Formerly called Lacobriga by the Romans, Lagos is located on a slope that descends gently to the mouth of the River Bensafrim. It was ruled by the Moors from the 8th century until the town was conquered by the Christians in 1250. In 1505, King Manuel I granted Lagos the “foral” (charter) giving it municipal autonomy. This important document is nowadays displayed in the local museum. Lagos was a very important port during the time of the Portuguese maritime expansion.
It was from this port that King Sebastião left for the ill-fated battle of Alcacer Kibir, which would result in the loss of Portuguese independence for a period of 60 years. The town was devastated by the earthquake of 1755 and many of its the buildings therefore date from after this period. Today, the town manages to maintain a balance between local urban life and the pressures of mass tourism. It is one of the choicest spots in which to spend a summer in the Algarve.