Colonial-Style Villa in Lagos, Portugal

Portugal Local Information

Portugal's strength as a holiday destination is its diversity, a something-for-everyone kind of place with mountains, vast arid plains, sub-tropical volcanic islands and lush-green meadows, not forgetting 528 miles of sandy beaches.

Fine beaches, a temperate year-round climate, mouth-watering gastronomy and friendly people are just a few of the ingredients that spice up the experience of visiting Europe's south-westernmost country.


About Lagos

"Lagos is a unique little jewel in the Algarve. It has chosen to develop its tourism with taste and class. It offers a balance of the charm and history of the Portuguese culture with a blend of creature comforts and facilities to please the desires of the most discerning tourist. The warmth of Lagos and her people make it difficult to resist falling in love with this seaside town."

"Lagos, with its relaxed atmosphere and quiet charm, make it one of the most appealing locations in the Algarve to visitors from abroad."

"One of the most popular tourist destinations on the Algarve and certainly one of my favourites, Lagos is a bustling town full of activity, nightlife and modern attractions. However, it is also a town full of history and the monuments and architecture which take us back to the many different peoples who have settled here and the many maritime adventure which have started in Lagos' impressive natural harbour. The nearby beaches are among the best in the region and the rocky headland of Ponta da Piedade is outstandingly beautiful"

ABOUT LAGOS

LAGOS is the most historically interesting coastal town in the Algarve. Its fame derives from its association with Portugal's 14th-and 15th-century Age of Discovery. It was here that Henry the Navigator had his vessels built and victualled for the voyages of exploration down the coast of West Africa which ultimately led to the sea route past the Cape of Good Hope to India.

Both Henry and Gil Eanes, another of Lagos' famous explorers are commemorated with statues. Henry presides over the Praça da República. Gil Eanes is in front of the town walls a little farther along to the west. The town's third statue is of the boy-king, Sebastião, who precipitated the demise of the Aviz dynasty in the 16th century by sailing from Lagos to a disastrous defeat in Morocco.

The walls came tumbling down along with all the other buildings in Lagos with the great earthquake of 1755. Among those which were rebuilt and have since undergone renovation are the Church of Santa Maria with 16th-century traces, the 17th-century regimental storehouse next to it, and the mind-blowing "golden" Church of Santo António which forms part of Lagos' rather eccentric museum.

There are a number of beaches of various sizes on the edge and outskirts of town. Dona Ana is the most popular family beach, but there are smaller sandy coves to be explored both closer and farther away from the town centre. The headland of Ponta da Piedada with its lighthouse is best viewed from the sea on a short boat trip. The cliff top is a good place to take a stroll with your camera and marvel at cliff erosion.

The beaches around Lagos are some of the most beautiful of the Algarve, like Praia de Dona Ana, which can be reached after a 25 minutes walk from the centre of the town, Praia do Camilo, a bit further on, and Meia Praia, whose sands stretch for 4 km (2.5 miles) east of Lagos. However, it is the promontory named Ponta da Piedade and sheltering the bay of Lagos which is most admired by visitors, with its caves, rocks and wonderfully transparent waters. North of Lagos, Barragem de Bravura is a water reservoir offering fine views.

ABOUT LAGOS 2

Essentially 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.
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ABOUT LAGOS 3

Drinking and good times continue to be a fundamental part of a visit to Lagos and the fine array of restaurants, bars and local festas stand as testament to this. The busy flea market fills the narrow streets of the centre, which also boasts a Cultural Centre hosting various exhibitions and events throughout the year.

For those more interested in the maritime aspect of the area, boat trips, deep-sea fishing and yacht hire are all available at the marina.

For sightseers the ancient city walls are well preserved despite the devastation caused by the 1755 earthquake which destroyed much of the town and caused Lagos to lose its status as capital of the Algarve in favour of the less affected Faro. One church remains; the Igreja de Santo António - where Dom Sebastião reputedly attended his last mass before his tragic expedition - is also known as the golden church due the impressive baroque gilt work on display. Cherubs and animals feature among the intricate carvings often fashioned out of Brazilian gold. The local museum is also found here with artefacts from the Iron and Bronze Ages alongside sacred treasures.

The ominous honour of housing Europe's first slave market dating from 1441 and now an art gallery located in Rossio da Trindade is another unique string to Lagos' bow.
For the visitor it is generally the beautiful beaches that constitute the major attraction and there are many to choose from. There is always space at the golden sands of Meia Praias to the east of the town, however the beaches which lie to the south are generally considered more picturesque. Over the years the cliffs here have eroded into gnarled stone arches and tunnels which separate many tiny coves, all blessed with clean blue waters and some with steps built into the cliffs. The most popular of these is the Praia Dona Ana. For those with personal transport, the whole coast around Lagos is worth a visit for less well-known beaches and small fishing villages.

Golf is a popular activity throughout the Algarve and Lagos is no exception with the Palmares, Boavista and Alta courses offering a round with views of the ocean and the challenging Penina Championship Course nearby which often hosts a Portuguese Open tournament.

For the younger visitor there are various water parks offering exciting rides and a zoo that offers the opportunity to swim with dolphins. Within the town, sunset marks the onset of much liveliness with street entertainers and buskers enhancing the general array of bars and clubs typical of an Algarve resort.

 

 


Algarve Beaches

There are beaches to suit every taste within a short drive of Quinta santo Phunurius. From palm-fringed long golden beaches with dunes to romantic coves with caves and elaborate rock formations.

The south coast beaches are nearest and are mainly backed by sandstone cliffs. From the wind surfers paradise "Pai Martinhal" to the beach at Sleema. usually calmer and of intererst to families with younger children. Within 15 mins leisurely walk of the Quinta is Praia Porto do Mos, a long sandy beach, protected by cliffs and with two beach front restaurants, with particulary delicious fish and sea food.

The west coast is less than 30 mins drive a way and is a nature and surf lover's paradise. Long sandy beaches with scarcely anything man-made in site and huge breakers rolling in from the Atlantic. In the peak heat of summer, the cooler water here can be welcome and there are so many beaches to chose from that within a few minutes walk, you will have peace and relative privacy, even at the peak of summer.

 


Portuguese Food

Portuguese food is distinctive and varied, featuring many regional specialities that have evolved from local traditions and ingredients.

Much of Portuguese cooking is spice based, thanks largely to Vasco da Gama and the other navigators of his time. A typical meal in Portugal starts with a selection of appetizers such as goat of sheep's cheese, pâté, olives, cornbread and delicious smoked ham called presunto.

Vegetable soup (sopa de legumes) is very common and always a good choice, or the traditional caldo verde - a soup made with potatoes, shredded cabbage and smoked sausage. Most seaside restaurants serve a delicious fish soup (sopa de peixe), made from fresh pieces left over from the main dishes.

Fish is a mainstay of Portuguese cuisine, particularly sardines (sardinhas) and the ever-present dried codfish known as bacalhau. Some of Europe's tastiest seafood (marisco) can be found in restaurants up and down Portugal.

Portuguese meat is both tasty and safe to eat, particularly pork (porco) which for centuries has been an important livestock in the country's rural economy.

Lagos is full of all kinds of restaurantsn not only the numerous typical Portuguese but also Italian, Thia, Indian, Meditteranean and others. The main streets have numerous pavement terraces where you can dine Al Fresco under the stars and watch the world go by. One of the pleasures of a balmy Summer evening is to stroll around the historic centre and choose your preferred restaurant.


Lisbon

For those with time and energy, a day trip to Lisbon from the Algarve is a possibility. The are several trains and coaches leaving each day and the prices are remarkably low, even for first class on the train.

Lisbon is the capital and largest town of Portugal and capital of the Lisbon Region.

Lisbon is perhaps Europe's most pleasant and affordable city. Its fantastic architecture, diverse population, delicious seafood, huge casinos, intriguing tile-work and non-stop night-life bring together the best elements of Portuguese life.

Lisbon also have a great number of remarkable museums of modern and ancient art, some of which are Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, National Museum of Contemporary Art, National Coach Museum, and Carmo Archaeological Museum. However, Lisbon isn't all history and culture, Bairro Alto is the center of nightlife with various bars and restaurants where melancholic traditional Portuguese music, Fado, can also be listened.


Golf in Portugal

Portugal with its sunny climate and beautiful landscapes has long been a popular golfer's  destination for Europeans, especially the Algarve.

The Algarve in the south and the most popular tourist area, has the greatest number of courses with more being built. The main ones are golf clubs are Pine Cliffs, Parque da Floresta, Palmares and Salgados.

Within ten minutes drive of the Quinta are two internationally renowned courses and there are more slightly further away.


Other Attractions

There are numerous other local attractions:

Zoo Marine

EcoZoo

Water Parks

Caldas do Monchique (world heritage site with spa)

Marina (including champagne cruises and dolphin safaris)

Coastal and Inland walk - see www.portugalwalks.com

 

 

 


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