Always worth a visit: The historical seaport of Lagos on the Atlantic coast of the western Algarve, Portugal’s window to the world in the Age of the Portuguese Discoveries: beaches, marina & water sports, accommodation, golf courses, boat excursions to the Gold Coast & the Ponta da Piedade, Praia da Luz & Porto do Môs, history, weather
- District: Faro > Municipality: Lagos > Parish:
- Population: 31.048
- Distances: Faro Airport 90 km, Lisbon Airport 298 km
- Tourist Info: Posto de Turismo de Lagos
Holiday in Lagos: large selection of hotels and holiday apartments of every category, great beaches, marina and water sports in the bay of Lagos, excursions to the Gold Coast and the Ponta da Piedade, a stroll in the historic district, shopping in the market hall, first class golf courses all year, …
Lagos location and access
The harbour town Lago situated on the rocky Atlantic coast of the western Algarve
Lagos is a city (cidade) and municipality (concelho) in the district of Faro (Algarve), the most southern region of continental Portugal. The history of this city, considered the most beautiful in the western Algarve, is closely linked to the sea. Lagos is situated in the western Algarve (Barlavento) directly on the rocky Atlantic coast. This coastal strip of the bay of Lagos is known as Costa d’Oiro ( Gold Coast) thanks to golden cliffs with fascinating formations that extend to the world famous Ponta de Piedade at the southern edge of the bay.
The national road EN125, that links the Algarve from east to west, passes directly through the city of Lagos and on to Sagres. In 2003, the final section of the A22 motorway Via Infante de Sagres was completed and it terminates just a few kilometres north of Lagos. The Linha do Algarve, a single track railway line that leads to Vila Real de Santo António on the border with Spain, has its terminus at the Lagos marina. The bus terminal of EVA Transportes is located near the city centre with bus connections to many places in the Algarve and to Seville in Spain.
Hotels and holiday apartments in Lagos and surroundings
Hotel Tivoli Lagos is one of the best know hotels, situated in the heart of the beautiful old centre of the town. A lot of the historical points of interest are within walking distance. Many of the rooms are grouped around the large patio with a landscaped pool area. Guests of the Tivoli Lagos can enjoy a private beach club on the Meia Praia beach.
Many hotels and holiday apartments are situated on top of the hills overlooking the old town with great views of Lagos Bay and the beaches of the so called “Golden Coast (Costa d’Oiro). One of the finest is the boutique hotel Vivenda Miranda near Porto do Môs. On the beach of Porto do Môs, until recently a tranquil holiday destination, several modern hotels and resorts have been built. The modern holiday apartments along the endless sandy beach of Meia Praia with direct access to the beach are also very popular.
Lagos sports and leisure
Surfing and other water sports in the bay of Lagos and the marina
Lagos is a fantastic place for all kinds of water sports and nautical activities. The marina of Lagos and the fishing port are side by side situated in the Ribeira Bensafrim, which flows into the Atlantic through the bay of Lagos, a great spot for surfing, windsurfing and standup paddling. Meia Praia, with its infinite sandy beach, extends from the port at Lagos to the bay of Alvor. Throughout the Gold Coast there are numerous small beaches nestling in coves between the fascinating cliff formations.
For an unforgettable experience, take a boat trip to the southern tip of Lagos Bay, where a lighthouse on top of the Ponta de Piedade cliff guides boats into the safe haven of Lagos. The caves and the cliffs as they emerge from the azure sea are the most photographed scenery in the whole country.
The nearest golf course is Boa Vista Golf, situated on a hill between Lagos and Praia da Luz, offering a unique panoramic view over the bay of Lagos and to the Monchique mountain range. A few kilometres away from the coast Espiche Golf is set in a plain countryside without any surrounding real estate projects. Other famous courses with a worldwide reputation are Penina and Palmares which are within a thirty minute drive.
Where to buy in Lagos
The municipal market of Lagos, located on the Avenida dos Descobrimentos, is a superb place to buy fresh fish and seafood, and other typical regional produce. The market is a centre of local life and offers a great opportunity to discover something more about the country and its people. If you climb to the roof of the building you will be rewarded with a magnificent view over the harbour and the bay.
To find more interesting shops, take a stroll around the beautiful narrow streets of the old town of Lagos.
Surroundings of Lagos
The surroundings of Lagos: Sagres and Cape Saint Vincent
Praia da Luz, a renowned holiday destination, lies west of Lagos in a beautiful cove. It is especially popular with guests from UK and Ireland. The lonely beaches further west are especially popular with lovers of unspoilt nature. Most impressive are the beaches of the wild western coast, the so called Costa Vicentina, which are also a paradise for surfers and paraglider.
Lagos, as does its neighbour Sagres, has a strong connection to the greatest era of Portuguese history. It is alleged that Infante D. Henrique (“Henry the Navigator”) set up the mythical navigation school, “The School of Sagres”, in the fortress of Sagres - an interpretation disputed by many historians. However, the giant pebble Rosa dos Ventos (Compass Rose) inlaid on the floor inside the fortress is taken as evidence of the artistry and nautical science of this location.
The fishing port at Lota de Baleeira in Sagres is said to be one of the best market places in Europe for fresh fish and seafood. On weekday afternoons you find the local fishermen auctioning their catch here.
A few kilometres further-on, at the south-western tip of Portugal, is Cabo de Sao Vicente (Cape St. Vincent). The steep cliffs are 60 meters above sea level, and you have a magnificent view of the turbulent waters as the waves crash over the cliffs. With nothing else in view but the wild Atlantic Ocean you can imagine why people in ancient times considered this place to be the end of the world - finis terrae.
Nearby, in the surroundings of Vila do Bispo and Raposeira, traces of human occupation have been discovered dating from prehistoric times: menhirs of the Neolithic era (circa 5000 BC).
History of Lagos
The history of Lagos is closely linked to the sea
Already Phoenicians and Greeks settled the area of the bay of Lagos, because of the abundant fishing available to them, and the Carthaginians introduced the cultivation of vineyards and olive groves. During the Punic Wars it was integrated into the Roman province of Lusitania. The first known historical name, Lacóbriga, which is of Celtic origin, dates back to that time.
Following the end of the Roman Empire, Lagos was occupied by the Visigoths and Byzantines, before the conquest of the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula by the Arabs. The name of the town was then Zawaia (of Arab origin with the meaning "lake").
In the Age of Discovery, the history’s spotlight turned to Lagos. Here, and in the nearby town of Sagres, Prince Henry the Navigator, brought together cartographers, astronomers and navigators to find a sea route to circumnavigate Africa in order to reach India by sea and thus to break the trade monopoly of the Arabs. The navigator Gil Eanes began his journey from Lagos aboard a new type of ship, a caravel, and, in 1434, was the first to sail around the notorious Cape Bojador on the west coast of Africa, which at that time was considered to be the end of the world, and was feared by all sailors.
The first slave market on European soil was established in Lagos. The building still exists today. The former Nigerian capital, which at the time was the departure point for slaves leaving Africa was named after the Portuguese town of Lagos.
In 1573, the town was raised to city status. From 1577, Lagos was the capital of the Kingdom of the Algarve until 1755, the year in which the earthquake and subsequent tsunami destroyed the major part of the city. Following this the seat of the capital was moved to Faro, where the damage was minor in comparison. Following the disaster a new city wall was built, which exists to this day.
Actual weather conditions and forecast for Lagos on the Meia Praia
Actual weather conditions may significantly differ in the various locations due to the winds on the Atlantic coast. Therefore we are publishing more specific and detailed weather data and 72h forecast for selected spots on the Algarvian coast, including wind speed and direction, altitude of waves and rating for surfers as a special service to our visitors interested in water sports. According to our own experience, and based on judgement of the locals, this is the most accurate weather information currently available for the Algarve.
Meia Praia, Lagos
Municipality of Lagos
The city of Lagos incorporates the parishes of Santa Maria and of São Sebastião. Luz on the Atlantic coast and inland, Barão de São João, Bensafrim and Odiáxere are also part of the municipality. In 2011 there were 31,000 inhabitants, up from 25,000 in 2001.