I have been to Lisbon several times with my work (in December and June last year) and has in this connection discovered the most beautiful area in Portugal: The Algarve Coast with the beautiful beaches, orange rugged cliffs and the turquoise water. Many come here to sunbathe or play golf, but there are also many beautiful trails along the coast for hikers and lots of beautiful landscapes for a nature photographer like me. In addition, Portugal has an incredibly rich bird life. Read about my pursuit of flamingos in the Ria Formosa here.
Portugal is poorer than its neighbor Spain, which means that you can live and eat cheap. In addition, the Algarve Coast is the sunniest place in southern Europe – even in winter months. My trip in February included a lot of sunshine and temperatures between 16 and 20 degrees celcius.
The beautiful tip of Ponte da Piedade is situated 3 km from the city.
Lagos – the perfect base for exploring the Algarve Coast
My first idea was to rent a car and drive along the entire Algarve coast, but after a search on Google Maps I discovered that many of the most beautiful beaches are situated in the town of Lagos. The nearest airport in Faro is only 60 km away. And with good bus and train connections between the two cities the decision to stay in Lagos was easy.
Bus 16 departs from Faro airport to the city railway station. From here you can catch the train or the bus to Lagos. They both depart every other hour and the trip takes 2 hours.
The streets of Lagos
The most beautiful beaches on the Algarve Coast
You can spend a long time exploring the different beaches whether you are a beach bum or a nature photographer like me. The beautiful beaches streches all the way from the city to the tip of Ponte de Piedade. There are trails along the entire coast except for the stretch between Dona Ana and Praia do Camilo. From the car park at Praia do Camilo the trail starts again and continues all the way to Ponte de Piedade. This section is the most beautiful with small trails that wind up and down between the rocks with beautiful vantage points.
An old concrete stairs leads down into the bay to this small beach surrounded by tall cliffs. The day I visited the beach was full of unbelievably beautiful and colourful sea shells in blue and pink hues. Absolutely magical! There is also a small cave to explore on the beach.
Praia Dona Ana
The largest and most commercial beach on the stretch is Praia Dona Ana. Here you feel small between the steep cliffs and the big waves rolling in from the sea. The many beautiful freestanding rocks in the water make the finest photos.
Praia Dona Ana
Praia do Camilo
A long wooden staircase leads down to this beach which was my favorite in Lagos. Small, intimate and incredibly beautiful. Sheltered from the chilly februrary wind it was warm enough for both sunbathing and a dip in the water.
Bonus tip! If you walk through the arch you will find a really cool cave with a round hole in the ceiling.
It was simply impossible not to jump in my swimsuit on the beautiful Camilo Beach
Ponte da Piedade
Simply the most beautiful place on the Algarve Coast. The view from the top is awesome and if you go down the stairs to the tiny port can watch the waves crush against the beautiful rock formations. West of Ponte da Piedade the paths continues along the coast with lots of falcons and sparrows.
A common kesler
The things I missed – The Benagil Cave
From home I had been admiring theses stunning photos of the Benagil cave. Although there are buses from Lagos to Lagoa and from there to Benagil I was not sure there would be a boat ready to sail me out there in February. But if you ever get the chance (by car the cave is just a 30 minutes drive from Lagos) you simply must see this cave!