In the western Algarve, this popular holiday destination has more appeal than the nearby overdeveloped resort towns of Portimao and Praia da Rocha. The walled old town has a choice of pretty squares, perfect for relaxing with a drink; there's a modern yacht-filled marina and a selection of beaches, from cosy coves to the larger sweep of surfers' favourite Meia Praia. Now that we were in holiday mode, surfing sounded far too energetic, so we opted instead for a boat trip down the Lagos coastline. A stunning series of rocky outcrops and caves, some of the curious formations are named after the shapes they represent: the camel proved a fairly accurate description, but I was unconvinced by the idea of a grotto resembling a living room. That's certainly not an idea my mother would be on board with, anyway.