With its lively character and seafaring traditions, Lagos is one of southern Portugal’s favorite holiday destinations. It boasts a very scenic coastline filled with beautiful beaches and stunning rock formations and the town’s cheerful vibe together with its wealth of historic attractions make it a destination you can’t afford to miss out on
Top Attractions in Lagos
Since Lagos is home to some of the Algarve’s most popular beaches, it makes sense that you should reap the full reward of the situation. Just 2km southwest of town center you’ll find Praia de Dona Ana, the postcard favorite beach. There’s also the massive Meia Praia, Avenida dos Descobrimentos, Porto de Mós and the beach at Ponta da Piedade to enjoy.
Ponta da Piedade
The “Point of Pity” is one of Portugal’s most recognized landmarks and it can be found near the western edge of Lagos Bay. These dramatic sandstone cliffs look burnished with gold and rise out of the transparent waters where huge rock formations lurk below. Just out of sight you’ll find a series of caves and grottoes that can be explored by boat or kayak. You can also follow the footpaths that snake around the headland towards the viewpoints providing some of the best views over the gnarled stacks and craggy pillars.
Forte Pota da Bandeira
Originally built as a defensive measure during the 17th century, the square-shaped fortress of Forte Pota da Bandeira is remarkably well preserved. The fortress is situated over a wedge of sand and overlooks a shallow bay and four turrets set at each corner to distinguish the fort’s profile. You have to cross a drawbridge to reach the impressive inner courtyard and even though the experience will be limited to the 18th century chapel, it’ll still be worth every minute of your time. The ramparts offer some of the most panoramic views over the water and back across the avenue towards the castle walls and fortifications that uphold the great medieval character.
Centro Ciência Viva de Lagos
The Live Science Exhibition of Lagos has a theme of “The Portuguese Maritime Discoveries” and proves to be a fun-filled educational experience for families, even more so when the weather isn’t playing ball and the beaches are out of the question. Youngsters can learn all about Portugal’s seafaring heritage through a collection of games, puzzles and interactive modules. Found on the top floor of the Lagos Market, the center is conveniently near the lighthouse!
Marina de Lagos
The Lagos Marina is where motorboats and yachts of all shapes and sizes come to moor. The first-class harbor is much more than just a safe haven for watercraft vessels as it boasts a few high-end eateries and at night some cafés host live music performances. If you’re looking to board a boating excursion to Ponta da Piedade, this is the place to come looking for it. The marina is connected to Avenida dos Descobrimentos, the town's main avenue, by a swing bridge, and it’s also conveniently located within walking distance of the pristine Meia Praia beach.
Parque Zoológico de Lagos
The Lagos Zoo is home to some spectacular animals like gibbons, lemurs and marmosets to name but 3. The semitropical park is home to primates, big cats and other rare species like the Indian Muntjac Deer. There are mongooses to keep you entertained and the spectacular variety of birdlife is something you have to see. The zoo is also home to various farm stock like sheep, goats and horses that peacefully go about their lives in their countryside setting. Monkey Lake boasts a great picnic site for an alfresco lunch or you could always dine at the rustic onsite restaurant.
Igreja de Santa Maria-Praça do Infante D. Henrique
The late 15th century Church of St. Mary is set in the northwestern corner of the city square and you can still see the old Renaissance doorway of the church that survived the 1755 earthquake. The building was renovated during the 16th century and expanded during the 18th century, which makes for an interesting amalgamation of architectural styles to see. Inside you can see the statue of São Gonçalo of Lagos, a fisherman’s son that became an Augustinian saint. The water feature embellished square was named after Prince Henry the Navigator, and as such, a statue of him sits cast in bronze on a plinth in the middle of the concourse. Nearby you’ll find the Castelo dos Governadores with its beautiful Manueline window set in the façade.