we stayed over night in a hotel in Portimao instead of heading back to Faro so that we could catch an hour long train journey to Lagos. The main reason we wanted to venture here was for the cliff side walk which makes this part of Portugal famous. The coastlines here are breathtaking and another destination to put on your bucket list.
Lagos is probably our favourite place during our stay and we both said we could live here, although we have no idea what the high season is like however it did appear less commercialized than Portimao.
Lagos town has quaint shops and your usual souvenir stores alongside cobbled streets and beautiful architecture, it had a sleepier aura than the high rise resort complexes of Portimao. First we ventured to a local fish market to see the locals doing what they do best. The Portuguese are renowned fishermen throughout history, hence the reason why so much of their murals depict sea goddesses and mermaids on stone walls and I am pretty sure they have their fair share of pirate tales too!
Lagos is a harbour town so there are all kinds of fish on the menus of all restaurants, we stepped into a local fish market and found it intriguing because there was an array of fish, squid, crab and octopus plus this is their livelihood and it’s good to be involved in another culture somehow, it was also great for Jon’s photography, capturing a small glimpse into how people live in a different culture.
After a spot of lunch in the town square we ventured to the coastal walk. This walk takes about four hours and takes you along a coastal path to view the beautiful rock formations looking out to sea. Very similar tour to the cave tour in Portimao, only this time it’s on land and on foot.
This walk is great for advanced trekkers and beginners alike, children can do this walk and if you have a dog, bring him along too! I will mention though, sometimes there are steps and uphill walking so if you struggle with leg, knee or back problems do some more research before you decide on this walk. It is reasonably gentle but it does take you away from civilization at times so do carry snacks and water as well as sun lotion. There are pit stops in between where you can buy refreshments or stop at a restaurant for a hearty meal.
The cliff walk known as the Ponta da Piedade is a must for every visitor of the algarve and one of the most frequented hotspots in this area. the best time to go there is in the early morning or in the late afternoon for the sunset. This is an easy walkable path between the big rocks which bring you down winding pathways to breathtaking coves, grottos and beaches peppered with golden rock formations and the crystal blue sea. The panoramic view is extraordinary so brilliant for photography enthusiasts. This coastline feels very exotic and tropical, you’d think you are in the Maldives. Organised boat trips are available in lagos a few kilometers from Ponte da Piedade, the price depends on the season and the number of people in one boat though. Jon and I did this walk on foot as we are avid walkers anyway, since the weather is glorious it made sense to be in the fresh air and take a leisurely stroll along the footpaths as the sun slowly set.
Even in December this place is stunning, although very early in the morning there was a huge down pour and thunderstorm we very nearly cancelled coming to Lagos because I had accidentally left my rain coat back in the hotel in Faro with my main backpack. After an hour of breakfast and a cup of tea, the storm cleared and by 10am all the clouds disappeared to make way for the sunshine. You wouldn’t think it ever rained would you? Unlike the UK which remains damp hours after a rain storm, the Algarve was warm and dry within an hour.
We walked the entire point along the cliff top paths, including going down to all of the beaches on the east side that we could. One of them (possibly Praia Camilo) has 233 steps down to get to the beach (and 233 steps back up!) At the point itself, go down the stairs to see the rock formations. I think “in season”, there may be boats that load up here to take you on a tour, but in mid-December, it was deserted, with just a few other walkers like us.
On the east side of the point, there are stunning views of the Lagos Bay and as far as the Cape Carvoeiro lighthouse. On the west side, you can see the beach at Porto do Mos, and the cliffs and bays to Praia de Luz and beyond.
As stated earlier, Lagos is a firm favourite and we would venture back here to do the coastal walk again perhaps when the weather is hotter, going to the Algarve in December does have its merits in that we pretty much had most places to ourselves (bar the locals) however we only had some kind of warmth from the sun between 11am and 4pm, sunrise and sunset was a tad chilly, but bearable if you take a jumper and raincoat. I would like to revisit this place during the summer so that I can enjoy walking around in my summer dresses, harem pants and bikini.
There are other parts of the Algarve yet to be explored and it is a destination I do hope to go back to, perhaps run a yoga and belly dance retreat there? Who knows? All I do know is that the Algarve took my breath away!
This concludes my time in the Algarve,
to see the other destinations we visited click on the links below:
One day in Faro & chapel of bones
One day at the Pink Palace
One day in Portimao
Here are a few other destinations you might like to read about:
16 days in Morocco
10 days in Croatia & Montenegro
21 days in Nepal
5 days in Budapest & Vienna