
+351 282 770 000 | info@lagos.cienciaviva.pt | Website

Lagos Market (Mercado Municipal)

|  Lagos Market (Mercado Municipal)

Forte da Ponta da Bandeira

|  Forte da Ponta da Bandeira

Forte da Ponta da Bandeira

The well-preserved Fortress of Nossa Senhora da Penha de França more commonly known as the Ponta da Bandeira Fort stands guard on the bank of the river Bensafrim protecting the harbour. It was built between 1679 and 1690 to protect Lagos from raiding pirates and privateers. The Ponta da Bandeira Fort continued its military role right into the 20th century. It was restored in the 1960s and is now open to the public. A drawbridge over a moat allows you entrance. Inside there's a chapel dedicated to Saint Barbara, the patron saint of armourers, artillerymen and miners. Its walls are adorned with 18th-century azulejo tiles. Inside too there is also a small museum dedicated to the Portuguese Discoveries with additional exhibition space displaying works by local artists. A walk around its ramparts will provide you with amazing panoramic views over Lagos, the marina, the ocean and the Praia da Batata beach.

Tuesday to Sunday 09h30 – 12h30/14h00 – 17h00, Monday: CLOSED | €1.50
Cais da Solaria, 8600-563 Lagos, Portugal. | 37° 05' 56.3" N | 08° 40' 06.2" W
+351 282 761 410

LAGOS MARINA

Situated on the opposite bank of the river Bensafrim from the old town and over a drawbridge is the Lagos marina, which first opened in 1994. The marina has a capacity for 462 vessels up to 30 metres long. It's here many day excursions depart from and many tour agencies have their offices. They all compete for your custom and offer activities such as kayaking, dolphin-watching, fishing and mini-cruises. There are also several cafes, bars and restaurants at your disposal. There's also excellent accommodation located here from four-star hotels to swish apartments. Alongside the marina is the train station, the last stop on the Linha do Algarve.
Lagos – Vila Real de Santo António: Timetable | Website

Discoveries Wax Museum (Museu de Cera dos Descobrimentos)

On the northern end of the marina is this entertaining museum which first opened to the public in 2014. The museum documents the part Lagos took during Portugal's great age of discovery. It was from here the early navigators set sail to find a navigable route around the Horn of Africa to the rich spice trading routes of Asia. Famous historical explorers are represented in wax such as Henry the Navigator, Vasco da Gama, Gil Eanes, Bartolomeu Dias, Luís de Camões, Pope Alexander VI, Fernão Mendes Pinto and Ferdinand Magellan. Discriptions of each exhibit are in Portuguese and English.
Tuesay – Sunday: 10:00h – 18:00h, Monday: CLOSED
Adult: €10.00, Concessionary: €8.00, Child: €7.00, 0-6 Yrs: FREE
Urbanização Marina da Lagos, 8600-315 Lagos, Portugal. | 37° 06' 42.3" N | 08° 40' 31.3" W
+351 964 351 802 | geral@museuceradescobrimentos.com | Website

Lagos Marina

|  Lagos Marina

TOP TOURS

Boat trip to the caves of Benagil

Boat trip to the caves of Benagil

The Benagil caves are one of the most iconic landmarks of the western Algarve and should not be missed if given the opportunity to visit. Depart Lagos marina on a rigid inflatable boat (RIB) and sail past Alvor, Portimão, and Carvoeiro on your way to the caves, admiring the Portuguese coastline along the way. Learn about the rock formations from your guide. Search for dolphins and other marine life on your journey there. This small-group tour makes a personalised and friendly experience. Best book online before your trip to guarantee your seats.


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Dolphin Watching

Dolphin Watching

The best way to chance an encounter with dolphins in Lagos is by joining an ethical dolphin spotting tour on a small boat. Watch these beautiful animals as they dip and dive through the surf in pods. Your adventure starts at Lagos marina as you step on board a nimble, rigid-hull inflatable raft that lets you get closer to the action for a front-row seat as dolphins swim like torpedoes and jump through the waves. Be sure to bring your camera on this marine life cruise that has a 95% success rate for spotting dolphins. Expert skippers have more than 30 years of experience leading wildlife tours.


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Wine Tasting

Wine Tasting

On this four-hour tour you will visit a winery. You will learn more about the wine production process. You will taste three local wines accompanied by a plate of tapas with cheese and sausages. We will discover the secrets of the countryside, where you will see the famous Algarve oranges, ancient cork trees and some of the oldest villages in the region. You will have free time to visit the picturesque city of Silves, an ancient Moorish village with one of the most beautiful castles in Portugal. The cobbled streets add even more charm to Silves.


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LAGOS BEACHES

Meia Praia – Lagos

|  Meia Praia – Lagos

Meia Praia

Just east of Lagos is a four-kilometre (2.5 miles) stretch of fine golden sands and one of the Algarve's finest beaches, the Meia Praia. This broad beach is back by low-lying grassy dunes that offer little shelter on windy days. The western end of the beach known locally as the Praia de São Roque is within an easy walk through the Lagos marina. Its easy accessibility makes this section of Meia Praia by far the most popular and where you'll find the majority of hotels, amenities, cafés, bars and restaurants. Praia de São Roque is favoured by locals and families. It is patrolled by lifeguards during the holiday season. Sun loungers, windbreaks and parasols can be hired. Even during peak season the beach never feels crowded. The further you travel away from Lagos the beach becomes quieter still and less developed. For that reason, the eastern end is where those who enjoy water sports prefer. There are many activities available here, including surfing, beach volleyball, paragliding, sailing, windsurfing, jet skiing, kayaking, paddle boarding and kitesurfing. Rental companies are at hand to provide you with the appropriate equipment. At the far end, the beach finally terminates at the Ribeira de Odiáxere estuary and is referred to as the Praia do Vale da Lama. Halfway along is the Meia Praia train station and a small fishing village On the beach there is a dilapidated 17th-century fort. Across the breadth of the beach, there are cycle paths, footpaths, and boardwalks that traverse the dunes. There's a coastal road dotted with ample parking spaces. The #2 bus service also runs along the road starting at the bus station in Lagos and outside the train station. Timetable

Praia da Batata

Praia da Batata is the town's beach situated a short distance from Lagos's old town, located between the fortress of Ponta da Bandeira and Praia dos Estudantes. The sea has shaped the sandstone cliffs into small sheltered inlets and beautiful rock formations. The beach is only 160 metres long and can get busy during peak season. It is very convenient and popular with locals and visitors alike. The waters here are crystal clear and calm, ideal for paddling toddlers and swimmers.

As well as families and those seeking to top up their tan Praia da Batata attract those who like more active pursuits. You can rent a kayak and head off to Ponta da Piedade from here. [Book Online ►] There's also stand-up paddleboard (SUP) available and diving facilities. The Batata beach bar serves simple dishes and refreshing cold drinks. On the clifftop above is the Mar Restaurant which delivers a more sophisticated option. At the far end of the beach, an opening in the rocks allows access to Praia dos Estudantes.
37° 06' 15.0" N | 08° 40' 23.0" W

Praia da Batata

|  Praia da Batata

Praia dos Estudantes – Lagos

|  Praia dos Estudantes – Lagos

Praia dos Estudantes

JNestled amongst rock formations this small sandy beach is accessed through a tunnel hewn into that headland that separates Praia dos Estudantes from Praia da Batata. The beach is famed for its Roman-style bridge that links the mainland to a tall islet. This is found on the southern side of the beach, which is accessed through a second tunnel. The short distance from Lagos old town Praia dos Estudantes makes it very convenient yet receives fewer visitors that the Praia da Batata. The sea here is clear and tame, ideal for bathing. The high cliffs provide excellent protection from sea breezes. 37° 05' 47.5" N | 08° 40' 03.5" W


Praia do Pinhão

Praia do Pinhão is a small beach located between Praia dos Estudantes and Praia Dona Ana beaches. The colours at Pinhão are intense, the aqua turquoise of the sea and the oche coloured rock formations sculpted by nature. A walk along the clifftop will take you there and a long staircase guides you down onto the sands. The area below the staircase becomes submerged during high tide. A tunnel through a rock formation gives you access to a larger part of the beach, but this tunnel sits below the waterline when the tide is in. Praia do Pinhão is one of the quieter in the area. The waters here are pellucid and favoured by snorkellers.
37° 05' 39.2 "N | 08° 40' 04.6" W

Praia Dona Ana

Heading west out of Lagos is the attractive beach of Praia Dona Ana that sits at the feet of 93 step staircase. Nature has worked her magic here. The beach's rock formations, grottos and caves make the Praia Dona Ana beach one of the most photographed in the Algarve. The waters here are calm and crystalline – ideal for snorkelling. On top of the cliff, there is a trail that leads to Praia do Pinhão beach. Praia Dona Ana is about 160 metres long and is mostly frequented by the guests of the hotels situated on top of the cliff. The #2 bus stops at the top by the car park. A footpath from here leads towards Praia do Pinhão. | 2
37° 05' 30.7" N | 08° 40' 08.3" W


Praia do Camilo

Praia do Camilo is accessed through a great rocky staircase. The top of the staircase has great panoramic views of the coastline between Lagos and Albufeira. The beach is divided by a vast rock formation that can be traversed through a tunnel. 37° 05' 14.5" N | 08° 40' 06.2" W

Praia Dona Ana

|  Praia Dona Ana

LAGOS ZOO

Lagos Zoo

ONLINE TICKET

With this entrance ticket you can gain entry to the Lagos Zoo at your leisure. Buy online before you arrive to avoid queues and have the convenience of the e-ticket on your phone. Book with confidence with FREE CANCELLATION.

Lagos Zoo (Zoo de Lagos) is a wonderful zoo located just outside Lagos and has more than 140 species from across five continents and hundreds of botanical species. Lagos Zoo is all about the animals – their well-being, conservation and protection. It's a great option if you're looking for things to do in the Algarve and it's suitable for all ages.

Daily: 10h00 - 19h00
Adult: €18.00, Child: €14.00, OAP: €16.00, Child 0-3: FREE

Quinta Figueiras, Sitio de Medronhal, Lagos, 8600 - 013, Portugal. | 37° 08' 43.7" N | 08° 45' 59.2" W

Mad About Portugal

PONTA DA PIEDADE

Ponta da Piedade

|  Ponta da Piedade

Ponta da Piedade is a headland with some of the most iconic views in the Algarve. Over aeons, nature has sculptured this coastline into dramatic limestone stacks, islets, grottos, small coves and caves. A coastal path behind the Farol da Ponta da Piedade Lagos lighthouse will lead you to the top of a staircase of 182 steps that will take you down into a bay in the centre of the sight. Admire the contrast of the yellow, ochre and red colours found in the stratum of the rock structures against the green and turquoise of the water.

The best way to experience the Ponta da Piedade is to get up close in a boat or kayak. By kayak, it's possible to visit grottos and secluded beaches that are otherwise inaccessible. In many cases, you can see fossils in the rockfaces. You can rent a kayak on Praia da Batata, which is only a short walk from the centre of Lagos. It is recommended to go kayaking with a guide. [Book Online ►]

PRAIA DA LUZ

Once a fishing village Praia da Luz is now a popular holiday resort that retains much of its original charm. The town is far from being overdeveloped and the skyline remains low and subtle. The area has been inhabited for thousands of years. There's evidence of Roman occupation here. There are ruins of a Roman villa that dates back to the 3rd century AD that was partially excavated in the 19th century by Estacio da Veiga. Records exist of a group of salting tanks (cetareas) used for preparing fish, an aqueduct and a bathhouse. Nearby, at Cerro de Lorvão, there is a Roman cemetery. The main church is medieval in origin. Its chancel has a Gothic vault and triumphal arch. The altarpiece of the main altar is decorated with gilded carvings in the Baroque style.

The beach is quite broad with ample amenities and activities at hand. The tame waters in the bay are ideal for practising water sports such as windsurfing, kitesurfing, sailing and diving. The beach is backed by a palm-lined promenade where there are several cafés and restaurants. Rising above the beach is a restaurant that occupies a 17th-century fort. | 4

Praia da Luz

|  Praia da Luz

Booking.com

OUR RECOMMENDATIONS

Palmares Beach House Hotel

Palmares Beach House Hotel ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Get the celebrity treatment with world-class service at Palmares Beach House Hotel - Adults Only. The property is twelve minutes walk from the beach. The hotel features an outdoor swimming pool. The property also includes an on-site restaurant. The rooms at the Palmares Beach House Hotel - Adults Only feature a private bathroom and a flat-screen cable TV. All include a balcony and views over the Atlantic Ocean. A daily breakfast is served in the restaurant area. Guests wishing to taste Mediterranean cuisine can enjoy the on-site restaurant. The surrounding area features a variety of fresh fish and seafood restaurants, many within a short five-minute drive.
Campo de Golfe de Palmares, 8600-250 Lagos, Portugal. | 37° 07' 35.3" N | 08° 38' 30.7" W

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Baluarte da Vila Apartments

Baluarte da Vila Apartments ★ ★ ★

This property is six minutes walk from the beach. Situated in the historical centre of Lagos, Baluarte da Vila Apartments features a pool with views of Lagos Bay and offers self-catering accommodation. Some Baluarte da Vila's apartments and studios boast furnished balconies with views of Meia Praia. They include modern furnishings and come equipped with air conditioning and a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. Guests can relax on a sun lounger poolside and enjoy a refreshing beverage. Several restaurants serving fresh seafood and regional cuisine are a five-minute walk from the hotel.
Largo de Santa Maria da Graça, 9, 8600-910 Lagos, Portugal. | 37° 05' 52.0" N | 08° 40' 15.8" W

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B28 - Stylish Typical House

B28 - Stylish Typical House

This property is eight minutes walk from the beach. Set in Lagos, 800 yards from Meia Praia Beach, B28 - Stylish Typical House offers accommodation with a terrace, free WiFi and a desk. The property is close to the Santa Maria Church and Lagos Marina. The holiday home has one bedroom, a bathroom, bed linen, towels, a flat-screen TV, a dining area, a fully equipped kitchenette, and a patio with city views. A car rental service is available at the holiday home, while cycling can be enjoyed nearby.
Beco da Barreira, 8600-653 Lagos, Portugal. | 37° 06' 18.8" N | 08° 40' 32.8" W

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OUR CHOICE

Jukebox Tapas & Meals

Jukebox Tapas & Meals

In a narrow street in Lagos town centre is this tapas restaurant which is a refreashing alternative to the regular touristy eateries. They cook authentic petiscos (small dishes) to perfection at surprisingly reasonable prices. Theres a good range of seafood to choose from amongst the wide selection of tempting dishes. Highlights include piri-piri prawns, pork cheeks, battered squid and razor clams. The establishment is small and friendly. Its rightfully popular and booking is advisable.

Tuesday - Sunday: 18h00 - 22h00, Monday: CLOSED
Rua Soeiro da Costa 40A 8600-624 Lagos, Portugal. | 37° 06' 01.6" N | 08° 40' 19.3" W
+351 910 571 011 | budgetfriendlyjukebox@gmail.com


Luca's Rooftop Restaurant

Luca's Rooftop Restaurant

If you find yourself close to Dona Ana beach one evening and fancy a special dining experience then head for this hidden gem. Luca's Rooftop Restaurant is located on top of the Carvi Beach Hotel. The panaramic view from Luca's Restaurant is almost unrivalled in Lagos. On the rooftop terrace, guests will find a bar and restaurant where they can enjoy a variety of delicious meals or refreshing beverages with unobstructed views of the ocean. The main focus is fish and seafood however the non-fishy meals and vegetarian are equally delicious. Enjoy the best local dishes while listening to the best Portuguese traditional music, Fado, on select nights.

Tuesday – Sunday: 12h30 – 16h00/18h00 – 20h00, Monday: CLOSED
Praia Dona Ana, Alameda Dr. Armando Soares Ribeiro, 8600-500 Lagos, Portugal. | 37° 05' 29.4" N | 08° 40' 13.7" W
+351 282 760 993 | lucasrooftop@gmail.com | Website


Alma Lusa

Alma Lusa

Enjoy an unforgettable evening of typical Portuguese cuisine with live Fado music - Wednesdays only. Using only fresh, seasonal, locally sourced ingredients, experienced chefs have created a traditional yet contemporary menu… thich caters for all tastes! To accompany your meal, there is an extensive list of excellent local wines at very affordable prices. The bar serves an extensive range of local wines, spirits, liqueurs and the best cocktails. Why not try their delicious English or Continental breakfast? Served daily from 10h00.

Monday – Saturday: 12h30/14h30 – 18h30 – 22h00, Sunday: CLOSED
Rua Gago Coutinho 3, Lagos 8600-593 Portugal,
37° 05' 40.7" N | 08° 40' 20.1" W
+351 938 131 036 | almalusalagos@hotmail.com | Website

79km (49.3 miles) west of Faro Airport Website

GET A GREAT DEAL ON FLIGHTS:

Get on A22 from N125-10, IC4 and N125-4, follow A22 to Lagos.
Latitude - 37º 05" 40.5' | Longitude - 08º 40" 20.1'

GET A GREAT DEAL ON CAR HIRE:


Lagos is the last stop on the line:
• Lagos - Vila Real de Santo António line: Timetable | Website

• Eva Transportes run services across the Algarve linking the main resorts and towns, as well as a hostess service to Lisbon. Also worth considering are their tourist passes if you're planing to visit different places: Website
• Rede Expressos operates countrywide services: Website