We stepped onto the tarmac after a flight full of excited anticipation to check a new country off our everlasting Bucket List. We were not prepared for the luxuries that would present themselves during this incredible trip. Portugal, oh Portugal. You will forever hold a spot in my heart.
Why were we so excited? The Algarve Coast is absolutely breathtakingly picturesque with its jagged limestone cliffs and cool aquamarine seas. It’s loaded with chisled sea caves that look as if they had been carved with God’s finger explicitly for the purpose of exploration intended to leave you in awe. The sound of the water splashing against the rocks inside is like a Siren’s song calling you in. The contrast between the dusty terrain chock full of olive and orange groves and the glowing clear water surely is a sight for sore eyes. The stucco white buildings and orange roofs scattered throughout the land with very little light pollution leaves this area with millions of stars sparkling exquisitely in the sky. It’s so clear that I was able to see the Milky Way for the first time in my whole life. Algarve could be a synonymous for Heaven on Earth. We were enthralled to arrive.
Getting to the Algarve Coast was a bit of a challenge. London Stansted flew to both Faro and Lisbon with RyanAir. We decided to fly to Lisbon because the flights were about $250 cheaper per person. Faro is located IN the Algarve Coast so it is much closer than Lisbon. If you plan to visit it would be worth it to rent a car and compare the prices of the flights with each airport. Even if you just fly into Faro it is recommended to rent a car. Public transport exists but isn’t the greatest. Rental Cars really guarantee you can reach the out of the way adventure spots that buses won’t drop you off at much faster. The drive from Lisbon is about 2.5 hours of rolling hills through the countryside. It really is a beautifully enjoyable drive. Driving through at night (like we did) is a treat due to the minimal amount of cities. If it’s a clear night, the passenger can easily peek out the window and see the gorgeous night sky.
The perfect place to stay in Algarve is the Epic Sana Hotel. It’s a lavish resort with many pools, the Sayanna Wellness Spa, cliff-surrounded beach access as well as several gourmet restaurants inside. It was intricately decorated with modern-meets-luxury ambiance. You walk into the hotel and become immediately astounded by the décor and staff, who seem like their only goal is to grant your every wish. The rooms are large and spacious with massive bath tubs and waterfall type shower heads. This place truly lived up to its proud title of ‘Epic’.
There were two distinct activities that highlighted the trip to Algarve. One of which was kayaking Lagos with Kayak Adventures based next to the old fort, the other was exploring Benagil Cave. Both of these had been pinned on my Pinterest long before I knew I was going to Portugal on vacation. I never even knew where they were, but when I searched Algarve and they popped up, I was ecstatic. The kayak adventure was breathtaking and intimate. The next day we checked out of our hotel and headed east to a tiny town called Benagil. At the top of the hill we parked in a dusty car park with very few cars. We immediately followed a well-worn trail that took us along the clifftops and overlooked the perfect seaside small town as well as the glowing emerald waters. There were many rocks to climb, and many hidden beaches to view. Sadly for us, they were only accessible by kayak, jet ski, or private boat. Though the walk was surreal, the heat was not. I’d suggest taking the hike before walking down to the beach, because it gets so clammy. The beach is magnificent. The real treat, however, is Benagil Cave. You can read about it in depth HERE. You can reach it by swimming or by boat. It is a large cave carved into the limestone cliff in a large dome with a massive hole in the top. You can see the sunshine through it from the top as well as the two cave openings on the side. It was one of the coolest places I have ever been in my entire life.
Though we were sad to leave, Portugal was an awe-inspiring adventure that I wouldn’t trade for the world. Someday I will go back and re-experience the wonder I felt at nature’s grip. Has anyone else ever been to the Algarve Coast? If so leave your photos or comments in the comment section below!