LOUNGING AROUND LAGOS
Hey guys! Here is hopefully the first of many contributor posts on Tour Wife Tour Life! While I've started our Guest Tour Wife section, the contributor section will include anyone who feels like they have something that Tour Wife Tour Life readers will be interested in. I would love to include all of your thoughts and recommendations and if you think you have something you would like to share definitely reach out to me! This post is from my sister, Samantha, and is part of a series on her trip to Portugal and Amsterdam that I helped her plan. I absolutely LOVE to plan vacations and making an itinerary gives me so much joy. I'm so glad that my sister and her boyfriend were able to enjoy such an unforgettable trip and that I played a part in making that happen. Check out part one of her series below!
When Colby & I started planning our trip I knew I wanted to spend a few days in the Algarve – the southernmost region of Portugal known for the miles and miles of golden sand beaches that line the coast. Some downtime at the beach was exactly what I needed so we made this the first stop on our vacation.
After a red-eye from JFK and one too many Benadryls on my end (oops!), we landed in Lisbon where we picked up our rental car, forgoed the overpriced insurance (living life on the edge), and started the two-and-a-half hour drive to Lagos. Colby drove. I slept – because of the Benadryl – and before I knew it we were arriving at the Carvi Hotel. It was only 3PM so we promptly checked in, put on our swimsuits and headed straight for the beach. Lucky for us our hotel sat atop one of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve, Praia Dona Ana. We descended the wooden steps and made our way down to the small sandy cove surrounded by high sandstone cliffs. Its stunning rock formations jutted out of the perfectly clear and shockingly cold turquoise water and turned my face into a real-life heart-eye emoji. We spent a few hours there, lounging on our Turkish towels – so European of us – reading our books beneath the hot sun soaking up all of the daylight we had left. Even as the sun started to set I didn’t want to leave.
On our second day in Lagos we made our way over to Meia Praia, the largest beach in the Lagos region. I was amazed at how different Meia Praia was from Praia Dona Ana. The sand was whiter and softer and stretched as far as I could see in both directions. It was quiet and calm but equally as beautiful. Colby & I set up our towels under a palapa so we could have the best of both worlds – hot sun and cool shade. I even took a dip in the ice cold water. I felt refreshed but it certainly wasn’t a comfortable temperature. We spent the entire day similar to the first, lounging beneath the sun, falling asleep, reading our books and eating delicious frozen smoothie bars. We ate lunch at Bar Quim, the local beach bar, then lounged a bit more before heading back to the hotel for the evening.
We decided we wanted to be a little more adventurous our last day in Lagos and try out paddle boarding at Batata Beach, the beach closest to the main town of Lagos. We walked the 15 minutes to town to find out that they no longer allow paddle boarding on the beach and only offered 3 hour kayak tours. Because of my lack of upper arm strength and fear of sharks I decided to skip this. Instead we had lunch at the beach bar and then headed down the small flight of steps to the beach. Again, I was surprised at how different this beach was from the other two. Batata Beach was definitely more crowded than both Meia Praia and Praia Dona Ana but had a cozy feel. Sea-carved archways divided the beach into different sections. We went through a couple of them to a less crowded area where we spent the afternoon relaxing. Colby went exploring and found he was able to get to several different coves and even walk all the way back to Praia Dona Ana through them.
Fruit at Marinha
Colby walking along Praia da Marinha
On our fourth day in Portugal, we checked out of our hotel and headed back to Lisbon. I wasn’t ready to leave the beaches so I made sure we stopped along the way. First we stopped at Praia da Marinha in Carvoeiro. When we arrived we were stunned by the breathtaking views. We snapped a few photos before I became too afraid the wind would knock me over the edge. It wasn’t long before my breath was taken away in a completely different way – the steep and never-ending steps we had to walk down to get to the beach. On our way down, we passed others gasping for air and pausing for breaks as they made their way back up to the car lot. I knew I’d be in for a treat later. The beach was well worth it. Perfectly golden sand crunched beneath my toes and more beautiful rock formations erupted out of the water. We climbed rocks to check out other sandy coves before plopping down on our towels to enjoy our last bit of beachtime.
We only stayed at Praia da Marinha for an hour or two before heading to our final destination along the coast – the Benagil Caves. It was only a quick car ride from Praia da Marinha. Praia Benagil was more crowded than all of the other beaches we’d been to combined. People were laying on colorful towels lined up side by side making the beach look like an oversized can of sardines. We bought €15 tickets for a 30 minute boat tour and waited down by the waters edge for the last group to get back. When it arrived, Colby and I hopped in to get a good seat right at the front before the rest of the group climbed in behind us. The tour took us to different coves and through seaside caves, finally ending at the Benagil caves. These famous caves are only accessible by boats, paddle boards and kayaks. The unique caves were unlike anything I’d ever seen before. The sandstone cave had a hole right in the top that let in sunlight for those brave enough to swim onto the small strip of sand inside. We stayed on the boat and admired from afar before heading back and cruising over waves and getting sprayed by the sea. Once we got back to the beach, we hopped in the car and drove back to Lisbon for the next part of our adventure.
Stay tuned for the next segment of Samantha's Contributor series of her trip to Portugal and Amsterdam!
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