I ran away from Slovakia. I wanted to follow the sun and the sea. I didn’t know anything about Portugal. Well, I had been there once, to Lisbon, but something was calling me towards the south. I wanted the ocean. So, after many resumes sent online to hostels in Algarve, I received an offer for a summer job. And here I am, sitting on a train, destination Lagos.
I fell in love with Lagos from the very first moment I arrived; the good and the bad. I fell in love with the beaches, the coast and the tiny streets. But honestly, it wasn’t the small city I had imagined it to be. The nightlife was too much at times. Sometimes it even felt similar to Ibiza, which wasn’t for me. I was looking for a quiet place, and living there made me feel that I was missing out on making real relationships with people. But it’s important not to let your internal world go upside-down because of your external world. So, I learned to find my contentment and ended up enjoying the place in the end. Our perfect place doesn’t exist outside of us, it’s up to us to create it.
So I started to work on it. I wanted the ocean, and a surf board was the first travel companion that I found.
My plans were to explore all the south coast of Algarve, but the west coast stole my heart with all the small surfer villages. Going west, before the end of most extreme point into the Atlantic ocean, you can drive on a small off road and find the hippie beach, Barranco. It’s a beach that wants to remain far away from a tourist spot and is a an ideal place for travellers with vans that want to rest for a few days. Driving further west, you arrive at the windy village of Sagres, which is also called “the end of the world” because of its strong wind and huge rocky cliffs. It is a place chosen by many to watch a sunset at Cabo Sao Vincente.
But for me the most beautiful places are all the ones you can see along the way from Sagres to Odeceixe, all very good spots for surfing during the summer.
Going north you arrive at Praia da Cordoama, where on the top of a hill, if you take a small off road just in front of an intersection, just before going down to the beach, you can see a sunset on the top of the worldm from my point of view way more better than in Sagres.
All along the Atlantic coast there are beautiful beaches and wild natural places. The most famous being Amado beach and Bordeira, the beautiful beach of Arrifana and the small one of Odeceixe. The whole west coast of Algarve is ideal to travel by van and camping, but pay attention because wild camping is forbidden and just permitted in designated areas unless you want to risk a fine.
Even though I was in love with the west coast, I didn’t miss the opportunity to explore a bit of the east coast. Just outside Lagos there is Portiamo and Praia da Rocha and proceeding along the road, you reach at Benagil beach, famous for the big cave with a hole opening to the sky. You can reach it by swimming or with a boat tour, but in my opinion it’s not that great and it looks better on postcards and Photoshop. Praia do Marinha and the small town of Albufeira are the two main spots on the road before Faro. Algarve offers a lot of interesting places, there was more to explore, but my travels ended just before Faro.
When I arrived in Lagos, I thought from the first moment that I would have to create something in this corner of the world. But, as always, plans take mysterious ways. I left Lagos making a promise, that there will be a future like my first thought. I always need the ocean, the beach and those sunsets, and my surf board is there waiting for me.
See you soon Lagos, and best wishes from Barcelona.