Latest posts by FIRECracker (see all)
- Are You a Good Fit for FIRE? - September 9, 2019
- Let’s Go Exploring! The Terrifying Love Story of Coimbra, Portugal - August 26, 2019
- Would You Sell Everything to Travel the World? - August 12, 2019
I recently read a University of Virginia study that says introverts prefer mountains while extroverts prefer beaches.
This got me thinking. As a kid, talking to a stranger made me break out in hives and going to a party was hell. I was painfully shy. If you’d given me the option of hibernating in the mountains or partying it up on a beach, I’d have gladly picked the former.
This changed as I got older. I’m no longer terrified by strangers and parties are actually fun! Coincidentally, I also learned how to scuba dive and I now love beaches as much as I love mountains.
Is there a correlation?
I decided to test it out on Wanderer. “Which do you prefer? Beaches or mountains?”
He responded by smirking and staring down at my boobs. “Oh I think you know the answer.”
I rolled my eyes. “C’mon seriously.”
Wanderer’s answer didn’t surprise me. After all he’s much happier sitting at a pub, chatting up strangers, curling his fingers around a beer bottle than curling up with a good book. He’s definitely a beach bum.
Lucky for us, after we arrived in Lagos Portugal I didn’t have to choose. You could hike up a cliff, admire the view, then walk down to a sandy beach and hang out with other travellers. It’s made for both introverts and extroverts.
Situated in the Algarve region (southern coastline of Portugal), Lagos has so many beautiful beaches, we could’ve gone to a different one every day without getting bored.
Here are a few of our favourites:
Praia do Camilo
Picture this. You’re sitting in a shiny modern café, its floor-to-ceiling glass window giving you an 360-degree view of the Algarve coastline, savouring an orgasmically good slice of chocolate cake and a sublime cup of café con leite.
This was the experience we had at O Camilo, the café/restaurant at the top of the cliff at Praia do Camilo, with a view to die for.
After finishing your dessert, make your way down the 200 or so winding wooden steps to the bottom of the cliff, park your butt on a stretch of golden sand and feel all your stress melt away as the sun lazily drops over the horizon.
Praia de Dona Ana
It only took us 15 min to walk from our Airbnb to this beach, which, I soon found out had the most soothing pile of rocks I have ever seen. If you’re wondering why I’m describing a pile of rocks as “soothing”, just look at this picture:
I immediately got a joygasm from the symmetry and color of this deeply satisfying arrangement of rocks.
I guess you could say this beach “rocks my world”. *slow sarcastic clap*
Miradouro da Ponta da Piedade
One of the most satisfying hikes we did in Lagos was around the Ponta da Piedade viewpoint. Just don’t get too close to the edge as you’ll find a steep drop into the ocean along some of the hiking paths. Luckily there are signs to indicate where you can go, so you won’t accidentally plunge off a cliff.
Ponta da Piedade
After walking down about a gazillion steps, you reach a platform that juts out to sea and from there you can take a boat out to explore sandstone caves:
Praia dos Estudantes (or “Student Beach”)
Why is it called “Student Beach”? No idea. But I’m happy to report I didn’t stumble on broken beer bottles, piles and piles of student debt, and lots of drunk horny 20-year-olds.
It’s actually a pretty nice beach, with—once again—those legendary sandstone cliffs:
Praia dos Pinheiros (“the nude beach”)
Turns out the nude horny students were actually here. Yes, this is a nude beach. It’s really hard to get to, so don’t kill yourself getting here. Besides, the Portuguese are way more prudish than the Spainards and the Germans. If you want to see nudity at a beach, go to Las Palmas in Spain. Or better yet, just go to a park in Germany.
If you haven’t gotten the theme by now, the crème-de-la-crème of the Algarve is its multi-hued sandstone cliffs. But if you ever get bored of these mind-blowing formations, you can go back to your run-of-the-mill, paddle-board, normal beach:
I have to admit, I made the mistake of visiting this beach after going to the other beaches first. So when Wanderer asked me I thought of it, I just shrugged and said “Meh”.
Am I turning into an insufferable beach-brat? Yes. Do I demand that all the beaches I now visit come with sandstone cliffs? Yes.
And soothing rocks. Lots and lots of soothing rocks.
You see what I mean by an insane number of beaches? If you get bored from this, there is no pleasing you. And finally onto a non-beach topic…
Quirky Corks of Lagos
Now, a weird quirk of Lagos is that they’re obsess with corks. Now say that 50 times really fast. “the quirky corks of Lagos”, “the quirky corks of Lagos”, “the quirky corks of Lagos”.
For some reason, Lagotians (?) really love crushing the hell out of corks and then making it into random things.
Cork hats? Check.
Cork purses? Yeah, sure why not.
Cork umbrella? What? You mean you don’t have one? Weirdo.
So for those of you who want all your shit to smell like the inside of a wine bottle, pick up some of these “corky” finds.
After deciding I could live without a cork purse, we headed to our favourite restaurant:
Casa de Prego:
Last time I wrote about Porto , I mentioned how much I love their specialty—Pregos. So of course, the next time we’re in Portugal, we just had to have one of those:
And then just to placate myself by pretending to be healthy, I ordered this salad:
Both were delicious.
Now, since I’ve been raving about Lagos, you might think there are no downsides. But if you ever decide to visit this place and its surrounding beachside town, avoid the EVA buses in Lagos at all costs.
Seriously. They are horrible. It takes forever to get anywhere, and the scowling ticket booth operator makes Naomi Campbell look like Mother Teresa.
Normally in Europe, I always advocate for public transportation (since it’s so much more convenient and efficient than driving), but in this case, don’t.
Do yourself a favour and go to Marina Rent-a-Car. They have great rates and fantastic service.
Okay, so that’s it for Lagos. Here’s how much we spent:
|Category||Cost in USD/couple||Cost in CAD/couple||Notes|
|Accommodations:||$29 USD||$38 CAD||Since we rented a studio apartment for less than 800 Euros, it averaged out to $29 USD a day. Normally we like to move around more often, but occasionally we rent a place for a whole month to get some writing done. This ended up being a great choice since Lagos was a super chill place that makes it easy to relax.|
|Food:||$29 USD||$38 CAD ($14 for eating out, $24 for groceries)||We split our time between eating out at beachside cafes, Portuguese restaurants, and all-you-can-eat sushi (a steal at only 11-14 Euros a person) for lunch and cooking for dinner. There was a Pingo Doce and Aldi's nearby where we could easily pick up affordable groceries and we could travel to nearby Albufeira to pick up Sichuan hot pot ingredients (one of my favourite ways to cook since it involves a ton of variety and minimal effort.|
|Transportation:||$3 USD/day||$4 CAD/day||Since all the beaches were within walking distance, the only costs for transportation was 14 Euros/person to get here from Spain via bus, and $11.40 Euros for 2 people to get to Abufeira. Over the month, this ended up average down to only $3-4 per day. Even though the bus is cheap, I wouldn't recommend using it in Lagos. It's horribly slow and the service at the ticket counter is horrendous. Pay more to rent a car–the locals recommend Marina Rent-a-car, which is what we'll be using the next time we go back.|
|Entertainment:||$7 USD/day||$9 CAD/day||Most of the attractions in Lagos is nature-based and free (hiking, swimming, exploring) so we only spent money on one thing. We found a spa (of course we did) in Lagos so we could relax our achy hiking muscles in the sauna and heated pool. It was in a 4-star hotel and a great rate at 40 Euros for 5 entries. Gotta love Europe. I've never been able to find any deals like this in North America. I guess they just have a very strong sauna/spa culture.|
|Misc/data/toiletries:||$4 USD/day||$5 CAD/day||I never bother to overpack toiletries because they are easily found all over the world and inexpensive. This was the case for Lagos.|
|Total:||$72 USD/couple/day||$94 CAD/couple/day||Once again, Portugal wins big time when it comes to value. You can definitely spend more than we did by renting a car and eating out more, but the brilliant thing is that most of the activities in Lagos are free and involve hiking and beach bumming. Keep in mind that accommodations will likely be more expensive during high season, but like the rest of Portugal, exceptionally affordable for western Europe.|
What do you think? Are you a beach person or a mountain person? Would you go to Lagos?
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