Good times in Portugal! In case you missed it, we escaped to Portugal earlier this spring in order to get away from the masses during Semana Santa. The holiday is all well and good, but once was enough for us.
During our stay in the city of Lagos, we spent most of our time doing little day trips to various villages throughout the Algarve. While it wasn’t beach-time weather, we still enjoyed the sand and sun, doing our best to walk around and sit in as many cafés as possible.
Three of the villages we visited were Alvor, Luz, and Carvoeiro. The first is definitely a fishing village com praia, while the latter are much more touristy, even though their fishing heritage is still very much intact. Here’s a map for your bearings.
As you can see, all of these villages are relatively close to each other. One of the great things about the Algarve region of Portugal is that it’s crazy easy to get around in a relatively short amount of time. There are dozens of little villages along the coast, with no shortage of gorgeous, old streets, and smooth, sandy beaches. Just pick one and go!
So that’s what we did. Multiple times. Ready?
This village very much celebrates its fishing heritage, and that’s readily evident by the dozens of boats you’ll see in the marina and the big statue of a fisherman right on the water. Its slightly hilly streets give way to plenty of trinket shops as well as boutiques with Portuguese goods. There are also quite a few cafés and restaurants, especially when you get down to the water.
If you’re looking for beach, it’s next to town and more of a drive than a walk, and it was basically empty when we were there due to the unseasonably cold weather. Still, it’s quite pretty and one can only imagine how many thousands of people flock here in the summer. We had a walk around, and then sat at a beach-side café for a coffee while watching the clouds go by.
Landing in Luz, it was immediately apparent that a lot of people vacation here. There are German grocery store chains and restaurants catering to the expat population, but that doesn’t take away from its village charm whatsoever. (Of course, we don’t know what it looks like during high season.) There is a very nice church right on the water, and rocky outcroppings that make for some good wibble-wobbling for a waterside walk with Louis.
Walking down the boardwalk of town, cafés and shops abound, and there’s even some old Roman ruins that were found right next to the beach. They’re not impressive, really, but we were happy to see that the Romans thought it was pretty in Luz as well, and that the government preserved them.
And Luz has a small beach and cove right in town, flanked on one side by the cliffs for which this region is well-known. I could definitely spend more time here; but once again, I can only imagine how many people flock here in the summer. Eek!
I don’t really know why, but this is the village I most wanted to see. I had seen pictures of it prior to our trip, and I was immediately awestruck as I’d never really delved into what Portugal looks like down here.
Carvoeiro is very hilly, and the main roads in town cut right through its little valley and head straight for the beach. All along the roads are shops of both the interesting and touristy kind, as well as various restaurants and whatnot. It has an air of being filled with expats, but it still retains its Portuguese charm.
Once you get to the end of the road, you wind up at what I consider a drop-dead gorgeous beach. It’s entirely surrounded by cliffs, and they’re so tight that the cove is more or less entirely visible from one viewpoint. I love it. As with most of the rest of Portugal we have seen, I’d love to spend more time here. Granted, it no doubt gets crowded, but I really dig it.
So there you have it! Three little villages in the Algarve. We highly recommend that you visit this region. Just rent a car and have at it…you probably can’t go wrong. Be sure to check out all of our Portugal posts right here.
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Have you ever been to any of these villages, or the Algarve? If so, what’d you think? If not, what say ye? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!