Find information on Lagos in our Travel Guide covering sights, foods and nightlife plus more...
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A settlement has existed at Lagos on the south west coast of Portugal for thousands of years. It was the capital of the Algarve until1756 and was the port from which Vasco da Gama departed in1499 when he embarked on his discoveries of the new world. Much of the town was destroyed by the earthquake of 1755 and its restoration has provided some fine examples of eighteenth and nineteenth architecture. A Lagos holiday offers sun, sand, sea, a wealth of leisure activities and an enchanting historic town.
Lagos is a vibrant town with fine beaches, a huge variety of water sports and some superb restaurants. There are a number of golf courses close by including the Penina championship course. The town has very good shopping facilities including some excellent boutiques.
Lagos has something for everyone. Families enjoy the sand and safe beaches and water sports enthusiasts can find many activities to fill their days. Those with an interest in history will find the old churches and museums fascinating. Golfers have a choice of courses all within easy reach of Lagos while young people will enjoy the vibrancy of nights in the town.
Lagos has hot dry summers and pleasant winters making it a year-round holiday destination. The summer is the most popular time with sun seekers and beach lovers flocking to its shores in their thousands.
Lagos is a very popular resort having much to offer holidaymakers. The old town, which is hilly, is a warren of narrow streets filled with shops, bars and restaurants. The squares are planted with an abundance of brightly coloured flowers contrasting sharply with the white buildings. The church of Santo Antonio, known as the ‘gold church’ because of its many gilded carvings, is well worth a visit. The Forte da Bandeira at the harbour is the fortified castle from the seventeenth century, built to defend the town from pirates and other invaders.
There are several beaches in the area all with fine sand. Meia Praia, to the east of the town is the most popular. Many of the beaches are accessed by steps but Porto do Mos is at street level making access easier for those with mobility problems. The water conditions at this beach are ideal for surfing. Many of the beaches are sheltered by towering cliffs which look spectacular from the sea. Take a grotto tour in a small boat and explore the coastline with its strange rock formations and caves.
Cliff-top walks offering spectacular scenery are also very popular. Remember that erosion is an on-going process and don’t go too close to the edge.
The beaches shelve gently into the ocean making it safe for children and weak swimmers. There is excellent provision of water sports including surfing, sailing and para-sailing. The sparklingly clear waters are perfect for snorkelling and diving. Golfers will find many courses in the vicinity including the Penina Championship Course.
A nearby zoo is popular with children having over one hundred and twenty species of animals all living in their natural habitats.
A Lagos holiday offers guaranteed sunshine in a charming setting with a host of leisure activities.
Nightlife in Lagos is very lively with many pubs, music bars, clubs and discos. The streets become alive in the evening with buskers and entertainers. Those looking for more intimate evenings will find there are many excellent restaurants, particularly in the old town.
Lagos will satisfy most shoppers with its variety of shops and boutiques. Candido dos Reis is an especially good street if you are looking for clothes. Gift shops are abundant particularly in Rua 25 de Abril with a vast array of leather goods, pottery and jewellery. Filigree jewellery renowned for its delicacy is extremely popular. There is also a flea market in the old town.
Lagos has restaurants to suit all tastes and wallets. Fish and shellfish feature prominently on the menus with fish stews and grilled sardines being firm favourites. Chicken piri piri is another traditional dish that should not be missed. For local specialities try Dom Sebastiao in the old town. It is common in Portugal to be served appetisers known as ‘covers’ while waiting for your food. Please remember that these are not free samples and will appear on the bill. Wines are an excellent accompaniment to dinner, while the almond liqueur or, for chocolate lovers the Alfarroba liqueur, is a great way to relax at the end of the day.