Probably because it's relatively far from Faro airport (around an hour away by motorway), Lagos in the western Algarve has been spared the excesses of overdevelopment that some of the coast has suffered. Its distinctively Portuguese character survives intact, along with an authentic fish market, typically Baroque churches and near-complete Moorish city walls and gates, surrounding cobbled streets and pleasant tree shaded squares in the historic old town that sprawls along the waterfront and up the hillside. There are plenty of golf courses in the area too; there's an excellent choice of safe sandy beaches such as Meia Praia close by; and, provided you have access to a car, the town makes a great base for excursions to Sagres, Cape St Vincent, Monchique and the old Moorish capital of Silves. For a short break or longer holiday, it's an ideal choice. We were even more delighted to discover, when planning this year's visit, that a glamourous new 5 star lifestyle and wellness resort has opened on the cliffs on the southern outskirts of town (it takes about half an hour to walk in to the centre of Lagos, probably a taxi is best at night). It's a wise choice for discerning travellers. Rooms are contemporary in style,spacious and exceptionally well appointed. We were delighted with our sea view junior suite in the Asian wing (guest rooms are themed into the four areas of the world where the Portuguese discoverers sailed to from Lagos). Breakfast was a generous buffet (miniature macaroons were a daily treat), both food and service was excellent at lunch and dinner; and the staff were a delight! Our only disappointment was that neither the spa or the tennis courts we'd hoped to enjoy were open when we visited. Highly recommended – we plan to return.