It's day 13 of our Algarve tour and the start of our Lagoa 2 day tour. Lagoa is the coastal paradise of the Algarve. The city is known for its sea caves, secluded beaches and cliff-side villages.
It was early morning when I checked out from Vila Vita Parc and headed to the chapel of Nossa Senhora da Rocha in Porches. This lonely chapel sits right on the edge of a cliff, sheltered by the white walls of an old fortress. I stood outside for a moment, enjoying the unobstructed view of the ocean, with no buildings or people in sight, a rare place to find in the Algarve.
After visiting the chapel, I drove to the centre of Porches to visit the famous ceramic workshops. I started at the Porches Pottery, the most popular pottery store in town. As soon as I went in, I was blown away by the number of ceramic pieces on display. Everywhere I looked, there were plates, bowls, flower jars and many other handmade items covering the shelves of the store from the bottom to the top. In the corner, I saw one of the artists in action, adding the finishing touches to a new piece.
Porches Pottery also has a small café, called Bar Bacchus where you can grab a bite to eat. I decided to have a quick cup of coffee here, before moving on to the next store.
It’s hard to miss Olaria Pequena with its blue sign contrasting against the white walls of the building. The store is much smaller than the Porches Pottery and mainly sells tile panels, which are inspired by local themes like lemons and olives.
From here, I walked to the restaurant O Leão de Porches for lunch. I passed through the gates and followed the cobblestone path leading to the restaurant’s outdoor patio, where I sat waiting for the menu. While I waited, I admired the ornamented chimney sitting above the restaurant’s roof and the colourful ceramic plates adorning the walls. Soon after, the waiter arrived and I placed my order - a cauliflower soup, mussel risotto and a bottle of the local wine.
In the afternoon, I drove to the village of Carvoeiro. My first stop was Praia da Marinha, a quiet cove beach with transparent waters and steep orange cliffs. I parked the car and took the stairs down to the beach, occasionally stopping to admire the breathtaking views from the top.
Next, I went to Praia de Benagil and joined a boat trip to the caves. The tour took around one hour and passed through magnificent rock formations, secluded beaches and stunning caves. Among these caves, was the Benagil Cave, the most beautiful place I’ve seen during this journey to the Algarve. The cave has a large hole in the ceiling, allowing the sun to come through and form a spotlight on the tiny beach below it.
Back on the shore, I headed to the fort of Nossa Senhora da Encarnação. The fort is set right above the main beach of Carvoeiro and it’s the perfect place to capture the town and its typical whitewashed buildings.
Just beside the fort, I saw a large wooden boardwalk stretching along the coastline and I was immediately curious to see where it was leading to. I got on it and walked across the cliffs, feeling the refreshing sea breeze along the way. I ended up at Algar Seco, an area full of spectacular rock formations, grottoes and sea caves. The view from the top was already impressive, but I decided to venture even further and followed the stairway down to the rocks. There were holes everywhere, windows framing the sea and tunnels leading to stunning natural pools. I even found a restaurant hidden amongst the rocks, where I sat down and enjoyed a nice cocktail.
Before going to the hotel, I stopped at a nearby local restaurant for dinner called A Marisqueira and had a delicious plate of grilled fish.
Once again, the team of Iberian Escapes took care of my accommodation and booked me a room at the Monte Santo Resort, one of the most romantic hotels in Europe. Surrounded by small lakes and gardens, the hotel is an authentic oasis and I couldn’t have chosen a better place to relax in Lagoa.