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, a reminder that the Golden Age of Portuguese Discoveries has a very dark side. 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 -i ncluding 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 stretches 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.
Here are some suggestions of things to do in Lagos, Portugal.
Explore the Historic Center: The historic center of Lagos is a must-visit, with its narrow streets, vibrant squares, and charming old buildings. Take a stroll around the town center and discover its architecture and rich history, including the 16th-century Igreja de Santo Antonio and the Lagos Wall, which dates back to the 16th century.
Visit Lagos Marina: The Lagos Marina is a popular destination for boating enthusiasts, with a variety of boats, yachts, and catamarans available for rent. Take a boat trip along the stunning coastline, or simply relax in one of the many bars and restaurants overlooking the water.
Discover the Caves of Ponta da Piedade: Ponta da Piedade is a rocky headland located just on the outskirts of Lagos. It is home to a number of stunning caves and rock formations, carved by nature over thousands of years. Take a boat trip to the caves and marvel at their beauty, or go for a hike along the cliffs for panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Visit Lagos Zoo: The Lagos Zoo is a great option for family day out, or some fun with friends. There is a with a variety of animals, over 150 different species, as well as a petting zoo and a play area for kids. Find out more about Lagos Zoo
Enjoy the Nightlife: Lagos is known for its vibrant nightlife, with a variety of bars, clubs, and music venues to choose from. The vibe is laid-back and fun. Whether you're looking to dance the night away or simply relax with a drink, Lagos has something for everyone.
Go Surfing: Lagos is a popular destination for surfers, with a variety of beaches offering good waves and ideal conditions. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced surfer, you're sure to find a spot that's perfect for you.
Take a Food Tour: Lagos is a food lover's paradise, with a variety of restaurants offering local and international cuisine. Make your own food tour by trying the best dishes in town, from fresh seafood to traditional Portuguese pastries, and international cuisine.