LAGOS - GETTING AROUND
All of the sights in Lagos`s city center can be reached on foot. The `old town` is approximately 1200 feet wide and half a mile long. If you`re traveling north of the city or to the beaches, we recommend some sort of transport in addition to walking.
Bus travel in Lagos and environs is run by Transportes Urbanos de Lagos, whose fleet is branded with the name ONDA. ONDA buses run on nine different routes: Linha Vermelha (#1, red line); Linha Azul (#2, blue line); Linha Rosa (#3, pink line); Linha Amarela (#4, yellow line); Linha Laranja (#5, orange line); Linha Verde (#6, green line); Linha Castanha (#7, chestnut line); Linha Lilas (#8, lilac line); and Linha Turquesa (#9, turquoise line).
All nine ONDA lines can be accessed by going to the Marina/Avenida dos Descobrimentos stop. Every single line stops at the Praca do Infante. The city bus station is located on the lilac line. The red and blue lines stop at the train station on the other side of the Bensafrim River. Most beaches in Lagos can be reached by taking the blue line. (There is an additional line, Linha Verao, the summer line, which runs between downtown, Praia do Porto de Mos and Meia Praia until midnight during the months of July and August.)
By 8 a.m. each day, all nine bus routes are transporting residents and tourists throughout the city. The majority of the routes stop running around 7 p.m., with the exception of three. Lines #2 (blue), #3 (pink) and #4 (yellow) are active until the last bus begins its final run at 10:30 p.m. Buses run every 30 minutes daily except for weekends, when it is not uncommon for a 12:30 p.m. bus run to be followed up by another run more than five hours later. On holidays, ONDA lines #2, #3 and #4 run on a Sunday schedule (six daily buses as opposed to eight on a Saturday schedule, or 22 on a weekday schedule).
Line #9 (turquoise) is a circular offered for the benefit of tourists. The buses stop at a number of noteworthy spots around the city, leaving from Praca do Infante. Buses usually leave every 30 minutes between 7:50 a.m. and 7:20 p.m. on weekdays and every two hours on weekends and holidays, with the first bus leaving at 8:50 a.m. and the last leaving at 6:50 p.m.
Prices range from €1.20 if traveling on lines #1, #2 or #9 to €1.60 if traveling on lines #3-8. A three day ticket costs under €10 and can be bought at the Rede Nacional de Expressos (RENEX) bus stop located on Rua da Porta de Portugal. For more information on ONDA, visit www.aonda.pt (website in Portuguese).
By the Tourist Train
Like in Albufeira, there is a `tourist train` (`comboio turistico` in Portuguese) that runs seven days a week, transporting travelers to certain destinations in Lagos. Also like the one in Albufeira, the tourist train resembles a mini-steam-powered `choo choo` type of locomotive. The tourist train departs from the Marina, runs parallel to the waterfront, and stops at Praia Dona Ana and Ponta da Piedade before circling back to the Marina. The trip is 30 minutes in total, and you can hop on and hop off at any of the stops safe in the knowledge that another train will be along within a half-hour. The first train leaves the Marina at 10 a.m. and the last train leaves Ponta da Piedade at 7:25 p.m. Tickets are approximately €3 and you can buy your pass with the conductor (driver).
Taxis in Lagos, like other Algarve cities, are either white or black/green in color. They are in abundance all over the city and if the light on top of the taxi is green (signifying a vacancy), you can hail the cab from the street. Many people call in advance for their cabs, however. Ask your hotel or a business to call a taxi for you. Even though another person may have told the taxi operator where you want to go, your taxi driver may only know your departure point, not your arrival point. Be prepared by writing down your destination and address on a piece of paper to give to your driver. Lagos is a big tourist area, and many taxi drivers do speak English, but do not automatically assume your driver will be able to converse with you.
Unlike in similar coastal cities like Albufeira, many taxi ranks in Lagos are known to be deserted. Your best bets for locating a taxi from a taxi rank are at the train station and Praca Gil Eanes.
Fares start at €4 for the first mile, with €1 added for each additional half-mile traveled. Expect a 20% price increase if you are traveling after 9 p.m., on weekends or during holidays. There is an upcharge of approximately €2 for each piece of luggage placed in the trunk. Due to the compact size of Lagos City`s downtown area (frequently called `the old town`), taxis can become expensive fast for distances best traveled by foot or on the bus. We recommend taking taxis only for destinations further than a mile away.
With typically low elevation and a warm, sunny climate, the Algarve is perfect for a cycling excursion. Whether you`re a novice or an experienced cyclist, the Algarve has dozens of bike paths that will give riders some of the most breathtaking views tourists can experience in this region. Lagos alone has a number of bike routes, with the most popular routes including the Esplanade in some fashion. We don't recommend cycling in the summer months as it can rise above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. In the winter months, temperatures cool down during the day into the 60s, making this the ideal time to get on a bicycle and pedal to your heart`s content!
There are a couple of regional and national bike rental chains in Lagos: MTB Algarve (www.mtbalgarve.com) has a brick-and-mortar location on Rua Jose Afonso, and Go Cycling Portugal (www.gocyclingportugal.com) will deliver your bike rental to you anywhere in Lagos. MTB Algarve`s daily rental fees start from €20 and Go Cycling Portugal`s fees start at €30 (including delivery).
Lagos is a little more spread out than other Algarve cities, although the majority of the sights recommended are located in the `old town` which is fairly compact. Nevertheless, TripMasters gives travelers the option to book a car during the reservation process, which you would pick up at Faro Airport upon arrival (not in Lagos). If you decide to rent a car after arriving, Lagos and nearby Portimao have a number of car rental agencies open for business, with competitive pricing as this is a tourist area.
Parking is not an issue in Lagos, as there are a number of free parking lots in the downtown area and one large pay-per-use parking lot underground (adjacent to the courthouse on Avenida dos Descobrimentos). Other large parking lots in Lagos are located near the roundabout at Estrada da Ponta da Piedade and behind Lagos Marina. Street parking is first-come, first-served along Avenida dos Descobrimentos (for a fee).