BENAGIL CAVE- You’ll read that you can only access the Benagil cave by boat and that its a 5 minute boat ride away but this is FALSE. Once you reach the beach, the cave is literally a swim and a kick around the bend to the left of the beach. We got suckered into the boat ride which took us on this tour of all the other caves ( which was cool to see , but I didn’t find it necessary … ) and then ended up at the same beach we started at to get dropped off at the famous Benagil Cave. The water was ice cold so I probably would not have swam over, BUT it is possible.
TRAIL TO CARVALHO BEACH - When you arrive at the Benagil main beach, there is a trail off to the right that you take to go to Carvalho Beach. This was my favorite part of Faro fyi… You walk through a little neighborhood with vacation homes and then you hit a path where you have to walk through a cave to access the beach. Once arriving, there is cliff jumping!!! I had never jumped off a cliff before, and it was INCREDIBLE. This beach is WAY prettier to hang out at than the Benagil beach.
HIKE ALONG THE COAST- I noticed while I was on the boat cave tour, that there was a hike you could do along the coast above all the caves. We didnt have enough time to do that, but it definitely looked epic. I would suggest checking that out if you have the time.
This was by far my favorite place I have ever been to. This isn't a “city” in the sense that theres a lot of shopping or restaurants to go to, but it is the most stunning cliff side sight I have ever laid my eyes on.
MUST: Walk the coast from the firehouse to the light tower. Make sure to wear sneakers. Take the hiking trail ( not the boring sidewalk ) and fully explore each beach you stumble upon. We found a hidden tiny cove that is a bit of a rock climb to get down into, but it felt like I had entered heaven.
Keep in mind, this isn't a place to find super hip coffee shops and hip restaurants.
EAT: Beats and Burritos. This place is probably the “coolest” spot we found, and the food is INCREDIBLE. Once I find a place I like, I eat there all the time. Thats what I did with this spot.
COFFEE: 29 Croissanteria. A hole in the wall croissant spot with great coffee. The owner is such a kind man who would sit and chat with us about the town and his life. He was there every day making sure everyone was taken care of.
NIGHT LIFE: This place pops off at night. There is a large population of young kids from Australia and Europe who live and work here while they spend the summer surfing. A lot of them will be working at the bars and clubs. I couldn't believe how alive the town was. Super fun! Just wander around and pop in and out of places. Feel the vibe and have fun!
We spent one night here to check out “The End of the World”. Not much of anything going on this town, so I wouldn't say this is a MUST see, but if you find yourself wanting to take a detour to say you went to the End of the World, then do it. You will arrive in a sleepy town, and then take this long road towards a lighthouse. When driving down this road, you could see why it would be called The End of the World. Once arriving, we took our bottle of wine, found a cozy spot against the rocks and watched the sunset. It was very magical.
We came to Lisbon to see Radiohead and Tame Impala at a festival called NOS Alive. That experience was quite the adventure… and adventure we weren't expecting to have. Yes that sounds very vague, but its a story not appropriate for the internet haha. Ill tell you in person if we ever meet :)
We came a couple days early to explore the city. This place is great for walking, eating, and culture. Its crazy when you have an idea in your head of a major city, and then you come to it and its completely different than what you expected. Thats how I felt about Lisbon. Not in a good or bad way, just different than expected.
COFFEE: Copenhagen Coffee, Fabrica Coffee Roasters
GELATO: Mú - SO FUCKING GOOD. Had it everyday and I don't even usually like gelato
FOOD: Cafe Royal - ate here everyday, no joke. This spot is insanely amazing. Best octopus I have ever had in my life .
Also check out Taverna and Cafe Tati.
TIME OUT MARKET - Really cool cafeteria style market with so many bomb food options. Really cool vibe in there.
LX Factory - Cool spot with some shops and food
ELECTRICITY MUSEUM - Super cool museum with amazing installations. One installation specifically amazed me because each room was a different vibrant color and it shows how the eye works with adjusting to each one. It was fascinating.
The quintessential tourist destination. This town is SUPER cute but loaded with tourist attraction spots. I try to avoid places like this, but it definitely resulted in some super cool photos, and I am always a sucker for good footage.
PALACIO DE PENA - This place reminded me of Disney World ( not in a good way ). A very fake looking castle painted purple and yellow, and overly crowded, BUT if you get a brief moment of silence in the back courtyard you can really capture an amazing picture ( see the first photo on the previous page ). Still worth checking out.
QUINTA DA REGALEIRA - 19th century gothic mansion surrounded with gardens. Its fun to explore and get lost in the gardens because they remind you of being in an enchanted movie with secret caves and passages. A must is finding the Initiation Well, which feels like it was used for some cult-like ceremonies.
CASTELO DOS MOUROS - An observatory that was meant to view over the region but crumbled after the invasion of the Christian Crusaders in the 12th century.
This is just outside of Peniche, a sleepy surfer town. This town is encircled by a fortified wall, located on the top of a hill. What I love so much about this place is that it is the perfect example of a medieval town. And for two weeks out of the year they host a a traditional Medieval Market where they hang banners and flags and have people dressed up as jugglers, soldiers, stall holders and more! They encompass everything of what it felt like to live there in the 11th century. Unfortunately we did not get to see this, but I could definitely imagine the magic of it.
* We spent two nights in Peniche because my friends wanted to surf. Unfortunately the weather was absolute shit, rainy everyday, so I didn't get to explore much at all. But from what I saw, Peniche is only worth going to if you want to surf. There isn't much going on here.
Hello cobble streets and port wine :) Any city that is known for their wine is a city I want to visit. Porto was filled with delicious restaurants, people, bike riding, and exploring.
MUST DO: Rent bikes from a vintage shop called ARMAZEN. Btw, this store is incredible… I wanted to buy so many vintage pieces but I had no way of shipping home a locker from the 1600’s… Ride the bikes across the bridge to the other side of the river and explore the fisherman village called Vila Nova de Gaia.
EAT: Stop at any of the restaurants in the fisherman village. We specifically told ourselves “ We want to eat food from an old lady who is grilling the fish on the street”, and we found just that! I wish I could remember the name of the spot, but its on a street that was right off the main bike path. The portions were HUGE. There was also another restaurant around the corner called Casa Machado that looked incredibly cute. I Didn’t get to try it but you should! And then let me know how it was :)
COFFEE: Mesa 325 ! This spot was conveniently located right next to our AirBnb! It was perfect, especially when you're a coffee addict like me.
FOOD: Miss Opo!!! Anything and everything is yummy here.
HARRY POTTER BOOKSTORE: A super touristy thing to do is to check out the bookstore that inspired the Harry Potter series, Livraria Lello Bookstore. I wasn't crazy about it ( I just don't like touristy spots ), but its definitely a cool thing to see what inspired JK Rowling to create her masterpiece.
PORT WINE: You obviously have to drink some Port wine...