Recommended itinerary to discover the portuguese history in the times of the Discoveries.
Sagres, the crossroads between Atlantic and Mediterranean routes, a port for fishermen and merchants of various nations, but also a place harassed by piracy. The imposing Sagres fortress is the human prolonging of the natural rock and has been for centuries the main war headquarters of a geo-strategical maritime defense system.
The portuguese expansion policy in the XV and XVI centuries lead to the foundation of the Vila do Infante - the Infant's Village. So, over the years, Vila do Infante and Sagres became one and the same.
Included in the Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina (Natural Park), the Sagres headland holds an interesting biodiversity in what concerns fauna and flora, aswell as unique endemic species that all vistors can observe.
Sagres, a place of memory where nature, the sacret and man have since long blent symbiotically, generating religious cults and historical, political and touristic myths that deserve your visit.
On the visit to the Sagres Fortress you may experience some difficulties, if you happen to have a handicap, but it will not be an impossible mission.
There are two parking places on the parking closest to the entrance. These places do not have the regular dimensions and in the proximity there is no access ramp from the road to the sidewalk.
On the remaining path to the Fortress, the ground is made of portuguese traditional cobblestone, which may create some difficulty to the disabled users, or if you are using a wheelchair.
In the Fortress there are two distinct visiting areas, the built zrea and the visiting path area.
On the built area, where the ticket office, toilets, services and the chapel are located, the ancient ground has been preserved, made of very irregular stone slabs which may create some difficulty moving around, by foot or on a wheelchair.
The access to the chapel has several steps, not suited to wheelchair use.
The existing toilet is prepared and equipped for disabled users, with helping bars, being the access to the remaining complex made by ramp.
On this same area you may see the top of the Fortress, where the defensive armament positioning has been recreated. To get here you will find a ramp made of stone, so help is recommended.
On the remaining visit, there is a very comfortable pavement either to walk or on a wheelchair.
All along this path you can enjoy the beautiful view, the numerous existing bird species or the fishermen fishing from the top of the cliff.
There are also some other interesting points (the Battery (Bateria)- an ancient defense strategic spot where the cannons were set, and the Furnas - caves which, due to the waves on high tide produce a strong noise) but the pavement is not suited to wheelchair users.
On crossing the door of this museum, the visitors will be face to face with some of the portuguese historic characters, and others, who have transformed the face of the world: kings, queens, sailors, knights, among others, dressed in old age fashion, as a result of a thorough investigation. This space, of 230 square metres, is suited to visitors of all ages.
The Discoveries Wax Museum undoubtebly shows a spectacular and thrilling time voyage: the History of the Portuguese Discoveries in 16 different settings, in an educational yet amusing fashion, through a thematic show, from the Battle of Aljubarrota, the marriage of King João I and Filipa of Lancaster (the Windsor Treaty), the Conquering of Ceuta, The Discovery of Brazil, the arrival of Vasco da Gama in India, among many others.
The Discoveries Wax Museum is located in a shop on the Lagos Marina.
To get there it is best to park close to the access and carry on on the sidewalk, by the marina. The pavement in made of traditional portuguese cobblestone, which may be uncomfortable for some situations.
On entering the museum and inside there is no obstacle whatsoever, allowing everyone to move around easily, on foot or on a wheelchair.
Corridors are roomy, allowing the passage and enjoying the museum with no major problems.
There is no toilet in the museum, being available the marina's public toilets.
Lying beyond the city’s walls, the Fortress of Nossa Senhora da Penha de França is more commonly known as the Ponta da Bandeira Fort.
Built late on in the 17th century, it completed the defences of Lagos. The entranceway is by drawbridge over a moat. Given it was one of the later defensive strongholds built in Lagos, the Fortress is also one of the best preserved.
The complex includes within it a chapel dedicated to Saint Barbara and tiling dating to the late 18th century. Fully restored in the 1960s, this landmark gives a clear impression of the naval fortifications of old Lagos.
Now, it is home to one of the most traditional celebrations of Lagos: the 29th Swim. Once undertaken for reasons of purification, the council’s people would all proceed to go for a swim in the sea at midnight on August 29th. The tradition has survived while now somewhat more high profile with live music and much good regional cuisine.
Inside the Fort, the barracks are given over to art exhibitions and a small restaurant does a good job at evoking the ambience of times gone by.
And, to cap it all, the Fortress provides magnificent panoramic views over the city and the sea below.