Howdy, it's 5 days since I returned home from Lagos in Portugal and to help me relive it a little bit I thought I'd give you a quick review of one of the Algarve's beauty spots.
When you arrive in to Lagos you're immediately struck by how un-resorty the place is, which is a very welcome break from a lot of seaside tourist towns in Europe. This is apparently due to the fact that all the historical buildings inside the city walls (they actually still have city walls!!) are listed buildings and cannot be modified or knocked down. Safe to say that the whole town has a very authentic Portuguese feel. The streets are all very narrow and still predominately cobbled which only adds to the aesthetic.
The centre of Lagos boasts a couple of examples of my favourite aspect of European towns - sun drenched plazas to enjoy a coffee/beer depending on the time of day along with a local delicacy - prawns in garlic have been a running theme this trip. Honestly this is one of my favourite things to do on holiday, watch the world go by on a hot day! And the Lagos Town planners clearly agreed as there are a 3 very open ones all within 5 minutes of each other.
The beaches in Lagos are well known and I touched upon them in my premptive post - and they've not failed to impress, unfortunately I didn't get the chance to explore as many as I would have liked but from what I have seen they're all pristine with surprisingly clear waters for Europe, as you can see from the rare selfie below the sea is a beautiful colour.
Certainly clear enough to see the fish which come in to shore or hang around near the reefs.
One thing I would certainly recommend to do is hire a kayak and explore the coast and caves around Batata beach, there are a number of tours which you can do this but I don't see why you need them, unless you want to be towed back - which might not be a terrible option when the wind is against you!
The grottos are out of this world beautiful and certainly represent a must see if you're in the area. We took out the kayaks twice, once with a low tide and once while it was high. When the tide was high it was a little harder to navigate the grottos but much easier to come in after we'd done all our exploring.
We also took out the SUP boards for a couple of hours, which is a great way to see the sights closer to the beach but as the sea can be quite choppy I'm not sure Lagos is the place to get the most out of it. Obviously still worth ago, especially as you've probably got better balance than me - which isn't hard to be honest but I think kayaking is the way forward here.
Lagos has a brilliant mix of traditional and built for tourism. The town is easy to relax in with a large number of restaurants and bars (Review of restaurants coming next) while still maintaining a very Mediterranean feel. Walking around the streets and the beaches its easy to see that a number of demographics descend on Lagos rather than just 'Brits abroad' which is refreshing, most encouraging is the fact that the Portuguese still are very active in the town, they've not been priced/forced out by tourism and a lot of the shops are clearly aimed at permanent residents.
I expected a lot from Lagos and it surpassed my expectations. Honestly its one of the best trips I've been on, and retrospectively enhanced by the fact that I didn't see a single cloud for the first 5 days and have now had to return to perma-gray Manchester!
Cheers for reading,