Answers to all your questions
What sights will we see?
This tour is about much more than sights... It's about experience. And what we will experience is the great, wild outdoors, and some of the tallest cliffs & most undiscovered coastline in Europe. Our journey will take us by foot to the famous and historical Cape of St. Vincent, aka the End of the World, the most remote and rugged corner of Europe, and we'll see it like no one else does. Along the way, we'll learn, explore, listen to music, get our hands dirty, share stories, and it will all be sprinkled with food and wine, and last but not least, a sunset and stargazing from the clifftops at the End of the Known World.
Where does the trip take place?
Our hikes brings us away from the crowds of the Algarve and to the secret, far-off-corners of the Vicentine Coast Natural Park, in the region of Vila do Bispo and Sagres. Our journey finishes near the Cape of St. Vincent, aka the End of the World, the most Southwestern point in Europe.
Can you tell me more about the experience?
Part of the joy of this experience is that there is a bit of mystery left in it... not every detail is known, and surprises lie ahead.
So, let go of your need to know and plan everything for this one special day, and follow us on a journey to an unexpected place... you will not be disappointed.
If you really want more info to help you decide about this tour, then just send us a quick message and we'll be happy to provide details :)
I've already been/am planning to go to the West coast... will this be new for me?
Yes! I guarantee that we will go places you cannot find on your own, or with any other tour. So, there is no chance of overlapping or repeating experiences. No matter what, this will be something entirely new for you, promise.
Can you do a shorter / half-day tour?
For the Classic Adventure, no: I have found over the years that a full-day allows for the deepest, richest, most rewarding experience, and that's the one I want to share. Length cannot be adjusted.
For a Private Adventure, yes: The shortest trip that I recommend is 5.5-6 hours (a half-day trip). I need at least 3 hours of "hiking time" to get a proper experience of this place. Add driving time (1.5 hours round trip from Lagos), plus dinner time (1 hr), plus time enjoying the sunset and stargazing, plus time for learning, storytelling, relaxing, enjoying the views, and maybe swimming, plus some wiggle room.
How far will we hike?
- Classic Adventure: The length of our hike is not great, about 6-10km. What is important here is not quantity, but quality, not distance travelled, but the experience we have while traveling it. Don't be fooled, however: Some of that traveling can be challenging.
- Overnight Adventure: About 25km in total over two days, with about 700-1000 in elevation gain. This is a more significant hiking experience, but doable for anyone healthy and of normal good fitness.
A group tour? I'll have to spend the day with a bunch of strangers?
You will be joining a small group of max 9 other adventurers, who will begin as strangers, turn into teammates, and grow into friends. We are not just a group walking together on a tour, we are a team working together toward a common goal. The group aspect of this experience -- meeting other travelers, bonding in nature, sharing stories, making friends -- can be a highlight.
What will the other guests be like?
My guests are a diverse bunch, and come from every corner of the globe, but a heavy majority come from Europe and North America. Pretty much all speak some English. Some have lots of experience in the outdoors, for others it's their first real hike ever. The average age of my guests is about 30late twenties, and most guests are between 20-40, but adults of all ages are welcome and encouraged.
CHALLENGES & CONCERNS
How difficult is the hiking? Is it hard?
The experience is different for everyone: for some a nice challenge, for others a walk in the park.
Despite the long day, you will find this experience is never strenuous or exhausting. We go at a relaxed pace, take plenty of breaks, spend lots of time resting, and are in no rush.
However, the potential challenges come when we encounter parts that require careful balance, coordination, and attention: uneven terrain, big steps, short but steep ascents/descents, loose/slippery rocks, and other rugged terrain.
We will also use our hands on occasion for balance and upward mobility. We might have to climb over some boulders or short, non-vertical walls. However, if hands are being used, hand-holds are plentiful and easy to grip; exposure is minimal; and I will be right there to help, if needed.
All "technical" parts, which require use of hands, are suitable for any beginner.
As well, the most technical parts are optional, and you may choose to skip them while remaining with the group.
I am afraid of heights... will that be a problem?
The short answer is, no!
Being a little afraid of heights is perfectly fine and normal, and not a problem for this tour. Your heart might race in moments, you might be pushed outside your comfort zone at times, but that's a good thing! Adventure begins where comfort zone ends.
So, the most important thing by far is that you have an adventurous spirit and the positive attitude to try new things, take on a potential challenge, and push yourself just a little bit, and do it all with a smile :) If that sounds like you, then I can assure you the heights will be no problem and you will love this experience.
However, if you would describe yourself as super "terrified" of heights, then this tour may not be for you. If you get scared just thinking about heights; if heights can paralyze you or send you quickly into panic or dizzy-ness; if standing even a few meters away from an edge might cause you significant stress or discomfort... then you might find this tour is not right for you.
I'm a bit older... Is this tour for me?
Our tours are designed to be accessible to a wide range of people, and I take plenty of people in their 50's and 60's. However, the older you are, the more challenging it could be for you, and the more confident you should feel that you are healthy and fit for your age.
Generally speaking, if you have a regular exercise routine; are capable of some sustained vigorous exercise; can still play a good game of tennis or spend a day hiking a mountain; and/or have lots of previous hiking and outdoor experience, then you will love the experience! The most important thing is that you have the spirit for adventure and the ability to take on a potential challenge with a smile.
A full-day hike? That seems like a lot...
Don't worry, we are not hiking the whole time. Total hiking time is about 4.5 hours, spread out over the whole day. The rest of the time is spent relaxing, driving, learning, listening, watching the waves, enjoying the views, swimming in the ocean, eating dinner, sharing stories, looking at maps, watching the stars, enjoying the sunset, and much much more. Hiking is just our mode of transportation for a much bigger experience.
Is it dangerous?
This is an outdoor adventure, not an extreme sport. We've taken almost 5,000 guests over 6+ years of guiding in the Algarve without incident: You have nothing to worry about.
Of course, anytime one goes into the outdoors, or does any activity at all, they expose themselves to inherent hazards and risks. I manage these risks with the upmost care and professional responsibility, but the only way to eliminate them completely is to simply stay at home.
Although I plan never to have to use it, I am prepared to handle any medical situation in the backcountry. I am trained and have multiple professional and up-to-date certifications in Wilderness First Response, Wilderness First Aid, and CPR from the industry-leading International Wilderness Medicine School in the United States.
Do I need special skills, experience, or abilities?
You need no special skills or experiences to enjoy this tour. You must only be healthy, generally fit, and, most importantly, have a positive attitude, the spirit for adventure, and the ability to take on a potential challenge with a smile. If that sounds like you, then you will love the experience!
Will we be swimming? What's that like?
We only go swimming on hot days in summer, and when we do, it's always optional. It's a nice way to take a break, relax, and cool off on hot days. Usually, the swimming is in a normal beach environment, but sometimes we have the opportunity to swim around rocks and through caves and other fun things. But again, it's always optional, and we only go if the conditions are right. However, all swimming is done on beaches without lifeguards or facilities.
I am pregnant. Will that be a problem?
As long as you feel that you still have normal-good balance, coordination, range of motion, and stamina, then you will be just fine. Much of this will depend on your particular pregnancy, how advanced you are, and what your level of physical fitness was/is before and during the pregnancy.
I have lots of information elsewhere regarding what to expect from the tour, and basically those same things will apply to you if you're pregnant.
I've taken plenty of women in their 1st and 2nd trimesters, and they do great. If you're in your 3rd trimester (7-9 months), then it might start to become challenging, and you should consider carefully.
This is what I recommend: Book the tour, and let me know about your pregnancy. Then, wait until 2 weeks before the tour, which is the last time you can cancel without losing your deposit, and see how you feel then before making your final decision.
What is the Booking process?
Booking is easy. You do just two things, I do two things, and we're good to go.
- Step 1: You fill out the Booking Request form.
- Step 2: I respond to confirm the tour date you requested.
- Step 3: You pay a deposit of about 1/3, via bank transfer or Paypal.
- Step 4: I respond to give you all the details you need to be ready for the tour.
What is the cancellation policy?
The deposit is fully refundable up to 2 weeks in advance of the tour, 1/2 refundable up to 1 week, non-refundable after that.
How early should I book?
I am a tiny company, and space is very limited. Our tours are small, intimate affairs, 8-10 people max, and in the summertime they usually sell out. Sometimes they sell out weeks in advance, sometimes days, sometimes hours, sometimes not at all. The best way to assure you get a spot on a tour is to book as early as you can, or at least a week or two in advance.
However, you can always try the day before and see if you get lucky!
What payment methods do you accept?
For the online deposit: PayPal or bank transfer (I cannot currently accept credit cards online).
On the day of the tour: You can pay me the remainder in cash (preferable), or credit card, or PayPal.
What days are the tours available?
The Classic Adventure departs 4-5 days a week during the season, so chances are that we can find a date that works for us both. The exact days, however, depend on when the bookings come in. So, the best way to find out if I have availability is to fill in the booking form, tell us the dates you are available, and I will respond to tell you where our schedules line up.
The Overnight Adventure departs only a couple times a month, based on demand, so please show us some demand :)
Private Adventures can be made for any day, on request.
What months do you operate?
Generally, from April through October, but every year is different, so please enquire.
What time do we leave and when do we get back?
The Classic Adventure: We depart Lagos about 6 hours before sunset, which ranges from about 12:45pm in Autumn to 2:45pm in the middle of summer. We return after the sunset, stargazing, and drive home, which means well after dark. In summer, we don't get back until after 11pm. Don't worry, you will arrive home with a full belly, and a good night sleep comes free of charge.
The Overnight Adventure: We depart Lagos in the mid-afternoon on Day 1 and return home in the evening of Day 2.
Private Adventures: We recommend following the schedule of the Classic Adventure. However, the timing can be adjusted as needed. We highly recommend timing the experience with the sunset, which is a highlight of the experience. This means that the earliest we can get back to Lagos is about 1 hour after sunset, if we skip stargazing, eat our picnic before the sunset, and leave directly after the sunset. If you want to get back earlier, then we will have to forgo the sunset.
Why do we return so late? Can we get back earlier?
On this adventure we will get back well after dark.
This is because: a) we stay out for the sunset, b) the sun sets as late as 9:00pm in summer time, c) it's still light out for another hour after the sun sets, and we make use of all this light, d) we eat our picnic after the sunset, e) we finish our hike under lantern light and stars, and f) we then have a 40 minute drive back to Lagos.
So, we get home about 2.5 hours after the sun sets, or anywhere from 9:00 to 11:30pm, depending on the time of year.
And that's part of the fun! This is not your normal sightseeing tour but an experiential tour. Part of that experience takes place after the sky turns dark, the stars rise, and the landscape becomes drenched in mystery...
What's the price?
Your tour is expensive... what's the deal?
If you compare the price of our tour to other tours around, you'll find that you simply get what you pay for, and in this case, that's a lot.
For example: The most popular outdoor activity in Lagos is sea kayaking. A two-hour kayak tour with any of the dozen kayak companies costs €30, and this includes no food, and no transportation, an impersonal guide and a group of 20 other tourists.
Our tour, on the other hand, is a full-day experience, with transportation to a far away land, a hand-made dinner with wine, and a personal, small-group, hand-crafted experience that you cannot get anywhere else.
I promise you'll find it is well worth the splurge, and then some.
Do you offer any discounts?
I really do not want money to be the things that prevents you from having this experience.
I offer special 10% "Student Discounts" and "Backpacker Discounts": I know what it's like to be both of those things. So, if you are a currently enrolled full-time university student, or a backpacker on a multi-month trip around Europe or the world, I want to help. To receive the discount, just mention it when you book. And please, please be truthful: This tiny little business is our livelihood. I am not Jeff Bezos.
Do you provide transportation?
I provide transportation from and back to Lagos, only. Transportation is provided in our comfy, classic Volkswagon vans...
If you are not staying in Lagos, see below.
I'm not staying in Lagos... can I still join the tour? How do I get there?
People come from all over the Algarve for this tour. However, the trip starts and ends in Lagos. So, you will need to find a way to get/from to Lagos. Alternatively, you can also meet us in the town of Vila do Bispo, 30 minutes West of Lagos, if that is easier.
If you have a car, it will be easy. If not, then you will want to take a taxi, Uber, or public transport.
If you are staying West of Lagos, then you will need to meet us for the start of the tour, but I can drop you back off at home afterward, on our drive back to Lagos.
- If you are staying near Luz, you should come meet us in Lagos to start the tour.
- If you are staying near Burgau, then you can either meet me in Lagos, or in Vila do Bispo.
- If you are staying West of Burgau -- Salema, Vila do Bispo, or Sagres, etc. -- then you should us in Vila do Bispo.
How do I get home after the tour?
If you are staying in Lagos, or West of Lagos along our route home (Luz, Burgao, Salema, Vila do Bipo, or Sagres), then I can drop you home after the tour, or someplace within easy walking distance.
If you are staying East of Lagos, then I will bring you back to Lagos and you will need to find your own way to get home, by taxi or hired car.
How do I get to Lagos from Lisbon?
1) Bus: 4 hours, €20. See schedule and buy tickets here. Bus is nice because it is direct: Get on in Lisbon, get off in downtown Lagos.
2) Train: 3.5 hours, €28. See schedule and buy tickets here. Train is more comfortable and more scenic than bus, but also more expensive and not direct: It requires an change-over at the Tunes station (which is easy).
3) Car hire, quick way: If you hire a car, you can drive down in less than 3 hours on the toll road. Tolls are heavy, about €25 each way. When you hire/rent the car, it's easiest to get the "transponder" or the little device that auto-pays the tolls.
4) Car hire, scenic way: Alternatively, you can drive the scenic route to the Algarve along the coastal road, and avoiding the tolls. This takes about 4.5 hours if you drive straight... But this is also a great road trip, and there are countless little towns, beaches, and places to explore along the way. You could easily spend a whole day, or several days, driving this route. It's beautiful!
Where is the pick-up/meeting point?
We have two meeting points: One is in the Lagos city center, easy for anyone staying in Lagos. The other is just outside the center of Lagos at a residential parking lot, easy for anyone driving in from out of town. I will give you exact details after booking.
What happens if the weather is bad?
All weather is good adventuring weather! Rain softens the landscape, clouds enhance the atmosphere, and wind intensifies the drama. So, we go adventuring in all conditions with rare exceptions.
Don't worry! In summer it hardly rains at all, and in the Spring and Autumn it's rarely enough to be a bother.
Rain jackets are provided if needed, just in case :)
You should know, however, that it can get quite cold on the West coast... much colder than you will ever expect! I mean, hoods up, long pants/trousers on, even in August, even when it is 30 degrees in Lagos... where we go, the climate is totally different from the rest of the Algarve. But it only makes the experience more unique.
Is it too hot in summer to be hiking all day?
Actually, no! The West coast of the Algarve is a totally different climate zone than Lagos and the rest of the region. It is always cooler and windier, and heat is rarely a concern, even on the hottest days. You will be surprised how cold it gets, even in summer! As well, we are hiking in the evening time, as the sun gets low and the air begins to cool. By sundown, it will be perfectly pleasant or even a bit chilly even on the hottest days.
Will we get our money/deposit back in case of bad weather?
A tour will never be cancelled beforehand due to bad weather. We do not rely only on weather forecasts but always go see the "live" weather on the West coast before making any decision.
This is because...
1) The weather on the West Coast can be completely different than in Lagos, so a rainy day here might be a sunny one out there.
2) The weather on the West Coast is notoriously difficult to predict, so the only thing to do is go see it with our own eyes.
3) The weather on the West Coast can change in the blink of an eye, from rainy to sunny or vice versa, so cancelling a tour preemptively would be folly.
So, no matter what the weather seems, the tour will begin. We will drive out to assess the situation in person, and make the best of whatever Nature throws at us.
It's very rare, but in the event that a tour must be cut short due to very bad weather, we will give some money back accordingly.
What to bring
What do I need to bring on the tour?
The Classic Adventure: You do not need any special gear for this experience. Everything you need, you can probably find in your closet, and likely you were going to bring it to Portugal anyway. As well, I have extras of most important items (like jackets, backpacks, etc) which you can borrow. I will provide you with a list of “What to Bring” after you book, but it’s very straightforward: Basically, shoes, warm clothing, snacks and water.
The Overnight Adventure: I will provide all the camping, sleeping, and cooking equipment that we need. All you need to bring is appropriate clothing. Most likely, you have all the necessary items in your closet already, and most of it you were planning to bring to Portugal, anyway. There are just three main considerations:
-- Shoes: Something with a sturdy sole. Hiking/walking shoes are best. “Cross-trainers” work great. Normal athletic/running shoes, like Nikes or Asics, will get the job done. No Vans or slip ons.
-- Warmth: You should prepare like we are going up in the mountains, not to the beach: It can get cold and windy where we go. You will need long layers for top and bottom, and more than you think. A rain jacket is a good idea, mostly for wind. Synthetic upper-layers are recommended over cotton, but are not necessary.
-- Backpack: Comfortable hiking-style backpack (as opposed to a school book bag or tote bag) with a capacity of 30-50 liters. If you do not have one, you can rent one from me.
I will provide you with a detailed list of “What to Bring” after you book, including a list of items that you can borrow from me, if needed (I have extras of almost everything).
What will we eat?
The Classic Adventure: Dinner is a diverse spread of local Portuguese-style tapas, all home-made and hand-selected, friendly to all eaters including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free. Dishes range from grilled meats, to vegetables, salads, cheese, fruit, and various spreads, served with bread, wine, pastries and desert. Dishes are selected to reflect the local Western Algarve cuisine and culture as much as possible. Exact meals change with the season. Dinner under the stars is a highlight of the trip, you will enjoy!
Is the food vegetarian/vegan/gluten friendly?
Yes! The food that I prepare will be delicious for everyone but the most picky eaters :) It is mostly vegetarian, and is very friendly for vegan and gluten-free eaters, as well.
Should we bring snacks?
It's a long day, and dinner is not until dark, so it's a good idea to bring some snacks.
Is the tour only in English?
Yes, the tour is conducted only in English. I can speak some Portuguese and Spanish, but the entire tour will be conducted in English.
I do not speak English / não falo inglês / no hablo inglés / ne parle pas anglais...
This tour is conducted in English, and is best experienced with some understanding of English. You do not need to speak fluently, however, but a basic understanding will be very helpful and will enhance the experience.
If you speak no English at all, then the tour will be very different for you: you might be unable to talk with me or the other guests, and you will miss a lot of the stories and learning about the history and nature.
However, the landscapes always speak for themselves, and adventure is a universal language, so you can still enjoy the experience even with minimal or no english.
Can my kids go adventuring?
In order to create the best tour experience, group tours are designed for adults, and are for 18+ only.
If you have a family with younger kids, ask about a private tour instead. This way, I can customize the tour to appeal to both young and old(er) and create an awesome adventure just for you.
Why are the group tours for adults only?
Young kids simply have different interests, attention spans, physical abilities, safety liabilities, and much more... Group dynamics and social interactions are important elements of the tour experience, and so an age limit helps to assure that everyone in the group is on the same page, and a better group tour experience can be had for all. Also, we stay out late, drink wine, etc. It's just an adult experience.
TIPS & RECOMMENDATIONS
Where should I stay?
I can recommend a few places to stay based on my own personal experience. These are places I would send my own friends and friendly to. All are simple, clean, beautiful, friendly, intimate, and with a great location and moderate price. It's not an exhaustive list: There are lots of nice places in Lagos.
-- For a Guesthouse / B&B: I can highly recommend Guesthouse Enseada, with the loveliest couple Chris and Ellie who run it, beautiful bespoke decor, fresh breakfasts, great location, lovely outdoor patio, and very personal service. It's a boutique little guesthouse/Bed and Breakfast, on a quiet side street of central Lagos. If they are full, try 3 Marias Guesthouse, Farol B&B, or Casa a Sul, all great as well.
-- For a small boutique hotel: The Casa a Beira Sol is a special place, with a beautiful garden and pool in a quiet location near to the beaches and 10 minutes walking from town. It's a hidden gem. You can also look at the slightly bigger, but still great Costa d'Orio, Dom Manuel, or Dom Dinis hotels.
-- For a hostel / something less expensive: For nice, clean, mature, non-party hostels, try Olive Hostel, Gold Coast Hostel, Racing Mackerel Hostel, or Tag Hostel. For an activities-based adventure and surfing hostel, the Bura Surfhouse is awesome. A little bit out of town but with a beautiful pool, yoga classes, lots of activites, daily dinners, etc.