The Admirable Algarve

 

Portugal has always been one of those places I often thought about, and even spoke about; but never actually got around to visiting…..

Until now!

 

I was really indecisive about where to go and what appealed to me the most and after a few weeks of driving myself around the bend, it was decided, that Lagos in the Algarve was a winner. This is a particular interesting location because a lot of people still aren’t that familiar with it, where in fact its known as a top holiday destination to visit throughout the European summer months.

As we had booked the trip at the start of May, this is generally classed as being in the off peak season which means ridiculously cheap prices from the accommodation, right down to the food and wine.

Speaking of accommodation, I am one for really shopping around online, while trying to veer away from the standard hotel stay. I much prefer to use Airbnb for the true cultural experience or booking.com which always has never let me down with some pretty amazing deals. 

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We ended up booking Villas D. Dinis who happen to own a number of luxurious villas dotted around Lagos and including an offsite property which had that ‘exclusive’ feel about it. Our villa was about 2 mins drive from the main office and also where they had breakfast set up each morning. It sounds like an unusual set up, but I quite liked the idea of being away from the other guests and being able to enjoy the quieter surroundings.

By the way, the breakfast I have to say, was completely amazing. I don’t think I’ve seen a selection like it before and even included bubbles for a cheeky bucks fizz. This girl was in heaven every morning 🙂

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The property, consisted of three levels, with modern features and an outdoor pool that was unfortunately a little too cold to dive into, however I loved how private it was with high fences and gated with a security coded pad. (also plenty of space for car parking)

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To get to Lagos, you need to fly into Faro international airport and it will take you about an hour by car or one hour and thirty minutes by train. Also be aware that the A22 highway is a toll road but this is far quicker if you are in a hurry and seeing as though we had got a later flight in, I preferred this option.  

If you do happen to have some extra time on on your hands, then the N25 would be a more pleasant option as it is far more scenic. 

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The weather for the time of year was still a little unstable. A lot of thunderstorms which followed by some heavy downpours but generally during the day, the sun shone and with temps around the 22 degree mark which was acceptable when you are trekking around those steep hills! 

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So Lagos is very hilly. With miles of cliffs and plenty of golden pristine beaches to swim at and because we were in such a great location, we had the option of walking to each (and there were dozens!) My favourite would have to be Praia do Camilo for some captivating views. There were 200 steps down to the water, so decided to take a rain check, while taking a few snaps and admiring the aqua blue water. I also loved Praia Dona Ana, which is one of the most popular swimming spots in Lagos and a little easier to get to 🙂 

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The other thing I really loved about Lagos, was the unusual architecture of the old town. The first time we decided to drive through it and oh my gawd, the streets were insanely narrow as well as being mega steep and fully cobbled, you almost feel like you were going to drive through someones house and end up in their living room. 

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It was also unusually quiet and this was noticeable after going back in later on to have some dinner.  Im guessing that the streets normally don’t come alive until at least after midday.

Speaking of dinner and food, there are plenty of hidden gems around the city and we had the chance of experiencing a few standout restaurants whilst we were there. 

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This included Restaurante Dos Artistas which is not quite Michelin star, but really should be. Set in a beautiful colonial styled dining room, it screams fine dining with its impeccable service, quality dishes and beautiful wines.  I also had the chance to try a 10 year aged Port, aka a Portuguese fortified wine. Its a very strong and typically sweet taste and very similar to that of a dessert wine which is not something I would desire to have on any occasion, but when in Portugal, one must at least give it a try! 

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Another memorable restaurant in the Old Town was called Dom Vinho which we stumbled across, while casually strolling around one evening. The waiter we had was fantastic and if I could remember his name, I would happily give him a shout out right now! Every dish he recommended on the menu was perfect including the Murganheira champagne (from Portugal of course) which made the night just that little more special. Even better, was the fact that a jazz band had started to play across the street so we had live entertainment as an added bonus. 

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If you are looking for something a little healthy, I can suggest a great juice bar called Bora Cafe. Very hard to get a table but well worth the wait. 

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As far as exploring the Algrave is concerned, we did manage to find a couple of secluded spots to stop off at and admire the incredible views of the coastline. Pria Do Beliche which is about 30 mins from central lagos, is great for surfing (as Nick discovered after walking down a million steps) and is also on the way to Sagres, a small town on the South west tip of the Algarve. I didn’t find there was a lot to do here, and I guess with it being the time of year, only very few businesses were actually open. We did manage to stop off for a bite to eat but it was more for just a look around while breathing in a good dose of lovely sea air. 

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On the other side of Lagos, there is another larger sized town called Portimao which takes about 40 minutes by car and has slightly more to do so you’d probably need most of the day if you plan to walk around it and perhaps have a bite to eat. Funnily enough, we ended up coming back here twice. The first time, we took a walk around, then ended up across the other side at a seaside village called Ferragudo, before heading straight towards a hidden beach bar called Kalu, which was tucked inside the rock face and surrounded by aloe vera plants! We decided it was essential to grab a burger and a glass of rose to rehydrate and my word those burgers were insanely big and totally scrumptious. I was pretty stoked to have come across such a cool spot, so much so that I was almost tempted to laze about there all day…. 

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So I mentioned earlier that we ended up visiting the area twice and this time we had been recommended to try out an even better beach bar called NoSolo Agua Beach Club. Situated right on the port, and equipped with spectacular ocean views, blazing sunshine and unbelievable good seafood, you couldn’t have asked for much more – This place was massive and fully decked out. It almost reminded me of Nikki Beach with its similar decor, daybeds and lagoon style pool. It was just a real shame that we had saved this to the very last minute and before we had to head back to the airport, otherwise I couldn’t have seen myself moving from my chair for the rest of the day.. or week in fact! 

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This definitely has to be one of the most chilled, low key holidays I have had in a very long time and I couldn’t recommend it enough, especially if you love your beaches, hot weather and fresh seafood.

 

I really fell in love with the Algarve’s natural beauty and as a whole, felt a good vibe about the place.

Obrigada Portugal!!

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Comments

  1. Looks amazing!

  2. Looks like you had a lovely time. Chilled, low key vacations are brilliant for actually relaxing. Nothing worse than feeling like you need a rest straight after coming back from holiday and heading to work! x

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