Lagos, Portugal Weekend Trip

Praia Dona Ana

Lagos is one of the most popular trips we offer at DiscoverExcursions. A weekend in Lagos is a weekend of fun, relaxation, and incredible sightseeing. Lagos has a special feel to it; it is a small city on the water characterized by beautiful white stone buildings, awe-inspiring cliffs and cerulean coves. The Portuguese beach culture is universally liked. Although it is a tourist city, it doesn’t feel like one; the beaches are mellow, clean, and perfect for all types of beachgoers. The city of Lagos is a place where you can have fun, relax, and eat amazing food, all right on the beautiful sandy beach. In Lagos the cultural experience you will receive is much different than that of Morocco, but it is a unique one nonetheless. While on this weekend beach adventure you will have a variety of different activities to choose from. For example, if you are an active person, you can participate in activities such as kayaking alongside the cliffs and through the caves, as well as surfing lessons on the West coast, and hiking on the beautiful cliffs of Lagos. If you’re looking for a more laid-back weekend, you’ll also have relaxing options such as a two hour ride on a sangria sailboat and a bus ride out to the West coast for the day to experience a different beach. From sun-tanning, swimming, kayaking, and surfing to great food, nightlife… and perhaps the best part of all, a trip to the “end of the world” (the Westernmost point in Europe) to watch the sunset, this weekend excursion is sure to leave you tanned, happy, and with the desire to come back for more!

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A Bit About the History of Lagos

Lagos is one of the most visited cities in the Algarve and Portugal, due to its variety of beautiful beaches accompanied by bars, restaurants, hotels and renowned vibrant summer nightlife and parties. Despite this, Lagos is one of the most famous historic centres of the Portuguese “Age of Discovery.” It served as a historical shipyard, and at one time it was the centre of the European slave trade. Lagos is an ancient maritime town with more than 2,000 years of history. It became part of the much larger coastal region of al-Gharb, which eventually became known as the Algarve. From 1578 to 1756, Lagos was the capital of Portugal’s now popular Algarve region in the South of Portugal, but the city’s history extends much further into the past. It was first part of the Roman Empire and then occupied by the Moors until 1189.  In fact, the word “Algarve” is derived from the Moorish word for the west, “Al Gharb”. Historically, Lagos was a hub of seafaring activity, serving as a base for both exploration and military activity. The Spanish Armada also used the city as a rally point and it was under constant threat of pirates, slave traders, and even once thwarted an attack by Sir Francis Drake. Today, its history is apparent in monuments such as the Forte de Ponta da Bandeira, an impressive 17th century fortress that overlooks the marina. Another eerie reminder of the city’s violent past is the old slave market or Mercado dos Escravos. Located in the town square along the waterfront, this is the site where African slaves were sold in the 1400’s.

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The Beautiful Ponta da Piedade

Ponta da Piedade, which in English means “tip of compassion,” is an idyllic setting of cutout rocks that contrast sharply with the greenish blue waters of the Atlantic coast in Lagos. From the cliffs, you have a magnificent view of the Atlantic Ocean and the cliffs and caves that have been carved by the sea over time. Ponta da Piedade is full of grottos, bays, and quiet beaches, some of which can only be accessed by kayak, boat or swimming.

The End of the World At Cape St. Vincent

This cape is the southwesternmost point in Portugal. It serves as a landmark for ships traveling in and out of the Mediterranean Sea as the cliffs rise nearly vertically from the sea up to 75 meters in height. The history of the Cape goes back to the Ancient Greeks. They called the land “Ophiussa” or “Land of the Serpents” and dedicated a temple to Hercules. In addition, the Romans called it “promontories Sacrum” or “Holy Promontory.” They believed the sun would sink hissing into the ocean, marking the edge of their world. According to legend, the name of the cape is linked to the story of deacon St. Vincent, whose body was brought ashore at the cape. A shrine was made over his grave and was always guarded by ravens. King Afonso Henriques had the body of the saint brought by ship to Lisbon in 1173, still accompanied by the ravens. This event is symbolized on the coat of arms of Lisbon.

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Speaking Portuguese

The Portuguese language is quite similar to Spanish. As you can see below, these words and phrases do have similarities when written, but the pronunciation is deceptively quite different, often sounding more harsh than Spanish with a stronger emphasis of “sh” or “ch” pronunciation over the “s” and “c”. Take a stab at it, and try using a few of these helpful words and phrases!

Sim – yes  ●  Nao – no  ●  Olá – Hello  ●  Como estás – How are you?  ●  Tchau – Goodbye  ●  Bom dia – Good morning  ●  Boa tarde – Good afternoon  ●  Boa noite – Good night  ●  Se Faz Favor Please   Obrigado/Obrigada Thank you (male/female)  ●  Desculpe Excuse me  ●  De nadaYou’re welcome  ●  Falsas Ingles?Do you speak English?   ●   Onde está a casa de banho? Where is the bathroom?   ●   Onde está o hotel? Where is the hotel?   ●   Onde está a Praia? Where is the beach?   ●   Quanto custa? How much does it cost?   ●   A conta se faz favor The bill please