Lagos, Sagres


lagos 2The beaches around Lagos are some of the most beautiful of the Algarve, like Praia de Dona Ana, which can be reached after a 25 minut es walk from the center 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. lagos 5

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.

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North of Lagos, Barragem da Bravura is a water reservoir offering fine views. lagos 6
Apart from its animated lifestyle, the one learns that this was a fishing village and that its importance grew under the Arabs, which built several fortifications. It turned into an important naval center in the age of the Discoveries, in the 15th century; became the capital of the Algarve from 1576 to 1756 and was greatly damaged by the earthquake of 1755; thus its beautiful 18th and 19th century buildings. A fine new marina welcomes boats sailing in from the Atlantic.
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Odiáxere – A picturesque village of white walled houses. Nearby there are panoramic views over Lagos bay. Main Church – Rebuilt in the 18th century, it has a fine doorway of red Silo es sandstone. Exuberantly decorated in the Manueline style (16th century). Plain interior. The altars have 18th century icons including a Christ in Indo Portuguese ivory notably for its dramatic expression. There is a border of 17th century tiles. There are good views over Lagos bay from nearby.
Barragem da Bravura – A man made lake stretching out beneath broad, mountainous horizons. A place to relax and enjoy nature. Excellent view point.
Bensafrim – A typical small town, surrounded by hills, looking down on the sea. It has a church with some valuable works of art. The Forte Velha necropolis is situated nearby. Dating back to the Iron Age, it was later used in the Roman era and also includes a press. At Corte de Bispo there are some remains of Roman ruins.
Luz – A fishing port nestling between cliffs, which in spite of being an important tourist centre; it maintains its traditional and typical character. Main Church – The church is medieval in origin. Its main chapel has a gothic triumphal arch and vaults. The retable of the main altar is decorated with gilded carving in the baroque style (18th century). Also to be found are the ruins of an important Roman ‘”villa” . with mosaics and pools. There is a small aqueduct to channel water from Quinta da Luz. Next to the beach are tanks for salting fish, probably built by the Carthaginians and then used by the Romans. Rising above the beach is the old fort of Nossa Senhora da Luz (Our Lady of Light) (17th century), which has now been turned into a restaurant. Nearby, at Cerro de Lorvão, there is a Roman burial ground. The Miradouro da Atalaia, 108 m (360 feet), offers sweeping views along the coast.
Ponta da Piedade – A huge rock formation hollowed out by the sea. The bold colours of the strangely shaped rock yellow, ochre, red – contrast with the crystal blue of the sea. There is access by boat to innumerable beautiful sea caves and hollows. The lighthouse stands near to the site of an old coastal defence fortification.
Barão de São João – A village on the edge of the forest that boasts a variety of tree species. Lots of shade and a peaceful atmosphere.

Meia Praia or São Roque – This broad expanse of sand stretches for 4 km (2.5 miles) and offers all kinds of facilities for those who enjoy water sports. On the isthmus of the Alvor bar stands Meia Praia fort, which defended Lagos bay in the 17th and 18th centuries. Historians say that it was off these beaches that the galleons carrying the treasure of Moctezuma, an Aztec emperor captured by the soldiers of Herman Cortez, were shipwrecked in 1522.
Batata, Estudantes, Homers, Pinhão, Dona Ana and Camilo – Sandy coves tucked between brightly coloured cliffs, these beaches include some interesting rock formations. Calm and clear water. Many believe these to be the most delightful beaches in the Algarve.
Canavial and Porto de Mós – Long beaches between cliffs. Tourist facilities.
Luz – A tourist centre with a cosmopolitan flavour. Large beach.
Dona Maria – A calm and isolated beach

Palmares The course is a showpiece for the imagination of Frank Pennink, one of the most prolific golf course designers in Portugal. The reputation of the course – a Par 71 – derives from its skilful use of two different kinds of landscape, as well as its excellent level of maintenance.
Boavista Boavista enjoys a beautiful location in the Western Algarve on a headland between Lagos and Praia da Luz, commanding magnificent views of the bay of Lagos, and the distance Monchique hills.

Lagos - historical centre 001

Lagos is a vibrant and attractive town with lots of amenities, things to see and do, traditional Portuguese architecture and cool nightlife.

Lagos - map 001

Lagos - places to visit 001

Lagos - the Portuguese Discoveries 001


Praia da Luz 001

Praia da Luz - map 001


From Sagres, the most southwestern point of Europe, up to Odeceixe and back up to Portimão is an easy day trip by car.

From Sagres, the most southwestern point of Europe, up to Odeceixe and back up to Portimão is an easy day trip by car.

Surfing Sagres

Sagres is located in a natural park at the south-western most point of Portugal. It is secluded, laid back and windswept with beautiful views. It feels like you’re at the edge of the world but in a really good way!

From Sagres, the most southwestern point of Europe, up to Odeceixe and back up to Portimão is an easy day trip by car.

Cape St. Vincent – Cabo de São Vicente

Cabo de São Vicente is 6km along the cliff top road from Sagres and is the most southwesterly point of Europe.  The lighthouse was built on the site of a 16 century Franciscan convent in 1846 and was electrified in 1906.  There is plenty of parking and visitors are welcome to walk around the lighthouse grounds and climb the tower when it is open – there are no published opening times.  The lamps throw a tall beam which can be seen up to 6 km out to sea.  All the shipping from and through the Mediterranean to the west coast of Europe and much of the eastern seaboard of North America passes this way.

Cape St. Vincent Lighthouse, Algarve from Algarve Retreats LtdMany sea battles have been fought off Cape St. Vincent.  Sir Francis Drake was very active here harrying the Spanish returning from the Caribbean laden with treasure: Portugal was under Spanish rule at the time.  The French fleet defeated the British fleet here in 1693 and the British defeated the Spanish in 1790.  The Battle of Cape St. Vincent took place on the 14th February 1797 between the Spanish fleet and the British fleet under the command of Sir John Jervis.  During the battle, the commander of the ship “Captain”, third from the end of the line, acted without orders to block the escape of the Spanish fleet.  Sir John approved of the young commander of the “Captain” who had acted with such courage, initiative and good judgement.  He was made a Knight of the Bath and promoted to the rank of rear-admiral shortly after the victory.  His name – Horatio Nelson.  Nelson passed Cabo de Sao Vicente many times during his naval career, the last time on his way to Cadiz and Trafalgar.

Cape St. Vincent, Algarve from Algarve Retreats LtdAt first glance the landscape in this area looks rather bleak, arid and stony but closer examination, particularly in spring, will reveal a different story.  There is a rich flora to be found here, including some unique species and some named after Cape St Vincent itself.  Remarkably, these plants cling to survival in small crevices on the cliffs.

In spring and autumn, the headland offers an ideal point from which to see the migration of huge numbers of birds flying north to the breeding grounds of north west Europe in Spring and south to their winter haunts in the autumn.  The gannet is one of the most recognisable seabirds which may be seen passing over.  Most of the world’s gannets breed around the British Isles, for instance on St Kilda in the Outer Hebrides and most of the adult, young and juvenile birds over winter in the Mediterranean or Atlantic waters off the coast of the Algarve – only some of the juveniles try the fishing areas as far away as West Africa.  There are times when Cliff top at cape St. Vincent, Algarve from Algarve Retreats Ltdthe gannets are close to the coast and can be seen with the naked eye: at other times and for seeing most other birds, binoculars are needed to get the best out of the experience.  There are several species of land birds to look out for also.

The Cape takes it’s name from a Spanish priest, martyred at the beginning of the 4th century.  According to legend, his remains were buried at the Cape and a temple erected which was watched over by ravens.  During the reign of Afonso Henriques (1139-1185), Vincent’s remains were exhumed and taken by ship for re-burial in Lisbon to protect them from desecration.  The legend tells that a raven kept vigil from the rigging throughout the entire voyage.  The raven remains part of the insignia of both the city of Lisbon and Cape St. Vincent’s local seat of administration at Vila do Bispo.

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