Around the end of my trip to Europe, we decided to head down to Portugal to finish everything off with some sun and nice weather.
Apparently it was cheap and one of the nicest places in Portugal.
We headed down to the Algarve. Little did we know it was actually one of the greatest experiences of the entire trip.
After hopping on a night train from Paris and ending up in Lisbon almost 3 days later, we finally boarded a smaller train with Lagos as our destination. While sitting at the train station, we were pretty burnt out at this time and had a few hours to kill. Amazingly, I looked up at three girls walking towards us and I was surprised to see that they were actually friends of our from high school! It IS a small world after all. They were heading down to Lagos as well, what were the chances?!
We got on the train and took our last train ride of the trip... 2 hours later we arrived in LAGOS! At first it was strange, people were greeting us on the way to our hostel, it seemed very touristy, even for a non-tourist season. We found the positivity around here to be a complete change from our other destinations (keep in mind we had been traveling in the winter).
We checked into the very cheap hostel (I think it was 12 euros a night, but it had everything: kitchen, tvs, decent bathrooms, nice reception, courtyard, nice rooms). We walked around town, headed down to the beach... At this point we were already in love with the place. It was beautiful AND cheap. The coolest part of town was a statue that resembled "mega-man" in the center of town that always acted as a map-point for us find our way around.
During the week there was plenty of time to take in the sun and enjoy the cheap grocery stores in town... But that wasn't the point. What was originally a 2 day trip turned into about 2 weeks, and even then we didn't want to leave. At one point, we even left (in week 1) and were thrilled when the trains were not running for the day! We ended up staying an entire second week.
The best part of Lagos for college students is the positive bar scene. All of the bars are about 5 minutes walking distance at most (keep in mind this is a very very small town) and it doesn't matter which one you go it, it's always the same people. Good thing, because everyone here is up for having a good time. If you don't mind staying drunk from morning until night, or vice-versa, then this may be your party hot spot. There wasn't an hour that went by in Lagos where you didn't see someone from the night before and immediately start shaking hands and talking about last night. It's the way of life there. I felt like I knew the entire town by the end of my trip, and it was a great experience.
A great place to eat in Lagos is "Casa Rosa!" It is perfect for backpackers... A cheap meal and all you can drink beer for 10 euros... How do you go wrong? Anyway, Nick, the guy who runs the joint is a really swell english fellow and he will make sure you are taken care of.
I definitely recommend going out of your way to find this little piece of heaven in the Algarve. Portugal is definitely one of my favorite countries, just for having this small town exist.