Muralhas e Torreões de Lagos

Fortification - Middle Ages e Modern Age (1973)
The city of Lagos is built around a bay in the mouth of ribeira de Bensafrim along the Atlantic Ocean's coastline. Located on the seaside and with great accessibility, it demanded the construction of a long fortified perimeter, which had several restructure and maintenance stages. The medieval wall of Lagos, with several preserved stretches, was built in the 13th century, during the reign of D. Dinis, and had a square shaped bailey, with building walls 10 m tall by 2 m thick, rampart courses and battlements on top. This wall would have had five gates, the east gate protected by two flanking square shaped towers and a moat on the western area. The medieval city grew within the walls around the Main Church, having an orthogonal layout. Around the 14th and 15th century, the city of Lagos witnessed an economic boom, associated with tuna and whale fishing, salt evaporation ponds exploitation and sea commerce with Northern Africa, which prompted city growth beyond the walls. During D. Manuel's reign, the medieval walls of Lagos were renewed and reinforced with the construction of a new bulwark wall, whose purpose was to include the full urban area of the city. The renaissance walls show an irregular pentagonal blueprint, with twelve squared and pentagonal bulwarks, having access ramps (of which nine are still preserved), connected by tall walls and four gates (Porta do Cais Velho / Cais Alfândega, Porta de São Gonçalo, Porta de São Roque e Porta da Vila / Torres de Santa Maria). This walled structure was target of several renovations during the Philippine dinasty, as well as during the Portuguese Restoration War (reign of D. João IV). The city of Lagos and its fortification structures, as well as other urban settlements in the Algarve, were severely damaged by the several earthquakes that occurred during the 18th century, especially by the great earthquake of 1755, which motivated the castle's renovation during the first decades of the 19th century.


Visit conditions

Free entrance



    How to get there? Best practices

    Best practices

    Good practices when visiting archaeological sites

    To visit an archaeological site is to connect with our origins, to understand our path and evolution as a species integrated in the environment, and to respect and safeguard our heritage so that future generations can also visit and enjoy it.

    Walking the paths and enjoying the structures and archaeological pieces that survived over time, fosters the understanding of what is different, but also of what is common among different populations: basically, what identifies us as Homo Sapiens.

    More than just vestiges and ruins of the past, archaeological sites showcase our capacity for creative thought, adaptation, interconnection, comprehension and resilience. Without these traits we would not have been successful as cultural beings participating in an ongoing evolutionary process. These sites also allow to consider choices made in the past thus contributing for decisions in the present to be made with greater awareness and knowledge.

    Archaeological sites are unique and irreplaceable. These sites are fragile resources vulnerable to changes driven by human development. The information they keep, if destroyed, can never be recovered again.

    As such, the Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage (DGPC) invites all visitors to enjoy the beauty and authenticity of these sites, while helping to preserve them for future generations by adopting the following set of good practices:

    • Respect all signs; 
    • Do not try to access fenced areas; 
    • Do not climb, sit or walk on archaeological structures and remains; 
    • Respect areas where archaeological excavations are being carried out, not disturbing them; 
    • Do not collect materials or sediments;
    • Do not write or make graffiti on archaeological structures; 
    • Put the garbage in appropriate containers. If none exist, take the garbage with you until you find a suitable container; 
    • Leave the archaeological site as you found it; 
    • Do not drive bicycles or motor vehicles over archaeological sites; 
    • Respect and protect the plants and animals that live in the areas surrounding archaeological sites;
    • Report signs of vandalism or destruction to DGPC or Regional Directorates of Culture (DRC);
    • Share the visiting experience and the archaeological sites, as a way of raising awareness to their preservation and making them better known;
    • Do not buy archaeological materials and report to public security authorities, DGPC or DRC, if you suspect that archaeological materials may be for sale.

    Further information:

    AIA / ATTA (2013) – Guide to best practices for archaeological tourism. 

    Raposo, J. (2016) – Código de conduta para uma visita responsável a sítios arqueológicos. In Sítios arqueológicos portugueses revisitados: 500 arqueossítios ou conjuntos em condições de fruição pública responsável. Al-madan, 2ª série, p. 20 – 77. 

    DGPC contacts

    Phone: +351213614200 | Email:


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