8 amazing hidden gems of lagos
Lagos, the bustling and friendly city of Nigeria, is an endless treasure trove of hidden gems waiting to be discovered by adventurous travelers. From its charming Old Town to its serene beaches, Lagos is a hub of cultural, historical, and natural wonders. In this article, we explore five of the most exciting hidden gems of Lagos – Jazzhole Bookstore, Badagry Black Heritage Museum, Tarkwa Bay, Farmers’ Market, and Ponte da Piedade Boat Tour.
The Capital is a vibrant, friendly city that offers visitors a variety of exciting experiences. Whether you’re looking for a beach, a wine tour, or a spirited night out, there’s something for everyone in this town!
The Old Town of Lagos is a charming place to stroll and take in the cobbled streets, colorful houses, and charming squares. It also serves as a great spot for shopping and checking out small souvenirs and curiosity shops.
Each of these unique destinations promises to offer visitors a once-in-a-lifetime experience and leave them with memories that will last a lifetime.
1. Jazzhole Bookstore
It’s the perfect place for lovers of literature and music. This quaint corner shop on Awolowo road Ikoyi is a combination of a coffee shop, a book store, and a record store.
With a wide range of books on a variety of subjects, you’ll surely find something you like here. It’s also a great place to listen to endless Jazz and Soul music.
This offspring of Glendora Books is located at 188 Awolowo Road Ikoyi and has been around for almost 30 years. Its founder, Kunle Tejuosho wanted to create a space for international music in Lagos while also preserving African music and arts.
He says, “From the busy metropolis of Lagos to the rebellious streets of Rio, the music of the universe rests on our shelves.”
As well as books, they have a plethora of African artwork and a tiny cafe where you can grab coffee or tea. They also serve delicious sandwiches, fruits crumble, and pastries. They also do monthly art exhibitions looking to showcase African literature, music, and arts.
2. Badagry Black Heritage Museum
The Badagry Black Heritage Museum is a hidden gem that offers visitors an in-depth look into the history of slavery in Africa. It’s also a testament to the resilience of the region and its people.
The museum is a former district officer’s office built in 1863 and converted into a museum in 2002. The museum houses historical relics and artifacts that chronicle the slave trade between Europe, North America, and Africa.
On display are dated shackles, sketches, photos, and other salvaged historical records that document the cruelty of European traders in this area. A short boat ride to the Point of No Return allows visitors to witness firsthand how this area was used as a transit point for enslaved Africans before they were transported to their final masters in the West.
Towards the end of the 18th century, a movement emerged in Europe to call for an end to the slave trade and, later, slavery itself. But while Britain – responsible for 50 percent of trade in enslaved Africans – backed the abolition, it did not apply to their colonies.
3. Tarkwa Bay
One of the hidden gems of Lagos is Tarkwa Bay. It’s a secluded beach that’s usually less crowded than other major beaches in the city.
This secluded beach is known for its clear water and beautiful scenery, making it a perfect spot to relax. It also has a lot of activities to offer, such as swimming, sunbathing, and fishing.
The best part about Tarkwa Bay is that it’s a budget-friendly destination. You can visit this place for as little as N1,000, compared to the entry fees charged at other popular beaches.
If you’re a fan of surfing, then Tarkwa Bay is an excellent place to go. This is because it’s known to have some of the best waves in Nigeria.
Despite its popularity, however, it’s still one of the most pristine beaches in the country. The locals do their best to keep it clean and receptive enough for visitors.
4. Farmers’ Market
Whether you’re shopping for fresh, local produce or trying to impress your friends with your own culinary creations, the farmers’ market is one of the best places in Lagos. Unlike traditional supermarkets, these markets bring together small, independent growers to sell their products directly to consumers.
This distribution channel brings about local economic stability, contributes to a sustainable environment, and provides an opportunity for consumers to interact with their farmers in an open-air setting. This interaction gives consumers a unique perspective of the food system, allows for a direct relationship with the people who grow their own food, and cultivates consumer loyalty.
While many markets are strict in their policies regarding vendors and product quality, others are more relaxed. Regardless of your preferences, there are many different types of farmers’ markets available nationwide.
For instance, there are markets in the East Village, Lincoln Center, and Central Park. The East Village’s Tompkins Square Greenmarket has something for everyone, from glistening apples and pears to plump fall vegetables like fairytale eggplant and delicate squash blossoms. The market is also home to several specialty ingredients, including goat cheese from Miracle Springs Farm and sorghum syrup from Wood Homestead.
5. Ponte da Piedade Boat Tour
If you’re a nature lover, Ponte da Piedade (Point of Mercy) is the perfect place to spend a day exploring. Its cliffs have been carved by the sea, creating pillars, tunnels, and caves that contrast with the crystal-clear waters below.
Depending on your preferences, you can explore this stunning headland either from the landside or by boat. Either way, you’ll be treated to amazing views of the sandstone cliffs, and you’ll be able to go into countless grottoes, caves, and arches along the way.
The best way to discover these hidden gems is by joining a boat tour from Lagos. These tours use former fishing boats that will allow you to navigate the cliff structures and see the grottoes up close.
There are a number of options for these tours, from one-hour to half-day excursions with lunch included! A 1 hour and 15-minute cruise will take you to the grottoes, while a half-day trip includes an all-inclusive Portuguese lunch spread with free-flowing drinks and time to swim in the bay.
6. Igreja de Santo Antonio
Lagos is known for its stunning beaches and bustling nightlife, but it also has a lot of historical remnants that can be explored. Take a stroll through the old town’s cobbled streets, and be sure to stop by the Igreja de Santo Antonio for a visit.
This lavish 18th-century church is one of the best examples of Baroque architecture in the Algarve and boasts a breathtaking interior. You can find it in the heart of the old town, a short walk from the marina and the quayside.
It’s also worth a visit for its beautiful statues of Henry the Navigator and Dom Sebastiao, the founder of Lagos. You can explore the city’s historic core on a slow stroll or on an easy day trip from your hotel.
Those who want to learn more about the town’s sad history will love visiting the Slave Market Museum, which sheds light on the trade that took place here. While it might be a little more on the touristy side, this is a good place to understand the impact of slavery in the Algarve.
7. Nigerian Railway Corporation Museum
One of the lesser-known things to do in Lagos is a trip to the Nigerian Railway Corporation Museum. A two-story building, it sits on spacious well-landscaped grounds and has been renovated and restored to its original architectural layout.
The mini museum showcases photographs of personalities, places, and historical events in pre- and post-independent Nigeria. It also houses artifacts relating to the history of the Nigerian railways.
It was built in 1898 and has been renovated and restored to a state of pristine beauty. It’s a hidden gem and a great place to explore the past.
The Nigerian Railway Corporation was the first to provide rail transport services in the country and has a long history. The museum is an interesting look at the development of the system, with relics such as train master’s hats, uniforms, and dining sets from trains displayed behind glass.
8. Makoko Floating Village
Makoko is a unique waterside fishing community in Lagos, the Nigerian capital. A third of the population lives on stilts in a lagoon off the mainland, with transport mostly by canoe.
In recent years, the people of Makoko have been under pressure from real estate and gentrification projects. In 2017, the government tried to evict them but was halted by a legal challenge.
Today, residents are fighting back. They have partnered with the social and economic rights group, fabulous urban, and a team of slum-upgrading experts to develop a regeneration plan.
They also created a prototype structure, a three-story school with a bright blue roof. The building rests on barrels and sits over the village’s mud-colored homes, making it one of the most innovative structures in Makoko.
Designed by international firm NLE, the structure is an effort to develop a model for African coastal communities that are vulnerable to rising water levels due to climate change. As sub-Saharan Africa grows to account for more than half the world’s population by 2050, it will need smart, affordable places to live.
Lagos is a city of endless possibilities and hidden wonders. From the Jazzhole Bookstore, a combination of a coffee shop, book store, and record store, to the serene Tarkwa Bay and the breathtaking Ponte da Piedade Boat Tour, Lagos has something for everyone.
The city is a testament to the resilience of its people and the richness of its cultural heritage. Whether you’re a lover of books, music, nature, or history, Lagos has something to offer. So why wait? Pack your bags and discover the hidden gems of Lagos today!