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The Algarve, Portugal’s southernmost region, is simply paradise. Imagine small fishing villages, hugged with huge cliffs, and long stretches of beaches broken up with small secret coves and caves.
If the Caribbean style flat, palm tree lined beaches don’t do it for you, this region sure will. I can’t believe I had not heard of this area before. I always see travel bloggers raving about the Costa Brava in Spain (where I have yet to go) but had never read anything about the Algarve until I started planning my own trip to Portugal.
This area is magical. It is just jaw dropping sight after jaw dropping sight. The beauty is unparalleled and simply unreal. If you find yourself in this corner of the world, make sure to check these things off your list.
Head to the Beach for a Dip
Feel the sand between your toes and don’t hesitate for a moment before jumping into that cool sea water. I’m not going to lie, the water is cold, cold cold, but think of it as a refreshing dip. The best way to describe the temperature? It certainly makes you feel alive. For calmer more serene waters the beaches around Portimao are great, but if you want some wilder waves, Lagos is the way to go.
Get Active with a Hike in the Cliffs
There are tons of hiking and walking trails at the cliff-side level. The views are incredible and will leave you speechless. We completed a 5 km (2.2 mile) hike around Portimao and I felt like I could walk forever, gaping at the various rock formations jutting out everywhere and walking up and down from small cove to small cove. You will find similar trails outside of Lagos as well, where you can get great views of that west coast sunset.
Wander Around the Towns Themselves
Lagos is an adorable small town, with narrow cobblestone lined streets, white washed buildings and plenty of cafes and bars to stop in for a cold drink. Throw the map away and just allow yourself to wander around and get lost, losing track of time and just looking around.
Eat Tons of Seafood
If you are a fish and seafood lover this is your spot. The access to fresh fish in these fishing villages guarantees a delicious feast from the sea. For lunch in Lagos (at Barrigada) we absolutely stuffed ourselves for only 22 euros for two – which included all you can eat fish as well as a side of tomato and onion salad and garlic boiled potatoes. Now this isn’t your usual “all you can eat” where you grab sad looking food from a cafeteria style line up. The fish is grilled to order and brought freshly cooked to your table. You get to try 4 different types of fish and can ask for more if the first serving isn’t enough.
Enjoy the Nightlife
Lagos is known as the party central destination around here – lots of bars to choose from, open into the wee hours of the morning. Portimao doesn’t have that same party atmosphere but it does have a casino. So if the standard bar isn’t your style, head to the casino instead. Or if you’re simply exhausted from all that time in the sun (who can blame you?), just relax in your seaside hotel or apartment rental and head to the online casino instead.
Without a doubt there is plenty to keep you busy in the Algarve. It is hands down one of my new favorite destinations.