After a wonderful morning exploring Silves and the surrounding countryside. Jesse and I drove to Lagos a beautiful coastal city with a dramatic coastline. We first parked in the city center and spent some time exploring the city streets. We walked past the beautiful church near the major waterway, Igreja de Santa Maria. I learned that the white church built in the 15th century was built with Neoclassical architecture, but much of it was rebuilt after a massive fire in the 19th century.
Just a bit down the coast was a small old fort right on the water. It had a moat, drawbridge and watch towers. The Forte da Ponta da Bandeira unfortuantely was built in the late 1600s in defense of the river mouth against pirates and other attacks. Unfortunately the fort was temporarily closed while we were there, but it was really special just to walk around building and out onto the breakwater behind the fort.
On our way back to the car, we walked through the large restored archways of the city walls in Lagos and of the Governer’s castle. The large stone walls skirt around the city to protect the port. Lagos is a beautiful city to walk around there is even a nice pedestrian path along the waterway, where you can see the marina and even an old replica ship, the caravel Boa Esperança.
Outside of town you can drive to a lighthouse to the south, the Farol da Ponta da Piedade. The area around the lighthouse is stunning, there are bright-colored cliffs, Caribbean blue waters and beautiful beaches to explore. Jesse and I found a nice place on top of a steep rock formation to enjoy some late lunch. From this vantange point we could look back along the coast towards Lagos, and watched all the small boats exploring the unique coast. There was even a boat that pulled sea kayakers to this area and then back to Lagos after some time exploring.
Jesse and I then climbed down into a drainage basin and were able to carefully get down onto a sand beach, the Praia da Balança where we saw some kayakers were snorkeling from. There was also a native there fishing off the beach, he didn’t catch anything while we were there though. The tide was coming in but we were able to walk a little past the beach into some caves. It was a very cool place to be, but would have been a bit better to explore at low tide.
Back up the canyon, we walked around the lighthouse and found an area with water taxis waiting to take you back to town. There was a long stairway leading to the water and even a cafe there if you needed a snack. You could spend the whole day just exploring and crawling around on the rock formations. There are a number of beaches nearby that would be much easier to get to, such as Praia do Camilo and Praia Dona Ana, but those are likely to be busy (at least during the warmer seasons). On the east side of the river inlet, there is also a gigantic sand beach, but I think the landscape in this area is worth the effort to get down to one of the beaches! I would also recommend the fresh road-side oranges, they’re so delicious!