My road trip in Portugal! When you are in a city, or a place, never seen before is a good idea to organize more or less in detail the times of the trip. Some people make a list of things to do and some even a calendar with a time sheet, so as to optimize the time and not to miss anything of that a place has to offer. But there are places where all of this becomes a limit. And there are kind of travel which don’t lend themselves to a scheduling so strict, one of them was my road trip in Portugal. Sometimes you just have to take a plane, rent a car and decide where you want to go; all that is in the middle will be your choice.
The beginning of my road trip in Portugal
In my case the plane took us up to Seville, Spain, and the point of arrival was Lisbon.
The views which may enjoy by a road trip to the Portuguese roads have nothing to envy to any other place in the world. Here you can pass in a few kilometers from a very Mediterranean vegetation to a desert steppe, arid but undoubtedly characteristic and difficult to find (if not impossible) to other European countries.
Furthermore, driving around Algarve, south of Portugal, the region which borders with Spain, along the highway you can even see the ocean, another thing which is not everywhere.
The first stop on my road trip in Portugal was Albufeira, a small town located precisely in the Algarve and recognizable from afar for the Arab architectural influence: all white houses and flat roofs. When you see them from a distance they seem just like a postcard.
Albufeira in my road trip in Portugal
The old city has all the charm of the place, with a dense network of narrow streets a bit steep, feature which we often find here in Portugal.
The historical part is very small (we are talking about a small town of 30,000 inhabitants) and you can visit it very quickly; what it can take a lot longer is instead exploring the magnificent beaches in the area.
Within a few kilometers there are dozens of beautiful beaches at the foot of rocky cliffs which are a natural spectaclem, 100 times better than any cathedral built by men.
List them and describe them all would be long and useless, at the moment I can think of Olhos de Água, Albandeira and São Rafael, but those that can leave you disappointed are very few. In short, a road trip in Portugal does not allow you to visit all the wonders.
Furthermore, this area is famous for surfing, people from all over Europe come to crowd these beaches to ride the waves of the Atlantic. For this reason it is not difficult to run into beach parties, bonfires and barbeques.
Obviously, my road trip in Portugal was not only kilometers away. In terms of night life, Albufeira is a temple of fun and the best place is “the strip”, a long avenue where there are a lot of clubs, bars, pubs and kiosks of street food. Definitely not as the same name road in Las Vegas, but for us more than enough.
Road trip in Portugal? The Algarve to discover
Now, forget for a moment beaches and clubs of Albufeira and walk fifteen kilometers to the west, to the direction of Vilamoura.
Although the distance is short, here it seems to be in another country: the climate of tranquility gives way to a more sophisticated. It is not difficult to guess at why.
Here 90% of the people on the street are tourists, such Albufeira, but from different social backgrounds. Luxury restaurant, clean and manicured flower beds, yachts moored in the famous harbor and a large casino with people going in and out.
Here, too, there are the beaches, but you have to forget cliffs and breathtaking landscapes which dot every road trip to Lisbon in Portugal.
If you spend your evening strolling through the pier, drinking a cocktail can be very pleasant, although personally I found Vilamoura a snob town, without personality.
In the Algarve there are dozens of other cities and countries that deserve to be seen, such as Faro with the Ria Formosa National Park, Huelva, Portimão, and the fascinating architecture of Gothic and Arabic Porto … Unfortunately to visit it all you should have more and more and more time, as in any European city.
Road trip in Portugal aiming Lisbon
The steppe to the edges of these roads seems even drier than the south, and occasionally, you can meet the wind farms, due to the particularly windy area. I cannot explain why, but the blades of the eolic farm have always fascinated me … I will go against, but I did not find them negative impacting on the view, contrary sometimes they ennoble the landscape.
Arrived in sight of Lisbon, the statue of Cristo Rei will accompany you along the bridge that connects the city to the mainland, and at this point I would say, you will arrive in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
I think, of all the places I’ve had the honor of seeing no one has been able to be considered equally fascinating, during my road trip in Portugal or elsewhere.
And I’m not talking about the Church of Santa Engrácia, the Praça dos Restauradores, the Jeronimos Monastery, the Aqueduct of the Open Water or the Marques de Pombal Square. I’m not even talking about the most recent bridges XXV Aprile and Vasco da Gama or the Gare de Oriente Calatrava.
Instead, I am referring to the tram trudging up the steep streets, and parks. I refer to the Barrio Alto with its dense network of streets, to the restaurants which in the night turn into bars and sell cheap sangria. I mean the fact that I don’t know why, here, even the broken glass and dirt on the floor after a night of partying have something artistic and incredibly fascinating.
I am one of those who never said “I give up everything and open a beach bar”. But believe in me, in portugal I would do it tomorrow.