Portugal It has beautiful destinations because they mix history with tourism, an extremely attractive combination when you have free time and money to spend on vacations. One of these destinations is Lagos, a city in the Algarve region.
It is one of the most convening and popular tourist destinations in the country and today we will see what to do in Lagos.
Lagos is in the Algarve region, in the district of Faro. The first human beings to settle here were the cones, a pre-Roman town who lived between the Guadalquivir Valley and Cabo San Vicente. We are talking about 2 years BC. Obviously, other peoples would arrive later, such as the Carthaginians, Romans, barbarians, later the Muslims, finally the Christians.
seaside town, was key in the logistics of Portuguese ocean voyages and for that very reason King Sebastian named her city in 1573. Lagos was also a city of shipyards and many of the caravels used by the Portuguese on their trade and discovery trips around the world were born here. And an important fact, it was the first European city to have a slave market.
mid XNUMXth century was destroyed by an earthquake, the Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 and getting ahead was not cheap. In the middle of the XNUMXth century, the first industries were introduced in Lagos, so it had a small revival after its participation in the Napoleonic wars and the Portuguese civil war.
As in many other places in Europe, it was recently after the end of the Second World War that tourism began to come here and discover its beauties to the point that today it is tourism its main economic activity.
Yes, yes, Lagos also lives from fishing, but since the 60s, tourism has surpassed this traditional activity that dates back many centuries. And it is that Lagos has great weather, good beaches, beautiful coastline, historical heritage and a marina for 460 boats., in addition to the fact that it can receive long-distance cruises.
What to see in Lagos
Lagos rests on the banks of the Bensafrim River that flows into the sea. It has nature on one side and historical and cultural heritage on the other. So, let's start with its natural treasures and what you can do.
we can name five beaches to walk, sunbathe and bathe in the sea. If you are by car, then one can jump from beach to beach looking for the one that best suits what we have to do, but these five They are the ones that are closest to the city, so whether you are by car or not, they are accessible.
Meia Praia it is the largest and is right at the mouth of the river. It will be about 5 kilometers long and has some low dunes and sand. There are footbridges to walk on so as not to damage the vegetation, which can be leafy, and if you arrive on foot you can follow a path that comes from the center of the city. By car there is a parking lot.
La potato beach It is just a few steps from the historic center of Lagos, so the people who stay here are the ones who frequent the most. Thus, if its advantage is proximity, its disadvantage is that it usually has a lot of people. The Beach two students is super well known. It has two sectors that are connected by an arch. The second beach can only be entered through a hole in the same rock, whenever there is low tide... It is the most classic postcard of the beaches of Lagos.
Then there is the Praia Dona Ana and Praia do Pinhao. Both are linked by a path of 300 meters on the cliffs. Praia Dona Ana has its rocks in the water, it is wide, it has parking for cars and there are buildings nearby, so the people who live there always choose it. For its part, Praia do Pinhao is at the end of Rua José Formosinho and is surrounded by beautiful cliffs.
Continuing with the landscapes, about two and a half kilometers from the center of Lagos, there is a beautiful cape, the Point of Pity, what is a great place to go watch the sunset And, if you can't, then you can go for a walk at any time because you will take some beautiful photos of the sea, the rock formations, the horizon... And then there are a series of activities that you can hire and that I think cover many themes.
For example, you can do a Western Algarve jeep safari, do wine tasting and get to know Benagil, Ferragudo and Carvoeiro, take a boat ride on the Ponta da Piedade when the sun goes down or go dolphin watching.
Now, what about the cultural, historical and architectural heritage? The Church of San Antonio It is in the historic center and although it does not say much from the outside, inside it is a baroque feast. Too bad you have to record it on the retina because photographs are not allowed. You will see fine and polychrome wood, blue and white tiles, angels, gilded wood... yes, there is an entrance fee. It was not charged in the middle of the pandemic but it is possible that the paid entry is already back.
Another church is the Church of Santa Maria de Lagos, located in the main square of the city. It was built between the century fifteenth and sixteenth and although it burned down in the XNUMXth century and some of its original version was destroyed, it is still visible. I'm talking about the cover, but its attraction lies in the beautiful mural that is behind the altar and that illustrates a battle of angels.
La Infante Dom Henrique Square It is beautiful and very close to the banks of the river Besanfrim. It is a very open square where people meet, stroll, enjoy the sea breeze... The statue of Dom Henrique or Enrique the Navigator, is the heart of the square, remembering that he discovered, for example, the Island of Santa María in the Azores.
We mentioned above that Lagos was the first city in Europe to have a slave Market, and for that very reason there is a museum who remembers it. The museum has two floors and tells the story of the slaves who came to Lagos to be traded. It is estimated that between 1444 and a decade about 800 passed through. The building itself is also beautiful.
El Regimental Arms It is in Dom Henrique square and as its name indicates, it was once a military warehouse. It is not open to visitors but its baroque facade, in yellow and white, is very striking. Lagos also has a wall and today you can see a section of it. It is south of the Church of Santa María and is with the Puerta de San Gonzalo, entrance to the city.
Actually they are not medieval walls but roman ones, later conditioned by the Arabs and later, in the XNUMXth century, by the kings Manuel I, Joao III and Felipe I. This section is to the south, but there are also more parts of the wall to the west of the historic center, from Rua do Cemitério to Rua da Porta da Vila. Walking you can walk the whole wall and go through several parks so it's a nice walk.
El Governors Castle it is in ruins but used to be part of the wall. The Lisbon Earthquake knocked it down but you can see part of the façade. Lastly is the Ponta da Bandeira Fortress, facing the sea and the river. It was built in the XNUMXth century to protect the port and restored to the day of today it houses exhibits related to the so-called Age of Discovery.
Finally, beyond these specific places, the best thing is to walk, walk, get lost in its stone streets, see its colorful houses, its squares that have restaurants and bars and of course, go for a walk municipal market It opens from Monday to Saturday morning. It is located in front of the Marina and is full of fish and seafood stalls, fruit and typical products. And on the third floor you have a wonderful terrace. The building is from the '20s of the XNUMXth century, it has been renovated, and its tiled stairs are a work of art.
Beaches, walks, wines, spirits, unforgettable sunsets... all of this is Lagos.