Lagos is one of most notable cities in Portugal. During the warmer months, the city is full of seasonal residents and tourists, making it one of the most visited cities in Algarve and even the whole Country. Lagos is also the historic center of the Portuguese Age of Discovery - let’s dive into its history, traditions and local gastronomy.
Lagos was founded in 2000 BC. Several civilizations had influence, such as Romans, Barbarians, Moors, reconquered by the Christians in the 13th Century. Due to its location, Lagos then became the central access point during the Age of Discoveries - and within its city center. You will see several statues in honor of sailors and kings. To honor those glorious times, there is the famous “Avenida dos Descobrimentos” (Discoveries Avenue) - one of the main arteries of the city. Situated alongside the ocean, with many vendors selling beachwear, local handicrafts and regional products.
Nearby, there is also a gorgeous replica of the “Caravela da Boa Esperança” - (Good Hope Caravel) - named after the Good Hope Cape.
Within the city center, there are also a few notable spots, such as the Slave Market. Now turned into an educative museum. The local market has fresh products, but it also has a panoramic view. You will love to see over to the ocean and the famous Marina de Lagos.
There are also two main plazas in the city, also named after the most important figures during the Ages of Discoveries - The “Gil Eanes” Plaza and the “Infante D. Henrique” Plaza.
In Lagos, there are plenty of activities to do and restaurants and bars to try, but outside of the city is where you will find natural beauty in its purest state as the coast is lined with beaches.
What to do in Lagos
One of the most remarkable beaches is the “Dona Ana” beach, which is present on the top beaches of the country and several guides worldwide. You will find plenty of options when it comes to outdoor exploring activities. Some of the best are: boat rides, hiking, kayaking and much more. When it comes to food in Lagos, seafood and fish play an important role in its gastronomy.
Local food and Wine
For example, Carapaus Alimados (Salted Horse Mackerels) is a unique fish dish from the region. Gooseneck Barnacles or “Xarém de Conquilhas” (Cornflour Casserole with Clams) worth to try in the city. Octopus and squid are also worth trying, as they will be freshly caught from the nearby shore. Lagos is also famous for some meat dishes, such as “Cozido de Grão” (Chickpea Stew) with pork meat or lamb.
What’s the perfect drink to pair with those dishes? Wine! Red or White, there are several wineries in the region that provide tasty local wine. Even a dessert wine - known as Muska - (sweet liquor). Muska is a little bit more rustic but in a good way! You should taste with pairing requesting one of the several conventual desserts. Dom Rodrigo (little cakes, shaped like fruits, made of almonds and eggs). Morgado will be also a wonderful option ( grated almond dough and sweet egg yolk jam).
You will find also many other dishes based on seafood, not so traditional, however delicious.
Ingredients such as eggs, almonds (check almonds cake recipe), and figs play a really important role when it comes to sweets in this region. But Carob is also common, as it is a local unique ingredient. Last weekend of July, all of these and much more you should be in the “Arte Doce” Fair Contest.
All of these make Lagos the perfect location for a summer trip. From its history-filled city center to the uniquely clear water beaches to cool off, don’t miss the opportunity to visit. Also, the delicious food ( seafood and desserts ) will, most likely, be a good reason for a comeback trip. There’s always something to do and explore in this southern city of Portugal.
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