Lagos: A Historical Walking Tour

Over the past thee months we have become much better acquainted with our current home of Lagos, including the beaches, cafes, streets and markets. However, we have walked by churches, monuments and the old city walls on many occasions without always knowing the history and stories associated with them.


A controversial 1973 statue of Rei (King) Dom Sebastião in Praça Gil Eanes

Lagos is a maritime town, and has a long and colourful history, dating back over 2000 years. Its earliest settlers were Celtic, and was later settled by Carthaginians and Romans. With the fall of the Roman Empire, Lagos became home to Visigoths and Byzantines all attracted by its strategic harbour.


Rua Dr. Faria e Silva

The Moors arrived in the 8th Century and fortified the town with Lagos Castle. It remained under Moorish control until relatively late in the Reconquista (1429). Over the next several centuries, Lagos remained an important seaport which saw hundreds of explorers, merchants and slavers sailing in and out of its harbour.


Tile mosaic by artist “Xana” in the Mercado da Avenida

There are reminders of Lagos’ history throughout the town, so one sunny morning we decided to take the “Historic Walking Tour” which is promoted on local guidebooks and maps.


The colourful entrance to the Live Science Centre

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Igreja de São Sebastião

The walk begins at Praça (Square) Gil Eanes Square which is the main square in the middle of town between the harbour and the old town. You then climb the cobbled streets past the Mercado da Avenida and the Science Centre to some beautiful viewpoints near the 15th Century Igreja de São Sebastião.


The aquamarine harbour blends with the whitewashed walls


We love this little street – Rua da Barroca

Descending to the Avenidos dos Descobrimentos the walk then follows the ornate and narrow Rua da Barroca. The wall along this street was the original seawall before the new Avenida was constructed.


Glimpsed through the doors of a seafood restaurant


Not part of the official “tour” but fun nonetheless

You then enter Praça do Infante Dom Henrique which holds several important sites including the Mercado dos Escravos (Slave Market Museum), Igreja de Santa Maria (dating back to the 15th Century) and the 17th Century Military Depot.


Slave Market Museum


Infante Dom Henrique / Henry the Navigator statue in his namesake square

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Igreja de Santa Maria


The nave of Igreja de Santa Maria

Leaving the square you walk along the old city walls through the Jardim du Constituição and cross the avenida to Forte de Ponta de Bandeira. Built in the 17th Century this fort was used to defend the port, and includes a drawbridge. There are many wonderful viewpoints along the coast and of several beaches from this area.

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São Gonçalo Turrets and gateway to the old town


Forte de Ponta da Bandeira


The statue of São Gonçalo de Lagos looks across the harbour entrance to the sea

The last portion of the walk takes you impressively through the walls beneath the São Gonçalo Turrets which are classified as a National Monument. You will enjoy the narrow and colourful streets in this part of town before winding your way back to Gil Eanes Square.


Rua Miguel Bombarda


A particularly attractive intersection beneath the old walls


Entrance to the Museu Municipal Dr. José Formosinho

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Loving the colours and variety of the old streets

This will be our last post from Lagos as we are moving to nearby Portimão (more to come) but we will certainly spend a lot of time in Lagos which remains one of our favorite places anywhere. This walk filled in some of the historic gaps for us and we now have a much better appreciation for its cultural and natural charms.

About Tim & Anne Hall

We sold almost all of our belongings and left our home in Nova Scotia in April 2016 to experience as much of the world as we could. We spent over a year slow traveling in Latin America and Europe, and are now living happily in the Portuguese Algarve, Portimao to be specific. We are gradually chnging the focus of our site to feature images of Portugal. Stay tuned - its a work in progress.
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8 Responses to Lagos: A Historical Walking Tour

  1. Jen Hall says:

    Beautiful Anne and Tim xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • timannehall says:

      Thanks Jen. We had fun discovering a few new streets and some different views. We will miss Lagos but we aren’t gong to be that far away and now we have a whole new city to explore.


  2. Well Tim & Anne …. that was one of the most beautiful, colourful walks that we’ve had with you!!!
    I hope that your health is good and that your feet are not giving you any problems!!!
    ‘Till the next time ……

    Liked by 1 person

    • timannehall says:

      Thanks Jean. We had a great walk that day and found a couple different spots that we had missed. It seems that our time at the gym over the past month has helped as we are feeling great. Take care yourself! Cheers, Tim & Anne


  3. Loved this walk with you two and seeing Lagos through your eyes. Your photos perfectly capture what we love about this little city: the sense of history and Portuguese culture that winds around each cobblestoned street. All of your pics are lovely but I especially like the one of the Rua Miguel Bombarda which shows perfectly the ups and downs of walking through the city as well as strolling along some of the winding streets with no idea of where you’re going to come out. Your move to Portimao will definitely leave a gap here but it’s good to know you’re not all that far away! Anita

    Liked by 2 people

    • timannehall says:

      Thanks Anita. We’re glad that we did this walk before moving as it filled in a lot of the gaps in the history for us. It was surprising to find so many streets in a small city that we hadn’t discovered before. Lagos does have a lot packed into a small package and has a good balance of history, natural beauty and modern conveniences. We will certainly be coming back over many times to visit Lagos and our friends there.


  4. Joe says:

    I am so impressed with the history and fortifications of this important harbor city, and your photos and descriptions beautifully capture its colors and charm. Best wishes on your move down the coast, and enjoy your new home base. I am looking forward to reading the next chapter in your adventure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • timannehall says:

      Thanks Joe. We really enjoyed taking a little more time with that walk. We usually just wander and see what we find so it was interesting to follow a route with some historical background in hand. Lagos does have a lot of charm and we will miss many aspects of it, but we are looking forward to discover the charms of our new home. All the best!

      Liked by 1 person

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