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Family-friendly holidays

Lagos is a coastal town, in the western Algarve, that can certainly be enjoyed by all age groups. It is full of historical interest with its origins dating as far back as 2,000 years.

Lagos holidays

A firm favourite with the team and our customers, Lagos has something for everyone whether enjoying time with the family, children, friends or a romantic break as a couple. The town itself offers so much charm and beauty and with the beaches and marina close by there really is something for everyone, you are spoilt for choice. Our holiday accommodation matches this choice with a wide range of accommodation for all your needs.

Historical Lagos

Lagos has always had a seafaring connection, originally visited by the Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Romans. During the 15th century it was the base for the Voyages of Discovery, instigated by Prince Henry the Navigator, when trade between Africa and Portugal brought a great deal of wealth to the town.

The older part of Lagos is still encircled by the city walls that were constructed during the 16th century when it was the Algarve governors' residence. The fort, Ponta da Bandeira by Batata beach, is part of the 17th century fortifications that were added to protect the town. Behind the fort (on the opposite side of the road) you will find the Porta de São Gonçalo, with a watchtower on either side and just to the right of this is the Governors' Castle (built by the Arabs).

The square next to the Governors' Castle is the Praça Infante Dom Henrique and has a statue of Prince Henry looking out to sea. To the left, at the back of the square, you will find the Igreja da Santa Maria which was built during the 15th and 16th centuries and restored after fire devastated the building during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Walking along the cobbled street at the back of the square (R. Gen. Alberto da Silveira), just past the Santa Maria church, you will come across the famous Lagos 'golden church' of Saint Anthony, Igreja de Santo António, which was rebuilt in 1769. Access to this church is via the museum. Both the museum and the church are well worth visiting.

On the north side of the Praça Infante Dom Henrique can be found the Slave Market, which dates to the 15th century, and holds a small museum about the use of the building.

Igreja de São Sebastião, again worth a visit, that dates from the 14th century and is stood on a hill just behind the fish market. It has a chapel of bones connected to it and offers amazing views over the Lagos bay.

Of course, Lagos has much more. For more information on places of interest in the area click here.

And for those who enjoy a holiday which includes sports there are various golf courses, a short drive away, cycling routes diving centres, dance groups, various gyms and centres to enjoy yoga, tai chi etc plus great local areas for bird watching and the opportunity to enjoy walking trails.

Lagos entertainment

Lagos is certainly full of history, but it is also a vibrant town with lots going on. The square in the middle of the town is Praça de Gil Eanes and this is often the setting for evening entertainment throughout the year - a comical unicyclist, live music or a medieval fair are just some of the events we have enjoyed here previously.

If Portugal are playing football, or there is a major competition playing, the cafés will have big screens up in the square where everyone joins in the excitement (which is all good natured).

There are several streets leading off Praça de Gil Eanes, with restaurants to suit all tastes. There are many bars that stay open until the early hours and in the summer the centre of Lagos is alive with people of all ages enjoying the evening.

Lagos Marina

To explore a little further, carry on along the Avenida dos Descobrimentos (Avenue of the Discoveries) which runs along the water front and you will come to the modern, Lagos Marina. There is a footbridge over the Bensafrim river to the marina but you do get a lovely view of the town from here and of the marina itself. The 450+ berth marina, which has both the Euromarina Anchor Award and the Blue Flag award, has a variety of shops, bars and restaurants to enjoy. In the bars you will very often find live music and if you want to watch your favourite football team don’t worry as many venues screen the big matches and various sporting events.

After crossing the footbridge to the Marina, to the right, you will find the dock area for fishing boats. Here you are often able to buy freshly-caught fish and there are some small restaurants open in the summer.

Lagos train station is behind the marina and the road that runs past the station takes you to Meia Praia beach - a 4kms stretch of golden sand with several beach bars along its length, some of which stay open all year round.

Shopping and markets

Lagos is very well provided with supermarkets and there are many mini-markets dotted around. You will find several large supermarkets that stock a wide variety of products including those for many dietary requirements.

A daily market is held in the renovated fish market near the centre of town, on Avenida dos Descobrimentos close to Praça de Gil Eanes, where fresh fish and seafood is sold on the ground floor and market stalls full of fruit, vegetables, dried fruit and preserves plus fresh bread on the first floor. The second floor has a restaurant with a fabulous view across Lagos bay.

On Saturday mornings, a local market is held in a building near the bus station (opposite the marina footbridge) selling fresh fruit and vegetables, olives, honey, figs, almonds and much more local produce. It is quite a small market, but very popular and cheap. Should you decide to visit we suggest you get there early and take small change with you.

And finally, a visit to Ponte da Piedade (by the lighthouse, past Praia Dona Ana and Praia do Camilo) is a must. With a fantastic view of the sweeping sands of Lagos bay with the Monchique hills in the background and also to Sagres on a clear day, the caves and rock formations can be visited by boat or down many steps.

Traditional events

Banho 29 is an annual festival that takes place on August 29 on Batata beach, by the Ponta da Bandeira fort. It usually starts at 6pm and has now become a three-day event. It is not clear as to why the ritual of taking a dip in the sea at midnight started however it continues from when country people came, with their animals, to the sea at the end of August to bathe. Guitars are played around small bonfires, chouriço is cooked and stories are told until the clock strikes midnight, when it's time for that dip.

Feira da Arte Doce

The festival, usually held on the last weekend of July, is a competition of art in sweet form that annually attracts many visitors. The fair includes works of art in sweet form, a variety of traditional sweets and many other regional products including handicrafts. Local associations exhibit and a diverse musical and entertainment programme is available throughout the event.

For up-to-date information of events in Lagos we suggest you download the tourist office event guide.