Three friends, six days, five nights, ten places to admire, countless sand grains to get between our toes, millions of salty Atlantic drops to send shivers down our spines - all this under the bright Portuguese sun. You might not know it yet but you really want to go to the beaches of Algarve.
It’s only been a week or two since I returned from Portugal, but the time spent there has already become one of those unreal memories you have doubts believing really happened. Those few days were almost too good to be true, especially for someone like me, someone who lives very deeply inland. This was my first visit to Portugal and it won me over, it got under my skin and I almost feel as if I have always had it in my blood.
The first beach we visited in the south of Portugal was in Albufeira, where we stayed. We walked a considerable number of steps, downhill from our hotel and then, when the last pristine white house cleared our view, there it was — a long strip of a beach, stretching as far as our eyes could see. It glowed in the sun and it was rather impressive, especially after how the weather had treated us the previous couple of days.
We walked along the promenade and then down another set of steps — right to the beach, right to the ocean. We sat on the sand and admired the view, just sat there and basked in the sun for a while. Later that day, we went exploring again. We drove to Portimão and hoped to find a beach called Praia da Rocha. At first, we found another long stretch of a beach, not unlike the one in Albufeira… but this time, we spotted a lighthouse, and as it usually is with lighthouses that guide ships into a harbour is, it stood at the very end of a long and windy pier.
Back on the beach, we chased seagulls and the sun sat slowly down. And we walked on and on until we found ourselves on the beach we aimed for all along — unexpectedly, there it was, Praia da Rocha, and I felt small and overwhelmed and respectful.
Next day, we drove to Lagos, in search of a unique beach we heard of called Praia do Camilo. Some 224 steep steps will lead you down to it and it indeed is very unique. I was lost for words when I saw it for the first time (even from the distance, even from above) and I am lost for words about it still. The seclusion, the sun-soaked sand, the green and blue water, the otherworldly scenery… the endless possibilities for taking pictures!!! You will never get bored there… if you’ve had enough of lying about or splashing in the water, you can always go exploring. There are neighbouring beaches, crevices, a cave… just watch the tide though or you could get stranded somewhere.
I hope that even if my words were not convincing enough, the photos were. Next time you are thinking about spending some time on a beach, please think of Algarve, think of Portugal. Get on a plane to Faro, hire a car, drive along the coast and find a spectacular beach for yourself.