Experience an authentic 16th-century caravel at La...

Experience an authentic 16th-century caravel at Lagos’ New Museum

Caravela by Assis Coelho 01 - Edited

Photo: Assis Coelho

Lagos’ New Museum is aboard a replica of a historical caravel from the time of the Portuguese Discoveries

Lagos’ latest tourist attraction was inaugurated with pomp and circumstance, live music and historical re-creations.

A once neglected replica caravel, “Boa Esperança” has been transformed into an explorable museum. The vessel has been restored and permanently anchored at the Bensafrim stream pier, now technically described as an “interpretation centre”.

The Boa Esperança Caravel and Portuguese Discoveries Interpretation Centre’ aims to educate visitors on Portugal’s Age of Discoveries and showcase the role that Lagos and the Algarve played during such an important period of Portuguese history.

Photo: Michael Bruxo/Open Media Group

Simply boarding the caravel is a major part of the experience, giving visitors a taste of what Portuguese explorers must have felt when embarking on their daring voyages.

The boat’s interior areas are lined with displays and panels providing information on the Age of Discoveries, the intricacies of the art of navigation in the 15th and 16th centuries and much more.

Additionally, there is a free Android and iOS app entitled ‘Boa Esperança Caravel’ that allows visitors to “enjoy a fully immersive and sensory experience in the company of some of the crew”. (for Android and iOS systems). Using augmented reality, the app provides even more context during the visit and can also be used to learn more about Lagos and other points in the municipality during the Age of Discoveries.

Aboard the caravel, visitors can view a 13-minute video documentary produced by New Light Pictures detailing the importance of caravels and their historic relevance to the Portuguese Discoveries and maritime exploration.

Photo: Michael Bruxo/Open Media Group

The inauguration ceremony was attended by Lagos Mayor Hugo Pereira, who celebrated the occasion as a “decisive step” for the caravel to become an “emblematic asset” in the promotion of “such an important historical period of humanity.”

“We have been able to move on from words to actions and transform what had become nothing more than a postcard – and one which gave a bad image of the Algarve due to the poor state of the caravel – into something that represents the history of Lagos and the Algarve,” said Pereira. “It will also help establish once and for all that the Algarve is not just a ‘sun and beach’ destination, but a destination which has a lot to offer in terms of culture and history” he added. “We are certain that it will provide another reason to visit our town and region, helping to consolidate the ‘Lagos dos Descobrimentos’ (Lagos of Discoveries) brand and make Lagos an even more gratifying place to visit for those come here for cultural reasons”.

The Algarve’s tourism boss João Fernandes was also in attendance and praised the joint efforts by the regional tourism board (RTA), Lagos council, Lagos Centre of Living Science and Fundación Nau Victoria to finally bring the project to life: “The caravel is not named Boa Esperança by chance,” he said, referring to the vessel being named after the Cape of Good Hope, also known as the ‘Cape of Torments’ due to the many lives lost as navigators tried to bend it. We are hoping to turn the caravel into a dynamising hub of cultural tourism, which values our region’s cultural heritage and preserves the cultural memory of Lagos and the Algarve,” the tourism chief added.

The ‘Boa Esperança’ replica was built in Vila do Conde by specialists in wooden shipbuilding and was completed on April 28, 1990. It was purchased by the regional tourism board in 2001 “as a means of taking the history of Portugal to the rest of the world“.

“Since then, the replica has navigated many nautical miles on noble missions, visited European and Mediterranean ports, taken part in big regattas, been used as the set for documentaries and films, and welcomed students and tourists for guided tours,” said RTA.

The interpretation centre is due to open to the public very soon from Tuesday to Sunday between 10am and 6pm. Visits will be managed by the Lagos Centre of Living Science. There will be an entrance fee although the cost is still being discussed.

To book a visit, contact: +351 282 770 000 | +351 969 685 985


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