Some weeks ago I showed you part of my 5-day itinerary in the Algarve (visit to Cape Saint Vincent and to Beliche beach). In this article I’m going to show you the second part of the same itinerary, where you’ll get to know Serra de Monchique, Lagos and its beautiful Ponta da Piedade and the city of Silves.
Day 3: Serra de Monchique
To be different, this day started with a visit to Serra de Monchique, at an altitude of 902 metres.
The route from Luz beach to Fóia, the tallest peak in the Algarve, took us about an hour (50 km). My GPS wanted me to fully discover the mountains because I drove through some winding paths and forest roads.
Sometimes I thought that the GPS was wrong… along the way there were parts where two cars wouldn’t fit the road and when I looked downwards I only prayed that the road would be clear so I didn’t have to do any dangerous manoeuvres – it was a narrow path without any protection and with a ravine of a few hundred metres.
After 5 km, we were back to the national road – what a relief. A few metres ahead I stopped at the first viewpoint.
Just 2 km away, I found the highest peak of Serra de Monchique, Fóia. There, I came across the small chapel of Santo António, a café/restaurant, a souvenir shop, some radio aerials (if I’m not mistaken) and an amazing view over the Algarve and the sea.
To be honest, I wasn’t dazzled by this place. I believe that it was in part because of the marvellous landscapes I saw in Northern Portugal that set the bar high. Once in paradise, all that follows is not the same.
I have this problem – whenever I get to a viewpoint, I hope to see something special, unfortunately it seldom happens. Probably I’m getting too demanding and maybe, just maybe, I can’t admire things as they are…
If you have already visited this place please tell me what you think about it.
The GPS was kinder when I wanted to return to Luz beach – I drove through the national road towards Portimão; there, I stopped to grab something to eat and to go shopping in Aqua Portimão.
As it happened on the other afternoons, I took sometime to sunbathe, go to the beach and enjoy Estrela da Luz (affiliate link) pool.
Day 4: Lagos and Ponta da Piedade
On the fourth day, and after Serra de Monchique, I visited Lagos and Ponte da Piedade, located 5 km from where I was staying. I began my visit by going to the city market – it’s been there since 1924. It is a place you should go to if you want to buy fresh meat, fish and fruit.
After a break to drink a cup of coffee and to eat a pastel de nata, I strolled through the streets of Lagos.
I was delighted with this city – it kept its true identity and Portuguese soul. Unfortunately, that is not the case for several cities in the Algarve where you see many apartment buildings with no personality.
Just 4 km from the city centre you’ll find Ponta da Piedade, the place that impressed me the most during my time in the Algarve.
When I got to Ponta da Piedade, I was speechless – I was astonished with such a marvellous natural beauty.
As soon as I climbed down the steps to get to the rocks, the beauty became more and more obvious. The sound of the waves hitting the rocks became clearer and, of course, I felt more excited and, at the same time I got a little scared.
Once I got to sea level, the show was amazing. This time, the sound of the waves was accompanied by marvellous and beautiful images.
Information: as an alternative to boat trips or hiking, you can choose to book a guided kayak tour in Ponta da Piedade (affiliate link). During this 2h30 activity, take the opportunity to explore the crystal clear waters of the Atlantic along with the beautiful rock formations found at this point of interest. Try it!
Day 5: Silves
I ended my trip in the beautiful city of Silves, located 40 km from where I was staying. It’s a city with lots of stories to tell – first, it belonged to the Romans, than the Moors until it finally became a Portuguese city in 1242, after several months of battle.
I began my stroll in the narrow streets of this city until I got to the historic centre. There, I found Silves cathedral (Sé) that was built over an old mosque.
My tour ended at Silves castle, built by the Moors in the 9th century. The exterior walls are all that’s left from the original castle due to the huge earthquake in 1755.
You must visit this city, it’ll be worth it! You’ll get a different glimpse of the Algarve. As you can see, the Algarve is much more than apartment buildings for tourists – visit Serra de Monchique, Lagos, Ponta da Piedade and Silves!
If August is the only time for you to visit the Algarve, then you should get up early in the morning and visit the amazing places it has to offer while tourists are still asleep and, in the afternoon, enjoy the beach.
Are you going to visit the Algarve? Then don’t hesitate to book your hotel room, your car or the best activities by clicking the links below. This way you are helping me in the development of my blog and I’ll be able to offer you free tips and travel guides so that you can better prepare your visit to Portugal. Thank you!
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