Summer had arrived in Germany and having received my job confirmation in the middle of July; my mind was already in travel mode for the month of August. I had a whole month ahead of me until I started working and couldn’t wait to pack my backpack and hit the road. I was crashing at a friend’s place in Erlangen and whiling away my time on the Ryan Air App, having woken up early on the 5th of August, a Saturday! Looking through the App for the cheapest available destination (August burns a hole in your wallet in Europe!), I was lucky enough to find a flight to Faro, the capital of the Algarve region in the south of Portugal.
A quick phone call to a friend who was interested in joining for 2 weeks and we’d booked our one way flights to Faro. Moving my remaining stuff to Böblingen on the same day, a 2 hour Skype call with my friend on Sunday and we’d planned the rest of our vacation. A couple of days later and another familiar 3 hour Ryan Air flight, this time around from Frankfurt and we had arrived in South Portugal where the sun was blazing over our heads.
The airport bus service in Faro is very unreliable, the buses are either late or they are crowded and you’ll end up waiting for next one. Having waited almost an hour, we hitched a ride with a couple through the taxi service; UBER (which thankfully works in Portugal unlike Germany :D) and got to the train station in Faro. A quaint old train covered with graffiti chugged along the Algarve coastline for around 2 hours (carry some Portuguese Super Bock for the journey ;)), and we arrived in Lagos a little after sunset.
What does Lagos offer?
- Away from the palaces, museums, churches of Europe, Lagos offers one thing in plenty, i.e. BEACHES.
The following are some of the best beaches in Lagos hugging the rocky cliffs which make up for a fantastic view.
- Praia da Batata – the first beach that you encounter when you walk from the city center.
- Praia do Pinhao
- Praia Dona Ana – the biggest and the most famous, has also some shops and restaurants.
- Praia do Camilo
During high tide some of the smaller beaches like Pinhao are completely inundated, so head out to the next one.
- Ponta da Piedade Lighthouse: You can also take a 2-2.5 km walk above/across the cliffs to get a great view of all the rock formations which is what Lagos is most famous for and also reach the Ponta da Piedada viewpoint.
- City Center and the Promenade: The historic city center of Lagos makes for a nice walk through small streets which are completely paved with colorful stones and in some cases mosaics. The long promenade leads you to the beaches and if you are lazy :P, you can also ride a water taxi which has a stop at the center of the promenade.
- Surfing: Around 30kms west of Lagos there’s a huge beach – Praia de Vale Figueira which is completely devoid of tourists. Lying on the western seaboard, the waves of the Atlantic at this beach are perfect for surfing and many surfing schools in Lagos have a variety of courses starting from 1-2 day courses to also a week long course.
Other things to do: Lagos being a small town doesn’t have a lot of tourist spots, which I personally find to be a boon. The old town is filled with restaurants of all possible cuisines catering to tourists all over the world, and one can find many bars and pubs away from the main street in the old town, many with live music which are perfect hangout spots during the night.
Delicacies: Portuguese cuisine is very harsh on vegetarians :/, nevertheless the best thing I ate in Lagos was a dessert called Filho, which is basically deep fried dough (made mainly with milk, butter, eggs and flour) and finished off with sugar and cinnamon.
Faro airport serves the Algarve region and there are regular bus and train services from Faro city to Lagos. There are also good bus/train connections to Lisbon and Sevilla from Lagos.
Places to Stay:
Due to last minute bookings we were not able to stay in a hostel in Lagos, ended up staying in a hotel right next to the main street in the old town of Lagos. They had very a friendly staff and all the information related to sites/activities was readily available.
Personal Recommendation: Hotel Cidade Velha located at Rua Dr. Joaquim Tello, 7, Lagos.
Apart from the above mentioned things, Lagos also offers activities such as kayaking/canoeing to explore the cliffs near the beaches. Personally, I didn’t do these activities as they were too crowded and were a guided tour, of which I’m not a fan. Lagos for me is a perfect place to relax during the summer with friends and spend the whole day at the beach and Lagos wouldn’t have been special without this handsome bald short Greek Adonis!
Until the next destination – Tchim Tchim 😀 !