The Algarve region of Portugal is considered the best to some, and right away we understood why one could make that statement. The scenery is beautiful, picturesque and impressive in so many ways. If you love the beach, this area offers many with their own unique landscapes.
With myriad options on where to stay, I chose Lagos (pronounced la-goosh) because of the places we wanted to explore. Also, Lagos is a smaller town with some of the best beaches in Algarve.
Ponte de Piedade
After hanging out at our resort, we ventured out and explored Ponte de Piedade. This site is considered as one of the most beautiful landscapes of the Algarve coast. Seeing it in person was just breathtaking. The corroded cliffs of this area have been carved into rocky pillars, tunnels and caves. My pictures don’t do the place justice, and we did come later in the day, so you can’t see the turquoise water set beneath the rocks.
Praia do Camilo
At sunset, we visited Praia do Camilo, one of the smaller beaches in Lagos. Although petite, Camilo is beautiful and less crowded, with similar rock formations found at Ponte de Piedade.
Praia Don Ana
Ranked as the top beach and with multiple awards for best beach in the world, Praia Don Ana is one crowded beach as people sunbathe and enjoy the fantastic scenery. The beach is considered the most picturesque in the Algarve coast. I have to say, yes, it is one stunning beach.
A smaller beach beside Praia Don Ana, Praia Pinhao is just as eye-catching. Nestled between high cliffs, a natural arch appears as the source of the beach. Pinhao is less crowded and quiet compared to Praia Don Ana, which makes it appealing when you want some peace.
Benagil Sea Cave
We took a boat ride from Lagos Marina to Benagil to see the famous sea cave not too far off from Benagil Beach on the southern coast of Algarve. This was the highlight of our trip: seeing Benagil and exploring the grottos in that area. You have to be there in person to appreciate its natural beauty. Such a phenomenal experience!
Lagos Old Town and City Center
After returning from Benagil, we explored Lagos Old Town and City Center. The place is small and walkable. Everything can be seen in a short amount of time. We walked around, taking in the architecture as we waited for dinner.
We ended the day with dinner at Estudio Vegetariano, a vegan place with some vegetarian options. This small restaurant is the only place in Lagos that is all veg, but Lagos and pretty much all of Portugal are all hip to veganism and veg-friendly. The menu at Estudio is creative and relatively healthy, and prices are reasonable.
For starters, we shared their homemade olive bread with a garlic aioli dip and had our own mixed salads. The bread was scrumptious, fresh and soft. We gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Nick’s main course was a seitan loaf with tartar sauce paired with potato salad and harissa. He wasn’t sure about the dish when it first came out, but he ended up liking it and thought it delicious, giving it a 4 out of 5 stars.
My main dish was the lasagne of the day: lentil bolognese with vegan bechamel. This was quite interesting and rich, but surprisingly more healthy than I thought. The taste was not like bolognese but was more reminiscent of beef bourguignon. It was tasty, but the lentils were cooked al dente. And it was quite filling, so I did not finish my meal. I rated it 3.75 out of 5 stars.
Lastly, we both ordered chocolate mousse for dessert. This was sweet, roasty and yummy. We both enjoyed it and gave it 4.75 out of 5 stars.
When visiting Algarve, even if you don’t want to stay in or near Lagos, making a visit to Ponte de Piedade and the beaches in Lagos are a must. As for visiting the grottos and Benagil, you have the option to ride a boat out from most places on the coast.