The Algarve in Portugal is the perfect destination if you want to escape the start of autumn with days getting colder, shorter and darker. With its 300 days of sunshine a year it is one of sunniest places of Europe. But the Algarve has way more to offer besides the consistent weather. Its captivating coastline consisting of golden beaches surrounded by the most sensational cliffs and huge rough rocks rising from the bluest ocean is a feast for the eyes. I chose to stay at Carvoeiro because it is close to Benagil, famous for its impressive cave, and Praia da Marinha, better known as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world!
5 reasons why you must visit the Algarve
1. The dramatic coastline
Never have I seen such a dramatic coastline with the steepest limestone cliffs and treacherous sinkholes. From the ocean rise impressive rock formations fighting against the power of the massive waves breaking against them. The limestone consists of different colors varying from white, grey, yellow, orange and even red. A great way to explore the coastline is by foot. There is a great hike that leads you from the Farol de Alfanzina (the lighthouse) to Praia da Marinha. On your way you get fantastic views of the various beaches, sinkholes and caves. You even get to see the top of the Benagil cave!
2. The golden beaches
The beaches seem unreal with their golden sand and massive cliffs. They are rough and untouched. I loved Praia da Marinha and Praia do Camilo. No hotels, beach chairs and umbrellas here! The only thing you need to remember is that nature can be sneaky and dangerous. The risk of rockfall is very high and remember the beach lies next to the big Atlantic Ocean. At times the sea gets rough and the tide can be insidious. Even though I was very attentive and cautious, I still got washed away from the beach with all my stuff. I was lucky to have put everything in plastic bags, so no harm was done to my camera equipment and other stuff, but I’m sure not everyone was this prepared and some people lost precious things in this little tsunami.
3. The sea caves and sink holes
The sink holes and sea caves are formed by rain water dripping into the cracks of the limestone rocks. The rain water dissolves the limestone so the cracks get larger and larger over centuries . This way sea caves and sink holes are formed. When you go hiking from the Farol de Alfanzina (the lighthouse) to Praia da Marinha, you’ll get to see a lot of these sink holes. Some of them are so deep and steep you can’t even see the bottom. But you can hear the waves splashing into them which makes such an exhilarating sound!
From the coast you can see a lot of sea caves as well, but the best way to explore the caves is by boat. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to do a boat trip at Benagil, due to the wild sea. But I was able to book a boat trip at Lagos to Ponta da Piedade and this was such a wonderful experience! By boat you get to sea the rough coastline from a different angle and the boat takes you along the many arches, rock formations and inside the sea caves.
4. The most beautiful sunrise and sunset
I absolutely loved waking up early to watch the sunrise from the balcony. There were so many colors to enjoy. But the sunsets were even more beautiful. The setting sun turned the sky on fire from golden to red. The afterglow was stunning turning the sky to pink, purple, different blues,… A sunset at the Algarve is definitely a must!
5. The sunny warm weather
The Algarve is one of the sunniest places in Europe. 300 days of sunshine or over 3000 hours of sun a year! A guaranteed sunny destination to escape wet autumns or cold winters.
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