I am a Portugal fan. It started by getting there on a solo trip by accident, not really knowing what to expect, besides lovely towns full of tiles and the wild Atlantic roaring in my face. From day one, I was dragged into this beautiful country filled with beautiful sights and very diverse regions that kept me on going back whenever I had the chance to. This year I was lucky enough to allow myself to explore the south side. The awes where a lot, the disappointments very few. Welcome to Lagos, ladies and gents.
The very first time I’ve heard of this place was by uncounsciously trying to fight a boring, rainy Sunday afternoon on youtube. It was then when I came across one of Zoë’s vlogs. She’s widely known on the web as Professional Wildchild (no pun intended with the article’s title, though), a blogger based in Amsterdam that lives by very similar rules as mine, and that I admire a lot. She was walking around this mostly white painted town, and while I find white towns cute overall, my jaw dropped when she showed clips of beaches surrounded by cliffs shaped in all forms and caves by the ocean. Something so amazing that I dropped instantly what I was doing to just start my research.
It took me over a year to finally get here, but I did, and I was so thankful when I found myself walking barefoot through all what nature created so meticolously. I spent hours walking through all the little caves, to just see where they lead next, and every corner turned to be prettier and prettier. There are several beaches to choose from, ones are more silent than others, and BYO sweater is definetly a good idea, since I loved sitting there for a little longer, when the breeze cooled off at sunset and most people got ready to go home.
To be honest, I expected Lagos to be way smaller. I know, research is king sometimes. But it looked waaaaay less huge than it actually is. My aim was to live in the old town, so I was moving in my same favourite area at all times, but you can tell that at some point the place became popular, houses were built and even (sadly) those huge resort type of things are starting to rise, which does not appeal to my personal taste.
If you’re a friend of the ocean, this might become one of you’re best spots to start a journey in Portugal. No matter if swimming, stand up paddling or kayaking (be aware of the wind tho!) – you get it all. There are some stunning caves apparently worth the visit, which I missed. From one side because I knew it was just riding a boat filled with people to get to a cave filled with boats, resulting into a not so relaxed thing to do. I almost got convinced to do so with a bunch of friends I met, but the boats were full. I guess it was a sign from the universe telling me I’m right. Jokes aside, it must be a thing worth to see. I would suggest to might find a guide that leads you to one of the less hyped caves, I might should have done that.
The old town is everything you want in such a place. It has cobble stone streets, the houses are cute, there are plenty of good restaurants and health cafés along the usual tourist traps. A stroll in the (early) evening is great, and a stop at a decent wine bar definetly a must. Yoga studios are easy to find here, to my pleasant surprise. I went to yoga every second day in the morning and it was a great way to start just right before the air warmed up. There is an absolutely gorgeous wooden path to have walks on by the lighthouse, that will reward with the most jaw dropping views. I spent a whole week in Lagos, and I did not get tired of those cliffs. It was hard to leave them.
Tourism. Not the sightseeing kind of tourism, but the other extreme. Lagos has an increasing numbers of “hey let’s go get shitty 1 Euro cocktails and get pissed” kind of bars – and tourists. I noticed it already on the first night, starting from 11pm it was pretty clear that the guys screaming around out of my accomodation were a bunch of drunk dudes getting at the edge of hospitalization. According to the locals, that aren’t really amused to clean away your puke from their doorsteps by the way, it gets more every year. I avoided all those places and to be honest I was mostly back home at my patio by 10, just because it was much more chill than what was happening out there. It would be sad to see Lagos develop the way Albufeira did, with its bars called “Miami” and “Las Vegas”, just to paint the picture. It wil result into surfers, locals and chilled people moving away, and killing the vibe of this place. Don’t get me wrong, I like my wines, but do you really have to take it to that level of rudeness, disrespect and cheap being?
If you’re keen to avoid this sad chapter, you will love it. Make it your own, that’s how you enjoy it. The cliffs will hurt your eyes they’re so pretty, the sea will wipe all your worries away and the seashells even are in the most unique shape I’ve ever witnessed. The town might not me that small anymore, but the vibe is still there, especially when your one time Uber driver roams by and screams your name waving out of the car’s window.
Where to stay: To get around by walk and explore properly, my favourite way to do things, I suggest finding an accomodation in the old town. Be aware the more budget you get, the more party tourists you might get around you. I found the perfect place by doing my proper reserach, and I stumbled upon Olive Hostel. Living here goes beyond hostel living experienced so far. The staff is very welcoming, it feels like living literally at somebody’s home and the outdoor areas make it even more cosy. They offer private rooms and dorms for a very affordable price, I loved throwing my dinners in the kitchen and yoga every morning at 10 is another sweet add on. Make sure you book quite ahead especially during high season, it gets booked out very quickly.
Where to eat: I switched between being housewife and going out to dinner once a day. Plant based restaurants are easy to find, or even those with decent options. My favourite spots were definetly Goji Lounge Café for brunch and Baffi Bar, offering Italian cuisine and Burgers with a twist. I am sure there is plenty more, but I am a child of habit if I like things 100%
For everything else, go out and explore. Figure out your own southern Portuguese dream trip. Love Lagos, soak it all in, but respect the hell out of it, would you?