After spending a couple weeks exploring the big cities of Lisbon and Porto, we wanted to have a relaxing few days on the coast, so we made our way down to Lagos, a tiny little town in the Algarve situated right next to the Bensafrim River and along the Atlantic Ocean. After a long day that included a nine-hour bus ride, the last hour of which went through the nausea-inducing windy roads of the South, we arrived in the late afternoon/early evening.
Lagos is mostly a tourist town, and the majority of the people we encountered there were Americans/Brits and Germans/Swiss/Austrians (many visiting, but also some Germans who had retired and lived there, which explains the German bakery in town). Needless to say, there wasn’t much of a language barrier for the five days we were there. We arrived before the real tourist season, though there did seem to be a lot of college kids on Spring Break. However, the streets were still relatively quiet (excepting the loud dive bar a few doors down) and the beaches weren’t crowded, which is what we were hoping for. We also happened to be there on a public holiday, the Revolução dos Cravos (Carnation Revolution), so we got to see the locals gathered in the square to celebrate.
The city itself was insanely walkable, which means that we pretty much covered the entire area in a day. The rest of the time we spent hanging out at Praia da Batata (Potato Beach) and Meia Praia (Half Beach), lounging on the balcony of our vacation rental, and eating. We also took a day trip to Sagres.
Unlike other parts of Portugal, where vegan food was not as easily found, the tourism here makes it so that there was a lot more “ethnic” food, which is easier to make vegan than the seafood and steak we found elsewhere. Each night we ate out, and we ended up getting Indian, Italian, tapas, a New Zealand take on burritos, and burgers. For the rest of our meals, we got food and snacks at the grocery stores and made breakfast and lunch in the kitchen.
While Lagos isn’t the most culturally diverse or “authentic” Portuguese destination (excepting the fact that it was a center during the Age of Discoveries), it was perfect for what we wanted, which was to eat, read, laze, and lounge. A surprising bonus was the cool street art too, which also included a few works by ROA. Meanwhile, the weather was a dream, and the people were just as friendly as everywhere else in the country.