Algarve, Portugal – Where To Go
I have been thinking of a trip to the Algarve for a while but for some reason there was always some other place popping up that was delaying my trip to Portugal, until now! The Algarve definitely is one of those hidden gems that hasn’t become crazy popular yet so researching into it before my trip was a short process simply because there wasn’t much out there. So now having been to the Algarve myself, I have to save you the searching and give you my tips on where to go and what to do 🙂
The Algarve has so many villages you might wanna see but unless you’re spending over a week there and are renting a car to drive around, you will probably have to prioritise a few.
This is my all time favourite. It’s just such an incredible place! And what’s so special about it is not so much the adorable little town but its scenery as soon as you step near the shore. The town has so much beauty, a few days certainly won’t be enough to get enough of it. And because there are some specific things you can’t miss, I’ll list them for you 🙂
Do a trip to and into the caves & grottos
When you see pictures of Lagos, you probably see snaps from its caves and grottos and it’s for a good reason. There are two ways you must indulge in these spectacular views, one is by doing a trip on the water and the other is by walking on top of the cliffs (see below).
In Lagos there are many options when it comes to a water trip to the caves. You can go on a small or a big boat (doesn’t go inside the caves). You can also go on a big boat and then change into a small boat (to get into the caves) or you can go with a kayak. I chose the option with a big boat first and then moving to a small boat. That way I could walk around the boat and see the views from different angels but also go into the caves and take some pretty pictures (not really possible with a kayak I thought). Not many companies offer this kinda service but thankfully a small company called Boatrips does. I even got a discount from the €20 normal price (for 2h trip) to €17.50 which I thought was pretty good. This trip was one of my highlights and it was so unbelievably beautiful, it’s a definitely must. Watch below to see why!
Do the walk from Praia do Camilo to Ponta da Piedade
This walk will absolutely wow you. Lagos is famous for its many many beaches, a lot of them cuddled at the bottom of the cliffs and the most magnificent thing is being able to see them all from the top. And this is exactly what you’ll do if you do this walk from the Camel beach to Ponta da Piedade. It could be a bit of a challenging walk because of all the ups and downs but omg! it’s so so worth it. It’s probably the best walk, so beautiful I was literally stopping for a picture every 2 minutes 😀 There is a proper road that goes all the way to Ponta da Piedade but don’t go for the easy option 😛 You’ll miss out on the gorgeous views!
Also, you wanna leave your flip flops at home for this one, you need good trainers here as it’ll feel a bit like trecking but it’s great, I promise LOL
Have some beach time at Praia do Camilo
There are a number of gorgeous beaches in Lagos and you can pick and choose which one you wanna go to whilst you’re doing either of the trips discussed above. I chose to lay down my towel at Praia do Camilo. It’s a small secluded beach, with fine sand and sandstone cliffs offering a wonderful shade from the hot sun. That was my choice but it doesn’t mean it’ll be yours too and that’s ok. The important thing is that you spend a couple of hours on one of the beaches in Lagos, the options are many so you choose. For a list of the best beaches in Lagos, see my post here.
My tip: Accommodation
Stay in the center of town. All the life in Lagos happens in the center so you wanna be right in there. And trust me, you’ll wanna do so many things during the day, you’ll definitely want to pop back into your room to change into your bikini, hide from the sun or maybe take a snooze 🙈
Oh Sagres! I can’t believe how unimpressed I was when I got off the bus and how amazed I left this little place. Sagres is literally the tip of the Algarve, the last place on the coast before you hit the Atlantic ocean and this town gave me the kinda feeling I think I was looking for. The last 7 years I spent in London made me appreciate the peace and quiet a lot, simply because I’m not getting any of it so when I got to Sagres it hit me. I was trecking to the final final piece of land on the coast for about 30min and there was absolutely no one else around, not a single other person (besides my partner who was with me). The place is remote, adventurous, and in places like a desert, with only cactuses, blue water and red caves around! Absolutely incredible. But it isn’t for everyone!
To love Sagres you gotta truly love the nature, the outdoors, maybe some activities like hiking, cycling or surfing (Sagres is big on the surfing). So if you’re looking for a remote place with laid back ambiance, vast beaches, big waves, trecking trails with not many people around, you’ll love Sagres like I did. See the map for a few places you have to see.
A. Praia da Mareta
B. Ponta da Atalaia
C. Praia da Baleeira
D. Cape Sagres viewpoint
I personally didn’t go over to the Tower and the viewpoint because I spent too much time indulging in the views from the other side of the beach but locals say that if you want to see Sagres’ only proper tourist attraction, you gotta walk over to the Tower because that is it 😀 So if you wanna be a real tourist, go see the Tower and send me a pic 😀 since I didn’t take one LOL
E. Tonel Beach
If you’re into surfing, that’s the beach for you with nice waves, chilled waters and stunning views into the shore! The best thing is you can rent a surf from quite a few places in Sagres so pretty easy to do that if you’ve a surfing fan. This place is not just for the surfers though! The scenery is so spectacular, you just can’t miss to see it 🙈
Unless you’re crazy on surfing, I’d suggest doing only a day trip to Sagres, from Lagos. You’ll need about 3-4 hours to see everything in Sagres and can easily get to it on the Eva buses so the actual commute is not a drag at all. And it only takes about an hour.
Sadly my time in Algarve ran out before I could go to Albufeira so I only passed by it but you gotta see this place. It’s actually the largest and arguably the most energetic of all the villages on the Algarve, mainly because it’s full of life coming from its over one hundred different bars and restaurants. A walk round its beautiful Old Town is a must. If you love partying, definitely head over to the ”The Strip” which is basically the party street with loads of bars and clubs screaming for your attention. If however you’re more towards the less party side, like me, you’ll be happy to know that just like Lagos, there are tons of water activities you can have a go at in Albufeira and they also praise themselves with their pretty beaches so definitely have some chilled out time, relaxing on the beach, sucking in the sun and enjoying yourself.
How to get to these places?
To get to any of these places from Faro airport you’d need to jump on bus 14 or 16 which will lead you to Faro center. From there you have two options, a bus or a train. I went for the bus option to Lagos and back (costs €5.95 each way). That way I could actually see the Algarve even if just through the bus window 😀 Plus if you get the Transrapido (operated by Eva buses), it only takes slightly longer than the train, so about 2 hours and 10 min to Lagos and 40min to Albufeira. To get to Sagres your easiest option is a 1 hour bus from Lagos (again with the Eva buses).
Where to stay?
I did this trip with my partner (a little romantic one 🙈) so we didn’t really fancy changing location every day, and to be honest there wasn’t much need to do so because everything we wanted to see was easy to reach. So we stayed in Lagos in the most central B&B possible, called Blue Moon Guesthouse 😀 This place was fantastic and if the price is right for you, definitely stay there. They gave us free tea/coffee every day, beach towels and umbrella and even made up our bed every morning so really couldn’t ask for more 🙂
|Final tip (for all seafood lovers)
Try out the traditional for the region Seafood Cataplana dish. It’s basically a stew cooked and served in a large copper dish. For this one you gotta love all things clams, shrimps and prawns 😀
That’s it from me. I hope I’ve convinced you to book those flights to the Algarve. If you have a more specific question on transport, other things to do, the name of the one good restaurant in Lagos I loved, etc. please message me. I’ll be super happy to help 🙂