Easily accessible with Ryanair, Algarve’s coastline is a must-see in Europe: a mix of culture, food and dramatic costalines, but be ready, everyone knows about it, you will not be alone!
I landed in Faro around 8PM and ordered a Uber (13€, 15km, 17mins) to wake up by the sea in the pretty town of Olhão.
I had time for a decent cocktail with live music at P&A bar, and another couple of them with a nice view at Cervejaria Olhão Marisco.
First step next morning was a nice breakfast with a view at Gelvi Gelato and a (long, too long) walk to Quinta de Marim, part of the Ria Formosa Nature Park, the largest wetland in the south of Portugal. Entrance fee is only 2,80€. There’s a large car park but if you are by foot, don’t come with your backpack, they won’t keep it for you! The 3-km pleasant walk takes about 1.5/2 hours and takes you through dunes, pine woodlands and a historic water mill.
I took one of the two local Olhao circular small bus lines (Amarela and Verde – 1€/trip) to go back in town. Parque de Campismo is the closest stop to the park. I got off a few stops later in Rep Finanças to get the coastal train (timetable) to Tavira.
Tavira is quite different from Olhão. The centre is about a 15-min walk from the station. The main landmark is the medieval Castle of Tavira with panoramic views over the city and the sea.
The city, separated t in two by the Gilão river, is particularly beautiful at night. Two tips:
– Sleep in the charming old-fashion A Muralha hotel
– Eat original tapas in Scoopit Food Atelier
Next day was a beach day! The ferry (2.20€ return ticket) took me to Ilha do Tavira in 15mins. The island has everything you need: a supermarket, many restaurants, beack chairs and beds, but also some quieter areas to have a nice (windy walk) alone (or… if you prefer to lie down on the beach… naked!).
Ferry back, short walk to the station and back on the train to Lagos: be careful you may need to change train in Faro, ask the train attendant! And don’t trust Google Maps that will tell you that the next train in one (or several) hour later. There are also several busses running between the city: check them out if needed!
The arrival by train in Lagos is stunning, especially at sunset, as the train passes right along the beach. I walked by the Marina to get into the city.
Next day was all about walking along the breakthaking rock formations near Lagos. I walked from Porto Mós to Ponta da Piedade on a trail… not always very well looked after, but it was fun! And took about a zillion pics. A sneak peak here:
I spent a second night in Lagos and to be honest, finding a restaurant was quite complicated (the city is extremely popular among tourists from all over Europe), so I don’t have any to recommend but after reading reviews, I had aimed at eating at The Garden or Nahnahbah. My tip: in summer (or after having been trapped indoor for several COVID months): book in advance! For bars, I’d recommend fancy cocktails at Bon Vivant.
Morning EVA bus n°47 got me from Lagos to Cabo di São Vicente. Nothing much to see in the fortress but the views from the Rota Vicentina from the cape to Sagres decided to compete with those from the day before: the windy Atlantic, the Beliche fortress, secluded beaches and birds.
I spent the afternoon with an ice-cream from Alice‘s at Mareta beach and after a shower at my beautiful Cercas Velhas house, I ate tasty meat (with a delicious caipirinha) from The Hangout.
Next morning, after a breakfast with the best view ever on Tonel beach, I headed down to Sagres port for 3 hours with Alexandra from SeaXplorers that took us to see dolphins and whales. We spotted a fin whale, the second-longest cetacea on earth (well in sea!). That was super lucky! A good reminder to save our oceans!
I would actually recommend you to spend at least 2 days. I really fell in love with Sagres, and I’m considering coming back for several days to walk along the coast and take some surfing lessons.
Beginning of the afternoon, I took be a Mundial Turismo bus (booked on Rede Expressos) to Lagos, and then another one (EVA bus n°57) to reach Faro (it could be a train from Lagos too, depending on your schedule).
I had initially planned to take a ferry to Culatra but it was quite cloudy so I just walked around the city: lots of murals and a pretty old town.
– I stayed in a very large apartment: Gast House. Not the latest furniture, but very cheap and very well placed.
– Super original cocktails at the Columbus Cocktail & Wine Bar
– Arrive very early at the Lab terrace for the sunset
And this is the end! Very glad to have met you Algarve, I hope to visit you again soon!
All recommendations are mine, no ads. Prices from September 2021.
3 thoughts on “One week in Algarve”
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Such a beautiful place. I just love those stone streets in the towns!
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a shame you didn’t make it out to the islands from Olhao, they are so pretty but wonderful to see you explored so much of the east and west of this beautiful region in just a week
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