Algarve: Lagos & Cascade Resort
Back in September 2018, Rishi found insane mistake airfares of Canada to Europe with Air Transat. More specifically, there were flights from Toronto to Dublin for only $110 roundtrip. We booked this flight twice (FlightNetwork and Priceline); thinking one would be canceled. The FlightNetwork booking was canceled but a quick call with Air Transat fixed that. Since Dublin is Ryanair’s headquarters, it’s easy to find cheap flights to the rest of Europe. The first trip was back in November where we explored Dublin and then flew to Munich for a few days. This was our second trip back to Dublin, but this time we wanted a hot and cheap destination and booked a $90 roundtrip flight to Faro, Portugal.
An hour away from Faro International Airport is the stunning city of Lagos (pronounced “Lar-goosh”). We stayed at Cascades Wellness & Lifestyle Resort for three full days which was the perfect amount of time.
The resort’s most prominent feature is that its location is closest to Lagos’ most famous attraction, Ponta de Piedade. You can walk to it in under 20 minutes. Right outside the resort are paved trails surrounded by beautiful flora and cliffside views. Along the path are smaller unpaved paths that lead to gorgeous viewpoints. We did the walk to Ponta de Piedade and back almost four times!
We loved our stay at Cascade Resort. After check-in, guests are welcomed to the lobby bar, The Lighthouse, for free “welcome drinks”. Try their mojito, it’s delicious!
The room was very comfortable. The bathroom was big and spacious. It included a bathtub as well as a walk-in rain shower. The bathroom amenities were by L’Occitane which got me excited! We enjoyed spending time on our balcony as it had a great view of the pool and the Atlantic Ocean. Wi-Fi was free with a strong connection. They provide a turndown service with a chocolate treats every night. The room comes with a Nespresso machine with two free pods a day. Those espressos definitely came in handy while we worked late nights.
The Resort grounds are beautifully decorated. They have different themed areas of Asia, Africa, European and South American representing the trade history of Lagos. They have two big outdoor pools, one with a sandbank. They have a full spa with packages to purchase as well as free use of another outdoor heated pool, jacuzzi, and sauna.
The Resort is known to have Portuguese soccer teams as guests, which is the reason why “Wellness and Lifestyle” is part of its name. It has two full FIFA-size soccer fields. It also has a driving range and putting green for those interested in golf. They also offer golf coaching lessons! Best of all is the Resort’s gym facility called AXN Club 100. It’s a separate building, fully equipped with Technogym equipment. It also has an outdoor area with battle ropes, tires and sledgehammers, obstacle courses and more! On top of all that, they offer fitness classes such as Yoga, Boot Camp, Zumba, and Pilates. If you are looking into staying on top of your fitness while still enjoying a vacation, this resort is perfect for you.
Cascade Resort has a few dining options right in the facility although they are bit pricey. There isn’t any cheaper dining options walking distance so we had to plan ahead whether we were staying in for dinner or heading out to the city. They have full three restaurants called Senses, Gastropub and Mundi as well as The Lighthouse lobby bar which serves food. They also have room service. We enjoyed breakfast every morning at Mundi Restaurant. Breakfast was buffet style with a chef available to cook custom eggs/ omelet. There were endless selections of cheeses, smoked salmon, fresh fruits, fresh slices of bread and pastries. There are also options for fresh coffee, Nespresso, mimosa and selections of juices.
On our last night, we were lucky enough to experience a fabulous tasting menu at Mundi Restaurant by Chef Alexandre Luisa. Every dish used all local ingredients. The taste and presentation of the dishes were impeccable!
The service by all the staff at Cascade was amazing. They offer a free shuttle to and from the resort to Porto de Mos Beach as well as to the city center. We used it a few times to explore the historic center of Lagos.
Once dropped off right outside the walls of the old city, everything is walking distance. The whole historic city is filled with traditional Portuguese tiled pavement, small alleyways, and colorful orange rooftops. The tiny streets are lined with bars, restaurants, and shops. The best part is that for a touristy town, everything it’s still super cheap. We went from bar to bar sipping beer for €1.5 per glass!
There are a lot of locals that are also expats which makes a fusion of Portuguese history and a modern diverse food and culture. Some of the spots we highly recommend are Beats and Burritos, Ol’ Bastards and Baffi Bar for modern cuisine, and Al-Bravo Cafe, Doce Tentação and especially Mar d’Estórias for local cuisine. The latter has a fantastic rooftop bar as well as a storefront selling the best of Portuguese art, delicacies, wines and more.
The best part of Lagos is its scenic geological formations and amazingly unique beaches. It’s all linked together by trails and is walking distance from one another. Starting from Cascade Resort, we walked to the stunning Ponta da Piedade. There are stairs leading down into the grotto. It’s fascinating seeing the water recede and rush back in. From Ponta da Piedade is a short walk to my personal favorite, Camilo Beach. There are stairs leading down to this unique beach filled with coves and tunnels. From Camilo Beach, is another 10 min walk to Dona Ana Beach. A larger beach surrounded by beautiful cliffs. Even though everything was walking distance, each attraction had lots of parking space and a cheap restaurant/bar nearby.
We fell in love with this part of Portugal and want to come back when the weather is warmer. It’s one of the most inexpensive regions of Europe which is a big plus. Our trip didn’t feel exhausting like most Europe trips. It had sun-filled days relaxing at Cascade Resort while going on a few breathtaking scenic walks along the Atlantic Ocean and indulging in fresh Portuguese food and wines. I highly recommend you make this your next sun destination!