Once again, I am here in Portugal with Justin visiting all our favourite places. Every time we come, we like to do something new together. This time, because we booked a trip for just over 5 weeks, we are doing a few new things. The first being the Algarve!
We found some amazing cheap flights with Ryanair from Porto to Faro. Although this airline isn't the best, they are so cost-effective. The thing is, we always end up sitting apart, and for the price we paid we were literally only allowed 1 small bag such as a backpack. But for $37 CAD round-trip, you can't complain. The good thing is we were only travelling for a few days so a backpack was more than enough.
We arrived in Faro at about 9:30 am so we had the whole day ahead of us still. We used an awesome airport shuttle company called Sunline Transfers. They were quick and efficient and were honestly the cheapest option. I was surprised for how amazing the service was. They even had wifi on the shuttle!
While in Algarve, we stayed in a resort (not all-inclusive) called Rocha Brava Village Resort. Such an awesome place to stay! This resort offers small villas in a community setting. The resort has a main pool and 2 smaller pools on site. We were lucky and got a place right by the front and near the pool.
The resort has a restaurant, supermarket, coffee shop, and gym on site. They also offer a free shuttle 3 times a day to the closest town to the resort which is Carvoeiro.
Our little place had everything we need. It was set up like a full apartment with a washing machine, balcony, oven, etc! It was so nice to have a small place all to ourselves in this little paradise!
We spent most of our time off the resort exploring the closest beaches. There was so much to see! So many trails going through cliffs and caves. SO MANY CAVES. The town of Carvoeiro had so much to do. There was a beautiful boardwalk leading from a collection of caves to Carvoeiro Beach. While in Carvoeiro we also visited a local restaurant with awesome vegan options called 6 Bar. The owners were English speaking and so kind! They even had a few residential kitties. The food was delicious and so satisfying. I am always on the lookout for good vegan options and this one was delicious!
While in the Algarve, we also spent a day in Portimão. It was such a great city but WOW were we ever tired by the end of that day. We walked 13km that day approximately. We started at the TOP of Portimão and walked to the most southern point (a lighthouse), then walked from the lighthouse all the way left along the beach to the end of the city where the beaches end. AND THEN, we walked halfway back to the lighthouse and by then we couldn't go any further! It was so sunny and hot, that walk got very hard very quick haha. I was burnt to a crisp.
Praia da Rocha in Portimão is so beautiful! It was packed with people as it was such a nice day. There were so many amazing little caves and cliffs along the beach walk as well. The town of Portimão is absolutely stunning and I can't wait to visit again one day.
Another adventure during our time in Algarve was visiting the famous Benagil Cave! We hiked about 45 minutes along the coast to get to the beach, but were so tired by the end that we just Uber'd back haha. Thank goodness for Uber!
Benagil Cave is a beautiful sand beach within a cave just off of Benagil Beach. Here's the catch though: You can't walk there. The cave is about 200m to the left of the beach, and needs to be reached by either kayak, stand-up paddle board, or boat. Boats are a great way to see many caves, but they don't let you get off and experience Benagil Cave in all its beauty. Kayak and SUP are definitely the best way to see this phenomenal natural beauty.
There is also the option of swimming, but it's a risk. Justin actually made the swim to the cave and back, but he said it is way harder than it looks. The current is coming towards you and the waves are usually decently big. You definitely have to be a good swimmer to accomplish this swim, but even then, be careful! I had planned to swim and I am so glad I didn't. I don't know if I would have made it...
The experience of using the stand-up paddle boards and visiting Benagil cave was breathtaking. Learning how to use the board and stand up and paddle was so much fun! I was actually the last one to wipe out so that felt pretty rewarding. Justin was so good at standing, I was so impressed! The caves were so quiet as it was only our group in there at that time. It was a great opportunity to take photos. We were able to bring our phones with us on the boards as we had a waterproof dry-bag that we attached to them. Such a smart idea as this way we were able to take pictures through the whole experience.
Visiting the South of Portugal was such a wonderful experience. I highly recommend spending some time exploring the trails and beaches during your stay. And Benagil Cave is a MUST!! So worth it and I am so glad we got to see an amazing natural wonder.