A Couple of Weeks Motorhoming Along The Algarve
Our first trip to Portugal was a couple of years ago when we rented an AirBnB in Lisbon for a month. We enjoyed our time but to be honest, we didn’t love the city for lots of reasons. Not ones to be closed minded we decided to give the country of Portugal another go. This time we would explore the country from top to bottom (actually more accurately bottom to top!), starting with the holiday mecca of the Algarve, the southern region of Portugal.
Our first stop was the cute little fishing town of Tavira. We had heard that it was one of the prettier towns on the Algarve, and now in retrospect we agree. Although we just felt meh about it at the time, after seeing how commercialized a lot of the rest of the coast is we can understand the charm. We parked up for free near the mercado just a short walk into the town, which has a pleasant centro area with some pretty buildings and a few atmospheric riverside bars. We enjoyed some great cycling from here along to Tavira Island which has miles and miles of sandy beaches with not a soul on them.
Next stop the town of Faro, staying at the very convenient Faro Campervan Park, we again got on our bikes to explore the area. Again we found Faro to be pleasant, with some attractive streets and buildings, but a bit sketchy and grubby in parts. Heading on our bikes the other way couldn’t have been more different. On the recommendation of our friendly campground host we cycled through the lovely Ria Formosa Natural Park to Quinto do Largo, a swanky golf development. Wowzers what a lovely spot, the natural park is stunning and we saw mansions you normally only see villainous antiheroes owning in movies. When we got back, after a bit of googling we realized this is quite the spot for the rich and famous, footballers, formula one drivers, movie stars all have homes in the area. I can understand why.
After Faro, we stopped over at a wild camping spot near Villamoura. Again a lovely coastline, not quite as deserted as east of Faro, but still nothing to complain about with sandy beaches stretching in every direction. Lots of lovely bluff walking around here too, we strolled along to Villamoura. An upmarket tourist spot, with all the sports bars and restaurants that seem to be a feature along this stretch of coast.
For a change of pace we headed inland a little to the historic town of Silva. We met up again with our friends Colin & Karen here from Rewind the Gap. It’s always fun to share stories and a few bottles of wine with traveling buddies. The town was a decent place to wander for a few hours and gave us a little break from the coast.
We did head back to the coast though, this time to the town of Alvor. Again we chose a wild camping spot with a couple of fellow campers, and were rewarded with beachy views and great strolling possibilities. The coast line here is extremely pretty and the town is very nice with some great seafood restaurants that cater to the tourist visitors. Our final stop was Sagres, the sticky out bit (I think that’s the correct geographical term) at the bottom of Portugal. You can visit the fortress and marvel at the all encompassing views. It’s quick breathtaking, figuratively and literally.
After our 2 week meander along the Algarve, I am not sure our mind was changed much about Portugal. I know many people love it, and visitors keep coming to the Algarve. I get it. If I was working a full time job and needed a break, wanted to lie by a pool, have pretty places to wander, and good restaurants to eat in, then it would be appealing. The coastline is beautiful, where it hasn’t been overdeveloped but the lack of care taken to preserve or restore towns and buildings just make it all feel a bit too shabby for me. Some may see this as adding to charm, it’s just not working for me.
Still you can’t love everywhere and the places we like less, are still nicer than many places we have been forced to spend time through work or other commitments. So we are still looking forward to seeing more of Portugal. Now we have reached the western edge of the continent we turn right and head north exploring what else the country has to show us.
Recommendations & Tips
Where we stayed: We visited at the end of March and had no problem easily finding spots either in campgrounds, camperparks or wild camping.
15: Free Camping at the Tavira Mercado: Free with no facilities. GPS 37.12325, -7.64321
16: Faro Campervan Park: 10 Euro a night with elec. Full motorhome service and laundry. GPS: 37.02977, -7.97036
17: Free Camping near Villamoura: No Facilities. GPS 37.08071, -8.14312
18. Parque do Castelo , Silves. 9 Euro a night. Full motorhome service, and showers. GPS: 37.19361, -8.43593
19. Free Camping near Alvor: No Facilites GPS: 37.12147, -8.58311
20. Free Parking: Sagres Fortress: No facilities but there is an Intermarche with motorhome service point and laundry in town. GPS 37.00422, -8.94591
You can always find details of where we stay on our overnight stays map.
There is a lot of infrastructure in the area, plenty of shopping opportunities, if like us you had a craving for a few British items (Branston Pickle anyone) the fabulous Overseas stores have Waitrose and Iceland products a plenty. There have two stores in the Algarve near Albufeira and Portimao.