The Algarve is a perfect all year round destination, with 300 days of sunshine and little rainfall. This southern-European region is known for its golden beaches and sensational cliffs. But the Algarve has much more to offer than a sunny getaway. Whitewashed houses contrasting with the blue sky, perfect waves for surfing and rock formations rising up from the clear, blue ocean. All of this is within reach from Lagos, making it the perfect home-base for exploring the Algarve.
Explore the city of Lagos
Less than a hundred kilometers of the bustling city of Faro lies Lagos; a charismatic city in walking distance from the famous Portuguese cliffs. All throughout Lagos, you will find many photoworthy architecture, including the typical Portuguese azulejos (which are painted tiles).
Next to the traditional Portugese restaurants, you will see that the number of trendy bars and restaurants is ramping up in Lagos. Delicious Mexican food, healthy Hawaiian poké bowls and of course the popular Avocado on toast; all can be found in Lagos. When it comes to bars, make sure to visit the popular Bon Vivant, where you can enjoy a lovely cocktail at their outdoor rooftopbar.
Spend the late afternoon at the Marina de Lagos
A short walk along the souvenir stands on the promenade, will lead you from the city center to the Marina de Lagos. Here you will find an odd mix between fancy yachts, fisherman boats and tourist speedbotes. For the latter, you can book trips to the cliffs and many other activities at one of the tourist offices along the walkway. Overlooking the marina are several restaurants and bars, including the Irish bar that serves delicious bar food, offers live music and broadcoasts every possible sport. Whereas it might be a little warm in the marina during the day, it is the perfect place to spend a late afternoon with some drinks.
Marvel at the beautiful Ponta de Piedade
The Algarve is famous for its extraordinary natural features: limestone sea pillars, rock arches and caves. The most visited viewpoint is Ponta de Piedade, which is situated just outside of Lagos. It is recommended to take the car in the early morning to beat the crowds. Once arrived, you can follow several paths along this natural sight. With every viewpoint even more breathtaking than the last one.
While driving towards Ponta de Piedade, you will pass more breathtaking beaches such as Praia Dona Ana and Praia do Camilo. Taking a stop at some of these beaches is highly recommended before heading down to Ponta da Piedade.
Visit the most southern-west point of Europe
About 40 kilometers of the city of Lagos, is the most southern-west point of Europe’s mainland, named Cabo de São Vincente. Here, you will set your eyes on yet another set of amazing cliffs and a beautiful lighthouse.
The cape is situated next to the village of Sagres; a little surf village with multiple nice lunch spots. The recommended beach for surfing in Sagres is Praia do Tonel (if you’re not up for going into the water, it is also a beautiful viewpoint).
Live the good life and go surfing
Portugal has a great surf reputation. The record for largest wave ever surfed is even set in Portugal (in Nazaré). While the Algarve isn’t home to 100 feet tall waves, the surf scene in this Portuguese region will not let you down. Praia do Amado is one of the best beaches for surfing in Portugal and is only a 45 min drive from Lagos. Here, you can take surf lessons or get a rental and go out by yourself (tip: go in the early morning to be ahead of the beginners classes).
What makes surfing in Portugal, and especially at Praia do Amado, special are the impressive rocky hills all around the bay. When laying in the water, definitely take a moment to absorb the beautiful nature surrounding you. Also, there are some beach bars that sell fries and burgers to fill up your energy level after surfing (because let’s face it, that’s all you want after fighting the waves all morning!).
Traveling to the Algarve, while I had very high hopes, I can say without a doubt that I wasn’t let down. The beautiful nature and surf scene make the Algarve the destination for an unforgettable European summer.