Falling in love with Lagos, Portugal

Praia Dona Ana view from the cliffs of the ocean and beach in Lagos, Portgual.

Chinonye Mbonu

Praia Dona Ana view from the cliffs of the ocean and beach in Lagos, Portgual.

The best part about Spain is Portugal.

Yes, you read that right. I mean no disrespect to Spaniards, but neither their most tiered flamenco dresses nor their savory tapas can win my heart over like Portugal did.

My trip to Lagos, Portugal happened by chance. Sure it was on my “Places to Go” list for Discover the World, but I hadn’t done any serious planning other than scribbling, “Find a Portuguese husband” in my journal.
Then one day while wandering through Seville’s city center, I happened to mindlessly walk into a DiscoverExcursions office. Approximately two seconds after I realized I was in a guided tour office, my journalistic instinct kicked in. I must have asked about two-dozen questions about the affordability and, most importantly, safety of their excursions.

In order for me to test-drive the company, directors Benny and Toba offered to show me around Seville. I accepted, but to reassure myself that I wouldn’t become the next Natalee Holloway, I brought along a sizeable portion of the DTW group.
It didn’t take long for our doubts to be quenched, and with that we all booked our weekend trip to Lagos, Portugal.

The first day in Lagos was a day that I’ll cherish forever. We started off on a cruise along the coast loaded with laughter, music and too many pictures. Words cannot describe how green and clear the water was. We sailed past beaches, kayakers and limestone rocks.

After a while, we transitioned into smaller boats to sail beneath the limestone caves. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then collectively our pictures from the cave could buy up The New York Times.

The highlight of the day came when I conquered my fear and swam in the ocean. Technically, I wore a life-vest and held Toba’s hand the whole time, but it was quite a feat for me because I have yet to learn how to swim.

The next day we were taken to Ponta de Piedade – a series of rock formations along the beach. It was quite a hike, but the view and experience was worth it.

A little while later, we were taken to Praia Dona Ana, which was the most beautiful beach I’d ever seen. Again, the water was so crystal clear that it took us a while to adjust. Some of the group went kayaking while the rest of us stayed behind to tan, wade and jump off the various rocks into the water.

That night, we were taken to Cabo de Sao Vicente. We watched the sunset atop a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Prior to the discovery of the New World, this place was once thought to be the end of the world, as it is the southwestern most tip of Europe.

On the last day, we were taken to yet another beach in the town of Sagres. Some of us went surfing, while the rest of us laid out on the sand and reflected on what a beautiful weekend we just had.