Coffee in Portugal – what to order and where

If you´re like me, every good day starts with a good coffee. For me it means creamy foam and the right proportion of milkiness, coupled with sunshine and some minutes of silence to just sit, observe passers by and enjoy the moment.
For you it might mean an expresso at the bar, or a skim-milk cappuccino. No matter what your preference, when you´re on holiday, you don´t want to spend half your time experimenting with what to call it, in order to get the coffee you want.

Here´s your guide to coffee in Portugal, and some places we like to get it.


GALÃO = cafe latte / latte macchiato / cafe con leche
The Galão is probably the most commonly served coffee style in Portugal, along side the Bica/expresso. A galão is served in a glass, and has a proportion of 1 part coffee to 3 parts hot milk. If you want it to be on the stronger side, ask for a “Galão escuro” (dark), if you prefer it weaker, ask for a “Galão claro” (light).


BICA or CAFÈ = expresso / short black
Café duplo = Double expresso
Pingado = Espresso Machiatto
(an expresso with a dash of hot milk)


MEIA DE LEITE = Flat white / café au lait 
Served in a cup, Meia de leite translates to “half of milk”, so as you can guess, the proportion is 1 part coffee to 1 part milk. This makes it a little stronger / less milky than the Galão.

CAFE LUNGO = Long black / Americano

Cappuccino remains as Cappuccino, however, in Portugal its not so easy to find a really good one. The milk the cafes use is not very creamy and results in airy foam rather than creamy foam. That being said, the Portuguese do produce great coffee, so its always going to taste pretty good.
Its worth buying a few bags of Delta or Sical to take home with you!

Our favourite coffee spots in Lagos

Snack bar Mimar
, near the central plaza with outdoor seating, and of course great coffee at non touristic prices (approx 1.10€ for a galão). They have a range of pastries and cakes to accompany your coffee and great changing daily specials for lunch (soups, salads, quiches, toasts, stuffed vegetables, lasagne etc). With free wifi, its also a great place to catch up on some work / travel research. See more on their Facebook page >

Bora Cafe, (Rua Conselheiro Joaquim Machado), although the service is sometimes slow, the presentation and atmosphere is very nice. Their attention to detail and aesthetics, serving your order with flowers and on wooden platters, feels like a little exotic Asian touch. Their outdoor seating is very cute with boho chairs and lounges in a cosy, sheltered area. They also have free wifi. See more on yelp >

Croissanteria 29, (Rua da Estrema, 29) serves great coffee, and the best croissants in town (or possibly the world). Although it does´t have outdoor seating, they have cute booths and Portuguese tiles, and friendly Portuguese staff. The owner, Carlos is always wearing a smile and happy to have a chat. They also have great smoothies and fresh juices.
See more about Croissanteria 29 in our post “A vegetarians guide to Lagos” here >

Meu Limão, opposite the Museum on the less touristy end of the main street (Rua 29 de Abril), is Meu Limao tapas restaurant. They have nice deck chairs for sitting outside and people watching. Of course if you fancy a savoury bite with your coffee, there is a great range to choose from. See more >

Arte dos Sabores, on the main street (Rua 29 de Abril), with tasty toasts, wraps and salads to accompany your coffee. Their toasts are a little more interesting than you´ll find in most places (typically its just ham & cheese), goats cheese with honey, bruschettas, avocado etc. Also free wifi.

Cafe Fresco, close to the bus station, with fresh modern interior, indoor & outdoor seating. They also have wifi plus a great menu including a range of healthy wholesome freshy squeezed juices, or less healthy indulgent cakes.

If you´d like to suggest any places you love (for coffee or tips in general), we´d like to hear them, let us know by sending a message here!