Grab a taxi and visit Lagos, a city full of history.
Lagos is an ancient maritime town with more than 2000 years of history. The name Lagos comes from a Celtic settlement, derived from the Latin Lacobriga, the name of the settlement was established during the pre-Punic civilizations. It became an early settlement of the Carthaginians, who recruited Celtic tribesmen in their war against the Romans (the Punic Wars). Owing to its already important harbor, it was colonized by the Romans and integrated into the Roman province of Lusitania, becoming known as Lacobriga. Quintus Sertorius, a rebellious Roman general, helped by the Lusitanians of Lacobriga (who had been oppressed under Roman Generals and members of Lucius Cornelius Sulla party), successfully defeated the Roman army of Caecilius Metellus Pius probably at nearby Monte Molião.
The Moors arrived in the 8th century from North Africa, renaming the settlement Zawaia (meaning lago, or lake). It became part of the much larger coastal region of al-Gharb, which eventually became known as the Algarve. The Moors fortified the town with Lagos Castle and established important trade links to Northern Africa from their bases in the Iberian peninsula. In 1174, the local Wāli gave permission for the Christian peoples to construct a church dedicated to São João Baptista, which was built outside the town’s walls (becoming the oldest church in the Algarve).
Lagos has many natural interest sites, including:
- Ponta da Piedade (English: Mercy Point)
- Grutas da Costa d’Oiro (English: Golden Coast Grottos)
- Laguna de Alvor (English: Lagoon of Alvor)
- “Bravura Dam” English: Bravura Dam)
- Mata Nacional de Barão de S.João (English: National Forest of the Baron of Saint John), representing a varied flora that includes Pine (Pinaceae), Acacia (Acacia), Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus) and Strawberry trees (Arbutus unedo), with six pedestrian trails and six campsites. In the zone of Pedra Branca, is a Paleolithic menhir, called the Menhir of Pedro do Galo, accessible through the pedestrian trails, visitors can use the tables and picnicking areas near the guardhouse for barbecues, while small children have access to a playground. A public sports field and 100-meter interval obstacle course were also constructed to attract activity, near the picnic area.
- Meia Praia (Half Beach) —the most popular tourist beach, consisting of soft, white sand, Meia Praia is one of the largest open bays in Europe, resulting in calm seas, permitting conditions for many nautical sports, while cliffs provide sheltered coves from strong windy conditions;
- Praia Solaria (Sunny Beach);
- Praia da Batata (Potato Beach) — a small beach tucked between two small cliffs (where the river meets the Atlantic Ocean), it is known for the small music festivals that take place there during summer;
- Praia dos Estudantes (Students’ Beach);
- Praia da Dona Ana (Dona Ana Beach) -it’s areal is slightly thicker than the beaches in the surrounding area and it is surrounded by striking rock formations. At high tide the beach is split by the geomorphology of the cliffs;
- Praia do Canavial (Canavial Beach);
- Praia de Camilo (Camilo Beach);
- Praia da Luz (Beach of Light) – located in the parish of Luz, the beach is bounded in the east by Rocha Negra (English: Black Rock), providing summer vacationers with a popular escape during the summer.