Located in southern Portugal, the small city of Lagos is one of the most popular areas in the Algarve region.

Although chiefly associated with the modern tourist trade, Lagos' history reaches back thousands of years. Most likely founded by the ancient Celts as Lacobriga, the city's situation on the coast meant frequent contact from the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians and the Greeks. Under Moorish control until 1249, when it was taken by P. Paio Peres Correia, the 15th century proved the city's golden age. Associated with the great explorer Henry the Navigator, Lagos became a launching pad for excursions into Africa (hence the identical name of Nigeria's former capital) and soon established itself as a port of repute, with gold, silver and ivory passing through the city.

The strides taken during this period were sadly undone though, as an earthquake and tsunami decimated the old town in 1755. Despite a more modern façade today due to rebuilding, Lagos still has its fair share of cultural attractions and, above all, a beautiful landscape, making it a fabulous destination for the tourist.


Lagos' main attraction is its wide selection of glorious sandy beaches. Some of these are associated with certain types of activity or people, for example the Praia des Estudantes (the Students' beach). For water-sports, the best locations are Meia Praia (Half beach) and Praia da Luz (Light beach). The most popular tourist location is Dona Ana. Many of the beaches are classified as Blue Flag, making them some of the finest on the continent.

For a more cultural experience, The Church of Santo António is a must-see. Initially built in the 17th century and later reconstructed in 1769, the Church was classified a National Monument in 1924 thanks to its finely carved and gilded wood, while the interior has a marvellous painted ceiling containing the 18th century national emblem.

Alternatively, The Church of Santa Maria, rebuilt in the 19th century, has its own particular charm, with a Renaissance doorway and a selection of busts and statues on show. This complements the numerous statues pertaining to the city's past that can be found scattered everywhere, including representations of Dom Sebastião in the main square and São Gonçalo de Lagos, Algarve's only saint.

Lagos enjoys a wide selection of museums. Lagos Museum contains sections on archaeology, local and African ethnology, the history of Lagos and mineralogy. The former slave building, dating back to 1444, is also used for temporary exhibitions.


The Lagos Shopping Mall is located on the Rua Candido dos Reis, and will cater to every person's needs. However, for something more unique, look out for local handicraft stores, which specialise in ceramics, rustic pots, embroidery and much more. For example Olaria Nova on the Rua 25 de Abril offers fantastic local pottery.

The market building can be found in the centre of Lagos, mainly selling fresh seafood and fruit.

The city is also awash with street vendors if you're bargain hunting.

Nightlife and Eating Out

Unsurprisingly, the local cuisine emphasises seafood. However, Lagos also specialises in fine cakes and sweetmeats, for example the Dom rodrigos and morgados cookies.

You're never far away from somewhere to eat in Lagos, be it local or foreign cuisine (Indian restaurants can be found). Recommended are O Galeāo on the Rue da Laranjeira, an upmarket restaurant with outstanding dishes, and Mullens on the Rua Candido dos Reis.

Being a tourist hot-spot, Lagos has plenty of clubs, bars and pubs. The main area for nightlife is the Rua Lancarote de Freitas, but the beaches are also a popular location for clubs, particularly around the Meia Praia.

Tourist Information

Lagos Tourist OfficeLargo Marques de Pombal8600LagosTel: +351 282 763031


Although Lagos does have its own airport (the Aeródromo Municipal Brigadeiro Costa Franco), the Faro Airport some 80km away is preferable.

Being the principal airport in the Algarve, a good selection of cheap flights are available, as well as international and domestic connecting flights. Easyjet, British Airways, Monarch and Flyjet are among the many airlines that use the Airport.

Buses and trains run to and from Lagos and the Faro Airport.

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