Carrapateira, Portugal

Carrapateira, Portugal, is a village on the Algarve coast with a nice selection of beach house rentals. The village offers easy access to an isolated beach that features three clean kilometres of virgin sand. Carrapateira is the real Portugal, a place to let go of big city worries. This is a vacation for the discerning traveler, wanting to escape to a unique environment. It helps if you are a serious surfer, because the waves at the mouth of the Ribeira da Bordeira can be challenging. The beach is bounded by limestone cliffs and wide ranging dunes that extend inland to Carrapateira, a rural place with an easy going atmosphere, quite more relaxed from the more crowded resorts, also found in the region.

Find your inner poet in the peace and quiet of Carrapateira. This is where you go to find freedom, in a secluded beach house with a glorious view. The meaning of life comes clear to those who spend time in a village like this, where you will find a surprising range of affordable and convenient rentals.

And, when you need big city advantages, it’s only a drive of a few kilometres to a generous selection of restaurants, spas, and golf courses. The Algarve Coast has long catered to international tourism. Whether you are here to fish, surf, or just soak up the sun, this is a unique escape.

For your soul, spend time walking around Costa Vincentina Natural Park, a protected reserve with fabulous ocean views, pristine forest trails, and wildlife. Then, for fine dining, your favorite stop will be Restaurante Sitio de Forno, sited on a limestone cliff with an unobstructed ocean view. But for fun, learn to surf at the nomad surfer’s home, the Carrapateira Surfcamp, Surf School & Surfaris, Portugal. Remember, the Algarve’s southwestern tip is a surfer’s paradise unmatched anywhere else in Europe. Blessed with perpetual sunshine,
the Sagres Peninsula has a coastline with decent to excellent surfing conditions year round. The waves range in size from timid to heroic, while the variety of beach breaks and reefs will provide the perfect challenge for all surfers, from the tyros to the maestros.

The other option is to stay at the Carrapateira Surfhouse, a one stop business offering surf lessons for beginners, guided tours for the pros, and comfortable B&B housing. Connect with kindred spirits in the surfer’s village of Carrapateira, or enjoy a beach party on the ageless dunes of Bordeira Beach.

The Carrapateira Surfhouse boasts a multicultural, poly-lingual staff. Look forward to parties with Brazilian food, Mexican barbecues, and even the random belly dancer. For this and many other reasons, the Alrgave coast continues to be particularly popular for United Kingdom vacationers.

When you vacation at Carrapateira, look forward to a pristine beach with a charming café, romantic sunset surfs, and a feathery mist suspended off the coast like a distant shore. When the mist comes in, it will feel like the land that time forgot, to create a memory that you will savor, always.


Sagres, Portugal

For the traveler looking to avoid hustle and bustle, all-night parties and rampant overdevelopment, Sagres in the southwest region of Portugal’s popular Algarve region offers an oasis of relaxation. The relative remoteness of the small town from larger population centers has allowed it to escape the rapid development experienced by other areas of the Algarve. Sagres offers beautiful beaches, surfing, diving, cycling and bird watching.

During Roman occupation, the area around Sagres was known as Promontorium Sacrum, or Sacred Promontory. The Romans thought that the area marked the westernmost point of the world and that the setting sun caused the waters off the point to boil furiously. Legend has it that Prince Henry the Navigator founded Sagres around 1420. The school of navigation that Henry established is believed to have pushed Portugal forward as a leader in exploration.

The population of Sagres dwindled after Henry’s death, and the town began to fade. An earthquake destroyed the town’s church in 1755, forcing residents to travel a considerable distance to attend Mass, and even more people left.

Though history buffs may be disappointed that many of the town’s original buildings collapsed during the 1755 quake, the Fortaleza de Sagres survives. The fortress, originally completed in the 15th century and rebuilt in 1793, dominates Sagres Point. A small chapel from Henry’s time survives inside. Sagres Point itself affords breathtaking views up the coast to Cabo Sao Vincente, which is home to the second-most powerful lighthouse in Europe.

Though the town has recently undergone expansion, its population remains under 2,000. Sagres spreads out a considerable distance, but the shops, restaurants and cafes cluster along the main street, the Rua Comandante Matoso. Seafood lovers will enjoy the abundance and variety of fresh fish offered by the restaurants on this street.

Both Atlantic and Mediterranean currents influence the climate. Sagres enjoys moderate temperatures, and winds from the Atlantic help to keep summers cool. Rainfall is sparse and occurs mostly in the winter months.

Most people visit Sagres for its stunning coastline, popular with surfers and sunbathers alike. The shape of the coastline provides sheltered beaches and numerous surfing opportunities. Praia da Mareta is a popular family beach five minutes from the town center on the southern side of Sagres. Praia do Tonel on the more exposed northern side of the point is popular with surfers and is patrolled by lifeguards during the summer. Those seeking solitude will enjoy Praia do Martinhal, just east of Sagres.

Accommodations include hotels, apartments, guest houses and a campground. Concrete high-rises are almost nonexistent. Travelers should note that surfers flock to the region in late July and August, and accommodation may be more difficult to find during those times.

Travelers can get to Sagres by flying to the regional capital, Faro. The Faro International Airport has links with all the European capitals. Trains run from Faro to Lagos, which is 30 miles from Sagres. Bus service is infrequent and may take a long time, so travelers are advised to allow plenty of time when traveling by bus from Lagos to Sagres. Rental cars are also available in both Faro and Lagos.


Lagos, Portugal

The city of Lagos is famed for some of the most downright stunning vistas that planet Earth has to offer. A famed vacation spot for worldly sun soakers and thrill seekers, Lagos looks like a paradisiacal rendering from an artist’s fantasy. White sands echo around cerulean tide pools and lively reefs. Spectacular alcoves are cloaked with jutting cliffs and etched bedrock. The city itself seems to emanate with light from the inside out.

Lagos is located in the western Algarve, on the southern tip of Portugal. The city’s origins date as far back as 2000 B.C and once served as the main port of call for Henry the Navigator. In the 15th century the trade routes between Africa and Portugal made Lagos, then called Lacobriga, a very wealthy city indeed. The old walls of historical Lagos still circle part of the city. These walls date back to the 16th century when the city served as a fortress and the residence of the governors of the Algarve.

Lagos is certainly rich in history; the famous ‘Golden Church of St. Anthony’ is located here as well as the old ‘Slave Market’ where saves from the 15th century were brought back from discovery voyages and sold. While the history of Lagos invariably warrants some fascinating discoveries for you and your family there is no shortage of activities, restaurants, shopping, and tours. Lagos also boasts a thrilling night life complete with dancing, night clubs, beachfront cabanas, and waterside refreshments.

One favorite adventure amongst first time visitors to Lagos is the ‘Grotto Tour.’ Step into a quaint fishing boat and sail about as your guide points out the monumental rock formations that erupt from the sea near the shore. Cliff walks are alternatives to sea-faring tours as most of the beaches are laced with an intricate network of staggering cliffs and hidden paths left to be traversed and explored. The cliffs provide breathtaking settings for sunsets and are perfect for picnic dinners in the evening.

If all of the water-sports, swimming, and hiking are making you hungry? Follow the cobble stone paths to any number of Lagos’ delightful eateries. There are places in Lagos to fit every budget so whether you are looking for a quick meal or a light snack or a full multi-coursed dining experience, Lagos has something for you. The Portuguese pride themselves on fresh, cooked to order foods and often, at sit-down restaurants, a ‘cover dish’ will be offered to carry you through to the main course. The cover dish usually consists of fresh breads, olives, and anchovies although every restaurant is unique. The food in Lagos is unbeatable as the city is a port city and the surrounding lands are mainly used for agriculture and forestry. Fresh goods are available daily at the open fresh-markets in the old town.

The sun-kissed and sand-swept city of Lagos is nothing short of a beach lover’s paradise. Whether you are there for a romantic excursion or a seafaring adventure amongst the grottos and reefs, the city of Lagos will welcome you with open arms.