Notes on Faro and beyond

Faro

There is something very different when you are travelling on your own. The feeling of absolute freedom gives a sense of that sweet, childish excitement and you are open to this world; you are waiting for it to unfold in front of you.

Yet, my first day in Faro I felt somewhat stuck. Stuck?! How is it even possible? Was I so dramatically attached to everything and everyone back home? The feeling of long awaited “absolute freedom” overwhelmed me as suddenly there was no one to really enjoy this with but myself. I did many things on my own and so at first my trip disagreed with carefully chosen with my both hands solitude.

Yet again, this is something I noticed about myself – that I need to arrive to the place I’m in. I need to arrive there mentally. Usually it happens when I spend the night with a new city.
And there it was -next morning when I opened my eyes, I was finally there. Solitude didn’t seem to bother me anymore.

Lagos

View to the promenade | Lagos

As I only came to the southern Portuguese coast for a few days I decided to start my discovery with further places, like Lagos.
So next day I took a morning train (which is the best way to travel around in Portugal) to Lagos located 90 km away from Faro on Algarve Coast.

The beauty of Lagos lies in its proximity to many stunning spots with even more stunning views, like Ponta Da Piedade overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
Lagos is also popular for its many many beaches. At first, I thought I’d check only three of them as they appeared to be “the best” in many articles I have read about Lagos. These beaches are –

– Praia Dona Anna
– Praia do Camilo
– Ponta Da Piedade

But what I didn’t know was how easily accessible and close to each other were all the beaches of Lagos. It took me only 20 minutes from a train station to get to the beach number 1 that wasn’t even on my list, but became one of my favorites out of all the beaches I’ve seen in Lagos. It’s called Praia dos Estudantes. Apparently it’s a place where students like to hang out an dI can see why. There are tunnels taht lead you from one side of the beach to another but what I would personally like to highlight is that there is a bridge in between the two rock formations placed in water and for me, it is the bridge that adds a special zest to it.

Praia dos Estudantes

faro-24

At first I just passed it by and made a mental note of it but didn’t stay there because I wasn’t sure how far is Ponta da Piedade and I absolutely wanted to see it.

So I continued walking and I have to say that Ponta da Piedade is situated at the very end of the coastal promenade. This is a plus though because you can pass all the beaches along the way and then decide where to come back to.

Lagos Stairs Playa is another cool beach you can find along the way. It is quite remote and small, but it looks stunning. Especially if you photograph it from water 😉

Lagos Stairs Playa

Lagos Stairs Playa

Eventually and after only 40 minutes, I finally ended up at the famous Ponta Da Piedade.

The photos are below –

 

faro-25

faro-26

faro-30

faro-29

It is indeed very picturesque and I can see why it attracts tourists around the world. The water looks photo-shopped and the cliffs and rocks around the area are like a huge magnet that draws in photo enthusiasts.
In addition to marveling the view and taking beautiful photos you can take a boat tour to the caves and grottoes right there at the spot. It comes in very handy and I think it is also cheaper to buy a tour at the Ponta Da Piedade comparing to the deals offered everywhere around the city.

faro-31

faro-33
The boat tour was 15 euro that I did not pay in the very end. This is why – I was queuing with an older German couple standing beside me and we got into talking. I said I am a lonely traveler on a budget, they said they are a married couple on a vacation. Their names were Richard and Barbara and so on and so forth.

Richard & Barbara and the captain

So we got into a boat together and were all the time interrupted by a captain that was trying to show us the rocks that either looked like a Gorilla or an elephant, or a monster or God knows what. Attention! Imagination is highly required in here 😉

faro-35
This is supposed to be the “Monster” 😛
faro-34
Now I think this was a cave of Love. Not sure 😀

So after a good half hour cause that’s how long the tour lasts we arrived back at the starting point and this is when every passenger has to pay a captain for the trip. But what happened was that they insisted on covering the expense of the trip in full, meaning they invited me and I did not need to take my wallet out. It was so unexpected and so incredibly sweet, just showed once again that life is full of kind surprises. I am very thankful for their generosity. Barbara and Richard literally made my day.

Happy and still full of energy I decided that it is time to return to the beach, get some tan and then walk around the Lagos city itself.
So I strolled back to the Stairs Playa and spend there good few hours. My train to Faro was leaving at 8pm and I still had time to walk around the city itself. Lagos is full of tourists, souvenir shops, street musicians and beautiful buildings. I think it suits a younger crowd, as it has a nice vibe similar to Saint Julian’s in Malta.

faro-15

faro-19

faro-20

faro-21

faro-17

faro-18

Faro

Faro can offer a lot to a visitor, but in my opinion, it is more suitable for a quiet holiday. If you want to relax, leisurely walk around and go to the beach from time to time then Faro is your choice. If you want more “fun and games” type of a holiday then you might feel a bit bored in Faro.

faro

I on the other hand enjoyed Faro, because this time I was going for a quiet holiday. I loved the closeness of everything, the nice cafes and restaurants around old town, the museums and parks.
Every morning I’d go to a place called Padaria Urbana (Urban bakery) to get delicious coffee for a euro and one of their freshly baked pastries for 0.95 cents only.

faro-49

faro-50

faro-51
There is another cute cafe called Quente & Frio – it has really nice style and upstairs area with big windows and a balcony, perfect place to escape the heat.

faro-11

faro-10

faro-6                                   faro-7

So once you’ve had your coffee you have a sea of possibilities – for example you can dive into history and explore the Cathedral of Faro for only 3.50.

faro-63     faro-57

The ticket gives you an access to the roof top platform with 360 view on Faro, an access to a cathedral aaaand to a museum. I think it is a fair deal.

faro-62

faro-61

faro-64
Then you can take a walk in the old town and just enjoy the narrow cobalt streets and colourful architecture.

faro-55

faro-43

You can make your way to an old Factory and walk along the coast to the center of the city.

Old factory now converted into a dance venue by night
Walk towards city centre along the coastline

faro-70

faro-44

faro-46

Once you reached the FARO sign, you made to the very centre. Five more minutes and you are at the bus station where you can take a bus to the beach. It costs 2.25 to get to the seaside and it is the same price for a ticket to the airport as it is literally 10 minutes drive from the beach.

image6
Me, enjoying the heat and the ocean 🙂

image1-1    image2

Thanks for reading and go ahead, visit Portugal 😉

faro-69

faro-16

 

Useful info:

  • Coffee in Faro usually costs 1 euro
  • Water (1.5l) in a supermarket Pingo Doce costs around 17 cents
  • Freshly squeezed orange juice (0.5l) in a supermarket costs 1.50 euro
  • Local cuisine, like “Cod with vegetables” is 7.50 euro. I also managed to have a pretty descent tuna steak with veggies for 12 euro
  • Ticket to the airport (and vice versa) costs 2.25 euro. So does a ticket to the beach
  • Website for checking train timetables and ticket prices: https://www.cp.pt/passageiros/pt
Share

Leave a Reply