Originally named Lacobriga by the Romans and then Zawaia by the Moors, Lagos was settled prior to the Roman’s conquest of Iberia, due to its natural river port and proximity to the sea. Its modern area actually began in 1249 when Dom Afonso III made it part of the Portuguese kingdom, and from there, the renamed Lagos played an important role in discovering the rest of the world. While Lagos has a number of architectural testaments to its Roman, Moorish and feudal pasts, it is now an important tourist destination.
One of the most picturesque parts of Lagos is its marina. The yachts and pleasure boats that moor here speak to the town’s status as a place where leisure-seeking Europeans come to play. Visitors to the marina will find various boat tours including yacht cruises and deep-sea fishing trips. Also of note in the marina: Forte da Bandeira The town’s Marina presents a lovely picture and this harbor is practically the first sight a visitor has of Lagos. Besides the boats that find it convenient as a permanent mooring it is usually full of yachts passing on the way or returning from the Mediterranean and the Americas. At the entrance to the harbor is the Forte da Bandeira which was constructed in the 17th Century to protect the port from pirate predations and English assaults. Indeed, it successfully repelled Sir Francis Drake, who then sailed on and sacked the nearby town of Sangre.
In addition to its harbor and marina, Lagos has many attractive beaches with commensurately attractive beach-goers. The two most popular include Dona Ana and Praia da Luz, in the nearby village of Luz.
Attached to the famous 17th century Church of Santo António is a small museum of regional items, many of which are prehistoric. Here, you will find dinosaur and ammonite fossils, Neolithic tools, weaponry from the Age of Discovery and an exhibit containing artifacts found in Mozambique.