Let's be honest, it doesn't take much convincing to get me to agree to a holiday. So when a friend suggested a trip to The Algarve, promising warmer weather than London (obviously) and Portuguese culinary delights, I was sold immediately.
My first visit to Portugal was with my family as a 10 year old. Vivid memories of piri piri chicken (not of the Nando's variety); grilled sardines; painted tiles; pasteis de nata; and being dragged around the countryside to see every castle/ruin humanly possible (thanks, Dad), had me super excited for a weekend in the sun.
Somehow though, this particular weekend saw The Algarve battered with what felt like its yearly rainfall in two days, whilst London experienced a "heat wave" (realistically, this is couple of consecutive days above 24 degrees Celsius... hardly a heat wave). Despite the spot of bad weather, I fell in love with Portugal (and Portuguese food) all over again, and have raved about the food so much that I've been asked "what even is Portuguese food?!" way too many times to count.
Scroll through the photos for some of my favourite spots in Lagos and leave me a comment or send me an email if you have any Portugal recommendations for me! L x
Our Airbnb in Lagos was probably one of the best experiences I've had with Airbnb. The location of Benta's apartment was on a cute and quite little street, but right in the thick of everything, only a few minutes walk from the beach. But it was the hospitality of Benta and her son, Ricardo, that really set this place apart - we were welcomed into Benta's own home around the corner, for homemade marble cake and Port wine.
FOOD & DRINK
When you sit down to a meal in Portugal you will often be served sardine paté to accompany your bread. If (as I do) you enjoy seafood, go ahead and slather your bread with it... if not, then best you steer clear.
Restaurante Dois Irmaos was our first meal in Lagos and probably our favourite. Ordering well is always important, but never more so than when you're in a foreign country. Fresh seafood is the order of the day here (and in The Algarve generally); the prawns and clams were exceptional.
Tucked away in a backstreet up a hill, Restaurante O Escondidinho is popular with the locals and serves some delicious grilled fresh fish. If they're in season (and you enjoy fishy fish), get the all you can eat grilled sardines.
Casinha do Petisco is extremely popular with locals and tourists alike. Make a reservation if you can; it's a tiny restaurant and you will find yourself waiting outside whilst eyeing off the cataplana everyone inside is eating.
The smell of piri piri chicken on the grill is one of the enduring memories I have from my family's holiday to Portugal all those years ago, so I was on a mission to find some of Lagos's best piri piri chicken. I made my friends trek to Frango Dourado in the heart of a residential area and I am so glad this place delivered (just make sure you order the piri piri chicken... I'm still confused as to why my friend ordered pasta).
It wouldn't be a trip to Portugal without eating as many pasteis de nata as possible. For the uninitiated, a pastel de nata is an egg custard tart with a slightly caramelised top. Head to Pasteleria Gomba for your fix in Lagos; it's closed on Sundays.
And if you're an icecream fiend like me (even when it's 16 degrees and raining), Gelateria Crema di Gelato.
The Algarve beaches are some of the most beautiful and interesting I've seen. Weirdly, the yellow tones of the sand, and the cliff formations remind me a lot of the Victorian Surf Coast near where I grew up.
Praia Dona Ana is the hero beach of Lagos and for good reason, it's surrounded by rocky formations and cliffs and it's spectacular, even on a cloudy day.
A little south of Praia Dona Ana is Praia Do Camilo, a little smaller but every bit as picturesque.
Sadly our visit to Ponta da Piedade was nixed by the rain, the boat tour/SUP will have to wait for next time!