Lagos, Portugal: Dates Visited – November 25- 29, 2019
As an American citizen, you can only stay (legally) 90 days with a regular visa within the Schengen Area, which comprises the majority of the countries in the European Union. J’Nell and I arrived in Paris in early September of 2019, and we were closing in on 80 days abroad. When we started this adventure, we figured we would return to Hawaii by December 1st.
We were not ready to go home.
But what next? We had everything on the table, from taking a train then ferry to Africa, to flying half way around the world to Bali, or maybe going to England and starting a new visa outside of the Schengen Area.
It was in Sintra we finally made the decision of what would come next, but first there was one more place in Portugal we had to experience before leaving Europe.
We knew we couldn’t leave the country without visiting the Algarve region in the south, and Lagos was our next destination. Getting there via bus seemed to be the best option, and it was around a 3.5 hour trip from Lisbon. J’Nell booked an Airbnb right in the town center, and we were on our way.
From what we were told, the Algarve, and Lagos in particular, gets very crowded in the summer. The bartender at the pub around the corner from our place (at that point in the trip my note taking/journaling was scant and sadly I can’t remember his name or the establishment even though they both were terrific), said in the warmer months the line would be 5 deep to get a drink and everyone there wanted to party. At the end of November in 2019 we had sparse crowds, friendly faces, and an overall relaxing vibe.
In a sense it reminded me a bit of Finisterre, Spain, a place on the fringes of a country with endless ocean beyond and wonderful charm within.
Favorite Moments from Lagos:
The cliffs, from the sea: We booked a 2 hour excursion on a powerboat meant to hold 8 people. It ended up being only J’Nell and I, and we got a private tour of the cliffs and caves along the Lagos coast. Gorgeous, stunning, and the photos (while beautiful) do not tell the whole story. At one point our very friendly guide/captain asked if he could cut the engine and let us drift for a few minutes. We of course said yes, and he said this before going completely silent: “This place is so beautiful, yet always so many boats. You feel lucky to be here, but can’t always enjoy it. I can’t remember being out here so alone, so quiet. I just want to float and take it all in.” We did and it was magical.
The cliffs, from the land: We walked from our Airbnb and it was maybe 30 minutes to get to this stunning spot. We wandered up and down paths along the ocean and it was breathtakingly beautiful. I wanted to build a small cabin somewhere there and never leave.
Walking down to the ocean and having a couple of drinks at a bar underneath the cliffs, and seeing the sunset.
Having drinks at the bar a the pier after the boat trip, and the sunset there with the masts.
The overall charm and vibe of the place, with its meandering streets, superb vistas, great restaurants and bars, gorgeous architecture and friendly citizens.
I remember thinking on our last night in Lagos, there isn’t anywhere else in the world I would rather be. That is what had been going through my mind every day since we arrived in Paris in early September, and I took great satisfaction that nearly 3 months later I felt the same. And while the European part of the trip was coming to an end, the adventure was far from over.