The Lovely Lagos in South Portugal

As soon as I arrived in Lagos I knew I would love it here. The surrounding scenery was absolutely stunning with blue water and gorgeous cliffs. The sun was shining, the beach was packed, and the small town was bustling with activity with gypsy stalls and locals mixed with tourists strolling around.

Arriving at my hostel I quickly found out that the majority of the staff were all fellow travellers like myself who had fallen in love with Lagos and just.. stayed.. There’s a thing in Spain and Portugal called WWOOFING where the idea is that you work as a volunteer in return for your accommodation. Usually it’s done as farm work but also happens in other places like hostels. By the end of my time in Lagos I was very tempted to join in and stay as Lagos is just an amazing place.

The first evening I went hiking along the clifftops for over three hours finding that the view just got more and more amazing with each corner that I turned. I went in my jandels (aka flip flops for the rest of the world) not realising how far I would end up walking. But I like to think that was the strong kiwi genetics making me a tough chick (my feet were absolutely fine if anyone is interested to know).

The lighthouse in the distance

I found some horses

The amazing rock formations at the end of the cliffs by the lighthouse. So worth the walk

The lighthouse

Dinner that night was delicious pulled pork with sweet potato salad made by an American chick volunteering at the hostel. She happened to be a chef back home but omg that pork was freaking delicious. The whole hostel went out together to party that night.

The next day I decided to go visit a little town nearby called Sagres as it is the most south-western point of Europe. It wasn’t the best weather but I still enjoyed some beach time there watching surfers in full wetsuits braving the cold waves.

The most south-eastern cliff  in Europe

A brave surfer

On return to the hostel I went out with the whole hostel again to have sangria and cocktails at a place called the Garden. It’s an amazing restaurant that I cannot recommend any more highly. Sitting amongst the trees and plants with cute little decorative touches in the restaurant garden with a cat and turtle wandering around felt very special. The food was also fantastic and the sangria the best I’ve ever had. The night got even better with heading to a gourmet burger bar afterwards and eating what felt like the best burgers in the world. Afterwards it was a party night again and the most fun I’ve had this trip.

Such a cool kitty! I was a little too tipsy later to even think of photographing the turtle by the time it emerged haha

Admiring the graffiti outside The Garden with my tongue

For my last day in Lagos, the weather was perfect with a calm sea so I took the chance to go sea-kayaking. It was interesting that there was no safety talk at all, or even a discussion of ‘Can you swim?’ briefing with the particular company I went with. I wondered if maybe it’s the Portuguese way to have low standards? We did all have life jackets on and the two guides that accompanied the group on the water assured us they were both life guards. The company motorboat followed us as we kayaked along the cliff face which was handy for if anyone needed to cut short their excursion. The guy on the boat even took photos for me with my camera which I much appreciated as there was no way I was going to take my expensive non-waterproof camera on the kayak with me. It was a bucket-load of fun with paddling close to the cliff walls and kayaking through rock tunnels and into caves. The water was still very chilly but beautifully blue and calm. The most exciting part was going into a deep cave where the waves were a bit rough requiring some skill, and the guides pointed out a peephole through to a nude beach!

I had an early night as my bus was leaving quite early for Sevilla in the morning. I stayed up until midnight to officially see my European birthday start, and was very touched by all the thoughtful hugs I received from the friends I’d made at the hostel. The manager even gave me a chocolate bar gift along with her hug which made me feel very special!

It was really hard to leave Lagos. I loved it so much and settled really quickly in my three nights. I felt like I clicked really well with everyone at the hostel. I had that rare instant best-friend-sensation with all the staff and a few of the other guests. It’s a sensation you just get sometimes while you’re travelling but not that common. The last time I’d had it was months ago in Scotland. I even met some other kiwis there which was really thrilling! There just aren’t many of us around (rare birds) so it’s extra special when you find some.

Where I stayed: Old Town Lagos Hostel
Price: €9 in an 8 bed dorm
Overall: It is a little bit groungy and run down in a homey kind of way, but purely because of the warm friendly atmosphere promoted by the manager and awesome staff, it made it into my top five hostel list.
Those tasty places I ate: The Garden Grill and Nahnahbah.

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