Weekend Recap: Lagos, Portugal

The first of my many weekend trips was spent with five friends in the one and only Lagos, Portugal! After two weeks of an intensive Spanish class and a two hour final exam on Friday, I practically fell out of my chair and onto the bus to Lagos. I had been daydreaming about this beach weekend all week, and FINALLY it was here!

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Friday, September 21

Our first “day” in Lagos was more of an evening. We arrived around 6 PM on Friday, checked into our hostel, and immediately began exploring the surrounding streets – quickly learning that not only was it five minutes from the beach, but it was also a hub for people in their 20’s looking to have a good time. Bonus!

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Dinner was absolutely AMAZING. A young backpacker on the bus to Lagos recommended The Garden, which turned out to be right around the corner from our hostel. String lights and lush tropical ferns surrounded the blanketed couches and wooden tables, and the smell of fresh seafood wafted from the outdoor kitchen. After a quick drink at the adjoining bar, we were seated and ordering some more. Two pitchers of sangria for the table, followed by the BBQ fish plate for me which included their fresh catch, potatoes, a house salad and a small drink of either wine, beer or soda (I got white wine!). The beachy outdoor setting was the perfect intro to Portugal – I only have good things to say about this place!

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In true college style, we followed the delicious meal by what we do best: bar hopping. Thankfully, our hostel and The Garden were extremely close to some of the most popular bars in Lagos. Our personal favorites were the Three Monkeys and Whytes Bar. The first reminded me of a good ol’ pub – complete with a pool table, high top tables and chairs, and awesome music. Whytes was a bit more of your typical bar with giant beers and and a dance floor in the basement. We met tons of Aussies and Canadians throughout the night, many of whom were going on our very same booze cruise the next day!

Saturday, September 22 

After a lazy start to the day, my friends and I were exploring the streets of Lagos by 10 AM. The first thing I noticed were the beautifully tiled streets – it was SO shiny and clean, I was obsessed! The stark white houses and buildings reminded me of photos of Greek neighborhoods and I couldn’t get enough of the chill beachy atmosphere.

Following a quick dip in our hostel’s rooftop pool – which had UNREAL views of the city and ocean – we made our way to the main event… the booze cruise. We booked this through the Rising Cock Hostel after several recommendations from friends who had done it before. I’m not going to lie, while the views of the grottos and stunning beaches were amazing, the cruise was nothing less than a party. About 35 of us – most aged early to mid twenties – piled onto the double decker ship and immediately grabbed a glass of sangria from the bar as we departed from the dock. The next three hours were filled with spiked watermelon, mixed shots, and unlimited sangria (yeah, it was insane), but my favorite part was jumping off the top of the ship into the crisp blue water. I can’t even count how many times we did this!

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The crazy afternoon somehow continued into the night. My friends and I met up with a few other American travelers that we met on the ship for a 2-hour dinner and another bar-filled night in Lagos. I had SO much fun, but there is no way I could have kept up with this party lifestyle for much longer!

Sunday, September 23

Thankfully, we spent the entire next morning relaxing on one of Lagos’ stunning beaches. A 5-minute walk from our hostel was the Praia de Batata, a beautiful stretch of vast sand and sandstone cliffs at the mouth of the estuary.

Our initial impression was that it was touristy, which made sense considering its close proximity to the city center. But as we ventured further and further through the cliffs, the crowds became much smaller and the beach more serene. After weeks without a proper beach day, I was completely in heaven. Of course there were millions of photos taken during our exploration of the secluded beaches, followed by a dip in the brisk water and an hour of sunbathing.

Sadly, our beautiful morning was cut short; our bus was leaving at 2 PM with or without us! We lugged our backpacks and sandy feet back to town and enjoyed a quick pick-me-up at Poke Lagos, which I’ve gotta say, was SO needed after weeks of living off of jamón and bread. Your girl needed fresh veggies like never before!

I was absolutely thrilled with this cute and casual restaurant as I watched them pack as much rice, seaweed salad, and fresh salmon as possible into my “regular” sized bowl. Best nine euros I’ve ever spent!

TRAVEL DETAILS

Transportation

Since Seville is only a 3-ish hour drive from Lagos, my friends and I decided to take a bus. This is often the cheapest and most convenient way to travel within a country or region, so of course us college kids hopped on the opportunity to save a little cash. We booked through Go Euro and the tickets were 50 euros roundtrip. We walked the entire time we were in Lagos, so that was the only money spent on transportation!

Hostel

We stayed in Top City Hostel for about 35 euros per night. It included free breakfast, a rooftop pool with amazing views, and hosted fun events every day that were either super cheap or free (bar crawls, tapas dinner, sangria on the roof).

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It was also SO clean which made a huge difference. However, our choice to stay in a ten person mixed-gender room so our group could stay together turned out to be a terrible idea. The two other boys in our room brought home girls every night and DID NOT WEAR CLOTHES. Like, at all. Yeah. It was extremely uncomfortable to say the least, but we just avoided eye contact at all costs.

Overall, Lagos was an absolute dream and somewhere I hope to return to again. While I enjoyed the party aspect of the weekend, I do wish I explored the natural beauty of the area some more. A kayak tour of the grottos is at the top of my list when I come back!

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