escape to the algarve.
the algarve: the fabulous souther region of portugal renowned for its sandy beaches and constant sunshine…we traveled by train south from lisbon to the town of lagos, situated on the windward coast. lagos is small but thronged with visitors on holiday in august – the city center (protected by the old city walls and off-limits to traffic) is a maze of cobbled streets jam packed with restaurants, bars and shops, and people. at night, it has a boardwalk-like atmosphere with street performers, artists, musicians and stands filling every open space. across the marina a sandy beach stretches to the east with a handful of beach-club type restaurants that serve up fresh seafood and cold drinks. lagos, for all its attractions, has one major drawback: fierce winds that slap sand at sunbathers and whip through the streets at night. above all, it was warm and sunny and a very happy place…highlights included delicious baby squid, super sweet sangria, swimming in europe’s (chilly!) atlantic ocean, the bustling fish market, and the lively city center with its energetic nightlife.
eels at fish market.
lunch at playa meia praia.
iglesia en la tarde.
magical castles + the westernmost tip of europe.
the coast of portugal seen from the palace of pena. ahhhh.
a 30-minute train ride north of lisbon transports you from the city to another world…the majestic town of sintra, with its looming palaces and castles, nestled high above the coast in thickly wooded forests. it is often referred to as a real-life disney world, with quaint shops lining the cobbled streets and colorful minarets jutting into the bright blue sky. we ascend the winding roads which rise quickly high above the town, visiting first the palace of pena: a summer palace for portuguese royalty set amidst lush gardens with sweeping views of the town below and all the way out to the coast. we tour the rooms, well-preserved and decorated to the tastes of the king and queen. from there we descend upon the castle of the moors – an imposing stone castle with rugged steep steps which lead to the very top. from this vantage point one can see all the way to cabo de roca – the westernmost tip of europe. heading south along the coast we pass cabo de roca and its famed lighthouse landmark, and continue on to the fishing village turned resort town of cascais – a beautiful slice of coast considered to be the portuguese riviera. cascais oozes relaxation and granduer with its cool winds and bright sunshine, the colorful streets buzzing with ethnic restaurants and well-dressed, sun-kissed visitors. chic boutiques line the streets and a large fish market dominates a few blocks near the coast. from the pier the town is striking – a mix of fishing village + beach resort + stately architecture. no wonder the royal court were the first to claim cascais as their resort town in the 1800s…
the palace of pena:
the castle of the moors:
the fishing village of cascais:
a coastal adventure.
bom dia blog readers and sunny greetings once agin from europe! I’m on a train to the lovely town of sintra, just north of lisbon, portugal. for the next two weeks I’ll be traversing the coasts of portugal and spain in search of glorious sunshine, cool beaches, great music and amazing food…already I am enamored with portugal – the city of lisbon is fantastic! Artsy, eclectic, and vibrant – the streets are bustling day and night. We’ve walked throughout the rossio – dining in baixa, admiring the castelo de sao jorge with its sweeping views of the city, and reveling in the nightlife of barrio alto. Today’s destination is the famed sintra with its moorish temples, palaces and cliffside retreats. Tomorrow we depart for the algarve and the coast at lagos…until then – ciao!