The Algarve Region of Portugal

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Two weekends ago we had a three day weekend so I was finally able to go to a place I’ve wanted to go for a while, the Algarve region of Portugal. The algarve region is the southernmost region in Portugal and is known for its beautiful beaches, cliff formations and whitewashed towns. I’ve had friends who’ve visited the area and I’ve come across some amazing photos of it on Pinterest, so I knew I needed to go; all I needed was a three day weekend, warm weather and a friend, luckily I had all three.

img_0111Our first stop was Faro, the capital of the algarve region. It is a small bayside town only about a two hour bus ride from Seville.  We didn’t really do too much in Faro, as there wasn’t really much to do; we walked around the old city for a bit, went food shopping and cooked a stir-fry dinner, drank and went out. Coincidentally the girl sitting next to Jamie on the bus worked at the hostel we were staying at, she was coming back from a weekend in Seville, so when we arrived she showed us the way to the hostel. Unfortunately she was working until 12 so she wouldn’t  meet us out until later. From what the staff told us the hostel was the most empty that night than it had been for the previous weeks, it wasn’t a problem for Jamie and I; we had a 8 person dorm for the two of us. Also after getting to know the others and the staff it didn’t matter how many there were, it was a good group. Surprisingly Faro had a good night life. Our night started out early because the staff wanted to go to a “sunset party” at this place around 8; the sun had already set and for us folk living in Spain it seemed way too early. We didn’t actually end up getting there until maybe around 9:30, which gave Jamie and I enough time to drink two bottles of wine. The bar itself was very cool, upon entering you walked through an art gallery that belongs in Exit Through the Gift Shop, the bar  itself would have fit nicely as a ruin pub in Budapest, a strange eclectic mix of furniture, decoration and colors seemingly placed with no rhyme or reason, while collectively creating its own unique style. After the ruin bar we bounced around the bars in the center until we eventually ended back at the hostel.

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The following day, we boarded a two hour train to Lagos. The minute we stepped off the train, the saltwater air assaulted our nostrils and the ocean breeze gently slapped our cheeks, I knew I was going to like Lagos a lot more. Like Faro, Lagos is on the water, but instead of it being a bay it’s the ocean! beautiful Caribbean-like beaches with crystal clear water, incredible rock formations and cliffs all a short walk from the old town. After arriving to the hostel we set off towards Praia de Porto de Mós, the furthest walkable beach; an easy 25 minutes on the road. Once there we hiked to the top of the cliff, which provided stunning views of the surrounding beach and area, then we hung out on the beach for a couple of hours and made our way back to the hostel.

img_2868On the way back we took a different route, a small path that wound its way along the cliff and shore, a path we had trouble finding at first and one which we were told was closed because it was too dangerous; two people had died by falling into the water. It wasn’t too difficult, but if you weren’t careful you could have definitely fallen off or at least gotten injured. At one part we thought the trail had ended because there were a few stairs going down, but we weren’t able to see beyond them and the cliff-part we could see looked as if it had been washed away; we decided to go for it, follow the stairs and…. there were more! That path still continued. We kept following and made it to the lighthouse for the sunset, we found a spot and basked in the last rays of warmth from the sun. When we got back to town we had dinner at this small extremely adorably run Portguese restaurant. For 6€ you got a big bowl of soup, a freshly baked stuffed bread of your choice, a drink (wine of course), rice pudding and a coffee. We would go there the following night for dinner too. Once back at the hostel we met some of the other people who were staying there, drank and went out. Lagos was built for tourism, so there are a lot of places to go out all within the same block of each other, we visited all of them.

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He wouldn’t let us through

The next day after having probably the strangest combination of breakfast I had ever eaten (offered by the hostel), rice pudding and hard boiled eggs Jamie and I went to go check out another beach, Praia de Pinhão. Pinhão is one of the closer beaches to the city, yet one of the least crowded. I think its because you can only get there by walking while others you can drive to. It was nestled between the cliffs and filled with beautiful women. We could have stayed there all day, but eventually we had to leave to eat lunch. We stopped by a non-touristy Portuguese place outside the old town. I had delicious fish Portuguese style while Jamie had meat Portuguese style, which we washed down with a liter of red wine.

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Since we already started drinking we decided to continue, after lunch we bought some more wine and made our way to a new beach, Praia de Camilo. Further outside of the city, but connected to the road and with a parking lot, the beach was packed. It was high tide and the shadows were getting increasingly larger as the sun made its way across the sky, like a door being shut the light turned into a sliver and eventually disappeared. We were the last people on the beach, except a couple that came down to take wedding photos. At around 6ish we left and headed back to a spot where we wanted to watch the sunset. After eating we joined another hostel, the Rising Cock (a party hostel if you couldn’t tell) to drink and go out.  It was a great night, I ended up on the beach watching the sunrise. Jamie and I had a bus to catch at 2 that day, so I slept only a couple of hours if even that and were on our way around 1.  An awesome long weekend full of sightseeing two beautiful cities, wine and fun.

 

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