An ancient town with a buzzing, modern vibe
Lagos is an ancient maritime town steeped in history with beautiful beaches, great restaurants and bars and a bohemian vibe. The town became hugely important during the 15th century, the age of the great Portuguese Discoveries, when Prince Henry the Navigator, third son of King João I, took up residence and headed up maritime expeditions to Morocco and to the western coast of Africa. Lagos was also the home port for Gil Eanes, who was the first to sail beyond Cape Bojador in 1434, and then considered to be the end of the world.
The town was the first European landing place for the slaves brought from Africa. There is a 17th century building standing on the exact site where the first European slave markets were held in the 15th century - the Mercado de Escravos. The town also has Roman and Moorish influence, giving it a fascinating cultural mix.
Today the town attracts many holidaymakers from all different walks of life -including a significant amount of surfers. There is plenty to do and see, with the large marina being a focal point for boat trips, and water sports and just hanging out. Lagos is also home to excellent restaurants and bars and some of the most picturesque beaches in the Algarve. Meia Praia is the main beach in Lagos and forms one of the biggest bays in Europe. (the bay continues along to the beach at Alvor and the estuary of the Ria de Alvor - a scenic bird sanctuary). Other good beaches nearby include Praia da Batata and Praia d´Ana, next to the famous Ponta de Piedade - surely one of the most spectacular stetches of coastline around. Lagos is also home to a community of artists, who take their inspiration from the beautiful town, gorgeous climate, unique light and laid back atmosphere.