After our mad dash through Southern Spain, Kate and I settled for a slower pace in Faro. Faro is a small town on the estuary between the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean and the most southern part of Portugal. We were told that, typically, Portuguese tourists visit Faro more than international tourists and was rarely crowded until August.
As in Spain, Kate and I were mostly concerned with food. It wasn’t hard to find good food and vinho verde kn Portugal. As I’m not a fan of sea food, I mostly ate Portuguese steak, beef cheek, and pork cheek. Kate, on the other hand, was loving all the seafood options, and I would try some of her dishes.
In Faro, one of our bunk mates invited us out to dinner. The place we went was small and only really served chicken as a main course. You would order a chicken either spicy or not for your table. That was one of the best chicken dinners I’ve ever had. We had many sides and sangria, I was stuffed by the end of this meal.
So much food!
We had spent part of the day at Praia de Faro which was crowded with only one road in and out of the area. There is a bus that takes you to this beach, however, it was very late and we eventually gave up and took an uber there. The bus back wasn’t a problem.
The next day, we took an island tour to see some of the barrier islands. Deserta is a desert island with one restaurant and some small shacks and a long beach. The beach was gorgeous and we wanted to sit there all day. If I returned to Faro, I’d spend a day at Deserta and bring my own food.
The one path on Deserta.
The next island, Farol, was another beach island but felt more crowded than Deserta and had a large light house in the center. Finally, we ended the tour at Culatra where the tour made us reservations at Restaurante Rui.
Kate was excited by the fresh and local seafood options. A Portuguese couple next to us helped us pick a vinho verde bottle (it was cheaper to just get a bottle) and even gave suggestions for areas to stay in in Lisbon.
When we made it back, we wandered the older, walled area of the town for a while then got dinner and sangria with our Faro friends.
We took the morning train to Lagos where Kate had booked us a sea kayaking tour. Though I’m nervous on open water, my dramamine and the beautiful cliff sides made it an amazing adventure.
We kayaked in and out of the cliffs’ caves, some so small you had to lay completely down in the kayak and tuck your oars into the boat. I almost fell out a few times not laying down far enough and we almost lost an oar.
They eventually gave us a break at a small beach surrounded by cliffs. Though the water was cold, I decided to get in and swim around a bit then dry off in the sand. After a while, our guide announced that since we would be kayaking against the wind, we could be taxied back to the docks if we want. Our group decided to be taxied and so after we hooked up to the boat we were able to relax while the boat towed us and blasted music.
When we got back from the tour, we grabbed lunch quickly at a pizza place (just basic, probably the only bland meal we’ve had in Portugal), then found our bus to Lisbon.
After a few hours on the bus, we arrived in Lisbon, found our hostel, and searched for a place open late for food. The area we stayed in was an expensive shopping district and had little open. We eventually found a hotdog place where I got a chicken pie and passed out back at the hostel.
The next morning, we explored Lisbon by going to the Praça do Comércio and walking up to Castelo de São Jorge, stopping for Pastel de Nata and Ginja in chocolate cups along the way. We also ate at Cruzes Cread where the beef cheek was amazing with mashed sweet potato and more white sangria.
By the end of the day, we had seen many beautiful views of the city and prepped for our next day flights. Before arriving in Lisbon, I read that it was difficult to get to the airport for early morning flights, so I chose one in the afternoon and found it very easy to get to the airport using the metro.
I always say how I want to revisit places, but Portugal was special and I could see myself taking months to just explore every aspect. If I did it again, I’d spend more time on Deserta, skipping the other beaches in Faro and take more time making my way up up the coast to Lisbon.