Lagos

The city of Lagos is a jewel in the beautiful region of the Algarve, in the south of Portugal. It is nestled in a wide bay and its historic center is embraced by the walls. The cliff scenery and the fantastic beaches on the outskirts of the village are justly famous for the scenery they provide.

The bay of Lagos is one of the most welcoming shelters on the Portuguese coast bordered by a long sandy beach, Meia Praia. The whiteness of the houses does not go unnoticed. The houses have colored bars framing doors and windows. The chimneys, of varying shapes, have shapes that sometimes reveal Arab influences, such as minarets, sometimes religious, resembling bell towers of Baroque churches.

Lagos is a cosmopolitan city, a tradition with centuries and today it is a meeting point for people from all over the world, to enjoy the climate, the sea and the beaches, but also for its historical importance. Today Lagos is one of the most sought after cities in the Algarve for its golden sand beaches and crystal clear waters, the scenic beauty of its bay and its historic legacy.

Lagos is the City of Discoveries, it was from its bay that Infante D. Henrique left ‘Caravelas’ in search of new worlds. There the first riches of Africa, India, and Brazil arrived. Gold, silver, ivory, spices, fruits with opulent flavors.

Until today,  many of the houses keep the traditional carved stone, the picturesque wrought-iron balconies and the inner courtyards and the city map reveals a past made of mystery and discoveries, with picturesque streets that lead to pleasant squares and gardens, some with terraces that allow you to enjoy the mythical atmosphere that surrounds the city.

The historic center is practically all pedestrian, offering a wide range of shops or places to visit. The Church of Santo António, from the 18th century, is literally lined with gilded ornaments. Castelo dos Governadores features the famous Manueline window, from where one could watch the departure of the ships and caravels.

The walls built in the reigns of D. Manuel I, D. João II and D. Filipe I, completely enveloped the city to defend it against piracy and hostile fleets, are today a framework for a beautiful garden, facing the Lagos Marina.

The cliffs of Ponta da Piedade, at the edge of the waterfront, offer stunning views of the promontory where a lighthouse pontificate.

The municipality of Lagos is currently one of the most attractive tourist centers in the Algarve, with exceptional beaches and cultural heritage, as well as a highly dynamic nightlife. It is divided by the parishes of Bensafrim and Barão de São João, São Gonçalo de Lagos, Luz and Odiáxere and in all of them there are reasons of interest that justify a walk. The municipality is limited to the north by Monchique, to the east by Portimão, to the west by Vila do Bispo, to the northwest by Aljezur and to the south by a coastline on the Atlantic Ocean.

Undoubtedly, one of the biggest attractions of Lagos is the abundance and beauty of its beaches. There are the long stretches of sand dunes of Meia Praia and smaller, sheltered beaches, such as Praia Dona Ana.

You must try the local cuisine, where seafood is present, with the most varied dishes of fish, shellfish and seafood. Almond and fig are the main characters in the confectionery in Lagos. The dumplings made of almond paste with filling of soft eggs or egg threads are the basis for the most varied fantasies. The happy ending of meals full of flavor.

The origin of the village of Lagos appears to be associated with small water courses, with springs in the Serra de Espinhaço de Cão, border between the Algarve and the Alentejo, which along the coast formed lagoons bounded by sand dunes. They were anchorages rich in fish and bivalves.

It quickly became a place of pleasure for several peoples who turned it into an important trading post. Phoenicians, Greeks and Carthaginians were attracted by its natural wealth and excellent location, an ideal warehouse for trade with North Africa and the Mediterranean. Romans, Moors and Portuguese fought for it.

The Romans called it Lacóbriga. Subsequently, the Arabs call it Zawiya (Zawaia) and it is the Arab civilization that most influenced the experience of the peoples to come. Even today, the linguistic, cultural and architectural traces are visible. In 1249 it was definitively integrated into Portuguese territory by D. Afonso III.

Later, the beautiful bay of Lagos is the place chosen for the departure of ships and caravels for the epic of the Discoveries. There, navigators from all over the Mediterranean are found, new sciences such as astrology are tested, and new vessels suitable for long routes.

In 1573, Lagos is elevated to city, by order of El Rei D. Sebastião and becomes the seat of the Bishopric and the Capital of the whole Kingdom of the Algarve. This statute was marked in the commemorations of the 400th anniversary of the elevation of Lagos to the city, by the Statue of El Rei Dom Sebastião in the center of the city, an interesting stone sculpture by the sculptor João Cutileiro.

The golden years come to an end, after the destruction caused by the 1755 earthquake that practically destroyed the city. It is the riches of the sea that allow its inhabitants to return to prosperity.

Currently, Lagos maintains its cosmopolitan matrix, as a meeting point for many nationalities, travelers and visitors who flock due to its natural beauty, the friendliness of its inhabitants, attracted by its excellent cuisine. For holidays or residential tourism, the municipality is one of the most prosperous in the Algarve.

Ponta da Piedade Lagos Holidays

The natural heritage of Lagos is one of its greatest riches, highlighting its beaches, of great diversity and the fantastic Ria de Alvor, a natural reserve

From the long sandy beach of Meia Praia, Praia Grande, or Praia da Luz to the small sand shells, protected by cliffs, at the top of which you can see charming sceneries, the most difficult thing to choose.

Highlight, among others, for Praia Dona Ana, Praia da Ponta da Piedade or Praia do Porto de Mós. Flanked by high cliffs, the charming Porto de Mós beach with golden sand and calm waters offers a walking path through the cliff to the Atalaia viewpoint, from where you can see the entire Algarve coast towards Sagres and a splendid panoramic view over the village of Luz.

Many of the Atlantic beaches in Lagos offer accessibility and support for citizens with reduced mobility, and all have excellent infrastructure for bathers’ comfort.

From the Marina, excursions for dolphin watching and marine wildlife trips depart along the coast of Lagos.

Finally, Ria de Alvor. It is the mouth of four small rivers that rise on the slopes of the Monchique mountains, north of the municipality of Lagos. When they flow into the sea, they form an enlarged estuary, the natural border between the parishes of Odiáxere (Lagos municipality), and Mexilhoeira Grande and Alvor (Portimão municipality).

The Ria de Alvor is recognized as a Site of Community Importance for its richness in bird species, marine animals, and flora. It is therefore a true paradise. There are wooden walkways that allow you to wander the Ria, following the vagaries of the tide.

It is an area blessed by beauty, privileged for fishing and mollusc farming, in a place that keeps its natural features and beauty intact and one of the most fascinating places on the Algarve coast and can also be enjoyed on boat trips, where it is easy to find flamingos and many other birds. In addition, you will also see the beautiful beach of Alvor, one of the largest in the Algarve. The sunset turns the estuaries of the Ria de Alvor into mirrors of light, in a unique and unforgettable landscape.

Also note the name of other beaches in the municipality of Lagos: Cais da Solaria and Praia da Batata, Praia dos Students, Praia do Pinhão, Praia do Camilo, Praia dos Pinheiros Praia do Barranco Martinho and Praia do Canavial. The Blue Flag floats on all of them, symbol of the quality of the waters, the cleanliness of the sands, the existence of beach supports, bathrooms, nautical activities and other comforts.

Due to its long history, Lagos has numerous physical and cultural remains, from various periods in the history of the municipality . Among these trace, some monuments that witnessed or were the scene of these events can be identified.

– The modern Lagos Marina, next to the historic city center, with 460 places for boats, together with its drawbridge, is an important meeting point for long distance travelers, offering several options for shopping and leisure.

-The Wax Museum of the Discoveries is installed in the Marina portrays the period of the Discoveries, the conquests of North Africa, the Cape of Good Hope and Bojador, not forgetting Luís Vaz de Camões, who narrated the epic of the Discoveries in the “Lusíadas” epic poetry.

– The Ponta da Bandeira Fort erected in the context of the Restoration War, between 1679 and 1690, and was intended to defend the port’s anchorage.

– Municipal Museum Dr. José Formosinho – Installed in a building attached to the Church of Santo António, its estate is distributed among the sections of Archeology, Sacred Art, History of Lagos, Ethnography of the Algarve, Painting, Numismatics, Mineralogy and Overseas Ethnography.

-The walls, doors and bastions of Carthaginian or Roman origin, were expanded by the Arabs to accompany the city’s growth. At its top, the walls offer views of the bay of Lagos.

-The Slave Market probably the first s market in Europe, perpetuates the memory of this human trafficking,

– The Ciência Viva Center in Lagos offers scientific and technological information focusing on the sea.

José Manuel Rosado House-Museum includes much of the personal estate of José Manuel Rosado, Master in the Art of Transformism,

– The Parque Zoologico de Lagos is located between the pitoresques villages Bensafrim and Barão de São João.

– The Ruins of the ancient Roman city of Lacóbriga are located on Monte Molião, in the parish of Bensafrim.