16 January 2017

PORTUGAL: Lagos & Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park

Location: Lagos, Portugal
CAUTION: This is a long post with (probably) too many photos. It begins with a short summary of our last few days in Spain.

Follow us by opening TRAVEL MAP 2016/2017 on the right sidebar ([view larger], zoom +/-, pan around).  
Click on any photo in this post to launch a slideshow gallery of all the photos.
Wikipedia provides some sourced content
For more detail click Lagos

El Rompido is only a few kilometres east of the PORTUGAL border. It's a fishing village out on a limb, 8km from the nearest town of Cartaya. We're staying 3 nights at a golfing resort here; this will be the end of the SPAIN leg of this adventure. It seemed to be the best accommodation for the area; it's the off-season, it's quiet, breakfast & dinner are included, costs are quite low. We have a very pleasant, several kilometre return walk (our daily 10,000 step goal) into town through an adjacent coastal wetland. 

It is one of the most tranquil and un-crowded spots on Huelva's Costa de la Luz, but it's primarily a golfing community. Not many other activities going on ... a nearby beach that needs to be water-taxied to, a few fishing charters, some shopping, several restaurants, nice but limited cycling/walking/hiking. 


We crossed the open European border from SPAIN into PORTUGAL ...
In Portugal, we consider wine a daily beverage, like water!  
Spoken by  Antonio ....Sommelier at the local SuperMercado

We'll spend a total of 3 weeks at the Iberlagos Apartments. It's quiet here at this time of year, but that's what we want ... this is an Exploratory Trip; we're looking for a place to spend a month or two, to escape the long Canadian winter, the average highs are around 16C from December to February, ... there's a lot to do!

Dann's brother Tom & wife Peg joined us for most of our time here. 

Lagos (yellow circle)

Lagos is an ancient maritime town with more than 2000 Years of History. The name Lagos comes from a Celtic settlement, derived from the Latin Lacobriga, the name of the settlement was established during the pre-Punic civilizations. It became an early settlement of the Carthaginians, who recruited Celtic tribesmen in their war against the Romans.

It's known for its walled Old Town, picturesque sandstone cliffs and Atlantic beaches. There are a couple of museums, a popular marina, some walking promenades and beautiful cobblestone streets. 

Steep wooden steps lead from our apartment complex down to the sandy beach of Praia da Dona Ana. The photos below look left (east towards town) and then right (westward).

The Walled Old Town
The older part of Lagos is still encircled by remnants of city walls that were constructed during the 16th century when it was the residence of the governors of the Algarve. Some sections of the old walls still remain at the coast.

Walking and Hiking Paths 

Left: a stock aerial photo of Ponta de Piedade with sweeping headland views; features a lighthouse and marine navigation station near it's tip (LOOK closely). Lagos is just outside the photos' frame at right-side centre.

There is an extensive network of informal hiking paths that zig-zag high along the coastline and around the perimeter of this headland. Lots of ups and downs. The trails owe their extent to the old, farm, donkey paths

Eroding sandstone has cut many path passageways, bridges and steps now crumble ... new paths are walked, new directions are discovered. Beaches become isolated from each other by rock outcroppings; the sandstone erodes and wave action creates archways that often provide passage between beaches at low tide.

Urban Scenes
Talented street artists, a large marina for private and commercial boats, an international restaurant scene, some cafes and bodegas ... unique chimneys, ceramic-tiled sidings, multi-coloured tree planters, sea sprayed patinas, cat caretakers, street musicians.

Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park
We started in Lagos and drove northwest towards the town of Odeceixe near the northern end of the park. Then south along the coast to visit the towns of Aljezur, Carrapateira and Sagres. Cabo de Sao Vicente near Sagres is the southernmost point of land on mainland Europe.

Scenes ... a 1oth century castle; Castello Aljezur, some new & challenging driving manoeuvers (make 2 lanes from 1 and negotiate a 25%+ grade), numereous stops along a very picturesque Atlantic coast, a few mostly empty winter beaches, several hundred foot vertical cliffs, stacked quiet cliffside towns

We saw three guys fishing from a few hundred feet up on sheer cliffs; apparently a common technique here!! We were told by a local that some fishermen tether themselves to the rock, but many don't ... there have been deaths from falling.

Wry & Crusty ... photography & text 

Crumby - Navigation Assistant

                                           Our newest Team Member has been with us for awhile, but is just now being formally introduced.

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TEAM: LOAF, Crumby, Wry & Crusty