region tends to evoke memories of family-package holidays, Lagos
offers a different experience. An important port in the
15th-century Portuguese Age of Discovery, Lagos is today famed for
its old town, in which ancient brick walls thread between historic
buildings and shaded cobbled streets bustling with local
Explore the watchtowers and bastions of the medieval Castelo dos
Governadores before descending the steep wooden steps to the cove
of Praia do Camilo. Sunbathe on the golden sands of Meia Praia, or
climb the sandstone cliffs of Ponta da Piedade for sweeping views
across the bay.
Igreja de Santo António, a small baroque church filled with
gilded wood and sculpted stone. Hand-painted tiles line the
impressive dome, installed after an earthquake in 1755. Enter the
church through the Museu Municipal, which showcases treasures and
artefacts including Moorish pottery, Roman mosaics and the original
1504 town charter.
Who to take with you
History buffs – as well as the Museu Municipal, they’ll enjoy
the Antigo Mercado de Escravos. Set in a building thought to once
have been Europe’s first slave market, the museum exhibits the
bleak history of slavery in the region. Alternatively, head to the
Centro Ciência Viva de Lagos to learn about the Algarve’s seafaring
history, or the Museu de Cera dos Descobrimentos for wax renderings
of Portugal’s most important historical figures.
When to go
Where to stay
For a bohemian
retreat, disappear into the white-walled, terracotta-tiled haven
that is Casa Mae, located in the city
centre. Alternatively, Quinta Bonita lies just outside
of the city, offering a tranquil, secluded stay with panoramic
ocean views and sprawling gardens.
Most likely to bump into…
Anyone looking for a sunny escape with a difference.
Essentials to bring with you
How to get there
Flights to Faro Airport are relatively cheap, and the drive to
Lagos takes just over an hour.