The harbour town of Lagos is on the south coast of Portugal at the Algarve, about 30 kilometres from the most south-western point of the European continent. Lagos was once the capital of the Algarve, but following the destruction caused by the huge seaquake in 1755, the government was moved to Faro. Internationally Lagos is better known as the capital of Nigeria which was named after the Portuguese town. Through its location at the south-western tip of Europe and its proximity to Africa, Lagos played a central role as a hub for Portuguese discovery expeditions, trading missions and voyages of conquest..
Today Lagos is still in use as a starting point for sea journeys. The modern marina is a popular place for sailors to head out to the world's oceans or to use as a final destination. The marina with its jetties stretches along a palm-tree lined promenade which is the unofficial main street of Lagos and which is separated from the town by the river of Ribeira de Bensafrim. From here many streets and alleyways lead to the historic old town, which was only partly affected by the quake and was afterwards restored.
Lagos stands out by having retained the charm of a typical Portuguese harbour town, while at the same developing into a popular and lively holiday destination for tourists from all over the world. As well as the regional charm and the international flair, you also have art and culture from different eras to discover in the museums, churches and various other buildings here. Food, drink and entertainment is provided by numerous restaurants, bars, pubs and clubs, which attract the locals as well as tourists. Lagos has a lively night-life, much of it taking place outside in the alleyways of the old town, at the beach bars and on the roof terraces of the clubs.
Apart from the historic centre, the harbour and the promenade, the town walls of Muralhas da Cidade and its gate of Porta de São Gonçalo are well worth a visit. Also worth seeing are the Fort da Bandeira, which protects the harbour entrance, the fish market, the historic slave market, the palace of the governor and the Avenida dos Descobrimentos. The historic caravel boat was invented and built in Lagos and one of the boats can still be viewed at the harbour and you can even book a trip on it. In addition, there are very nice walking trails in the mountains of Serra Monchique and along the coast and from Ponta da Piedade you have a wonderful view.
The main reasons to spend a holiday in this part of the coast are however the beaches of Lagos. You will find lined up here some of the nicest beaches of the Algarve and most of them can be easily and quickly reached from the town. Beach-lovers will be impressed by the fine light sand, the breath-taking cliffs in the background as well as the bizarre rock formations protruding from the sea. Even though the beaches of Lagos are well-known and popular, they are very rarely overcrowded as they are spacious and there is plenty of room for everybody. There are usually hardly any, or no, buildings to be seen at the unspoilt, natural beaches here. Water-sports enthusiasts, particularly surfers, will get their money's worth here and there are also good spots for windsurfing and kite-surfing, while there is also plenty of excitement to be had at the beaches here for divers and snorkelers.
"A real highlight for energetic holidaymakers!"
"Surf on the long sandy beach of Lagos"
"Beach hubbub in a large, but intimate holiday resort"
"Long beach with ample space for kids of all ages"
"Top spot for snorkellers!"
"Hip urban beach in Lagos"
"Experience nature with a touch of the Caribbean"