An early start this morning for our 7.00 am departure to Faro airport. Our three hour flight was with the budget scheduled airline Monarch which arrived on time, the flight passing quickly for us as we managed to catch up on some sleep for most of the journey. After reclaiming our luggage we transferred to Lagos in the western Algarve by minibus, the journey taking 90 minutes. We looked into the possibility of using the train but departures are infrequent and we would have wasted most of the day getting to our resort.
Researching online, we learnt that a minibus operates every 30 minutes to Lagos, dropping passengers at their accommodation so decided this was to be the best option. Fortunately, we only had to sit on the bus 10 minutes before it set off, most of the journey being via a motorway with little to see, but the final fifteen minutes were scenic and we arrived at our hotel in Lagos at 1.00 pm. This is our first visit to this part of Portugal but we have previously visited Lisbon and the beautiful island of Madeira.
The receptionist informed us that our room would not be ready for another hour so we left our luggage with the concierge and found an attractive bar around the corner for a welcome pot of tea and a light lunch. It was lovely to sit out on the terrace to enjoy our meal and although it was October the sun was still strong and we needed to adjust the parasol to shield us from its strong rays. Such a temperature change from home where I’d just started wearing my winter coat!
Returning to the Hotel Tivoli Lagos, our home for the next eight nights, we found our room to be ready and a friendly porter assisted us with our luggage to our top floor room. The hotel is very large and on different levels. It appears that over time the Tivoli has bought up the neighbouring hotels and incorporated them into one. Our room was quite a way from the reception and it was necessary to take a combination of three lifts, covered walkways and several short staircases to access our floor so bear this in mind if you might consider staying here and request a room near the restaurant/reception if you have mobility problems or are travelling with infants.
Our room was quite large and bright, perhaps in need of a makeover to meet its 4 star rating, but perfectly pleasant for our needs. Stepping out onto our secluded balcony the view was stunning – our room overlooked both the marina and sweeping bay with a backdrop of small white washed houses clinging to the hillsides, making it a perfect base for our autumn break.
After unpacking and freshening up, we strolled along the typical Portuguese mosaic style pavements down to the marina which was surprisingly quiet for a Saturday afternoon. After spending some time wandering along, glancing at boats and waterfront bars we made our way to the old part of town where a weekend market was taking place.
It was interesting exploring the narrow maze of cobbled streets in the old town which open up into small squares filled with outdoor terraces of inviting little cafes. Lagos seems to be a delightful, characterful small town rather different I suspect to the larger, purpose built resorts around Albufeira further east.
Feeling tired after being up since 3.45 am we returned to the hotel for a rest before eating dinner in a small bistro we noticed earlier. The temperature had dropped considerably but I was warm enough in a cardigan, we ate indoors and I enjoyed a Portuguese style Bean and Chorizo stew which was very tasty. A walk along the promenade followed and on returning to the hotel we could hear the melodic notes of saxophones and found a trio playing in the bar but we were too tired to stop and listen this evening and were soon tucked up in bed after a pleasing introduction to the Algarve.