Lagos

22nd November – 24th November

Praia Dona Ana. Aaaaand, just when I thought it couldn't get any better.. Portugal's beaches looked like this.
Praia Dona Ana. Aaaaand, just when I thought it couldn’t get any better.. Portugal’s beaches looked like this.

To be honest, having spent the past few days on the south western coast where everything was so beautiful, I really didn’t expect much from Lagos.  I had heard that it was a bit of a party town and that this part of the Algarve is incredibly touristy (the most popular tourist destination in Portugal, and high on the list for Europe overall).  So, I thought it was probably going to be somewhat overrated and overdeveloped.  Well, I was wrong.. Yes, there are the big hotels scattered along the coastline, but you really didn’t have to go far to escape them.  And when you did, it was incredible. I think having got here out of peak season meant that we got to see it at its best, without the hordes of people.  I may not have been so fond of it when the population more than triples over summer.

Lagos itself was a nice town, with plenty of restaurants and bars in the old town area.  It was also right in the midst of a coastline scattered with limestone caves and grottos.  Praia Dona Ana, often regarded as one of Portugal’s best beaches, lies just a few minutes from Lagos.  The cliffs and jagged rocks jutting out of the clear blue water is just incredible.

Ian, somewhat excited by the climbing and jumping opportunities that the cliffs provided at Praia Dona Ana.
Ian, somewhat excited by the climbing and jumping opportunities that the cliffs provided at Praia Dona Ana.
The incredible colours of the limestone near Praia do Camilo.
The incredible colours of the limestone near Praia do Camilo, a bit further along the coast from Praia Dona Ana.

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Looking back along the coastline south of Lagos
Looking back along the coastline south of Lagos

The next day we decided to make our way to the most south-western tip of Europe, Cape Saint Vincent.  The cliffs are at their highest along this stretch of the coast, and reminded a tad bit of the Great Australian Bight.

The lighthouse at Cape Saint Vincent.
The lighthouse at Cape Saint Vincent.
Forte de Beliche, an old fort dating back prior to 1587.
Forte de Beliche, an old fort dating back prior to 1587.  It was restored in the 1960’s and a teahouse opened.  However, it was closed in the 90’s due to the cliff area being at risk of collapse.

We made our way back along the coast through the coastal town of Luz, and eventually to Praia da Marinha.  This beach was yet another example of the dramatic coastline of this region, with its large limestone cliffs and caves.  There are several large sinkholes in the area where water has seeped through the limestone and eventually eroded big cavities that connect to the sea below.

Praia da Luz, Portugal
Praia da Luz, Portugal
Praia da Marinha. When climbing down to the beach, there are warning signs about rockfall near the cliffs.. danger zones basically render the whole beach off limits..
Praia da Marinha. When climbing down to the beach, there are warning signs about rockfall near the cliffs.. danger zones basically render the whole beach off limits..
Praia da Marinha, Portugal
Praia da Marinha, Portugal

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