Published: September 26th 2010September 18th 2010
Praia do Tunel
3 minutes from our hostel
Following our intense but thrilling time in Lisbon, we were looking forward to a much more relaxed second part of the weekend in the southern region of Portugal called Algarve. Little did we know that this place was also a top destination for the British! It seemed as if every other person was a pasty looking Brit and the towns very much catered to them with all English menus, and all the restaurants serving traditional 'English Breakfasts', which we were quite excited for after weeks of just toast for breakfast in Madrid.
The train for Lisbon to Albufeira (the town we stayed in) was only 2.5 hours and dropped us off a short taxi ride away from our hostel. I was a little nervous heading to our hostel because I had read some pretty bad reviews online about this place (thankfully I was the only one to have read these reviews and I decided to keep them to myself). But, I was pleasantly surprised when we arrived to find a very modern and comfortable place, right in the middle of the city within 3 minutes of the beach. As a group, we had three rooms for ourselves (unlike the traditional
On the pier
Looking back at Praia dos Pescadores
really large hostel rooms with 8 or 10 beds) and each room even had a kitchenette in it. There was even a great rooftop bar and pool that provided beautiful views of the town and sea beyond. All for only 14 Euros a night!
The town wasn't much but bars, restaurants, and small tourist shops but was very nice to walk around, especially at night when the streets really become alive with people, bar promoters, and the sounds of live music spilling out from the small venues. Both days that we were there were mostly spent on the beach, enjoying the perfect sand and cool but refreshing Atlantic ocean water. We spent the first day at the main beach just down the street from our hostel, which was by far the most crowded of the beaches where you could also rent boats and jetskis (for outrageous prices) or go on tours of the famous caves that the region is famous for. We opted to do some cave and cliff exploring on our own and walked along a cliff trail with some very dramatic scenery and spent some time taking cool pictures.
For the second day, however, Colin, Will
Out on the rocks
my tender feet hated me after this little excursion
and I went in search of another beach that we were told was very nice and less crowded. Praia da Falesia was the name of the place and was only a ten minute taxi ride away. It proved to be much more secluded and we enjoyed some guy time away from the ladies for a while. Only bad part was the water was about twice as cold as the other place and for someone who doesn't deal with cold water very well, like myself, it was not quite as enjoyable being in the water.
The one night we spent there was a very lively one with lots to see and do. First, was the random, but very impressive fashion show that was in the middle of the town. We watched this for all of about 3 minutes before Colin, Will, and myself decided to go into this British pub with a really good guitar player and singer (reminded me very much of Steve Olson from church for those who know who I am talking about) and we enjoyed that much more. We went to a couple other bars with great live music and then a couple dance clubs afterward.
Portugal is known for their sardines
Most drinks were very cheap and the whole atmosphere felt like a small town celebration as the nightlife area was not that big.
The whole trip was very relaxing except towards the end when things became a little stressful getting to the airport which was abut 45 minutes away. The girls had managed to get way behind in time (this was a common occurrence the whole trip) and missed the first bus that we needed to catch to go to the airport. While this caused a brief panic amongst them over the phone, we were able to convince them to just take a taxi (almost 50 euros) and Colin, Will and I continued to take a total of three buses (for about 5 euros each) to reach the airport. I had also read that the buses here were quite unreliable and we experienced that in catching our last bus which didn't show up for 45 minutes after it was supposed to. Luckily we had given ourselves enough time! We left Portugal around at 8 in the evening not quite ready to face another week of classes.
INTERESTING FACT: According to our cab driver that we randomly had for
both the times we called a taxi (by complete luck) the whole region of Algarve has just over 100,000 residents but sees over 1.5 million tourists a year! Mostly from Britain...
There are more photos below