Friday, March 6, 2015

A Reason to Return to the Algarve: Ponta da Piedade

As we embarked on our move to England, our list of places to see in Europe while we lived here was long. We quickly came to the realization that we wouldn't get to see it all, especially if we wanted to travel at a pace that allows us to actually enjoy the experience. So there was an unspoken rule that we wouldn't go somewhere more than once while we were here.

Rules are meant to be broken though, right?

Of all the trips we've taken in the last couple of years, I came home from Portugal last December overwhelmed by how much I loved it there, and yet somewhat unfulfilled, knowing we hadn't seen as much as I wanted. The cover of my Frommer's guidebook called out to me... that majestic site, Ponta da Piedade, was only 30 minutes from our resort in the Algarve but we never saw it.

Fortunately I got a second chance, and happily boarded a plane with the boys by myself to meet my parents for a return to this region of southern Portugal a few weeks ago. At the top of my sightseeing list was, no surprise, Ponta da Piedade.

Ponta da Piedade is the type of place where you might contemplate tearing up your travel bucket list, and letting those pieces of paper sail across the windy cliffs. Because what could be better than this? I'm so glad I got a chance to return and see it.

Tips If You Visit:
  • Location: If you have a sat nav or GPS, Ponta da Piedade will likely show up as a destination (it did on my TomTom). Regardless, as you head south out of Lagos you will see a few signs for it.
  • Parking/Amenities: There is a parking lot and small cafĂ© at the start of the various hiking trails found there.
  • Safety: I didn't explore the dirt trails, and instead stuck with the walled path that leads down to the water. I felt comfortable letting the boys explore this path (with both myself and my parents closely monitoring them), but I wouldn't have allowed my 3-year-old onto those dirt trails. So it is necessary to keep young children close to you.
  • Physical Demands: I could have comfortably taken the 182 steps down to the water and back (with lots of photo breaks). My 3-year-old walked about halfway down, and my father and I carried him back up when he didn't walk himself. (My 5-year-old was a little frightened by the heights and only went down about 1/4 of the way... which tells you a lot about their personalities, actually.) Regardless, the view is impressive no matter how far down you walk. And there are several flat platforms where you can take a break for photos and rest along the way down. Don't let the stairs deter you from coming, they were much less daunting than I expected.
This post is a part of Friday Postcards at Walking on Travels.