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Romans gave the name of “Lacobriga” to the town but its
natural river port would indicate very much earlier
occupation. The Moors then gave the town the name of "Zawaia"
It was captured from the Moors in 1189 but it was not until
1249 that it was finally conquered by Dom Afonso III and
integrated into the kingdom of Portugal with the name of "Lagus".
This historic town has played an important part in the story
of discovery of many parts of the world. It was from the
harbour that Vasco da Gama sailed in 1499 on his historic
and epic voyage of discovery. Lagos was the capital of the
Algarve from 1578 until 1756 and there remain several
ancient buildings to testify to its historic glory. From its
Port maritime expeditions were embarked upon to discover the
world at the orders of Prince Henry the Navigator. Also, the
Armada of 800 vessels led by the ill-fated heir to the
throne Dom Sebastião embarked from Lagos in 1578 to capture
the town of Ceuta in Morocco.
is written that the very first time the famous explorer
Columbus from Genoa set foot in the Iberian Peninsular, was
when the inhabitants of Lagos saved him and other sailors
from the shipwreck of a vessel in which he was sailing.
Another interesting fact is that Francis Drake in 1587
failed in his attempt to raid Lagos and then sailed on to
Sagres to sack the occasional historic home of Henry the
now an important tourist town there are still many
architectural signs of its ancient past, even a building
dating originally back to around 1445 which is recorded as
being Europe’s first building used as a slave market. The
walls of the town in the most part remain after sections
were restored. Attached to the famous 17th Century "gold"
church of Santo António there is a small museum of regional
items, some of which are quite odd!
There are several interesting statues erected to the famous
figures of the past that are associated with the history of
this town. None more controversial that the sculpture of Dom
Sebastião standing in the main square in front of the Town
Hall. A more recent statue commemorates the Algarve’s only
Saint, São Gonçalo de Lagos, who was born in 1360 and died
in 1422 in Torres Vedras. Pope Pio VI raised him to
Sainthood in 1778.
The town’s more recently constructed Marina presents a
lovely picture and this harbour is practically the first
sight a visitor has of Lagos. Besides the boats that find it
convenient as a permanent mooring it is usually full of
yachts passing on the way or returning from the
Mediterranean and the Americas. At the entrance to the
harbour is the "Forte da Bandeira" which was constructed in
the 17th Century.
The municipal council has constructed near to the centre of
the town there is a reasonably modern Cultural Centre in
which various exhibitions and culturally related events are
held during the year. In the Marina visitors will find
different boat tours, yacht hire, and deep sea-fishing
outings that can be booked.
Please visit Portugal Golf for essential golfing information.
Faro Airport Taxi > Lagos
- Nearby Locations
To the east
and across the river from Lagos is Meia Praia, a very long
sandy beach sheltered to the north by a gentle slope dotted
with comfortable villas. To the west of Lagos the once upon
a time fishing village of Praia da Luz is now devoted to the
quieter side of the tourist trade and is the home of many
residents from the colder northern climates. Further to the
west is a another small fishermen's beach village of Burgau.
Moving even further west is the coastal village of Salema.
Here will be found some small Roman ruins proving the
existence of its past importance.
The furthest west town is Vila do Bispo and is a very small
administrative town for the Sagres area, the later being the
most south-west corner of Europe! This area is a must for
every visitor to the Algarve as it presents a very
impressive and dramatic sight of towering sheer cliffs being
beaten by the weight of the vast Atlantic Ocean. It is from
here that Prince Henry sat and planned the several epic
voyages of discovery that enlarged the known world of that
time. Cape Santo Vicente is the name given to this
promontory as it was here that fable has it that the Saint
supposedly landed and decided to reside here for a period.
To the north of Lagos on the road to Lisbon is the small
town country town of Aljezur with some fine nearby west
coast beaches. Originally a hamlet, the Moors constructed a
castle in the 10th Century whose ruin still stands today
overlooking this town.
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