A few weeks ago I published a post called “Algarve – Itinerary and Cost” and I mentioned that I had written a guest post for onedayitinerary.co.uk, it’s been posted today and I’m super proud of how it turned out! Click here to read it.
Day 1 – Late night flight from Newcastle,
The flight time is 3 hours and cost £100/pp for a return ticket with Ryanair, use SkySkanner.com for the best deals. There isn’t any time difference between the UK and Portugal.
A taxi into Faro cost us €12, it only took about 10 minutes to get from the airport to our hotel. We spent 2 nights at the Guest House Sao Filipe which cost £30/night. The rooms were basic and small but they were clean and comfortable.
Day 2 – Full day in Faro,
We were lucky enough to be featured as guest writers on http://www.onedayitinerary.com, the article should be published soon, I will link it to our home page as soon as it up.
Day 3 – Travel to Lagos,
Our hotel was about a 5 minute walk to Faro main train station. As all trains in Europe, they cheap and reliable, a one way ticket from Faro to Lagos was only €7.20/pp, travel time is just under 2 hours. Trains aren’t very regular so check out www.algarvebus.info for the latest time tables.
We arrived in Lagos just after mid-day and had a gentle stroll around the marina and town centre until we were allowed to check into our apartment at Via D. Ana at 2pm for 7 nights. We only paid £33/night and had the most amazing view from our balcony. The apartment was clean and had in everything we needed to make ourselves at home for a week.
Day 4 to 7 – Lagos,
Lagos is a really good place for families, couples and also has a fairly big backpacking scene. We spent our days walking, cycling and lying on the beach. At night we explored the old town which had a lively nightlife and loads of restaurants, it was easy to get whatever you fancied, Indian, Italian, English, Japanese, etc. and of course Portuguese!
Check out our blog post for the best things to do in Lagos here.
Day 8 – Day trip to Silves,
The trains were so cheap and reliable that we stayed in Logos for a little bit longer than we had originally planned and just did a couple of day trips, first we went to Silves,
A historic town not far from Lagos and easily accessible on the train. Silves is dominated by a medieval castle and surrounded by beautiful countryside and orange farms. We’ve done a full post on this, click to here to read.
Day 9 – Day trip to Portimao
We spent a full day in Portimao but I wasn’t overly impressed. The beach front is lined with massive hotels and British pubs and it was a lot more crowded than anywhere else we had been. Maybe it was just because we had been spoiled by the amazing scenery and beaches in Lagos and the culture in Faro, but Portimao just didn’t seem very Portuguese.
Day 10 – Travelled home
We had an absolutely amazing time in the Algarve and will certainly return. There are other places in Portugal I want to visit too, like Lisbon. I also want to go back to Porto as a tourist, I’ve only ever been on a business trip but had one night in the town centre which was beautiful.
Other Useful Information:
When to visit: The Algarve is based along the southern coast of Portugal and gets really hot and busy during the summer months. May and September are still sunny but it’s a little cooler and much more comfortable.
Visa: UK Passport holders do not currently need a visa to enter Portugal.
Vaccinations: At the time of writing (May 2017) there are no vaccinations required.
Money: The currency in Portugal is Euro. Exchange rates on 9th May 2017 below:
£1 (GBP) = €1.18 (EUR)
$1 (USD) = €0.92 (EUR)
It was really easy to find a cashpoint (ATM), but it’s worth mentioning that we did notice quite a few signs in café windows etc. that said ‘cash only’.
Food and drink all over the Algarve is very reasonably priced, we spent 10 days here and never spent more than €25 per meal.
1. Costal Walks – This was our favourite day of all in the Algarve, the costal walks that surround Lagos are remarkable. The hike was light intensity and perfect for beginners, there were a couple of steep bits and the track was overgrown with plants in some areas. It’s not suitable for people who have difficulty walking or for bike and pushchairs. At a very leisurely pace, stopping for photos and sandwiches, the hike took us about 3 and a half hours.
I’ve sketched a rough map below, but once you get to the starting point there is no way you can get lost, it’s one single track. We started west and travelled east and didn’t see a single person until about 2 hours into the trek. The closer we got to Lagos centre it began to get a bit crowded. (Especially at Ponta da Piedade.)
2. City Walls – They are surprisingly well preserved, it will take most people about an hour to circle the entire old town if you follow the walls. The town square is where most of the events are held, including Saturday morning exersize classes.
We were lucky enough to be in town during the ‘discovering of Lagos’ festival, held once a year on the last weekend in April. It was a medieval themed fair with regular stage shows and huge food market.
3. Go to the Beach – There are so many beautiful beaches surrounding Lagos, if you’re staying close to the old town then head up the coastal patch in search for a deserted section that will be your own private little beach for the day. If you’re willing to swim, (or just wade in up to the knees) then you can find some completely isolated places.
The beaches at Praia Dona Ana and Praia do Camilo are the most popular, the latter has a tunnel through the rocks to another cluster of tiny beaches, and we were lucky enough to get one of these to ourselves for a full morning.
If you’re on the other side of the river, the beach there is long and white, its surfers paradise and reminds me of a beach in Australia. Its miles long so it never feels busy or crowded.
4. Take a boat/kayak trip – the whole marina area is lined with stalls belonging to different companies trying to sell you a boat or kayak trip to the grottos. Ask for prices from a few different vendors before agreeing on a trip. From the water you will see a totally different perspective of the shore line.
Don’t forget to pack your waterproof camera.
5. Hire a Bike – Inside the city isn’t very bike friendly, its cobbled streets and busy. However, once you get outside the city walls there is plenty to explore on by bike. We hired bikes in the old town, right next to the putting green for €10 each for 5 hours. There is a €50 deposit which you get back when you return the bikes.
Silves is a tiny town in the Algarve, Portugal. It’s slightly inland meaning it’s a million times quieter than its beach neighbors. The train from Lagos takes approximately 30 minutes and costs €5.80 for a return ticket, making it a perfect for a day trip.
Trains aren’t very regular so check www.algarvebus.info for the latest time tables.
It was really cloudy the day that we were there but it suited us because we ended up doing a lot of walking while we were here.
It’s about a 15-20 minute walk from the train station to the centre of Silves. (As you leave the train station just follow the main road uphill) As you come around the corner the first thing you will see is the small open being looked over by an imposing castle, Castelo de Silves. Entrance costs €2.80.
We had made sandwiches in the apartment and brought them with us so we didn’t stop for lunch, but there were quite a few nice looking cafes around the castle.
It didn’t take very long to look around the town centre, and after buying the obligatory post card for Grandma we headed out into the orange farms for a nice long walk. (Didn’t steal any, HONESTLY! :))
We walked up the first dirt path and there didn’t seem to be an end in sight, after a few hours and what seemed like 40 miles (actually only 8) we returned to the town for a well earned coffe at Cafe E Companhia, I didn’t give in to the passion fruit cheesecake but regretted it all the way home, it looked incredible!
In summary, Silves was a great day out, the castle is a must see and the surrounding country side is beautiful, but it is a sleepy little village, I probably wouldn’t want to stay any longer than 1 day.