Situated in the western Algarve, six kilometres inland from the picturesque 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 reportedly drained to create more fertile land.
The town has a distinctly rural feel in comparison with some of the other major resort towns in the Algarve.
Lagoa is an interesting place to stay if you are looking to escape the crowds at other popular beach resorts along the Algarve coastline.
Some of the best and quieter beaches are just a short drive away, although you will need a car to travel around.
Lagoa is approximately 58 kilometres 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 travel first to Faro bus station. This takes about 10 minutes by taxi, or there is a bus service from the airport.
The Old Town
Lagoa’s charming Old Town of cobbled streets and whitewashed houses is dotted with flower-covered lampposts.
The main square houses the parish church, which was rebuilt following the devastating earthquake of 1755, but still retains its 16th century Manueline door, and houses some magnificent 17th and 18th century religious artifacts.
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 1755 earthquake.
It is the historical landmark of Lagoa. Inside is a turn-box door, which in previous times was 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 plenty 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 Cooperative is the last remaining wine cooperative in the Algarve. It employs around a dozen people and produces 60 per cent of the region’s wine from its 90 members.
Wine tastings 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 obtain a glimpse into Portuguese culture, traditions, entertainment and Algarvian produce all in the 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 different areas including food and drink, wine, handicrafts and agriculture – and it is also a great place to buy locally made ceramics.
This is a must-visit if you are in the area when the fair is being held.
Places to Visit
The historic and enchanting town of Silves is just under eight kilometres inland to the north of Lagoa, and about 35 kilometres north-west of Silves is the stunning Monchique mountain area, which is excellent for walking.
The Ferragudo fishing village, on the Rio Arade river estuary, is another attractive 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 popular for its ceramics, and here you will find many shops selling handmade tiles and pottery.
The Quinta dos Vales winery, near Estômbar, has an interesting exhibition of modern sculptures.
The nearest beach is directly south of Lagoa at Carvoeiro.
Further east along this stretch of stunning beaches are Vale Centianes, Praia de Benagil and Praia de Marinha.
It is also definitely 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 park has a plethora of slides, pools and rides, as well as live falconry, reptile and tropical bird shows.