• Castle of Lagos

    R. Bombeiros Voluntários de Lagos 18, 8600-315 Lagos, Portugal .

    When Lagos became the capital of the Algarve region, a castle was built as the governor’s residence. It was connected to the town walls (whose origins go back to Roman times), and was defended by the Ponta da Bandeira fortress in front. Only a tiny section of the walls and the castle still stand. They’ve been restored over the years, and a gateway between two watchtowers (known as “São Gonçalo Gate”) is one of the entrances to the Old Town. What’s left of the castle became a hospital and isn’t open as a tourist attraction, but you may admire a Manueline (Portuguese Gothic) window from outside. It’s said that it was from this window that King Sebastião spoke to the assembled nobility in 1578, before joining Portuguese, Spanish, German and Dutch troops on a disastrous crusade to Christianize North Africa (he ended up killed in El-Ksar el Kebir in Morocco). The landscaped area around the castle has a statue of Gil Eanes, the local explorer who was the first European to navigate past Cape Bojador, a major breakthrough in discovering a maritime route to the East.

    • Fishermen's Trail (Luz-Lagos)

      Fishermen's Trail (Luz-Lagos), Lagos, Portugal .

      The Fishermen’s Trail (Trilho dos Pescadores) is a long-distance hike in Portugal and runs along the coast from Lagos (Algarve) to São Torpes near Sines (Alentejo). The trail is part of Rota Vicentina, a collection of hiking and cycling trails in southwest Portugal.

      The Fishermen’s Trail is 226.5 kilometers long in total and includes a total of 13 sections. In this article, I’ll tell you all about the gorgeous Luz to Lagos walk. This is the thirteenth and last section of the Fishermen’s Trail.

    • Ponta da Piedade

      Ponta da Piedade, Lagos, Portugal .

      Ponta da Piedade is one of Algarve’s (and all of Portugal’s) most beautiful sights. This headland has been sculpted by the winds and the sea for thousands of years, creating spectacular rock formations (some as tall as 20 meters, or 65 feet), caves and grottoes. A series of steps takes visitors from the top of the sandstone cliff down to the water, but for the best close-up views there are highly-recommended boat and kayak tours.

    • Igreja de Santo António and Lagos Museum

      Igreja de Santo António, R. Gen. Alberto da Silveira 1, 8600-594 Lagos, Portugal .

      A plain church from outside hides a rich interior that’s considered one of Portugal’s finest examples of gilded woodwork. The golden carvings mix with blue-and-white tile panels and a beautifully painted ceiling, while in the former sacristy is a museum dedicated to the art, history and culture of Lagos. Its collection of pieces goes back thousands of years, from the city’s first Celtic and Phoenician settlers to the 20th century (it includes prehistoric standing stones, Roman mosaics and tiles).

    • Castle of Silves

      R. do Castelo, 8300-135 Silves, Portugal .

      Algarve’s biggest and best-preserved castle is located in Silves, to the north of Lagos. It dates from when the now sleepy town was actually the capital of the region and a rich Moorish city. It’s visited by those looking to take a break from the beaches and experience inland Algarve.

      Before Faro, Silves was the capital of Algarve. It was quite a rich city during the Moorish occupation (8th to 12th centuries), but most of its ancient buildings were destroyed in the great earthquake of 1755. However, its massive castle still stands, and is one of the region’s most important monuments. This is a very peaceful and even rather sleepy town, with cobbled lanes leading down to the Arade River. You can see all of it in just a few hours, but it’s worth the trip to travel back in time and experience a different side of Algarve. Although it’s best reached by car (it’s about 30 minutes away on highway A22), you can also get there by train (there are no direct buses from Lagos to Silves).

    • Cabo de São Vicente

      Cabo de São Vicente, Sagres, Portugal .

      Cape St.Vincent or Cabo de São Vicente in Portuguese is the southwesternmost point of Portugal and continental Europe. The dramatic landscape and breathtaking views make the cape one of the not-to-miss places in the Algarve.