Year-round surfing, gorgeous cliffs, and delicious seafood? Sign me up! In a brief break from the endless food and wine recs from Portugal, I take you to the Algarve Coast <3. Every major travel publication probably has a post about the Algarve – about the hikes, the beaches, and the food. But the Algarve suffers from the same lack of marketing I mentioned about the Douro.
We set our homebase in Lagos – Faro and Albufeira are also popular spots. We avoided Albufeira because the Conde Naste traveller says “Unless you’re on a stag weekend you will skirt round Albufeira, which is the overdeveloped Magaluf of the Algarve coastline“. Interestingly enough, Lagos was apparently the starting point of a crusade against the Moors in Morocco (circa 1570s!). Unfortunately, it was a terrible failure and the king himself disappeared and never returned…
Regardless, they say photos are worth a thousand words – and they should do the marketing themselves! With layers of colored sediment and flat beaches, the coast line is a gorgeous walk.
Below is a rough outline of how to hit as many beaches as possible for a 2 hour walk! Starting off in the historic center of Lagos (at the Salty Lodge where we stayed – review to come!), ending at Campimar restaurant in Praia de Porto de Mos. Along the way are many, many beaches (or praias, in Portuguese). I’m including a Google map below to sketch out roughly the direction of what we did. But please note, we didn’t actually take roads most of the way. You can walk almost along the cliff for the majority of the hike!
Some of the sights along the way:
- Forte da Ponta de Bandeira
- Praia da Batata
- Praia do Pinhao (with the Lagos staircase)
- Praia dona Ana (one of the prettiest ones!)
- Praia do Camilo
- Ponta da Piedade (with a lighthouse and everything!)
- Praia do Barranco do Martinho
- Praia do Canavial
- Porto de Mos (where Campimar is!)
- Wear sneakers and bring tons of sunblock!
- You can definitely pack some flip flops if you plan to hang out by a beach
- The beaches vary greatly in size, but Praia dona Ana was definitely the most popular
- Some of the beaches require a bit of the climb down uneven rocks / stairs. Personally, the perspective from the top of cliffs is far better than the view from the beach.
Some other options:
Alternatively, one has several other options to explore the Algarve coastline besides hiking it. For the lazy who just want to enjoy the views and sun, head out for a boat tour leaving from Praia da Batata. For those who are a bit more active and love the water, head out for a full surf day (make your appointments ahead!) or kayak along the coastline. These two options limit your exposure and probably don’t go all the way out to Porto do Mos. If you’d like to keep your feet on solid ground, it’s possible to rent a bike to do the same route – and maybe go even further (out to Praia de Luz). From what I understand, sometimes there are sand sculptures to see on that beach.
Look forward to: Places to eat in Lagos coming up next!