My partner Nick and I recently returned to our neck of the woods after a week away exploring the Algarve, Portugal‘s southern most region. It was a fantastic adventure, and I’d like to share a bit about our wanderings as well as a few of my photographs with you. Hopefully you’ll be inspired to do a bit of adventuring somewhere new as well!
~ The Algarve, Portugal – Part 1 ~
Met to the south by the Mediterranean Sea and to the west by the mighty Atlantic Ocean, the Algarve has a plethora of sandstone stack-spotted beaches to discover. Its location also means there is a near-constant sea breeze, making even the hottest of summer days reasonably comfortable.
And what to do on those long summer days? Well, the region has plenty to offer visitors, the adventure-keen and relaxation-minded alike. As for us, we wanted a mixture of both active pursuits and chillaxin’ time, and I’d say we definitely managed to strike that balance. A rental car is fairly essential to making things happen in the Algarve, but the options are plentiful at Faro Airport and the prices not too dear. I recommend doing a little online research before arriving in the Algarve, including becoming familiar with how the toll road – Via Verde – system works. Going to be doing a lot of exploring? Consider downloading a GPS app for the region onto your smartphone before you go, as there are many options available and they are often free. We used Navmii Portugal, and it was often invaluable.
Our wanderings took us mostly through the areas around and between Lagos, Sagres, and Aljezur, so the most southwestern part of the Algarve.
~ Lagos ~
Let’s start with Lagos. Wandering around the marina in Lagos, you’ll notice that there are a lot of companies with little kiosks offering all variety of boat trips – many that visit Ponta da Piedade (or the Point of Piety), lots that go dolphin- and whale-spotting, etc. My recommendation: a 4 1/2 hour excursion around the Baia de Lagos with outfitter Bom Dia. There are three departures per day, and the cost is €55pp. Our experience with them was first rate. Departing from the harbor, you head out into the bay, the sails get hoisted up, and then you sail the length of the beautiful bay on the marvelously painted boat until anchoring near Ponta da Piedade for food, drinks, and a bit of swimming if you wish. The roast chicken, fresh salad, crusty bread, and generous cup of wine were delicious, plus the watermelon slices on ice that came around afterwards. There is also a smaller craft that takes you around in turns to zig zag through the many arches and grottoes of Ponta da Piedade. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re planning a visit to this part of the Algarve.
My other recommendations for day-trippin’ in Lagos? The beaches around Lagos are a bit more populated than ones out west simply because there are more tourists around the towns, but there are still several worth checking out. Looking for a bit of space? Head to Meia Praia. If you’d rather bask in the sun whilst looking at the glowing rocky stacks that grace many an Algarve postcard, head across the cliff top trails that lead to Praia de Dona Ana and Praia do Camilo. Fair warning, however; these ‘hidden’ beaches are fairly small and do get quite crowded, especially when the tide is up and space is at a premium. Also, although happily we hardly saw any pollution at all whilst visiting the region’s beaches, these two beaches out by the much-frequented Ponta da Piedade did have an unfortunate chunk of rubbish here and there, from cigarette butts to beer cans. If you do go to these beautiful places, please – pack out your trash.More on the Algarve to come…
In the meantime, have you been somewhere amazing recently? Leave a comment below! I’m always on the lookout for new places to explore.
Thanks so much for reading!