by Connie Hand
Admittedly, the beaches in the Portuguese Algarve are famous for their beauty, but they are also very crowded.
Having been to the Algarve several times, I always wondered where the quiet, uncrowded beaches were. There had to be many since the coast was about 60 miles long. But how to find them?
My research always came to a dead end. I used a current Michelin map of Portugal. I went online. Not many beaches were noted except the usual—mostly eastern Algarve four and five star resorts.
I imagined beach after beach, cove after cove nestled under huge rocks and boulders. With so many coastal miles, especially on the Atlantic Coast, I was sure that the Portuguese and the German and British tourists or expats knew about dozens of these paradises, even if Americans hadn’t yet found them.
Praia do Castelejo. Photo by Portuguesa72/flickr.com
A couple of years ago, I decided to find some people to speak with on the subject during my visit. But about a week before my trip, while reading a Rick Steves’ Portugal guide, I came across a small paragraph that mentioned Castelejo Beach on the Atlantic Coast of Algarve, Portugal. In his guidebook under “The Algarve: Cape Sagres” section, he listed “Beaches”. He stated that there were many little beaches from Salema to Sagres. And then...he mentioned Praia do Castelejo which is north of Sagres past Vila do Bispo. Rick wrote “If you have a car and didn’t grow up in Fiji, this is really worth the drive”. He said it was “the best secluded beach in the region”.
At last, someone was as interested as I in the tucked away and little heard of western Algarve beaches!
So my husband and I decided to go for it.
When we arrived at Lagos, we checked into the Romantik Hotel Vivenda Miranda. This boutique hotel is situated up on a cliff overlooking the Praia do Mos. (The hotel is beautiful and lovingly cared for by owners Vera and Urs Wild, and their friendly, helpful staff. I highly recommend it).
After lunch, we made our plans to drive out to Castelejo beach the next day. We would follow Rick Steve’s directions.
The next morning, after a delicious buffet breakfast on the hotel patio with its ocean view, we left on our adventure.