The Region

Our History | Gastronomy | Culture | Beach | Leisure

LAGOS - Gateway to the Sea

It was from here that Don. Henriques launched his fleet of Caravelas, as they set sail on their great voyages of Discovery.

With its strategic location, Phoenicians, Greeks and Carthaginians all fought for supremacy over Lagos. After the Roman occupation, the city was re-named Lacobriga and gained its Mediterranean feel under influence from the Arab Empire. Narrow streets, handicrafts – the very walls which protect it - have left their mark on the townspeople over the centuries.

It was from this very place that the Infante Don Henriques watched as the fleet set sail on
the great voyages of Discovery, and the town became known as the City of the Discoverers.

Important documents confirming prestigious victories won as the ‘new world was discovered for the World’ were to be lost as time went by. But, in 1573, Don Sebastian bestowed city status on Lagos; he was to stay there for one last time in 1578, as he set out on the fateful journey to the battle of Alcacer-Quibir.

Targeted by both human and natural disasters – such as the earthquake of 1755 - the city
rose again from the ruins. This rebirth has taken many thousands of years and been helped along by trade – fishing and agriculture – the beginnings of a sort of early industry.

 

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Our History

It was from here that Don. Henriques launched his fleet of Caravelas, as they set sail on their great voyages of Discovery.

With its strategic location, Phoenicians, Greeks and Carthaginians all fought for supremacy over Lagos. After the Roman occupation, the city was re-named Lacobriga and gained its Mediterranean feel under influence from the Arab Empire. Narrow streets, handicrafts – the very walls which protect it - have left their mark on the townspeople over the centuries.

It was from this very place that the Infante Don Henriques watched as the fleet set sail on
the great voyages of Discovery, and the town became known as the City of the Discoverers.

Important documents confirming prestigious victories won as the ‘new world was discovered for the World’ were to be lost as time went by. But, in 1573, Don Sebastian bestowed city status on Lagos; he was to stay there for one last time in 1578, as he set out on the fateful journey to the battle of Alcacer-Quibir.

Targeted by both human and natural disasters – such as the earthquake of 1755 - the city rose again from the ruins. This rebirth has taken many thousands of years and been helped along by trade – fishing and agriculture – the beginnings of a sort of early industry.




Gastronomy

“The sea brings with it our famous pickled mackerel, octopus risotto and baby cuttle fish, cooked in their own ink”.

This is a city for whom the presence of the sea is intrinsic; for centuries the waters have brought with them fish from which Lagos has created its regional specialities: - pickled mackerel (carapaus), fried moray eel, grilled octopus, sea-snail and bean casserole, fish stew cooked in a ‘cataplana’, or baby cuttle fish, cooked in its own ink.

These are just some of the many skilfully prepared dishes to be found in any of the city’s restaurants. It’s one of the delights of summer, pavement restaurants bursting to the seams with tourists enjoying grilled, freshly caught fish.

But Lagos’ gastronomic heritage is multi-faceted, with a number of distinctly country dishes. Try Chicken Cabidela with potatoes, chick-pea casserole served with rice, or the famous moorish ‘porridge’, made with maize flour, flavoured with local sausages and pork.

Our sweets made from almonds and figs – famous throughout the Algarve – are decoratively moulded by the confectioners of Lagos.
In their hands these become true works of art :-‘morgados’, almond kisses, ‘arrepiados’, ‘Don Rodrigos’, not forgetting those famous, delicate confections which are perfect miniatures of fruits, flowers and animals.
These little gems add their own particular colour to the sweets found in the city and each year a Confectionery Fair & competition provides the opportunity not just to try these delicious sweetmeats but ensures that an important Algarve tradition carries on.

 




Culture

“At midnight, the bravest go into the water… Others maybe only wet their feet. But everyone celebrates ‘Banho 29”.

The presence of the Moors during five centuries of Arab occupation enriched the Algarve’s culture enormously.
Decorative chimneys, ceramics and narrow streets are just a scant reminder of the legend they left behind.

Music and dance are those expressions of culture which best reflect the happy, festive nature of the people. The ‘Corridinho’, which came into being in the 14th century is a traditional version of the polka and mazurka.

In handicrafts, we have baskets woven from palm leaves, pottery, lace-making, tapestry, artefacts in hammered copper, wood, iron and stone.

The art of fishing is pivotal to the traditions of the region, and the Festival of the Popular Saints with local musicians (‘Charolas’) and its traditional foods, including Lagos’ famous Don Rodrigos’ sweetmeats.

On January 1st they sing the January songs; on May 1st, the May songs and festival with its satirical Parade of rag dolls, making fun of local personalities.

‘Banho 29’ is both traditional and somewhat of a ritual.
How it began has been forgotten over the passage of time, but still today, at midnight on August 29th, no one misses going into the water, to celebrate ‘Bathing 29’. Lagos Town Council organises an annual festival in celebration, with musical entertainment, a bathing suit competition, sports competitions and, of course, the obligatory ritual dip in the ocean!


 




Beach

“Golden rocks cut from the cliffs, bathing in calm, warm waters”

Lagos’ beaches are, without doubt, the most desirable in all Algarve. Fine, white sand and crystal clear waters; caves carved out from the rocks which can not fail to attract anyone visiting the area.
 
 ‘Dona Ana’ Beach.
Just 10 minutes from the city centre and the most popular with tourists. This is one of Algarve’s most typical beaches with its great, sculpted rocks, tempered by time and the sea.
 
 ‘Meia Praia’
One of the longest bays in Europe at approximately 4 kilometres, the beach attracts all kinds of nautical sports – windsurfing, deep sea diving, water skiing and deep sea fishing are just a few which tourists may enjoy. On days when wind is from the south west and there’s a swell on, this is a wind-surfers’ paradise!
 
 Following the coastline beyond Meia Praia, are the beaches of ‘Solaria’, ‘Batata’ and the Students, all inter-linked by a series of tunnels. Beyond, is ‘Pinhao’ beach, a strategic, maritime observation area.

Camilo and Canavial beaches snuggle between the rocks and are not only the most peaceful but more sheltered when a north wind blows. Ponta da Piedade headland, too, is a perfect spot to escape from the usual hustle and bustle of the Algarve’s beaches.

Porto do Mos beach is at the foot of a steep climb. A particularly inviting strip of sand, running all the way along the coast to the small, sheltered town of Praia da Luz, considered by many to be the most cosmopolitan resort west of Lagos. Luz is popular for windsurfing, water skiing and fishing.
 




Leisure

“White, sandy beaches and shifting dunes entice you to sports and leisure.”


 
 Animation is what it does not lack in Lagos. To start for its streets, palco privileged of authentic espectáculo of varieties offered by musicians, malabaristas, clowns and painters who come of the whole world to show its art and to give a very special coloring to the center of Lagos.

This joy infects the tourists who divide its days of deserved rest between the beach and the innumerable activities that if offer a little for all the city.

The loving ones of the sport find in Lagos the ideal conditions for the practical one of nautical sports. Without needing to leave the beach, they can venture in windsurf, canoagem, candle or, still, use to advantage to better know the deepenings of the algarvio sea in a fascinating lesson of diving or fishes submarine. For who it prefers sun baths, o the golf is an excellent alternative, since in Lakes if they find some of the best fields of golf of the Algarve.

The Municipal Audience, the Cultural Center and the Regional Museum characterize offer cultural of the city, providing regularly interesting thematic expositions, musical shows. In the galleries of art spread a little for all the city, the tourists can appreciate and acquire parts of the most varied origins.

To the night it is impossible to be indifferent to frenesim of street 25 de Abril. Néons, music and the party invites to enter in one of the many bars and pubs where people of the land and tourists amuse themselves until sunrise.

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