As one of the lesser known “coasts” in Europe (Amalfi being the the usual go-to for travelers), the Algarve Coast is a quickly growing tourist destination thanks to the hundreds of picturesque snapshots floating around on social media (and really the only reason I knew this place existed). After discovering some of these pictures myself, I immediately added Lagos to my “while living in Europe” bucket list. I mean, come on:
A few months ago, I was on a work trip to Cologne and expressed interest in going to Lagos to one of my coworkers and sure enough, he wanted to go to Portugal that same weekend. Yay! I had to do zero convincing and we booked the flight immediately (literally on the bus en route to Cologne). We sent the flight info to a few others in hope they would join and before we knew it, we had a group of five to travel with. The more the merrier! The following two months crawled by as I anxiously waited to get back to some sunshine. It had been way too long since I was able to drink some fruity beverages with a cute umbrella on the beach.
Memorial Day weekend finally came and I was headed for some saltwater and sunshine! A mid-afternoon flight was quite the treat as RyanAir flights usually leave around 6:00AM and I live 90 minutes from the airport, so you do the math- those days are usually a little rough. However, leave it to me… I still had to rush to make that afternoon flight (thank goodness for the unrestricted speed limits on the Autobahn otherwise I definitely would’ve missed it). We made it to the airport, checked in, and were off! Shout out to RyanAir for randomly putting me in the front row (without the extra fee). I was spoiled with leg room and it partially made up for my horrible experience with them a few weeks ago… We arrived around 5:00PM, hopped in our rental, and drove the the 90km from Faro Airport to Lagos.
Our Airbnb was in an apartment complex walking distance from city center and the beach. It couldn’t have been more perfect! Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a pull out couch- perfect for our group of five. Our host greeted us with a beautiful ocean view, fresh fruit, and a delicious bottle of wine. We freshened up, drank the wine, and headed into town for the night.
For dinner, we ate at a restaurant called Nah Nah Bah and it was honestly one of the best meals I’ve ever had in my life. It is a burger joint run by a group of ex-pats who know exactly what they are doing in the kitchen. After a few drinks, we were able to convince the owner to join us for a round of shots and it was exactly what we needed to kick-start the night.
As a major weekend destination for college students who are “finding themselves abroad” [no judgement- that was me five years ago 🙂 ] it was very easy for us to revert back to our college days. Beer bongs and all (sorry mom). This place knows how to party!!! After dinner, we roamed around town to check-out a few more bars and for sure danced off all the calories from dinner. I can promise you if you’re ever in Lagos, just walk into any bar and you wont be disappointed. Night one was a total success!
- Rent a Car. When traveling to Lagos, or anywhere on the Algarve Coast, flying into Faro is your best option and you’ll want to rent a car to get to your destination. It is a little more expensive, but very worth it. If you can book your rental in advance, DO IT! We ended up paying a little extra for not having a reservation, but still worth the price for the convenience. We packed the car up and drove off while so many others had to wait in line for shuttles and sit through all the different hotel drop-offs. Plus, who turns down a road trip through a foreign country with great company?
- Use Airbnb. There are so many affordable options! Hostels are good for the price, but not always good for the quality. We only paid $27 per person, per night (aka…the same price for a hostel and/or cheaper than some) and the experience was incomparable. There are good hotel options (very nice, new construction) but many of them are pretty expensive so I stand firm on my Airbnb recommendation.
- Eat at Nah Nah Bah. Just to reiterate: Best. Burgers (and fries). EVER. Make a reservation if you can. The restaurant was packed when we arrived, but were lucky enough to sit down right away. The service was awesome and the owner is a pretty cool dude.
- Travel here before it explodes with tourists. Don’t ask questions. Just listen to ya girl.
Stay tuned for the rest of my trip!