Lagoa – the complete guide (2019)
Lagoa is a hill town of whitewashed houses that used to rise above a lagoon (lagoa). Now only the name remains, as well as its top quality wine. Lagoa consists of a mix of new houses and old (18th century) houses. Just walking around the town gives you an idea of the traditional Algarve. The town is closely located to some of the best beaches of the Algarve: Albandeira, Benagil, Carvoeiro and Marinha. These magical beaches are famous for their brightly coloured cliffs and crystal clear waters. In addition, Lagoa is only a short distance from the popular waterpark Slide & Splash, which is every kid’s ultimate holiday experience. After reading this article you will be the tour guide when visiting Lagoa.
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In the municipality of Lagoa you can find some of the most beautiful beaches of the Algarve. All these beaches are protected by rock cliffs, providing shade. These beaches also have excellent facilities. On some of them, you can enjoy different kinds of water sports. You will find companies offering grotto tours and dolphin watching excursions. Below you can find our favourite beaches in the area.
Praia de Albandeira. This beach is known for its stunning arch in the water. From Praia de Albandeira you can swim underneath this arch, towards a small beach nearby. Albandeira is a relatively small beach, but one of the jewels of the Algarve.
Praia de Benagil. This beach is known for a beautiful cave nearby, called Algar de Benagil. It is one of the places you have to see when visiting the Algarve. The cave is located right around the left corner of the beach.
Praia do Carvalho. This stunning beach has beautiful scenery and crystal clear water. It is one of the best beaches for cliff jumping in the area. That is why teenagers and courageous adults usually love this beach.
Praia do Carvoeiro. This is the main beach of the picturesque village of Carvoeiro. It is a popular holiday destination and a very lively town. Around the beach you can find many restaurants and bars.
Praia da Marinha. This wonderful beach is one of the most famous beaches of the Algarve. You can see this beach on many postcards and advertisements of the region. The beach is known for its famous M rock.
Praia de Nossa Senhora da Rocha. This beautiful beach is backed by huge cliffs. On top of the side cliff you can find a small chapel. Near the beach you can see many fishermen and fishing boats.
Near Lagoa you can find many good restaurants. Below you can find our favourite restaurants in the area.
- Tapas no Bucho. This Portuguese restaurant serves delicious tapas. All products come from the region and have a very high quality. They also have very good wine to accompany the tapas. Very nice atmosphere in the restaurant.
- Chrissy’s. This restaurant is great to have lunch. They serve good food and have fast service. You can sit either inside or outside. Great value for money.
- SUD Restaurant & Lounge Bar. This restaurant serves Peruvian and Chilean cuisine. Superb food and outstanding service. From the restaurant you have amazing views over the surrounding area.
- China Town. If you like Chinese food, this is your place. This restaurant serves some of the best Chinese food in the area. The quality of the food and the service are excellent.
What to see
Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Luz
If you are interested in visiting simple, but interesting churches, go to the Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Luz (Church of Our Lady of Light). It was built in the beginning of the 16th century, but was rebuilt after the earthquake of 1755. The church has beautiful windows and is well maintained.
Convent of Saint Joseph
Near the church of Nossa Senhora da Luz you can find the Convent of Saint Joseph (in Portuguese: Convento de São José). The convent was built around 1710 and later fell into disrepair. A major renovation restored the state of the building. Currently, this building is used as the cultural centre of Lagoa. You can find exhibitions of painting, photography and sculpture here. Upstairs you will find that the original nuns rooms have been turned into art galleries. There is a small chapel (18th century) and you can find some menhirs in the courtyard. Entrance is free.
Percurso dos Sete Vales Suspensos
There is a walking trail near Lagoa, which is one of the most beautiful hikes in the Algarve. The walking trail is called Percurso dos Sete Vales Suspensos, which translates as the walking trail of the seven hanging valleys. The trail stretches from Praia do Vale de Centeanes in the west to Praia da Marinha in the east. During the walk you will see some of the most stunning views and rock formations that you can find in the region. The walking trail is quite long (about 12 kilometres round trip), but is highly recommended. Make sure to wear the right shoes for the walk, as the trail can be quite rough in some parts.
Slide and Splash
Near Lagoa you can also find the water park Slide and Splash. It is one of the best water parks in the Algarve. If you are looking for a nice day out, this is the place to go. There is a great variety of slides, which guarantees fun for young and old. The only downside is the high entrance fee. Entrance costs € 27. If you go, don’t visit Slide & Splash on the weekends, because it will be too busy. A whole day of waiting for attractions in a queue will degrade your experience. It is better to visit the park during the week. Another tip we can give is to bring your own food to the park, because the food in the park can be quite expensive.
You can actually already book a ticket for Slide and Splash online. This will save you time, since you can skip the queue once you are there.
Parque Municipal das Fontes
Near the town Estômbar, in the municipality of Lagoa, you can find a park called the Municipal Park of the Springs (in Portuguese: Parque Municipal das Fontes). This park surrounds a spring of the Arade rivier. The park is a popular picnic area for Portuguese people. You can spot a variety of flora and fauna here. You will also come across a restored watermill, an amphitheatre, and a traditional house of the Algarve. It is a great place to relax in the countryside and enjoy some peace and quiet. It is also a great place to swim. If you like walking in nature, this park is definitely worth a visit.
Quinta dos Vales Wine Estate
Near Lagoa you can find the wine estate of Quinta dos Vales. Here you can enjoy a wine tour, where they will tell you all about the process of producing wine. You will also have the chance to taste the wine, which is the best part of the tour of course. If you like the wine, you will have the chance to buy it as well. In the garden you will see some colourful sculptures, which gives the place a unique character. Well worth a visit.
Lady in Red Galeria Arte Algarve (art gallery)
In Lagoa you can find a nice art gallery called Lady in Red Galeria Arte Algarve. It is located in an unused industrial space of a big wine producer. You will smell the scent of wine all around you. The exhibition mostly displays modern art. If you like the art you see, you can buy it as well. It is quite expensive though. Located right on the main road EN125. Open from Monday to Saturday. There is a cafe inside as well. Entrance is free, although they accept voluntary donations.
Ferragudo is a typical fishing village, located near Lagoa, on the left bank of the Arade river. In the village you can find beautiful, traditional white houses with typical chimneys. On the top of the hill you can find a church. Nearby you can also find the fortress of São João, which was built in the 17th century to defend the estuary of the river from the attacks of the pirates. On the other side of the river you can see Portimão. Ferragudo is great for a quick visit.
Carvoeiro is a village in the municipality of Lagoa. It was once a small fishing village and is now an important tourist centre, without having lost much of its old charm. In the centre you find a small but beautiful beach with fishing boats on the sand. There are many modern villas all around Carvoeiro. Visit the rock formations of Algar Seco and the fantastic beaches of Vale Centeanes, Benagil and Praia da Marinha. From the village of Carvoeiro, we recommend a walk to the chapel of Nossa Senhora da Encarnação, with the ruins of a 17th century fortress nearby. From there, you have a magnificent view over the beach and village.
Porches is a village in the municipality of Lagoa. The village is famous for its potteries and handpainted ceramics. Along the EN125 road you can find the some renowned potteries like Porches Pottery. Near Porches you can also find the Senhora da Rocha chapel on a rocky cliff above the beautiful beach of Senhora da Rocha. Near this chapel there was a fortress which was destroyed by the earthquake of 1755. An old religious tradition is the procession of Senhora da Rocha, which takes place on the first Sunday of August every year.
If you wish to stay near Lagoa, there are several hotel options. Below you can find our favourite hotels in the area.
- Vale D’oliveiras Quinta Resort And Spa. This luxurious five star hotel has a nice outdoor swimming pool, surrounded by a beautiful garden. There are also a number of wellness facilities and treatments available on-site. Close to the beaches, and everything you need for an exclusive holiday. Great breakfast buffet as well.
- Lagoa Hotel. This four star hotel provides great value for money. Prices are not expensive, yet they have quite a lot of facilities. There is a swimming pool and nice terrace. They also have a kitchenette, so you can cook your own meal if you want to. Great service as well.
- O Quintal Guesthouse. This bed and breakfast offers standard rooms, as well as single beds in a mixed dormitory room. The place is clean and beds are comfortable. There is even an outdoor swimming pool and a garden with barbecue facilities. Highly rated.
After the busy summer season of last year, we recommend to book your hotel now, as it will probably sell out. Below you can find a map with the location of hotels in Lagoa. By changing the date of your holiday, the map will show you the current prices.
One of the biggest events in Lagoa is Fatacil. This fair is actually one of the most important events in the Algarve. Here you can find things related to handicrafts, art works, agriculture and tourism. There is food, music and entertainment. The fair is visited by thousands of visitors yearly. It is held in August every year and lasts for 10 days. If you happen to be in the Algarve in August, make sure you visit the Fatacil fair.
The Lagoa area has a lot to offer, but there is much more to see in the Algarve. One of the best things to do is for example to take a boat trip along this marvelous coast. Another great option is to rent a stand-up paddle board and go to the Benagil cave. Or you could go dolphin watching. Some of these excursions you can already book online. Below you can find our favourite excursions in the area of Lagoa.
Lagoa – general information
Lagoa is a small municipality in the Algarve, with only 23.000 inhabitants. On the east of Lagoa you find the municipality of Silves and to the west of Lagoa is Portimão. The small town of Lagoa is the centre of a famous wine producing region. The region produces a couple of million litres of wine each year. It is mostly red wine, but also white wine, rosé, a liqueur and a dry aperitive wine. With many beautiful beaches surrounding the town, tourism is becoming more important to the local economy.
Administratively, Lagoa can be divided into 4 civil parishes (freguesias):
- Estômbar e Parchal
- Lagoa e Carvoeiro