The beaches of Lagos were added to our Portugal trip itinerary the instant I saw them in a photograph on the cover of Frommer's travel guide. The spectacular volcanic rock formations that dot the water and form caves and grottos along the shore under clear blue skies had me at hello, and after a fun and memorable two days there in July I still wasn't ready for good-bye.
We drove to Lagos by rental car from Tarifa, Spain, via a very scenic route through the Andalusian white hill towns of Vejer and Jerez de la Frontera and a drive by the outskirts of Seville. By late afternoon we dropped our bags at our hotel in Lagos, then hopped back into the car to check out the beaches a few blocks away. We eagerly pulled into the first dusty road beach turnoff we found, parked the car, and ran towards the cliff to see the view. And the view was a gay, nude beach. Oops! Shoo, shoo, everybody back in the car. (Avoid this faux pas with your children by checking AlgarveUncovered.com before you go.)
Sooo . . . a little farther down the road we pulled over again, and walked out to the rocky precipice to view a magnificent sight of craggy outcroppings, sandy beach, cloudless skies, and clear blue Atlantic Ocean.
The 124 miles of coastline in the western Algarve region of Portugal are known to be some of the most beautiful in the world. I won't disagree.
We were most excited to take a boat ride into the grottos and around the coastline the next day. There are several locations along the beach where one can catch a grotto boat and the companies' prices and tours are competitive, so we just followed this barely comprehensible sign:
|It's supposed to say, "Trip to the grottos."|
|I love this photo so much I wanted to use it as our Christmas|
card, but decided the life vests looked too dorky.
The boat ride was about 40 minutes long and the driver cruised all up and down the shoreline, pointing out incredibly magnificent formations and entering lots of caves.
After the boat ride we walked around a bit to explore the rocky headland of Ponta da Piedade, which protrudes south from Lagos. Its sheltered coves, colorful cliffs, and rock pools of aquamarine waters are dramatically beautiful. This beauty must have something to do with why it's called Point of Piety and why this monument is displayed on the bluff:
There is a little tourist train available for about 2.50€ per person that circles around from the Lagos marina to Ponta da Piedade. It's good for a ride to the beach from downtown.
The difficult decision we had to make next that morning was which gorgeous beach to spend the rest of the day relaxing on. We finally agreed on Praia da Dona Ana (Dona Ana Beach) and think it was a fabulous choice, don't you?
|Dona Ana Beach in Lagos, Portugal|