Guacamomma and I are at it again! As you know after reading our first wild road trip through Andalucia , we don’t mess around. Well folks, we’ve done it for the second time! This time, we took our brand spankin’ new rental car and drove it all the way from Granada to Portugal‘s Algarve.
After interviewing Portuguese locals about their favorite spots in the Algarve and doing some of our own investigative homework, we narrowed it down to these five beach towns. Here’s what our killer route looked like:
Wait a minute! What’s the Algarve?
Good question! Incase you’re not yet familiar with Portugal‘s gorgeous southernmost region, here’s a short breakdown. It’s a region on the Atlantic Ocean, characterized by that sunny Mediterranean climate we all love, adorable white washed beach towns, coasts lined with dramatic limestone grottos, smiling Portuguese people and LOTS of grilled fish.
Sold? Then let’s buckle up and hit the road!
We drove until we couldn’t drive anymore…literally!
Sagres is the southwesternmost tip of Europe. When you think of the very tip of Europe, what do you imagine? If it’s dramatic cliffs that plummet steep into the fierce, deep ocean blue of the Atlantic, as the expressive waves crash against the centuries-old rocks….then you’ve imagined correctly. It’s truly a powerful place, this Sagres. When you’re standing at the top of these cliffs, looking out into the endless Atlantic, knowing that somewhere on the other end sits America…
It’s one of those zen moments. Guacamomma got it.
Next stop? This adorable little coastal town!
Historically a fishing village, there’s currently only 450 (very happy) residents living there.
Recommendations: This is a perfect stop for a road/beach snack. GM and I were starving, and there was literally nothing open at the time. So, we settled and waltzed into the “Mais Perto” supermarket…and to our surprise was an adorable little bakery, smoothie & coffee shop with an even more adorable smiling barista! Everything was made with love and smiles, including their 100% fruit smoothies, customized to your liking.
You’ve probably heard of this one. It’s no undiscovered secret, and it’s for a darn good reason! Lagos is one of the main touristic towns in the Algarve, so Guacamomma and I had to check it out and see what the hype was. And by golly, the hype was right! The grotto-filled beaches, like Praia Dona Ana (in the pic above) are nothing less than stunning. We stayed here for two nights, using the hotel-saturated town as a base for our “dayscoveries.” I recommend you do the same; use Lagos as your sleeping base and explore the nearby villages during the day.
Recommendations: Taninos Wine & Kitchen (Rua Silva Lopes 25) Portuguese tapas that blend traditional Algarve cuisine with a contemporary twist. With the waiter’s help, every dish is paired with the perfect glass of Portuguese wine! The prices were right, and the waiters were an absolute delight. (Yes, that rhymed).
If I had to pick a favorite little beach town in the Algarve (although it’s hard), I’d have to say it’s here! Carvoeiro was bustling and lively with shops and beach restaurants, yet serene all at once. Could ya’ tell we were happy?!
Recommendations: Don’t forget to eat some homemade ice cream at Gelados & Companhia
…Drum roll please?! This was the final stop before crossing back over the border to Spain and our home base for the final night. And let me tell ya’, we went out with a BANG! History, beach, wetlands, river, amazing food, the most delightful boutique hotel…what more could you ask for? The picture-perfect historical town is filled with over 36 ornate churches, tile houses galore and is divided by the charming Gilão River, which runs into the Atlantic Ocean.
Hotel Recommendation: Tavira House Hotel. Everything from the charming, classical meets funky decor, to the wonderfully accommodating and friendly owner Christoph, made this small house-hotel feel like home.
Food Recommendation: Churrasqueira O Manel. As quirky (and slightly crazy) as the old Portuguese woman running the joint is, that’s how DAMN GOOD the food is. If you like mussels (typical from the Algarve), their mussels in a paprika sauce with caramelized onions are out of this world. Prepare to drool…
And on full bellies and ocean-kissed spirits, it was back to Granada we went.
Have you ever been to Portugal’s Algarve? Which of these little Portuguese beach towns are at the top of your bucket list?!