Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Town of Lagos – Algarve Portugal

One of the highlights of the Algarve region of Portugal is the historic town of Lagos, former headquarters of the famous explorer Henry the Navigator. Crammed with historic buildings despite being severely damaged in the great earthquake of 1755, Lagos has some of its old city walls, a 17th century castle and many interesting post earthquake buildings and monuments. Also a well known area for surfing, this part of the Algarve coast is windswept and battered by the Atlantic Ocean, with numerous prime locations between Lagos and Sagres in the extreme west. For beach lovers, Lagos is perfect as there are lots of wonderful beaches in the area and some charming little seaside resorts nearby. Despite this, the old town is the main draw, best explored by foot, visitors can wander the narrow winding streets taking in the atmosphere and imagining what the place was like when Portugal was a major seafaring nation. The port area dates from Roman times and was at that time called Lacobriga, it would have been a major trading town, servicing ships going along this busy coast. Later controlled by the Moors, it came back into Christian hands in 1241 and enjoyed the boom created by Portugal’s growing Empire in Africa and South America. Present day Lagos has a population of around 18,000 most of which is concentrated near to the coast, the main industry is tourism.