Portugal's least developed region, the wild Western Algarve, surrenders to the power of the Atlantic: it is all about nature, about surfing and the sea, about bird watching or spotting dolphins or walking cliff-top paths from one deserted sandy cove to another.
It is home of one of the wider nationally protected nature reserves (Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina), pristine beaches, wild coastlines, jagged walking cliff-top paths and Europe’s southwestern most point, Cabo de São Vicente (Cape St Vincent), nicknamed the 'End of the World' by ancient mariners, because of its 200ft high cliffs and shelf-like peninsulas.
Prince and explorer Henry the Navigator, established a school of navigation here, near Sagres, where he brought in mariners, astronomers, cartographers and sailors, to build and navigate ships during the 15th century. This is from where he set off his expeditions and that was when trade between Africa and Portugal brought a great deal of wealth into this region, mainly to its most important city: Lagos.
Lagos is a fantastic town, full of historical interest, with it's origins dating as far back as 2000 years BC, when it was known as Lacobriga and was one of the most important trade harbours for the Roman empire. Lagos has always had a seafaring connection, originally visited by Phoenicians and Carthaginians.
More recently, it has become a respected holiday destination, as it offers visitors glorious beaches like Meia Praia or Porto de Mós, buzzing nightlife and a charming historic centre that has retained its unique character, relaxing spas, coastal activities, and access to nature preserves.
For the intrepid tourist, Lagos can be used as a base from which to explore the entire western Algarve, mainly from it's unique and modern Marina, with a berthing capacity of 462 pontoons, for yachts up to 30 m, located on the Bay of Lagos, with the privilege of being right in the heart of the Discoveries’ home town and with access by a well protected harbour entrance.
Lagos is also home of the Dona Ana beach, elected by TripAdvisor has "The best beach in Portugal”, it is certainly regarded as the most picturesque of all the Algarve region. This small beach is surrounded by steep colourful strata cliffs, while the golden sands are lapped by the crystal clear waters - simply put, it is stunning.
Most of the coast is linked by a craggy coast path and you can easily walk between the villages. Salema to Luz, or Luz to Lagos, in particular, are beautiful routes.
Whichever part of the Algarve you choose, you will find friendly, welcoming people, excellent local wines – at superb prices – and delicious food, from the freshest of daily caught fish, to regional cured hams, packed with flavour and home made pastries.
The western coast of the Algarve is the perfect wild retreat for those looking to escape from it all.