Southwest Natural Park – Day 1
The Algarve has long been my dream. Although, a few years ago Portugal was not so popular tourist destination. I have also heard few false opinions that there is nothing to see in Portugal. All in all, I remember that I explored this area in Internet completely accidentally. I never follow the words „nothing is here”, although I didn’t try to verify them. Fortunately, the growing popularity of this region made me want to come and spend some time here. I fall in love with pictures in Internet and I wanted to get there as soon as possible. Just this year (03.2017) Ryanair opened its first direct flights from Poland to Faro. We bought a ticket to Barcelona, then we headed towards Faro, where we planned to stay 4 days and return direct to Warsaw.
We arrived to Faro at night by ALSA bus from Seville. We choosed this city for our first night as we wanted to rent a car from the airport and leave it in the same place. If you want to know how we spent the next day, what we saw and what we recommend, I invite you to check my 4 posts from the Algarve. In this post we will show you our 1 day – unknown Algarve, namely the Southwest Natural Park.
Unpleasant welcome in Faro
Well’Come Algarve Hostel
Before we reached the Algarve, the first problems have already started. The day before our arrival I received an e-mail that the hotel would not accept us due to our late arrival (we were arriving at 2am at night). Perhaps it was also my guilt in this story, however this is what has happened: We booked Well’Come Algarve Hostel in February or March, which was 2-3 months before our arrival. We knew we would be arriving at night, so we were looking for a hotel with 24h reception. The above hotel had such an option, paid extra, but even with this option it was cheaper than others. During the reservation, I wrote in the comment (special wishes) that we will be late, so please wait for us. I know there is a separate window for the „estimated time of arrival”, but I don’t know if those hours were available or not. I could also skip this window. The fact is that I didn’t fill in.
The day before our arrival they have told us that there is no one to pick us up at 2am. I had to close the reservation and luckily they didn’t charge me, but they gave me an advice that I should have made a better reservation. Okay, maybe you should read earlier the customer wishes, not the day before the arrival? Very irresponsible and unprofessional approach to the customer.
Residencial Dandy Hotel
On the day before our arrival, we were looking for a bed and breakfast which would be quite cheap and not too far from the bus station. Fortunately we managed to find something quite quickly. It was only mid-May, so the occupancy of the hotel was not so big. Residencial Dandy Hotel was a great choice. Very clean, interesting decor and friendly staff! 🙂
This is not the end of surprises in Faro
We went to bad late, so we slept till 10:00. Around 11 we left the hotel with our luggage and headed for the bus station. We had a bus to the airport there. On the way we stopped for the English breakfast. Quite expensive, because it cost us 7 euro + coffee 3.5 euros. It’s cheaper than in Manchester, but hallo, we are in Portugal, here it is not so expensive! When we were waiting for the breakfast, a dramatic scene took place in front of us. The woman got an epileptic attack. For the first time I saw something like this with my own eyes. Luckily, they were locals and quickly got along in Portuguese with the people who came to help. An ambulance also arrived and they took the woman to the hospital. We were petrified of this situation because we didn’t know what was going on, how to respond, how to help or if they even understood English at all, etc.
After breakfast we went to the station. We didn’t visit Faro, as our destination was mainly the coast. Hence we were in a hurry to the airport. From the station to the airport you will take the bus no. 16. The bus ticket can be purchased from the driver and costs 2.25 euros. You will find the timetable here, but you can also look here if you need more information about buses in the region. 🙂
If you want to know more about renting a car (which was waiting for us at the airport – just to remind you why we were going to the airport), then I invite you here.
In the meantime, we also took some photos in Faro. 🙂
Southwest Natural Park – travel route
We started our jorney with discovering the unknown part of Algarve, namely from the Southwest Natural Park. You won’t find many blog content about this place. This place is only well known by surfers, which we will meet here in the greatest quantities. If I could go back in time, then I assume that the place would be equally virgin as now. Therefore, it is worth visiting it until the tourists won’t discover the place. Especially since we have seen hotels under construction on the way.
In fact, it doesn’t matter which beaches you visit in this region. Everyone is different and beautiful, so don’t be afraid to go blind. I choosed beaches basing onlu on google maps. I watched the pictures from the satellite and wrote them down on a sheet of paper. Of course, I had saved much more beaches than we had time. 😛 We were using free and offline navigation Maps.me, which I highly recommend!
At Aljezur we made our first stop. This is not a popular town like those in the Algarve’s southern coast, but we will meet a few tourists here. Most of them are people who appreciate hiking along the smaller and larger hills that Aljezur can offer. So don’t be surprised when you see people in trekking shoes in town. 😉 For us, this was the place where we ate something and refuel our car. I would recommend to consider these two issues, while traveling on this route. There are not so many gas station along this road. With food is a little easier, because we saw some pubs or snack bars along the way. We had a lunch at Primavera Restaurant. For such a small town, prices are quite high, but very large portions and quite tasty. 🙂
Monte Clerigo beach
Finally we reached the ocean. I haven’t seen ocean for a while and Darek saw it for the first time! Although, this was our first time in Portugal. 🙂 We were on the hill when we saw the beach, so we had a beautiful view. An agitated ocean, an empty, golden beach, and somewhere in the background were standing white houses. There weren’t many people. Perhaps it was also caused by the gusty wind that accompanied us all day? It was only mid-May and the sun was warming us up, but a strong wind forced us to wear hoodies. Hard conditions 😛 didn’t discourage us for a short walk on the beach. This part of the Algarve doesn’t resemble what we usually see on the internet. And I wouldn’t say that this is less spectacular coast. It is equally beautiful, and we will see here quite different views. The extensive beaches, the agitated ocean and the high dark cliffs are characteristic elements of these shore.
After a short walk on the beach, we wrote into our navigation the next destination – Bordeira Beach. We choosed it because of its very interesting location. Well, there is a river on the beach, which looks really amazing. When we reached the spot, we headed for a nearby scenic spot from which you can admire this beautiful place. Again, we were looking a vast beach, which was flooded by powerful waves. Footbridges for walkers are placed on surrounded cliffs. It is very nice that despite such a small number of visitors in this place, somebody decided to put this footbridge. 🙂
Our next stop was Amado beach. We climb the cliff, from which you can reach the beach going down on the comfortable steps. Finally we met some travellers, but don’t be suprised if you only see surfers there. There are also huge waves, but the beach is not as big as the previous one. Besides, this beach invites you to sunbathe! 🙂 There are a few wooden umbrellas here.
We went to the beach to feel sand under foot again. The beach is full of colorful stones, which are the result of erosion. Along with the yellow sand, they look very charming. The stones are colorful and they are asking for a photo. We do a short session and go back upstairs. On the top of the cliff is located a small snack bar. In addition to dry snacks, you could also eat a hot dog or hamburger. We bought new raspberry Magnum, which is delicious. 😀
Cape St. Vincent
Finally, we came to more familiar areas. We spote a few more people here, even though there were evening hours. The wind was really strong here. It was hard to walk straight. It was enough to take one photo so that the lens was all splashed! But don’t worry, I saw in the photos that it’s not so windy all the time. 😀
Cape St. Vincent is the most southwestern part of Europe. In the Middle Ages this place was recognized as the end of the world. In pre-Christian times, when the area covered the Roman Empire, the peninsula was called Cape Verde to celebrate the last place where the sun was visible.
A very important lighthouse is located here. This lighthouse, guarding one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. The area around it is public and you can even sit in a nearby restaurant or buy souvenirs.
On the way from Cape St. Vincent to Fortress in Sagres
By the road, is located a fantastic cottage! From bottom to the top is decorated with ceramic, colorful plates. It looks fabulous! We stopped for a while to take some photos of it. 🙂
Our last stop for today was the Sagres Fortress. We arrived there just before the sunset. The first thing we saw was a great white fortress. The fort was destroyed in the sixteenth century by the invasion of Francis Drake and in the 18th century by the earthquake. (I didn’t know that the Iberian Peninsula was so haunted by earthquakes.) Fortress was rebuilt, however once we got there it was already closed. Although I sincerely admit that I don’t know if you can enter it. I didn’t care that much because then we admired an amazing sunset from this place. 🙂
That was our last stop for today. We went to a grocery store to buy food for breakfast /dinner, wine and water (about 14 euros). At 10 PM we checked into a hotel in Lagos, where we spent two nights.
Don’t hesitate to check what we have seen in Lagos! 🙂
If you want to read the whole content from Algarve >>click here<<
If you have ever been in this part of the Algarve, then let us know what beaches you have visited! 🙂 We are very curious!