The point of departure for voyages as important as the discovery of Madeira or the crossing of the Cape of Good Hope, Lagos today is a city where the past and the present are intrinsically linked.
A walk along the inside of the walls will help you understand that the architecture and main monuments have remained unchanged despite the growing development of the city. However, the wealth of Lagos is not only its history: it involves gastronomy, cultural diversity, night life and all the natural beauty of the surrounding region.
Lagos has a strong influence of the long presence of Arabs. The walls around the old town witnessed the several battles fought to stop the attacks to Lagos. The wealth brought by the Discoveries is clear in the gilded wood carvings that decorated most churches.
Museums, churches, fortresses, lighthouses. Lagos has endless possibilities waiting for you.
The long stay of the Islamic peoples is very marked in Lagos. The city walls bear testimony to the many battles fought there to halt the attacks on Lagos. The wealth brought by the Discoveries is characterised by the golden carvings which decorate most of the churches.
This national monument was built in Baroque style. Two bell towers, of different proportions, chime out on the hour. Inside, the nave is decorated in blue and white tiles and golden carvings. It is known in English guidebooks as the "Golden Church”
Built in the 14th and 16th centuries on the site of a former chapel, it consists of a simple façade overshadowed by an imposing bell tower whose side portal is lavishly decorated in Renaissance style. Inside, Doric pillars separate three naves which extend to the main altar where there is a monumental image of Nossa senhora da Glória (Our Lady of Glory - 18th century), a gift by D. João V, from Brazil, and a crucifix (16th century) which, tradition has it, was in the battle of Alcácer-Quibir (1578).
Erected on a hill, the church is a prime vantage point over Lagos and the sea.
A building constructed in the 15th century. To welcome visitors in the main doorway the church has two busts of St.Paul and St.Peter, decorated with two Doric pillars. In the sacristy there are images from the 18th century, with the painting of the Baby Jesus King dressed in the style of the age being worthy of special mention. The main nave also accommodates two images of Our Lady of Pity and Our Lady of the Assumption.
Near the archaeological area of Monte Molião is to be found this chapel with pale walls, a façade with Baroque characteristics and a beautiful portal in Manueline style (16th century).
This oratory was built in honour of São Gonçalo, a local boy who was born in 1360. With his spiritual vocation having manifested itself early in his life, São Gonçalo went to Lisbon University and joined the Order of Saint Augustine, finally becoming the prior at various convents. He was a musician, sacred orator, having been granted sainthood in 1778 thanks to a wide range of writings dedicated to faith and a miraculous rescue of fishermen.
This used to be the market place for slaves from Africa (15th century) and is characterised by four arched vaults. One of the walls bears the arms of the Marquis of Nisa (17th century) and another in a window which in the 15th century used to be a door.
This defensive barrier of the "lacobrigenses” (the former name of the dwellers of Lagos) was built during the time of the Romans or Carthaginian with Christian and Arabian reconstructions. At the São Gonçalo entrance there are two very high barbicans intended to protect the city against undesirable visitors.
Between 1520 and the late 16th century the other walls were built, protecting the new quarters which sprung up after an increase in international trade. It is possible to see the city and the Serra de Monchique from the walls.
This former fortress dates back to Arab times. Over the ages it has undergone changes. The governors, captains and generals from the Algarve region resided here in the 16th/17th centuries. Designed on the façade is a Manueline window (16th century). The history books say that it was from here that King Sebastian attended mass before setting forth for the battle of Alcácer Quibir, a trip from which he was never to return. João Cutileiro has portrayed this battle in the form of a statue and has sculpted another alluding to the navigator Gil Eanes.
Built in the 17th century with a moat, a drawbridge and an imposing door bearing the coat-of-arms, it protects the fort opposite the Bensafrim stream bar. Inside there is a small 17th century chapel decorated in tiles.
A museum was built in honour of the Lagos region situated wall-to-wall with the Santo António Church. On display are works of sacred art from the 17th and 18th centuries. In the area dedicated to archaeology you can also see menhirs dating back to 4000 to 3000 B.C. originating from former Roman villages situated in the region. It also has a vast collection of Algarvian ethnographic remains which are of particular importance.
One of the best beaches of the Algarve coast and one of the largest bays in Europe, at a 10 minute walk from the Marina. A stroll through at the brim of the salt water in this long beach is mandatory.
Sandy and golden, the beach stretches from Lagos Marina to the estuary in Alvor for more than 4 km (aprox. 2,5 miles). The literal translati on is “half beach” because the large bay is cut in half by the estuary. This unspoilt sandy beach is great for families as there are plenty of acti viti es, and wide selecti on of water and beach sports such as windsurfi ng, waterskiing, parasailing and sailing, or beach volleyball. During the summer ti me there is a water taxi called “Vai Vem” from the main avenue in Lagos (”Avenida dos Descobrimentos”).
The beach has facilities and surveillance.
Two steps from the city centre lay the white sands of D. Ana beach, sheltered by colorful cliffs.
Embraced by rocky cliffs this beach is famous for its thick sands and blue and green water colours. It’s one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe.
Go snorkelling and discover a diff erent range of colours: algae, anemones, starfi sh, sea urchins, shrimp or shoals of small fi sh, all of these inhabit the rocky blocks immersed. You can also get one of the local boat operators to take you on a “grott o tour”. There’s a stairway to access the beach.
It has facilities and surveillance.
This small beach with thick sand is a nice alternati ve to the larger busier beaches. Is located on a small rocky bay and enclosed between high cliff s. To reach it use the pedestrian path from the D. Ana beach that runs along the top of the cliff.
No beach facilities.
It is located near Cais da Solaria and Forte Ponta da Bandeira, within walking distance from the historic centre of Lagos. Its sheltered corners provide shade and protecti on from the prevailing winds. “Batata” beach off ers great variety of water sports and sea kayak tours. This beach is the stage of the traditi onal “Banho 29”, a popular festi val that takes place on the evening of August 29th.
It has beach facilities and surveillance.
Reach it taking the road of Ponta da Piedade. Once you get to the viewpoint there is a long and renewed stairway that leads you down to the beach. It is a small beach whose shape resembles a shell and tends to be nicely sheltered from the winds on most days, which also provides for calmer waters. “Camilo” beach is also a great spot for snorkelling as the shallow rocky ocean floor attracts interesting marine life. You will noti ce the fi sherman passing by as they take visitors on the Grott o boat tours. It has surveillance and the sea off ers good swimming conditions.
Visit the Ponta da Piedade lighthouse, place of an ancient hermitage. The hole-filled cliffs, where sea birds nest, are mirrored on the dive-perfect waters.
This beach has an extensive sandy area, sheltered by high cliffs. During the humid season you can fi nd a thick layer of clay deposed on the base of the cliff that is kwown for its healing purpose. “Porto de Mós” is one of the most frequented beaches in the county, its surrondings maintain the natural features and restf ull sandy sections. It has beach facilities.
Embraced by cliffs that bears the geodesic point and the white houses of the old fi shing village, the beach is divided into two parts, one with fine white sand, feature of the region, and the other with rocks.
The water is clean and clear. It has beach facilities and surveillance.
The Ria de Alvor or “Alvor Estuary” is one of the most signifi cant coastal wetlands in the western Algarve. It is confi ned between the parishes of Odiáxere (municipality of Lagos) and Alvor (Porti mão). This rich estuarine ecosystem includes sand dunes, mud fl ats, salt and freshwater marshes and salinas, and also a huge variety of plants and animals, some of which are important on a European scale. Due to its geographical locati on, natural richness & high biodiversity the Ria de Alvor have been designated as part of the legally protected areas within the Nature 2000 network.
Old fishing village with typica white houses that go back to the Arab and Roman times. The Alvor Lagoon Ecological Reserve is one of the highlights, showing the best of nature.
A prime example of what happens when Man and Nature are as one, Marina de Lagos provides visitors with great comfort, safety and well-being. These qualities have made it a marina which is unique in Portugal, having won the "Euromarina Anchor Award” and the "European Blue Flag”, as well as the renowned Gold Anchor Award.
Inaugurated in June 1994 Marina de Lagos has increasingly become the favourite spot for navigators from all over the world. Something which is all too clear to visitors from the number of vessels moored and which throughout the year take up almost all the 462 places available.
However, the points of interest of this tourist infrastructure are not limited to the constant coming and going of boats. On land there is not only a nautical support centre and a commercial area with a wide range of goods and services, but also the Marina Club Lagos Resort and the Marina Spa. If you decide to stick around, you can also find a wide range of quality apartments for sale and several shopping arcades for rental in what is a very busy area.
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