Situated in the western Algarve, 6 km inland from the pretty beach at Carvoeiro, is Lagoa, a market town primarily known for its wine. Lagoa is set on a hill overlooking flatlands.
The name, Lagoa, is derived from the original settlement on the edge of a lagoon, which was allegedly drained to create more fertile land.
The town has a distinctly rural feel in comparison to some of the other big resort towns of the Algarve.
Lagoa is an interesting place to stay if you are looking to escape the crowds at some of the big beach resorts along the Algarve.
Some of the best and quieter beaches of the Algarve are just a short drive away. You will need a car to get around.
Lagoa is approximately 58 km west of Faro airport, and is easily reached by car with a journey time of less than 40 minutes.
The main car hire companies can be located in the arrivals area at the airport.
For the bus service to Lagoa, you will need to first travel to the bus station in Faro (about 10 minutes by taxi).
There is also a bus service from the airport to Faro bus station.
The old town
Lagoa’s charming old town of cobbled streets and whitewashed houses are spotted with flower-covered lampposts. The main square houses the main parish church.
The church was rebuilt following the devastating earthquake of 1755, but still retains its 16th century Manueline door, and houses some beautiful 17th and 18th Century religious artefacts.
Another building of significant historical interest is the former Convent of Saint Joseph, which now serves as a cultural centre.
The Convento do São José was built in 1713 and survived the earthquake of 1755.
It is the historical landmark of Lagoa. Inside is a turn-box door, which was in previous times used to pass unwanted babies to the nuns.
In the heart of the old town, a weekly flea market consists of numerous stalls in the cobbled streets.
You can buy lots of locally grown fruit and vegetables, as well as freshly made food cooked over charcoal stoves.
At the end of each month, the town also holds an indoor antiques market.
The Adega Co-operative is the last remaining wine co-operative in the Algarve. It employs around a dozen people and produces 60 per cent of the regions wine from its 90 members.
Wine tasting and tours of the local vineyards can be organised from here.
The unique building housing the winery is also home to the Arte Algarve art exhibition.
Annual Fatacil craft fair
Held in August each year, the Fatacil Fair is the largest event of its kind in the Algarve and provides the perfect opportunity to get a glimpse into Portuguese culture, traditions, entertainment and Algarvian produce all in one place.
Many small carts around the fair allow you to sample foods, and in the equestrian area you can see the Lusitano horses and their riders perform impressive dressage.
There are several distinct zones including food and drink, a wine area, a zone for handicrafts, and an agricultural area. It’s also a great place to pick up locally made ceramics.
It’s a must visit if you are in the area when the fair is on.
Places to visit
Silves is just short of 8 km inland to the north of Lagoa. This historic and enchanting town is well worth a visit.
About 35 km north west of Silves is the stunning Monchique mountain area, which is fabulous for walking.
The fishing village, Ferragudo on the river estuary Rio Arade, is another pretty place to visit.
The pretty coastal village of Carvoeiro is also within easy reach, as is the dramatic rocky coastal point, Algar Seco.
The neighbouring village of Porches is well known for its ceramics. Here you will find many shops selling handmade tiles and pottery.
The winery, Quinta dos Vales, near to Estômbar has an interesting exhibition of modern sculptures.
The nearest beach is directly south of Lagoa at Carvoeiro.
Further east along the coast are the amazing beaches Vale Centianes, Praia de Benagil and Praia de Marinha. The beaches along this stretch of coastline are stunning.
It’s worth taking a boat trip from Carvoeiro to see the caves at Benagil.
Slide and Splash water park
The popular Slide and Splash water park is a 12-minute drive from Lagoa.
This seasonal water park has a plethora of slides, pools and rides, as well as live falconry, reptile and tropical bird shows.
Some of the best golf courses on the Algarve are situated between Lagoa and Carvoeiro, which include the Gramacho and Pinta courses of the Pestana Golf Resorts, and the 9-hole golf course of Vale do Milho.