PORTUGAL TOP 10
6. Take a boat trip to Ponta da Piedade and Lagos caves
Lagos is one of the nicest and most interesting towns in the Algarve. The coastline around it is very varied and includes beaches that are widely recognised as among the most beautiful in the world. They include great swathes of sand such as Meia Praia, or beaches hidden amid the cliffs at Ponta da Piedade. This is almost a national monument and the cliffs, which tower up some 20 metres, hide impressive caves, arches, islets and beaches, formed by the rock walls being worn through, vertically and horizontally.
A few islets rise out of the sea, while in other cliffs caves open up at the surface of the water. These fantastical forms in the sedimentary rock, the result of erosion by the sea, wind and rain, make up a sculpture park that alternates with little tucked-away beaches. It is a scenario that is at once mysterious and idyllic, combining the yellow of the rocks and sand with the blues and greens of the sea that is just begging to be discovered.
The beaches are like the interiors of small cathedrals dedicated to the religion of Nature, and the deformed rocks often have curious names such as General de Gaulle, Camelo (Camel), Cozinha (Kitchen), Submarino ou Gruta dos Amores (Cave of Love. While some can be accessed by land, from the Ponta da Piedade light-house, many can only be reached by boat – and this is also the best way to fully appreciate the beauty and diversity of the geological phenomena present here. Some boat trips from Lagos are more geared to observation of marine life, particularly dolphins and, at particular times of year, other cetaceans and marine animals. The scenario is also enhanced by the birds that inhabit the area, with peregrine falcons, ravens, jackdaws or even egrets often nesting here.