Home » Family fun in the sun: Kid-friendly activities in Lagos, Portugal

Family fun in the sun: Kid-friendly activities in Lagos, Portugal

Famous for its towering cliffs and glistening beaches, Lagos, Portugal, is an excellent destination for families, especially those who enjoy the outdoors. From boat trips to beach days to hands-on museums, it’s safe to say that neither kids nor adults will be bored here.

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The city has its share of history, too. It played a significant role during the Age of Discovery. It was from Lagos that Portuguese explorers like Gil Eanes set sail on their voyages of exploration during the 15th century. While not exactly appropriate for younger kids, Lagos was once a major centre for the European slave trade during the 15th century. The first-ever slave market in Europe was established in Lagos in 1444, and some museums explore this dark period in the city.

Once you arrive in Lagos, you’ll be stunned by its natural beauty and want to hit the ground running. Book luggage storage in Lagos with Bounce to ensure you’re not stuck with any unneeded items or suitcases. Then, you can wander, swim, learn, and even relax a whole lot easier. Here are all the best things to do with kids in this part of the Algarve:

Boat excursions in Lagos, Portugal

Lagos takes advantage of its awe-inspiring Atlantic Coast setting by offering countless boat trips that should appeal to families. The kids will especially enjoy cruising around on a pirate ship. Although these boats don’t leave Lagos itself, there are options all over the Algarve, and the closest is in Portimao, about 30 minutes away.

In Lagos, a range of boats, including leisurely catamarans and exciting speed boats, will take you up and down the coast to see all the intriguing natural landmarks. Benagil Cave is the most sought-after destination. It’s famous for the circular opening in the roof of a natural cave dome that lets light touch the small beach and water below. The best way to reach this spot is on a 2.5-hour catamaran trip.

If speed is more your thing, faster boats also tour the area, and aside from Benagil Cave, you can see the Ponta da Piedade, an impressive sea bridge found among picturesque coves and limestone cliffs.

Another exciting option is to go for one of the dolphin-spotting cruises that leave from Lagos. This is one of the best areas to spot these fast-moving aquatic mammals, which is sure to delight the whole family. Although sightings aren’t guaranteed and depend on the season (from May to September is best), your chances are good. Just be quick with the camera! 

The Beach

Regardless of whether you’re traveling with kids or not, the beach is the main reason tourists flock to the Algarve and towns like Lagos. Not every beach is created equal for families, though, so choose your beach trip location wisely.

Praia dos Estudantes is a good place to start. It’s less than 15 minutes on foot from the center of town and other than the obvious golden sand and refreshing water, kids will get a kick out of entering through the tunnel here. Additionally, when the tide is low, you can stroll under a limestone arch and explore the adjacent cove. 

Meia Praia is another solid beach option for families visiting Lagos. It’s known for calm waters and plenty of space to spread out, which is a blessing during the busy summer season. Also, for convenience, the beach’s edges are dotted with small local cafés and restaurants, so you’re not obliged to pack a picnic (unless you want to).

Watersports around Lagos, Portugal

Paddleboarding in Lagos, Portugal
Photo by Amy Vann on Unsplash

Aside from swimming, you’ll have access to tons of different water-based activities in Lagos. Many of the beaches are ideal for surfing, and some companies give lessons to kids and adults if it’s your first time.

Due to the clear waters surrounding the town, snorkeling is another way to add purpose to your day at the beach. 

When you and the older kids want more of an adrenaline rush, try your hand at kitesurfing or windsurfing. And on the flip side, stand-up paddleboarding is also a nice option. Luckily, there are companies all along the Algarve Coast that specialise in renting water activity equipment and instruction. Just be prepared to fall into the water a few times.

Centro Ciência Viva de Lagos

Moving away from the water, we now head to some indoor activities for when the kids need a break from the sun and sand or the weather isn’t cooperating. The Centro Ciência Viva de Lagos is a Science Museum in town and actually does offer indoor and outdoor exploration. 

Outside, there are colourful play structures and gadgets to try, while indoors, there are interactive exhibits to crawl through and learn along the way. This is more appropriate for younger kids, as children over ten may find the displays a little young.

At the other end of the Algarve in Faro, the Algarve Life Sciences Center is a better option for the whole family. The arachnid exhibit is particularly interesting, and there is a touch tank, which is sure to intrigue. Hop on a guided tour for the best experience, and this one is worth it if you’re already planning to visit Faro or happen to arrive on the Algarve from there anyway.

Lagos Zoo

A parrot at a petting zoo in Lagos
Photo by Mari Gimenez on Unsplash

Our last family-friendly activity in Lagos is the wild kind. Reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and birds all await you here. The Lagos Zoo is focused on conservation and promotes a love of animals at the petting zoo. Younger kids and toddlers will want to pet the donkeys, goats, and guinea pigs for sure.

You can pay to book tickets for the lemur feeding or opt to attend the free feedings of the penguins, otters, and pelicans scattered throughout the day. Kids under four get in for free with an accompanying adult, and the hours vary based on the season, but the zoo is open year-round.


There’s no shortage of great things to do as a family in and around Lagos. Make the water your focus and go for boat rides, build sandcastles, and try whatever watersport appeals to you. Keep the zoo and science museum in your back pocket in case the weather turns, and you’re bound to have an unforgettable family trip to the southern Algarve.

How did I do?

Did you enjoy this post? Why not hang around and read a few more whilst you’re here. If you want to read some more of my usual kind of stuff, head over to my Mum Life section. You’ll find all things parenting with a tongue-in-cheek twist. Or if you want some days out and UK family holiday inspiration, click on the Travel section.

If you like a bit of social media madness, pop over to my Facebook page where you’ll be able to have a laugh at what ridiculousness goes on in my house with three very small boys on a daily basis. Warning – there is often sarcasm, and usually swearing. There are also great travel reviews and some AWESOME giveaways. Feel free to join my Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee – Shits and Giggles Parenting Group too, where everyone shares their hilarious stories.

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