Nestled between the high rise hotels and condos, new development, marina and surfer’s beach sits the old walled city of Lagos like a pearl in a shell of modernity. That’s where we found ourselves for a couple of windy and rainy December days on our brief tour of the Algarve in Portugal. Melissa always says she likes her weather to come at her “straight down” (meaning, she’s not a member of the gusty wind fan club). Not to be deterred, brave the gusts we did to check out this town on the southwestern side of Portugal.
We arrived at our hotel, oriented to the city by the receptionist while we enjoyed our complementary cocktails, a tradition we can get behind. Off we went, to explore the night landing first in a narrow surfer bar, gangsta rap playing while we watched Barcelona and Real Madrid football away on the tele. We ate at this great little wine bar/tapas place, on our hotel’s recommendations list, called Taninos. Both definitely worth a stop, in our book.
Our impressions of the Algarve of high rise condos and hotels full of Brits escaping the cold winters to the north has turned out to be relatively accurate. In the off season, the Algarve is sleepier, colder, but not desolate so there’s still a lot to do.
On our full day in Lagos on this particular tour of the southwestern tip of the Iberian peninsula, we took the cliff walk to look down upon the rock enshrouded beaches for which the Algarve is known. Despite being blown around pretty good, we ventured out to the Ponte da Peidade and to the overlook of Praia do Canaviel. In the afternoon, we wandered around the old town and out to the marina and to the aforementioned surfer’s beach, Meia Praia. This beach stretches on seemingly for miles to the east and is a great walking beach upon which, had we more time, we would definitely have found ourselves on a long walk reminiscent of the many walks we’ve taken in our favorite little surfer town in the US: San Clemente, California.
And like a cherry on top, we found ourselves for dinner at Cervejaria Ferradura. At this elbows on the U-shaped counter joint lorded over by the owner and her husband you point to what you want in the refrigerator case up front and they will serve up delicious pre-prepared octopus or cod salads or sauté up clams or mussels on the small stove in the front window as you watch. We also bought a pork sandwich ordered by a young girl who couldn’t afford to pay for it. Had we realized what was happening before she left, we would have bought it for her, but not to be wasteful, we bought and consumed it after trying to explain our intent in a combo of broken Portuguese, English and some Spanish. Finishing it all off with a delicious almond cake, this absolute must visit in Lagos, sealed the deal on our promise to return.
Obrigado, Lagos, until we meet again.