Sagres, Portugal (Algarve)

Sagres, 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 

SAGRES

At the "end of the world," Sagres lies in the southwest corner of Portugal. The wild countryside and laid-back surfer vibe, make this an ideal stop for relaxation and leisurely exploring. Expect less tourist traffic than Lagos but still plenty of good infrastructure in terms of restaurants, cafes and accommodation options. You'll want to spend at least two days here.

  

BODY BEAUTY BREAK CAFFEINE

 

Morning moving circuit on the coast 

There is something about the rugged and wild landscape in Sagres that will summon your inner explorer and motivate you to get moving. Start early before the noon heat kicks in with a walk, jog or workout along the sea cliffs. There are so many scenic spots to choose from that you might want to opt for a moving workout - try this moving circuit for inspiration. 

 

Afternoon Bike Ride to the "end of the World"

Sagres is meant for exploring. You'll see natural beauty without even trying but if you want to peer beyond the top layer, you'll need to go off-road. Rent a bike for the day to discover literal off-the-beaten paths. Expect to pass sheep and dodge wild brush; this is not an experience that you'll come out of as pretty as you went in but, wow is it ever worth it! You'll be surrounded by thousands of flowers, sit alone on sea cliffs and discover hidden beaches.

Rent your bike from most surf shops in the town center for 12 to 15 euros for the day. (Plan for at least 3 hours as simply getting to the paths requires a 35 - 40 minute cycle along the main road.) 

 

Traditional Portuguese dishes at Vila Velha 

If you only eat at one restaurant in Sagres, this is the one to do! Trusting the advice of a fellow New Yorker, we gave Vila Velha a go and it certainly delivered. The seafood and traditional Portuguese dishes here were the tastiest that I had during my entire trip. Make sure to call ahead for a reservation and don't miss the Piri Piri Prawns! 

 

BODY BEAUTY BREAK CAFFEINE

 

Sunset at the Farol Cabo de Vicente (Lighthouse)
A visit to the lighthouse is one of those must-dos in Sagres. As the lighthouse sits above vast cliffs with a direct face to the sunset, almost every tourist will be there before dusk. Luckily, the grounds are big enough that everyone gets a view. A short climb down onto the cliffs, will give you an even better and unobstructed one (be careful of course!) If you're driving to the lighthouse, which I'd recommend, be sure to arrive at least 20 minutes before sunset to get a decent parking space. 

 

BODY BEAUTY BREAK CAFFEINE

 

Caipirinha at Mareta Beach

There are two main beaches close to the town center, Mareta and Martinhal. Personally, I found Mareta to be far better in terms of atmosphere and scenery. It depends whether you choose a villa, hostel or hotel but most likely you'll be closer to Mareta anyway (the exception being if you choose to stay in a surf lodge.) 

Before taking a dip in the water, grab a cold drink and a seat on the balcony of Restaurante Raposo. Try local Portuguese beer (Sagres) or a caipirinha - it was surprisingly one of the better ones I've had outside of Brazil!

 

 

BODY BEAUTY BREAK CAFFEINE

 

Morning Café at hotel with ocean view

There are many options in the town center for a cuppa but nothing really beats sipping it next to the ocean. Many hotels will have restaurants with a sea view even if yours doesn't so there's always a way to watch the waves as you fuel up for the day. 

 

 

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. 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: 
Lagos, Portugal
Bengail, Portugal

 

 

Follow my travels on Instagram: @corpaofitness

 



Would love to hear your comments! (Emails will not be published or used.)