On our last morning in Odeceixe, we woke after a somewhat late night at the Odeceixe Cafe, packed up our belongings and hit the road to Lagos. Our hosts met us after breakfast (we went to Cafe Luna for coffee & Brie, honey and walnut toasts – amazing!) we bid them Obrigado, and left the sleepy beach town for the southern coast.
Our plans for the day were loose, as the drive to Lagos wasn’t very far from Odeceixe, about 40 minutes. We put in Ponta da Piedade as our destination, a lighthouse overlooking the beautiful golden cliffs of the Alagarve. Oh, the descriptions do not give it the proper justice!
Parking, with little problem even though it was relatively crowded, we hopped out and spent the next two hours hiking around, taking a private boat tour that we just stumbled upon, following a staircase with a sign that said ‘tour the caves and grottos of the Algarve.
Without any restrictions, guards or railings, you could hike and climb on the jagged rocks at your own free will. Most of the paths were navigatable, with stunning views of the turquoise waters and jaggy rocks below. Of course Mike had to climb up a particular section that had a zero fall zone….and almost gave me a heart attack.
Although there seemed to be quite a number of tourists about, the place wasn’t unbearable, and following a steep staircase down to the water, we found ourselves next in line for a private boat tour. Two men stood on the rocks, while the captain motored up to the Rock and passengers would jump in and out. No talk of money or cost occurred until we were on the boat….and we were told, as we were motoring away, to pay the captain 20 Euro each. Dang, they get ya!
The small motor boat took us in and out of the crevices, explaining the local names for the rock formations (elephant, iceberg & titanic, Arc de Triomphe) and we even pulled into some of the grottos and caves, watching the waves roll in and out of the cavernous walls.
Totally worth the money – the views were spectacular and to be able to look up, to see where the water had worn a perfect holes rom years of waves, well, it was one of the most unique things I’ve ever seen.
The boat tour had satisfied our water craving for the moment (I had literally said prior to finding the hidden dock, ‘we need to get on a boat!’ Which se ms to be my luck – I put it out in the Universe and the Universe responds!) so we set off to find the secret beach – Praia da Balanca – our captain had pointed out. Mike quickly changed into his swimming suite and we were off. Not 300 hundred feet from where we parked, we found the path leading down the credits that spit you out onto the secret beach. The hike had been described as difficult, so I had changed into my hiking shoes and we shimmied down. In all honesty, it wasn’t that difficult, although Colorado may have dulled my senses to such things.
Stunning blues pierced our eyes and we emerged onto the small beach. What an amazing place Lagos was proving to be already – and we had just arrived! We shed our clothes and dove straight out into the Atlantic (much different than what our view of the Atlantic is back East!). It was mid-October, way off season, and yet here we were, splashing about as if it was the high summer months. Absolutely amazing!
For not having had any of this planned, we sure felt lucky to have landed in an amazing experience! The swim got our appetites yearning for Portuguese food, so we headed to our Airbnb, which we found extremely easily, parked right in front of the house, knocked (it wasn’t ready yet) then headed to grab lunch at a local spot, Calhou, Lagos, right around the corner. I was able to connect to our Airbnbs WiFi, even though we hadn’t checked in yet – score! Before heading to lunch, we popped into a windmill cafe to join the locals who were sitting around smoking, talking and drinking Sagres or cafe. We felt very European.
We were staying in the middle of town, close to the city center, as well as the marina, which we’d be heading to later that evening and tomorrow for a kayaking tour.
Lunch: Sea Bass, Potatoes, carrots & broccoli, with Portugal wine (verde) to go with the meal. Delicious!
After lunch, we hit up the grocery store, grabbed some beer and wine, cheese and bread, and headed to check in. The apartment studio was perfect – it had been converted a few years ago our owner said, so had modern upgrades and a beautiful balcony (which we would enjoy many a glass of wine on over the next three nights!). We poured some wine, unpacked a bit then headed out to explore the area and water.
The Marina was beautiful, and we watched the sunset, enjoying some Sagres, and cheersed to our first night in Lagos. Deciding to stay in, we headed back to the flat and poured more wine and ate olives and bread!