You can start your journey in Lagos, by walking the streets inside the old city walls.
Inside the old city walls you will find hundreds of little shops, many restaurants and many places of interest. If you enjoy old architecture and interesting ironwork, look out for details on windows, verandas and old doors.
Some of the workmanship is just stunning.
Lagos old town (historical center), being an old working city is not really vehicle friendly, and, for this reason, amongst others, is best appreciated on foot. We advise you to take your camera with you. Another word of advice, if you are planning on walking the town, wear comfortable flat shoes, especially if you are female, because the famous Portuguese cobblestones do not like modern shoe styles, and high heels are a definite NO-NO, make sure your soles are non-slipping as the cobblestones can be rather challenging and slippery.
Whilst the Avenida dos Descobrimentos (Lagos main road), runs parallel with the river, you will see styles mixing the original with the modern, and the Rua 25 Abril caters mostly for the tourist trade with its wealth of restaurants, bars and gift shops. But it is in the heart of the old city, which remains more off the beaten track that you find some real gems and offers an insight into the Lagos of bygone times.
Unfortunately some of the old factories has succumbed to tourism and has been converted into luxury apartments. But, nonetheless, a walk through the back streets of the town still brings many rich rewards.
Right at the top of the hill and at the back of the town, there is an archway in the town walls that gives access to that part of Lagos, which still retains much of its original charm. Almost all of the narrow streets are paved with the familiar black cobblestones and were clearly designed for pedestrians, horses and mules. They were built long before our present day method of transportation was really conceptualized.
Most footpaths are no more than a half-meter wide and barely give enough room to take refuge from passing vehicles, so watch for traffic while you stroll around!
Make a point of looking up along the walls of the houses in the various streets whenever possible, as many of the old fishermen cottages are still adorned with the colored ceramic tiles (azulejos) that are so typical of the Portuguese culture; you will also see brilliantly colored bougainvillea cascading from walls and window boxes and many windowsills are still bedecked with flower and pot plants.
If you start your stroll from a street at the back of the town, rest assured that should you lose your way, you could always follow a downhill route, which will invariably return you to the center of town.
Be on the lookout for interesting small businesses hidden away in side streets. If you get tired, there are many cafes, snack-bars and restaurants along the way. Other things to see inside this old part of the town, are the Church of Saint Antonio, the Church of São Sebastião, the Science Museum (that's located on the second floor of the Municipal Market) and the Old Slave Museum. While you are in town, take a stroll down the promenade (Avenida dos Descobrimentos) you can stroll from the Ponta da Bandeira fort (located next to the sailing club) to the Lagos Marina or vice-versa.
Once you leave the town center, there are a few other landmarks that you can use to know your way around, and those are the roundabouts surrounding the town. The most important ones are the “Black Ball”, the “Chairs” and the “Ship”.
The 'Ship' roundabout is at the entrance to Lagos, if you are coming from Portimão on the “Estrada EN125. The 'Black Ball' roundabout is at the far end of the Avenida dos Descobrimentos, past the fire station - on the way to Praia da Luz and Sagres. And the Seven Chairs (these are lit at night), links the main road via the Lidl supermarket and meets up again with the main road to Sagres.
You will agree with us, once you have strolled through the city once, that you will want to do it again, and again. Enjoy your walk.