Road trip through Algarve for a weekend escape in Portugal

It’s September and has the summer slowly ends, there is like a last dream of beach for one final bath before autumn comes.

Let's go to Algarve, Portugal for a 4-day weekend.

Algarve is the region on the South coast of Portugal, where the Atlantic ocean starts to feel like the Mediterranean Sea.

Day 1 - Cacela Velha

177 km / 110 miles - 2h10 on the road today

As soon as we landed in Faro, we get our rental car for a ride in direction of the East to reach the small fisher villages of Algarve.

Cacela Velha was definitely the one that enchanted us the most.
You will only find a dozen houses, one restaurant, and one church in the village. The restaurant opens only mid-afternoon.

Time is like suspended in Cacela Velha

Cacela Velha small church

This old telephone booth has been turned into a tiny library in the village of Cacela Velha

Cacela Velha Cemetery

After getting a first taste of Portugal food, we go down the stairs that brings us from the village to a gorgeous sand dune that the ocean sneakily infiltrate. A short walk takes us to an endless beach.
First taste of this warm ocean. There the ocean is geographically very close to its inescapable transformation into Mediterranean Sea which makes it warm.

On our way to the ocean down Cacela Velha

We then hit the road back to the West to reach our Airbnb in Lagos.

Lagos is a great place to setup your base. It’s in the middle of Algarve coast, lively but not damaged by tourism, and full of nice places to eat and party for all tastes.

Day 2 - Hiking on Algarve cliffs & beaches

60km / 40 miles = 1h20 on the road today for the round trip

Click  here  or on the map to access it

Click here or on the map to access it

First morning in Portugal, nobody is tired. So we decide to use this first full day for a solid hiking on Algarve coast cliffs that will make sure discover beautiful beaches and landscapes.

The hiking starts in Carvoeiro beach (Praia de Carvoeiro) and follows the coast in the East direction. We leave the car at the parking and start walking along the coast.

The first cliffs and landscapes are stunning. The colors of the water of the beaches are gorgeous.

Farol de Alfanzina

 

Some heavenly beaches are empty because only accessible by boat

 

I love the contrast between the beach / water natural colors and the umbrellas on this photo


After 2 hours of effort, we reach Benagil Beach (Praia de Benagil) where we decide to grab lunch.

Cliffs around Benagil beach

Houses around Benagil beach

Houses around Benagil beach

Before taking care of our stomachs, we book a ride on a boat for after lunch. We definitely don’t regret this boat ride that sounded a bit too touristy at first.

It takes us to hidden beaches that are only accessible by boat, and dive into natural caves. It's spectacular. At the end, the pilot proceeds to a breathtaking acceleration for a sensational finish.

Then we continue our hiking until Marinha Beach (Praia da Marinha) for a well-deserved nap on the sand and a delightful bath. I can’t get enough of these spectacular views.

Natural caves only accessible by boat around Benagil beach

Ocean view from Marinha Beach

Day 3 - East Atlantic coast and sunset

100km / 60 miles = 2h on the road today

Click  here  or on the map to access it

Click here or on the map to access it

Today we will explore another type of beaches, where the ocean is full of strength and nature gets wilder.

Praia Da Bordeira

Bordeira Beach will be our first destination for today. Once you park the car, you have to walk 10 minutes and cross a small river created by the ocean to join a magnificent sand dune that eventually leads you to the ocean.

We can feel that the air is a bit colder but the sun takes care of balancing that.

We go for a swim. The ocean immediately reminds us of its power we could have forgotten in the calm waters of the South coast of Algarve. The water is definitely colder there.

Praia Da Bordeira

As the sun starts his descent, we go back on the road.

Sunset at the lighthouse of Cabo de São Vicente

Perfect timing. We get there before the sunset. We take a seat on the cliffs and we now have nothing else to do other than enjoying the show. Simply superb.

The color of the setting sun, how it reflects on the cliffs, the lighthouse, the waves on the ocean…

What a perfect way to end the day with our heads full of beautiful images.

Sunset light on the cliffs of Cabo de São Vicente

Farol (lighthouse) do Cabo de São Vicente

Sunset at the Lighthouse of Cabo de São Vicente

We now go back to Lagos for a fun night out.

We eat at Casa do Prego in Lagos: amazing tapas and desserts, fun waiter, and delicious sangria. What else?

Day 4 - Lagos and Ferragudo

Lagos was our base camp but we preferred to keep the visit of it for the last day so it would be easier to keep the right timing for our return flight tonight.

We start the day with a good breakfast at the lovely hipster/surfer vibe Coffee & Waves (here on the map). Hello avocado toasts!

Then we go exploring the small streets and churches offered by Lagos.

 

We definitely don't regret to have chosen it for our Airbnb. Lagos is a very charming town with lovely colorful houses and streets.

Wandering early in the morning in Lagos will allow you to explore the streets as the city wakes up, for a unique atmosphere enriched by a delightful morning light.

Coffee & Waves , coffee shop in Lagos

Coffee & Waves, coffee shop in Lagos

Morning light on Praça Luis de Camoes in Lagos

Lagos houses

Mercado Municipal de Lagos

If you visit Lagos, make sure to not miss Ponta da Piedade in Lagos. The cliffs shapes and crazy blue water create a stunning view.

Ponta da Piedade in Lagos

On our way back to the airport we have time to stop in Ferragudo. I'm glad we did it because that is where we discover the most enchanting streets of our whole weekend in Algarve.

If you want colors, you will be served by the charming narrow streets of Ferragudo

Ferragudo colorful streets

Our weekend escape in Portugal is already coming to its end. Algarve was definitely the best way to say “au revoir” to summer.

Last rays of Portugal light on our return flight