We only lasted 2 nights at the Chicken Run – decided to move on to somewhere a bit nicer so today we headed for the beaches and the further point South West in mainland Europe.
Weather today has been pretty ok – its been 19 / 68 degrees so fairly warm but the sun is on and off with a good few showers every so often. But as we are British we didn’t think we should let a bit of rain deter us from the beaches. So socks and sandals on and off we went.
First stop was Burgau a small beach with a wooden restaurant and nothing else, only 1 ‘wild campervan’ lurking in the carpark and not a soul on the beach but us (yes we appreciate everyone else doesn’t go to the beach in the rain). The sun popped out for 5 minutes and it was beautiful but when it went it was a bit windswept so back to the van and head west.
From there we moved onto Salema. A tiny village down between the cliffs with a lovely beach and several cafes and bars. The houses were mainly typical Portuguese whitwashed cottages and there was only a few hotels so seemed quite unspoilt. After we left we found out there was a dinosaurs footprint on the rocks by the cliffs but we will take their word for it as we aren’t going back to check it out. A quick stop for a coffee and as usual whilst we try and practice a bit of the local lingo the local wants to practice our lingo.
We finally headed right to the end of the coast and Sagres, the most south westerly point in mainland Europe. First things that strikes as always is that every available space is covered with motorhomes. We were told that the previous night there had been some trouble and a load of vans had their tyres slashed – we saw a row of them jacked up waiting for their tyres back – this restores our belief that wild camping in carparks isn’t for us and we will stick to campsites.
Right at the end of Sagres is an old fort built in the 16th century by Henry the Navigator. From the outside its very impressive – but once you go through the entrance there is very little there except wind, wind and more wind. There is an old church that was rebuilt after an earthquake in 1755 and a shop but just bleak landscape other than that. We walked the headland in the fort which took about 40 minutes and even managed to climb into a cannon or two!
At this stage we decided we needed food so headed back to the van and found a nice parking spot (with 40 other campervans) overlooking Mareta beach.
A quick hop along the coast and we arrived at Capo de sao Vincente lighthouse. Its 75 metres up on the cliffs and is the second most powerful lighthouse in Europe with 2 x 1000w bulbs that can be seen 60 km away. Worth going to say we have been but other than a tourist shop and a gypsy selling capes there isn’t really much to see there as you can’t get into the actual lighthouse.
At this stage tired campers decided to find a home for the night. So we head back along the coast to our favourite campsite on the Algarve – Turiscampo. It’s in a village called Espiche – just a spit away from Praia Da Luz which is a 5 minute walk away. For those of you with snow – we wont gloat – its just started raining quite hard here right now, forecast is very warm with lots of showers for the next 2 days. We have booked on for a week but may stay for two. Not too much to do in the village but we can get a bus outside the site into Lagos and some fairly decent bike rides around here so if the wind eases we will get some cycling in.