Route through Portugal

We arrived in Portugal’s Algarve from Seville in Spain. The first thing we noticed was how shockingly bad the non-motorway road surfaces were! Difficult to see the scenery when you had to keep your eyes on the road surface to avoid the contents of the van jumping around. First nightstop in Fuseta. A bit further along the coast than we had intended but the first suitable place we could find.

P beach
Great swimming at Marinha beach.

We drove along the touristy end of the Algarve pulling off the road to look at some of the well known beaches. Most were packed but very pretty and some great places to swim. Rested up for three days in campsite at Salema near the south west tip of Portugal.

Next day went to the south west tip, Capa de Sao Vicente, before returning to spend the night at a great car park location near Sagres Fort.

Nightstop at Sagres Fort.

Long drive heading inland towards Evora. Started the day with more trips to the beach, drive through National Park and then inland through Alentejo region. This seems like a relatively poor and underpopulated part of Portugal … lots of cork trees!
At the end of a four & half hour drive we had 5/6 km drive along a very rough unsurfaced road to reach the Megalithic enclosure of Almendres – two twin circles of over 90 granite standing stones. Magical place at which we spent the night.

Standing stones at Almendres.

After an early morning view of the stones we headed into Evora, medieval town centre with roman remains (I know can’t get enough of them!) before heading back to the coast with another long drive (almost four hours). Great clifftop spot for the night, near Silveria.

Clifftop stop
Clifftop nightstop at Silveria.

Next day, someone else drove me around! We met up with Kath’s Portuguese friend Pedro who showed us round for the day. Kath’s diary blog describes our great day out.

Back in the driver’s seat we covered similar territory the next day mainly focusing on getting Motorhome problems fixed. We stayed overnight at Clinica das Caravans workshop in Campelos so that Nuno and his team could make an early start on sorting our problems. They did a great job and our gas leak and door problem were duly fixed and we were on our way again.

Short drive back to the coast for a relaxed day at Peniche.

Next day we dropped by Nazaré, surfers paradise (apparently holds world record for highest wave surfed .. probably disputable!). It was very busy as they were in middle of week long festival. Bought the t-shirt and moved on to a clifftop hippy spot at Praia de Paredes da Vitória to spend the night.

Areia Branca
Wild Atlantic at Areia Branca.

We wanted to visit Porto and do some clothes washing so did the long drive to a campsite at Vila Cha just north of Porto. Spent three days here. Took the Metro into Porto on two of the days and really enjoyed.

We wanted to visit the Parque Nacional Peneda-Gerés in northern Portugal so headed inland on three hour drive to spend the night in the wild beside a reservoir at Travassos da Chã just west of the park.

Resevoir stop
Gertie trying to hide while wild camping at Travassos da Chã reservoir.

Next day entered the park on narrow, challenging but very scenic roads.
Had a good stopover in car park in Gerés.

Last day in Portugal and the drive north to the Spanish border through the park is more of the same, lovely scenery but the most narrow twisty, ‘minor’ road we’ve had of any border crossing. The park finishes at the border, scenery not as ‘remote’ on Spanish side but the road improves significantly.

Sixteen days and 883 miles covered in Portugal. Six nights in two campsites. Four nights wild camping. Four nights free in car parks and two nights in aires. We drove the length of the Algarve, covered a lot of the wild Atlantic coast and had a number of trips inland. We didn’t visit Lisbon or its surrounds as we were there on a long week-end a number of years ago. It is the period on our trip when the weather changed from summer (in the south) to autumn (in the north).