Holiday Destinations in the Algarve, Portugal: Lagos

River Bensafrim, Lagis, Algarve from Algarve Retreats LtdMany people find Lagos the most likeable town on the Algarve coast – it’s lively but a bit laid back and easy going. The history of Lagos has always been connected with the sea and marine activities. It was here that Prince Henry armed the caravels that opened the way for the great voyages in the time of the Discoveries. Lagos was founded by the Phoenicians and Carthaginians from 1364 to 350 B.C. The Romans occupied the area in the first two centuries A.D. and the Moors took the town in the eighth century and remained there until 1249. The castle was founded during this time.


Lagos remains a popular town for a long winter stay.

Lagos Beach

City walls and gate from the river, Lagos, Algarve from Algarve Retreats LtdOnly the walls of the castle remain today but the castle was given it’s name as Prince Henry lived there and, after him, all the Governors of the Algarve up to 1755. Today, Lagos still has it’s old cosmopolitan air and long standing involvement with the ocean – with an eye to the future but with respect for it’s past. Lagos is an easy place to while away a week or two and provides a good base to explore further west to Sagres and up the west coast.

View of Marina, Lagos, Algarve from Algarve Retreats LtdThe Marina do Lagos is sited near the mouth of the River Bensafrim and is bustling with life around boats, some in their home port and others visiting from far away places: many people choose to sit in the cafes and bars which line the quayside and just watch. The fishing port is active and fresh fish, along with other fresh produce, including fruit and vegetables, is sold in the newly renovated indoor market during the week. Lagos is a working Portuguese town and Portuguese culture and way of life is evident everywhere. There are several churches worth visiting and there are often art exhibitions and other cultural events taking place in the cultural centre and the old slave market. Open air concerts are often staged in Praca Gil Eanes on local public holidays and festivals.

A Lagos church, Lagos, Algarve from Algarve Retreats LtdThe museum is interesting and houses a number of Roman artifacts, many found at Boca do Rio just along the coast to the west. The church of Santo Antonio, which is adjacent, is known as the “golden” church because it is a masterpiece of gilded carvings. There is a variety of excellent beaches to choose from starting with the magnificent Meia Praia (blue flag), a 4km stretch of sand edging the bay of Lagos starting from the east side of the river. More spectacular are the beaches on the other side of the river beginning at the 17th century fortress at the mouth of the harbour. Start at Batata and Pinhoa beaches and move onto Praia Dona Ana (blue flag), then onto Ponta da Piedade where there is an extraordinary profusion of coves, caves, tunnels, grottoes and stacks, well worth taking a boat trip and viewing from the sea. From the lighthouse on the point there is splendid panoramic view on a clear day and tucked round the corner is the beach of Porto do Mos (blue flag).

There is a staggering choice of places to eat and drink offering a wide range of cuisines – a gentle stroll through the town will acquaint you with the variety of restaurants on offer. In the squares you will find cafes and ice cream shops with both inside and outside tables and there are all sorts of shops to find in the old town. Many sea sport activities are available including windsurfing, sailing, boat trips, deep sea diving, fishing and those unforgettable boat trips around the caves. Click here to go through to our leisure activities pages to find more details.

For those who look forward to game of golf, Boavista Golf Resort and Palmares Golf Courses are both local to the town, the latter being a links course. Parque da Floresta Golf and Leisure Resort is around 19 km drive to the west and the Penina Golf Course is to the east before Alvor and finally Alto golf at Alvor are also easily accessible. There is plenty of choice when it comes to accommodation in Lagos.

Take a look at Boavista Golf Resort, for a villa with private pool and our portfolio of apartment properties includes Jardim da Meia Praia, Quinta Sao Roque, Vilabranca, Clube Porto Mos**** & Vila Mos**** at Porto do Mos beach and the Marina Club**** situated on the Marina which is a walk to everywhere.