Algarve

algave portugal

One downside to living in London is the persistently white skin (otherwise known as a lack of sun). The Algarve was added to the itinerary to rectify this pervasive problem quick-smart. The problem was, that we didn’t want to be two more pale ‘Brits’ swarming along the Portugese coastline with cameras in hand… we wanted something a bit more authentic.

Enter Bergau, the perfect solution to this endemic. Bergau is a small authentic Portuguese fishing village which has somehow escaped the mass tourism of nearby resort towns such as Lagos and Praia Da Luz. With its collection of white washed houses, vibrant fishing nets, welcoming local restaurants, slinking cats, all topped off with an expanse of sparkling blue sea and sandy beach – what is not to love? We took up residence in a spacious apartment, let to us by a local who cooked fresh fish each evening on an open grill in his doorway.Thus began the blissful barefooted days of salt and sun. Joel and I roamed the coastline like greedy vultures, dipping down into hidden coves and splashing in the (freezing) Atlantic. We kayaked through grottos, became shipwrecked on deserted beaches, and relished the freedom of the open ocean, which is what our Aussie hearts most needed! The town of Lagos, whilst touristed no doubt, was justifiably lovely and I danced around in my sarong under flowering jacaranda trees, humming a summer tune. We took every opportunity available to indulge in more Portuguese tarts and locally caught produce. Our induction into National culture was sealed as we consoled distraught Portuguese one night when they bowed out of Euro 2012. The flag waving ceased, and we cheered them on with vigour as they hit the bars hard to drown their misery.

One of the nice things about Bergau is that it is authentic, yet well positioned. It’s a stone-throw away from brilliant rock formations rising out of the crystal sea, making spectacular viewing along the coastal paths. It is also a short drive from Cabo de São Vicente, the most southwestern point of Portugal, and within reach of gorgeous stretches of white sand belonging to multiple beaches in between. Not that you would have needed to leave the town of course. The air was constantly alive with chatter from the locals, who roamed around in threadbare shirts making the daily social rounds. As the tide came in and out with the fishing boats, we became accustomed to a slower pace of life, doing our souls a favour.

If you are in the area I would recommend a stop off at Algar Seco, a unique warren of caves opening out to the Atlantic Ocean. It took a great act of willpower to tear ourselves away for the return journey to Lisbon. Knowing our grief would be great, we planned a visit to the ancient municipality of Sintra that afternoon. All I can say is, it was worth every ounce of effort to experience this romantic 19th Century landscape. I have seen more castles than I can count since our arrival in Europe, but nothing has come close to the Moorish Castle ruins in Sintra.

To sum up the experience – OH&S? Naaahhh don’t worry about it mate… climb on whatever ruin you can find! This liberating approach (for as long as it lasts) gets the tick in my book! Every fairytale I read when I was a child came to life as we scurried up moss leaden steps, scaled castle walls, tiptoed through gardens, ascended turrets, and chased each other along the ramparts. The views were vast and expansive, visitors few and I, well, I was Cinderella.

With Portugal truly having woven its magic, two content travellers arrived wearily at the airport. Only to be told that the flight was overbooked, and since we got the cheap tickets, we were effectively ‘booted’ off the plane. Joel and I stared blankly at the TAP air assistant in confusion, the magic of Portugal rapidly diminishing. After some tears the magic returned in the form of an 800 euro cash card, and overnight at the Hilton complete with buffet and wine! Thanks TAP air (but seriously, never fly them – it’s the only negative thing I have to say about Portugal!).

algave portugal
Lagos
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swimming in the Atlantic

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Strings of beaches along the coast of Lagos
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Rock formations on the Lagos coast
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Caves & Tunnels
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Queen of the Coast!
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In the sweet town of Lagos
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Kayaking on the Lagos coastline
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Dancing in secluded coves

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Somewhere along the coast where we were washed up!
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Beach-hopping
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Mountain King
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Our little balcony in Bergau
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Beach Days
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Sagres
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Looking towards our little town of Bergau
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Cape Vincent
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Windows to the Atlantic
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Love xx
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Algar Seco
Sintra Portgual
Markets in Sintra
Sintra Portugal
Running along castle walls
Sintra Portugal
From the Moorish Castle
Sintra Portugal
Moorish Castle

Sintra Portugal

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2 thoughts on “Algarve

  1. Hi, a really lovely and informative piece! I am looking up Bergau now as a possible summer holiday. Did you need to rent a car to drive from the airport (Faro for eg.)? If so what was this like parking and driving around the area?

    It would be great to know what you think – I find the idea of renting a car offputting so would be good to know what you did and if its worth it.

    Fiona

    1. Hi Fiona! You can get a train to the main towns like Lagos and then get a bus. bergau is quite a small town there are no direct transfers from Faro unless you pay for one. However there is so much to do along the coast I would recommend a car if it isn’t too off putting for you and you want to see a lot of places. However if you are just interested in going to the beach and hanging in the town and not getting up to much else then it might not be worth it. We were there in May so parking wasn’t a problem you just park up the top of town and it’s a short walk down to the centre and the beach. There are some parks near the beach but I think In summer that would be too busy. There are regular buses between bergau and luz/Lagos so you wouldn’t have to fight for parking or pay for parking so maybe look that up and between these three towns you might be happy to just hang out around this area and not worry about a car. Lagos there is loads to do. Don’t miss kayaking around the Lagos coast! We loved staying in bergau! Enjoy x

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