What to see in Lagos, Portugal
There is a lot to see in Lagos, Portugal. Aside the magnificent beaches and views, the city offers an impressive heritage witnessing the city’s importance.
Lagos, Portugal: with over 2000 years of human occupation, there is a lot to see in. In fact, the city has a remarkable heritage to offer its visitors that isn’t even larger due to the destruction caused by the 1755 earthquake and consequent tsunami. Nevertheless, the beautiful town of Lagos, Portugal, is still dominated by the 16th century walls that surround it, which ramparts facing the sea, are thought to date from the Carthaginian or Roman periods, with some additions carried out by the Arabs and Christians. From these walls stand out two impressive watchtowers standing next to St. Gonçalo’s gate. The walls offer visitors some of the best views over the city, the bay and the Serra de Monchique.
Lagos Governor’s Castle
Governor’s Castle is another highlight of Lagos. Constructed by the Arabs, the building, that supposedly was once a fortress, became the residence of the Governors of the Algarve, hence its name, during the 16th and 17th centuries. Governor’s Castle is also famed due to its Manueline style window from where – according to the legend – king Sebastião attended a mass before departing to the Alcácer Quibir battle as well as due to the panel that evokes this battle created by João Cutileiro and the statue of the navigator Gil Eanes that first sailed beyond Tormentas Cape.
Ponta da Bandeira Fort
Another fortress embellishes Lagos, namely Ponta da Bandeira Fort, also named Fort of Our Lady of Penha de França. Built in the 17th century to defend the old port, it has a moat, a drawbridge and a magnificent gateway, besides offering a great view over the city. The chapel inside this fort is unique for its 17th century tiles.
Lagos Slave Market, old streets and churches
Slave Market, where were sold the first slaves brought from Africa, is, of course, another must visit place in Lagos. Commendatory is also a stroll along the streets of the historic centre of this city, discovering traces of the ancient medieval town that was much damaged by the earthquake.
The devotion of the people from Lagos is well expressed on the many beautiful churches existing in town like the Church of Holy Mary of Misericórdia dating from the 15th and 16th centuries and rebuilt in the 18th and 19th centuries, the amazing Church of Santo António, the Church of St. Sebastian, the Church of Our Lady of Carmel that was part of a convent and the Chapels of St. John the Baptist and of St. Peter of Pulgão or Our Lady of the Afflicted.
The beaches of Lagos are absolutely breathtaking and if Dona Ana Beach and Meia Praia are the most famed, Carvalho Beach, Pinhão Beach and D. Camilo Beach are unforgettable. After a relaxing day at the beach nothing like going to the marina to admire the boats at sunset.
If you are travelling with kids they will love a visit to Lagos Zoo and the local Centro de Ciência Viva where they can learn more about the Discoveries trough several interactive modules and activities.
Cape St. Vicent and Ponta da Piedade
If you have the chance – and in this case chance means a car – I advise a visit to Sagres Point with its fortress famed for its compass rose and to Cape St. Vincent.
Yet, your stay in Lagos can’t be over without a visit to Ponta da Piedade, one of the most astonishing places of the Algarve of an unmatchable natural beauty that is even more impressive when observed from the sea. To do so, you just need to climb down the stairway that leads to the small bay where several fishermen are waiting to take on an unforgettable tour.