Part 2: R&R at the Algarve
After spending a couple of days in Lisbon we headed South to the Algarve, the southernmost region of Portugal! We rented a car and drove 2.5 hours from the capital city of Lisbon down to the lovely coastal town of Lagos, situated on the western edge of the Algarve.
With only 5 days in all to explore Portugal, we made sure to do an overnight stay here to get some rest and relaxation in and this was easily my favorite part of the entire trip!! I guess I’m more of a beach girl than a city girl. The Algarve is also doable as a day trip but I recommend at least one night.
From the historic center of Lagos to some of the most beautiful beaches, colorful cliffs, and crystal clear waters, the Algarve has so much to offer. Not only did we play in the water and soak up some sun but we got some real R&R. Not to mention we all agreed that we had our BEST Portuguese meal in Lagos! If you’re in town, be sure to check out Chicca’s Restaurant in Luz, Portugal!
Below is an overview of our short time in Lagos and some recommendations for your stay.
Unlike Lisbon, getting around the Algarve is a little more challenging without a car. To get the most out of your trip I recommend exploring this part of the country by car so you can go beach hopping and explore the coast as you please!
We rented a manual car, which only 2 out of 4 of us knew how to drive, and it’s definitely the cheaper option if you’re able to go this route. You’ll also have many more cars to choose from when you book a manual car and that’s because automatic cars are not as common in Portugal or Europe for that matter. As a result, due to the limited availability of automatic cars in the region, they are much more expensive to rent, sometimes 2 or 3 times more expensive than a manual car.
Pro Tip: Save yourself some $$ and book a manual car rental while in Portugal!
Where to Stay
We stayed at a lovely hotel by the beach for our one night in Lagos. The Aparthotel Vila Luz was clean, affordable, and had great reviews! We weren’t too picky since it was just one night and honestly there weren’t many options left by the time we booked but we were satisfied with our hotel.
Beach Hopping in Lagoa
Our first stop was Lagos aka Lagoa; it’s in close proximity to some of the best beaches in the Algarve which made for some fun beach hopping. Check out the beaches we visited along the way.
Praia da Marinha
Marinha beach is one of the most well known beaches of the Algarve and for good reason. With breathtaking views and dramatic cliffs you’ll see why Lonely Planet ranks Marinha beach as the favorite of all the Algarve beaches. It’s also a great spot for snorkeling with its calm and clear waters.
Praia de Benagil
Next up is Benagil beach. If you’re really adventurous, you can book a boat trip from Benagil beach to see some of the caves in the area, the Benagil Cave is a must see.
Ponta da Piedade
Lastly, we ended the day in Ponta da Piedade, an area best known for its beautiful limestone cliff formations, natural arches, and caves. There’s even a little lighthouse at the entrance of Ponta da Piedade. You can walk down the long staircase to check out the caves on foot or you can pass under them by boat or kayak from the Lagos marina.
Where to Eat
There’s really only one place you need to check out in the Algarve and that’s Chicca’s Restaurant! Named after the vibrant owner (pictured below), she will definitely take care of you and the food was fire!! We tried so many things on the menu and loved every bit of it but be sure to leave room for her signature dessert, the raspberry shortcake! It’s so good and I’m more of a chocolate lover.
After our one night in the Algarve, we returned to Lisbon feeling satisfied and refreshed. We all fell in love with the beauty here but I wish we had more time to explore and see other parts of the Algarve by boat! We were definitely plotting our return to the Algarve ASAP and just might bring other family members along, we’ll see!
And that my friends was the perfect end to our Portugal Girls Trip!
If you missed the first half our trip you can check out my full guide to Lisbon here. But the takeaway from this experience is don’t sleep on the south of Portugal! Whether it’s a girls trip, a family trip, or in our case both, you really can’t go wrong here. So don’t wait, grab your girls and head to the Algarve!