Algarve – Portugal

Finally holidays again !!
And enough time to go a little further away with our “cochecito”.

Praia do Marinha

We leave in the afternoon and drive via Albacete inland to our first destination: El Aeropuerto Central de Ciudad Real or “El Aeropuerto Don Quijote” how it is called – as it was build but never operated.
The airport is south of Ciudad Real close to the highway and a perfect place for an overnight stop – enough parking space but nobody there. (38°52’18.6″N 3°59’24.3″W)
When we arrive it is already dark but there are streetlights around the main building. In the morning we get up before sunrise to take some pictures.

Aeropuerto Central de Ciudad Real

or Aeropuerto “Don Quichote”

We drive further south and stop for a lunch break at Carmona, which looked very impressive already from the highway . We can park directly in front of one of the old town entrances, the Puerta de Córdoba and walk through the town to the Parador at the historic castle. (37.476 , -5.6326)

Puerta de Córdoba – Carmona

In the afternoon we reach La Rábida near Huelva, where we wanted to visit the Muelle de las Carabelas – the reconstructed caravelles of Columbus first journey to India, but it is under renovation and closed until June.

So we head instead to the Convento de Santa María de la Rábida close by. As Columbus left from here, it’s what the exhibition is about, even though there is not much left from these times. It has a nice park around and the parking would be a good place to stay overnight 37.2073 , -6.9235.

Convento de Santa María de la Rábida

We pass Huelva and soon reach the border. After the bridge over the river Guadiana we leave the highway to avoid the toll and reach Castro Marim, where we see a caravan parking and decide to stop for the night, we did enough driving for a day. (37.2196 , -7.4444)

Castro Marim
Castro Marim – caravan parking

We walk up to the castle and stop at a small bar for a glass of red wine for € 0,60 ! Close to the caravan parking we find a big supermarket, ideal for stocking up on supplies.

The next day we take the N125 west along the coast. After Faro we stop near Almancil at one of the most beautiful churches of the Algarve: São Lorenço dos Matos. The inside is decorated completely with the typical blue tile motives. But the church is closed – fiesta. We are not the only disappointed tourists walking around the church.

São Lorenço dos Matos – Almancil

We reach Sagres and stop first in front of the Fortaleza, where a big parking is also suitable for overnight stops. (37.0043 , -8.9447)
We walk up to the fort with many other tourists, but it’s closed due to a strike. We feel haunted.
So we drive on to the Cabo São Vicente lighthouse. The museum there is also closed but we enjoy the views and go for a walk along the spectacular coast. In April everything is flowering and and the landscape is covered in yellow, white and purple.

Cabo São Vicente

everything in flower around the cap

We long for some solitude and head to one of the beaches at the west coast: Praia da Cordoama (37.1087 , -8.9358). The streets ends above a beautiful beach with level parking, a restaurant and a surf school. The beach is long and beautiful with an impressive coastline of cliffs.
The perfect place for long beach walks and afterwards delicious Sangría at the bar.

Praia da Cordoama

Praia da Cordoama

The next morning we go for a long walk, before we relax on the beach. At midday we leave for Carrapateira, where we stop in town for the market and then at the parking behind the vast sand dunes of Praia da Bordeira. (37.1926 , -8.9021)
We cross the river and walk to the beach first. Later we take the street which leads up next to the parking and follows the coast south. Along the road are many lookout points and the cliffs are spectacular. We take a street left to Carrapateira. Just before the parking a nice restaurant – O Sítio do Rio – stops us for a glass of wine. But finally we reach our “cochecito” again.

Praia da Bordeira

View from the parking over the dunes

Caravan parking Praia da Bordeira

The following morning we are the first on the beach and walk along the sea and back through the dunes. It’s a special feeling to have this spectacular landscape to ourselves.

river between the parking and the beach

With the caravan we drive the coast road we walked the last day and continue until the next beach: Praia do Amado. It’s a surfers beach and a couple of surf schools and a restaurant are above the long sandy beach. A big parking with views over the spectacular inland hills is also good for staying overnight. (37.1688 , -8.9013)

between Praia da Bordeira and Praia do Amado

fascinating coastline

We go for a walk inland up the hills. This time of the year the hills are covered in flowers and the view over the rolling hills and back to the coast and the village is worth the hike up.

We decide to find one more beach called Praia de Vale Figueira near Monte Novo (37°14’50.7″N 8°52’03.4″W). Our navigation rejected the coordinates and we got lost. We never found this beach, instead we took a road which led to a bay further north. First it took us on a gravel track through eucalyptus forests. When the track started to go down to the bay we were happy to have 4 wheel drive and gear reduction. When we reached a sign which said stop here and walk down when you want to be able to get up again (more or less) we followed the advice and parked the caravan there.
(37.269402, -8.859351). Please don’t go there without 4 wheel drive, ground clearance and no fear off driving steep off road tracks with a lot of gravel and trenches. With a real off road vehicle you can even go down to the beach which has no sand but black boulders. With our 5,3 tonnes we didn’t dare it.

Praia do Canal 

Praia do Canal

We stayed there over night before we worked up the courage to drive back up again. But what an adventure! Our ride up on video:
Later we found out we were at Praia do Canal.

driving up on 4×4

difficult terrain

we made it !

When we reached the civilisation and asphalt again, we headed to Lagos for some contrast. Outside of town there is an official caravan parking next to the the N125 and the stadium where we emptied our tanks and filled the water up. (37.1155 , -8.6787)
To visit Lagos we parked at a big parking area closer to town behind the harbour. (37.110407, -8.672268)

Along the river we got into the center and strolled around. Many pastelerias, ice cream stalls, bars and restaurants attract the tourists and the beaches close to town give a first impression what the coast has to offer.




After lunch we go back to the harbour and on a tour to the grottos. The boat is small enough that we can drive into the caves, sometimes it gets crowded with other boats and kayaks filling up the small caves. But the coast is impressive and our guide tells as the name of every  bay or animal you can see in the rocks.

boat tour through the caves

Our next destination is Praia do Marinha next to Carvoeiro. We park directly at the coast above the beach with an incredible view. After a stroll down the stairs to the beach we sit in front of our cochecito and enjoy an al fresco dinner.

Praia do Marinha – view from the caravan !

caravan parking above the cliff

In the morning we hike along the coast, at first to the west to Praia Benagil with the famous cave with the hole and than east to some more beaches, which are only accessible from the sea.
The video gives an impression of the coast:
Its sunny and hot so we relax on the beach and also go for a swim. The water temperature is fresh but not too cold.

cave of Praia do Benagil

coast near Praia do Benagil

coast near Praia do Marinha

a bee-eater we could watch in front of the caravan

We drive on to Faro, where we park close to the center next to the old center at the Largo de São Francisco parking. From here we walk first through the old town to the cathedral and than through the Arco da Vila past the harbour through town. We find some nice bars and decide to stay here overnight and go out at night. The parking is comfortable just the planes from the nearby airport make some noise.


Faro – cathedral

Faro – Arco da Vila


The following day we head inland to São Bras de Alportel where we walk into the center and go for breakfast at a pasteleria before we visit the museum. It’s in a historic palace and shows dresses from 1900 onwards and the cork production which made the town rich. Afterwards we visit the interpration center of the roman road which led through town and also find the remains of this road close to town.

São Bras de Alportel

Portugiese sweets – delicious !

Museum Etnográfico do Trajo Algarvio

Calçadinha Romana – roman street

Further east we stop at Tavira. (37.129275, -7.652809)
From the parking its a short walk down the river to reach the old roman bridge. The best way to discover this beautiful town is to go up the hill to the old water tower to look at Tavira through the camera obscura. The nice lady there shows you the town from above and gives you information to all the sights.




After wandering through town a bit, we head on to Cacela Velha, a small fishing village. (37.158469, -7.546592)
From there we have a good view over the surrounding wetlands. We make the error to go for lunch at the  restaurant close to the parking. The place and the food was nice, but the service was a tragedy.

Cacela Velha

Cacela Velha

Rio Formosa coastline

We leave Portugal and drive past Huelva and Sevilla before we stop for the night at Estepa. We park above town near the ruins of a castle. The wind gets stronger and stronger and even with our hydraulic stands the caravan wobbles and the noise of the wind gets annoyingly loud. At the end we decide to drive to a more protected place near the school just down the street and here its much more comfortable and we can finally sleep.

In the morning we drive on past Granada to Puerto Lumbreras, where we will meet some family at Sol Moto, a hotel and Enduro heaven. ( The next 2 days all the enthusiasts of our family will drive through the river beds of this area until they are exhausted and covered in dust. In the evening we visit the Enduro World Championship, which takes place this weekend.

almond trees near Puerto Lumbreras


Enduro enthusiasts at Sol Moto

Enduro World Championship

Now the holidays are finally over and we head back home.
Our time in Portugal was much to short, but we now have a good impression of the southern part, and we have to come back soon to see more. Especially for caravans this country is like heaven as you can park and stay over night in unbelievable places. Thank you Portugal !

Drone Video:

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