Lagos, Portugal (Algarve)

Lagos, Portugal (Algarve)

ACTIVE TRAVEL GUIDES 

Body: Work out + Nourish
Beauty: Gorgeous Sights to See 
Break: How to Relax
Caffeine: Where to get the Best 

 

Imagine stunning rock formations framing turquoise waters and fields of wild flowers, under brilliant blue skies. The Algarve is that unique juxtaposition of a destination with plenty of infrastructure but also a rugged spirit. While much of the region is developed and tourists reign supreme, you can still find hundreds of hidden cliffs, caves, beaches and villages to explore. Rent a car or jump on a bus and be prepared to be stunned. These guides focus on three locations in the Algarve - Lagos, Sagres & Benagil but you can set out to discover many more. 

 

Top 5 Experiences in The Algarve 

 

  1. Gazing about Ponta da Piedade
  2. Paddle boarding in and around the caves of Benagil 
  3. Biking (or driving) in the wild countryside of Sagres
  4. Sunset at Cabo de Sao Vicente, Sagres 
  5. Strolling Lagos town center and sipping fine Algarvian wine 

    LAGOS

    Lagos is one of the major destinations in The Algarve. With plenty of hotels, restaurants and good roads, the town is great as a base location from which to explore other destinations along the rocky coastline. Charming in itself with a picturesque old town, lively beaches and the gorgeous lookout point of Ponta da Piedade,  Lagos is worth exploring in its own right for at least a day or two. 

    BODY BEAUTY BREAK CAFFEINE

     

    Lounging & Barre Beach Workout at Meia Praia 

    Less busy than the beaches of Dona Ana and Camilo, Meia Praia has a lazy charm to it. Tropical parasols dot the beach among spots of sea grass and sand dunes. The sheer length of this beach means you'll be more likely to have some privacy (at least outside of high season.) Sunbathe or nap on one of the free loungers and if you're feeling motivated, take advantage of the solid wood parasols for a quick barre workout. No shoes or shorts required. See workout here. 

     

    Fresh Seafood at Linda Beach Bar 

    Overlooking Meia Praia, you have a few dining options. Linda Beach Bar is a quintessential Portuguese, family-style restaurant with all the seafood classics. You're primarily there for the view but the clams are also pretty good. Go in late afternoon for a better chance of snagging a table with the relaxing beach vista to complement your meal. 

     

    BODY BEAUTY BREAK CAFFEINE

     

    Explore Ponta Da Piedade 

    Yes this is a major tourist destination and yes you will get crowds BUT it just so happens that nature has complicated the journey to this gorgeous site so that you can find spots to savour moments of awe alone or with a partner; while there is a constructed path along the cliffs, you can venture off to the hills adjacent to it - many of these will not be easily accessible to young children, large groups or older travellers. This is the number one on my list for a reason - if you do nothing else in the Algarve, at least do this!

     

    BODY BEAUTY BREAK CAFFEINE

     

    Leisurely stroll along the boardwalk 

    Between the Marina de Lagos and the historic city center, there's a relaxing 10 - 15 minute stroll to be had along the boardwalk. If you go in the late evening, the tourist booths will be closed and the crowds much lighter, giving you a more authentic glimpse into daily life in Lagos. If you have a few extra moments, take a seat and watch the fishermen go to work.

     

    BODY BEAUTY BREAK CAFFEINE

     

    Morning Café at the Marina 

    The first thing that our Portuguese host told us upon arrival is, "We don't make coffee here in Lagos, we go out and enjoy it." Thus summing up the local café experience; find a place with a view and sip leisurely. My favorite spot was along the marina each morning, watching the boats load up and local life start bustling. Make sure to check opening times the night before as many places serve from 9:00am or later.  

     

    GENERAL ALGARVE TIPS

     

    Dress 

    Be prepared to pack summer clothes for the warm days and more layers for cooler nights. The temperature drop is significant and you don't want to be discouraged from dining in the lovely outdoors just because of the cool winds. (This is coming from someone who constantly packs a little too positively with the lightest of light summer clothes. I usually make do but this time I had to resort to shopping for sweaters!) 

     

    When to go
    Many travel experts say that you can visit the Algarve any time of the year and still find sunny skies and pleasant weather. However, big tourist crowds descend in July and August as well as during school holidays. At these times, the beaches won't seem so inviting nor will the hotel prices. Personally, I found April to be the perfect month as the visitors were few and accommodation rates very reasonable. More importantly, even in April it was chilly in the evenings so I can't imagine coming much earlier in the year or going into winter. Local guides confirm that March-May and September-October are ideal for that holiday trifecta of ambiance, affordability and heat. 

     

    Accommodation 
    There are plenty of hotels, villas and airbnb options to choose from in The Algarve. Be sure to book well in advance if you're traveling in June - August. For shorter trips (3 days or less) Lagos is a good bet as a base. For longer trips, look at staying in at least one of the other villages or towns such as Sagres. 

     

    Eating well 

    Seafood, seafood and more seafood. If you like it or even if you don't usually, this is the place to try it. Often restaurants will prepare dishes made from the catch of the day. It doesn't get any fresher than that! For healthier prep, order your courses grilled with a squeeze of lemon.

    Also, although not technically a nutrient...the white wine is outstanding and easily a treat in itself. Be sure to try Paxa Escolha (a white wine) it's local to the Algarve and phenomenal! Don't miss a chance to sip on Vinho Verde either if you haven't had it.

     

    Additional
    Bring cash everywhere with you. Many establishments will not accept cards.

     

    You may also want to explore: 
    Sagres, Portugal
    Bengail, Portugal

     

     

    Follow my travels on Instagram: @corpaofitness

     

     



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