We chased the sun into Lagos, which was setting over the town. Just walking into the center, my ears honed in on the English accents, and I could tell it was a tourist place. But I welcomed it. The sound of the waves was loud in the rising darkness, and I knew a beach was waiting for me in the morning. A few days of bliss in the famously relaxing Algarve coastline.
I checked into Sol a Sol Hostel. Lagos is small, and it was easy to find. The guy on reception, Eduardo, welcomed me in the street, happily playing his harmonica. A great place with lots of stuff going on. Canoe trips. Yoga evenings. Communal dinners. Cave treks. Boat parties. Bar parties. Pub crawl parties. Lots of parties.
We grabbed a cheap pizza at a nearby restaurant. There are plenty to choose from with cool air and street music inviting people out onto the streets. I also tried a pretty dodgy local beer. Well nobody ever claimed the country was famous for its beer. I vowed to stick to wine for the rest of Portugal. Or at least try some better brews.
Day 2: Watching Waves.
The next morning welcomed me with a fantastic free breakfast at the hostel. I took a walk along the longest beach of Lagos and loved everything. The wind is cooling the bright sun. The waves are spreading over my feet. The stretch of sand into the distance. The enticing coastline ahead of me.
In the afternoon, I went along that coastline, which is scattered with small cave beaches. Some are tiny and quickly drowned by the incoming tide. Others are larger and collect sunbathers, swimmers and, in the evenings, surfers. There’s a great coastal route that gives steep access to each of them and incredible views along the way.
After waking the rocky path and diving into a couple of waves, I settled on the sand. I had just finished reading Carol by Patricia Highsmith. A fantastic book, although not great for traveling. Almost too amazing – I had finished it within three days. Now I was bookless. So I plugged in my earphones, listened to music and watched the sea instead.
In the evening, we took advantage of the fantastic hostel kitchen. No one else was using it, and we had all the space to make a pretty fancy Greek salad. All enjoyed alongside my first taste of authentic Portuguese wine – a wonderful “standard second-from-cheapest choice” from “the supermarket.”
We invited Eduardo to join us, which he did. Excellent times to be social are always with food. We talked about the greatness of hostels for sharing. He’s worked in many and has an addictive attitude of being happy and welcoming. I had a quiet night, but everyone was so friendly, relaxed and enjoying the chilled vibes of the town. If you want to be social in Lagos, Sol a Sol is a fab choice of hostel.
Day 3: To the Lighthouse.
Lagos is all about the beach by day and bars by night. Apart from that, there is a zoo to visit, a castle to explore, a few small churches to discover, souvenir shops to enjoy and a lighthouse to walk to. A lighthouse is an excellent option. The route leads you all along to the coast to a panoramic viewpoint over the ocean. It stands next to a westward facing beach that captures the sunset every evening.
The marina is full of boats to take you around the coast. Trips leave daily and regularly and offer many options. Go dolphin watching with a group or dive into the waves yourself with a scuba diving excursion. Or hire a kayak for the afternoon and explore it all independently. There are hundreds of hidden coves and caves to find. Discover your favorites and explore the rugged, infinite coastline; famously one of the most beautiful in the world.
But mainly, Lagos offers the great chance to relax and recharge before hitting the road again. This is exactly what I did after checking out. First I saw the hostel roof terrace, which I wished I’d seen sooner. Filled with cool air, comfy seats and sea views. Then I lay on a sunny beach and chatted to some excitable American students, before catching an afternoon train to Lisbon.