Lagos (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈlaɣuʃ], literally lakes, from the Latin lacobrica) is a municipality at the mouth of Bensafrim River and along the Atlantic Ocean, in the Barlavento region of the Algarve, in southern Portugal. The population in 2011 was 31,049, in an area of 212.99 km². The main town of Lagos (which includes only the parish of São Sebastião e Santa Maria) has a population of approximately 22,000. Typically, these numbers increase during the summer months, with the influx of visiting tourists and seasonal residents. While the majority of the population lives along the coast and works in tourism and services, the inland region is sparsely inhabited, with the majority of the people working in agriculture and forestry.
Lagos is one of the most visited cities in the Algarve and Portugal, due to its variety of tourist-friendly beaches, rock formations (Ponta da Piedade), bars, restaurants and hotels, renowned for its vibrant summer nightlife and parties. Yet, Lagos is also an historic centre of the Portuguese Age of Discovery, frequent home of Henry the Navigator, historical shipyard and, at one time, centre of the European slave trade. In 2012, travel website TripAdvisor, classified Lagos as the number 1 travel destination, on a list of "15 destinations on the rise" worldwide.
Lagos' economy, like many coastal towns in Portugal, has always been closely linked to the sea, and fishing has been an important activity since very ancient times. Since 1960, the city has embraced tourism, which has become its most important economic activity. It has beautiful beaches, good climate, the sea, a scenic coastline, and historical patrimony.
The Marina de Lagos has 460 berths and has become an important centre for long-distance cruisers, and it is also known for its modern drawbridge.
Lagos also has numerous cultural and night-life entertainment venues.
Lagos Station is the western terminus of the railway line from Vila Real de Santo António (via Tavira and Faro). The passenger train service is operated by Comboios de Portugal (CP). Connections are available at Faro for trains to Lisbon and Porto.
Many local traditions are celebrated in the municipality and range from gastronomy to traditional handicrafts.
In gastronomy, there are the local specialties: Dom rodrigos and morgados cookies based on local products, such as almonds, figs and eggs. Lagos is also a wine producing region and is famous for its moscatel wine, and also for a strong alcoholic spirit, the aguardente de medronho, made of berries of strawberry tree.