We headed out of Lisbon around 11:00 a.m. and drove south across the Rio Tejo to the Parque Natural da Arrábida, between Sesimbra and Setúbal. We had lunch at a restaurant right on the water (literally!) and overlooking the bay. Then, after fighting beach traffic for almost two hours, we finally made it to Setúbal and the expressway and headed south to the Algarve.
|Waiting for our lunch|
|Hilltop view overlooking our restaurant and the bay|
The first night, we had requested to have our hosts prepare dinner for us, and we were so glad we did, partially because we arrived pretty late and were tired, but also because it was a truly wonderful meal, probably one of the best and most authentic Portuguese meals we have ever had. Multiple courses, including freshly grilled fish and regional specialties, served to us in their dining room. The family ate in the kitchen, which surprised us at first, but we ended up really enjoying the peace and quiet and uninterrupted conversation.
The next morning, after breakfast, we went exploring! We drove all the way down to the southwestern-most point in all of Europe, the Cabo de São Vincente, stopping to admire the views of the coast and even take a few short beach walks along the way:
After lunch in the town of Sagres, we found a nice beach and spent the afternoon soaking in the sun and watching the waves. We had dinner that night at a beach-front restaurant, and the sunset was spectacular:
After breakfast the next day, we headed to the beach again for a couple of hours. Then, after lunch, it was time to head back to Lisbon. We had a wonderful time -- it was the perfect blend of relaxation and sight-seeing. And the Algarve truly is as beautiful as everyone says it is -- just don't go there in August with everyone else in Europe!