7-Day Easter Camper Road Trip through Southern Portugal
Southern Portugal is an active holiday makers’ dream, with perfect surf spots, scenic hiking trails, world-class bike trails for every type of biker, and some of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in Europe. The bonus of choosing Southern Portugal as your next roadsurfer camper destination is that you will be getting a head start into this year’s summer. With our roadsurfer station in the heart of Faro, you also have an international airport, simplifying arrival and departure.
Day 1: Arriving in the Algarve
Our roadsurfer team recommends a stroll through the historical city of Faro, a small Southern Portuguese town, before picking up your camper. The city has changed hands between Romans, Moors (from northern Africa), and the Portuguese multiple times, with each conqueror leaving behind monuments to explore. These include Muralhas de Faro, a pristine portion of the old city wall, Faro Cathedral, and Igreja Da Ordem Terceira De Sao Francisco. After a short tour of the city, come to our station, say hi to the team, and pick up your fully stocked roadsurfer campervan.
Where to stay? To finish the first day of your adventure, we recommend heading along the coast towards Lagos where you will find great campsites such as CampingCar Figueira.
Day 2: Late winter Algarve Beach days
After a morning swim, you can start your second day of sunshine, sea breezes, and blooming landscapes with a trip to Lagos. Lagos is more than 2000 years old, being founded initially by the Celtics. They used the large natural harbour to wage war against the Romans. The entire city was destroyed in 1755 by a large earthquake and tsunami and subsequently rebuilt. Alongside the old city, you have stunning beaches and a dramatic coastline at your doorstep. Hiking along the coastal trails or water taxis will bring you to all the area’s highlights, like Perttu’s Cove, Praia do Barranco do Martinho or the imposing Bengali Caves. After a day either hiking or simply relaxing and enjoying the sunshine, you can head inland to the Algarve mountains, known for their giant eucalyptus trees and world-famous natural springs.
Where to stay? To take the hassle out of the following morning and make the most of the stunning mountain views less than an hour away, we recommend heading to nearby Monchique, where you can stay at the centrally located “o Parque Rural para Autocaravanas”.
Day 3, Hiking or Biking, Through the Monchique Mountains
Monchique, located in the heart of the mountainous central region of the Algarve, is known throughout Portugal for its water (think Evian in France) and its mountains. Every active person holidaying is catered to in Monchique. There are great roads for road bikers, excellent trails for mountain bikers, and hiking trails to suit every fitness level. After an active day, you can unwind at the Monchique Thermal Baths, take a yoga session at Quinta Algarve, or take a local Wine Tour.
Where to stay? You can spend another night at “o Parque Rural para Autocaravanas” in Monchique if you want more biking or hiking; otherwise, head to the coast near the stunning beachside village of Arrifana. There is the official Camping Serrao, or you can try to find a spot at Praia do Medo da Fonte Santa or Praia de Monte Clérigo.
Day 4: Surfing and yoga in Arrifana
Waking up with the smell of the ocean in the air generally means that surfing is on the cards. Whether it’s your first time on a board or you’re a seasoned veteran, you will find waves perfect for your skill level. If you are just starting your surfing journey, the two safest beach breaks in the area, Arrifana and Praia do Amado; here, you’ll also find the majority of the surf schools. For those more experienced surfers, you have Praia de Monte Clérigo slightly north and Praia da Cordoama to the south, as well as hundreds of others. MEO in Portugal has set up beach cams all around the Algarve to make finding the best waves a little easier. After a day of perfect waves and the first dose of sunburn after a long winter, head to Arte Bianca for a delicious pizza, and, if you still have energy, next door to the pizzeria is an outstanding yoga studio offering surf-specific yoga sessions.
Where to stay? There is a small campsite called Vento Norte, slightly inland.
Day 5: the edge of the world in Sagres
The next chapter of your Portuguese camper journey will take you south along the west coast to Sagres, otherwise known as the “Edge of the World.” The Portuguese considered this southwesternmost point of mainland Europe to be the world’s edge because as the monumental cliff-lined European continent drops away, there is nothing till you reach the USA. Sagres is known for a few things such as the rugged cliffs that line the coast, the great surf spots, the Sagres Fort, dating back to the 16th Century, the Lighthouse, Farol do Cabo de São Vicente, and the locally produced beer.
At the end of the street in Sagres, you have Tonel, a great surf beach slightly more sheltered than the more extensive west-facing beaches further north, making it a great place catch some waves under the watchful eye of the fort nearby. You also have surf spots on the south coast at beaches like Zavial and Ingrina. If the waves are giant on the West Coast, the swell will wrap around the peninsula and provide a sheltered alternative. If you are not surfing, or have finished for the day, the best beach to relax at is Praia do Beliche, a wind-sheltered gem hidden between steep cliffs.
Where to stay? We recommend Figuera Caravan Park. Wherever you stay, at some point, you will most probably come across a small bay called Praia da Ingrina where you will find a fantastic and affordably priced beachside restaurant, Sebastião. Enjoy digging your toes in the sand, watching the waves crash and the sunset behind the Atlantic.
Day 6: The Algarve is your Oyster
The good thing about the Algarve in southern Portugal is that everyone is catered to. If you prefer mountain biking over surfing, you can spend more time inland, enjoying the endless trails and scenery, or vice versa. Southern Portugal also offers plenty of other activities to keep you busy during your roadsurfer camper adventure; you have the Portimão Race Track, which hosts Formula 1 and MotoGP, there is a selection of spectacular golf courses scattered throughout the Algarve, including the Espiche Golf Course, there are also Kayak Tours, Wine Tours, Boat Tours, and Quad Bike Excursions. Whatever tickles your fancy.
Where to stay? It depends on what kind of activities you want to partake in. You can continue along the coast for more surfing and sunbathing or head back to the mountains. For those looking for the feeling of free camping and who want to avoid official campsites, Roadsurfer now also has a feature called roadsurfer spots, which offers you the option of parking with locals throughout the Algarve.
Day 7: Back to reality.
The Algarve is relatively compact, meaning you are no more than a couple of hours away from our station in Faro, regardless of where you end your trip. On your last morning, you will have enough time to enjoy one more surf, or one more bike ride, followed by a relaxed breakfast before you start making your way home.
Enjoy the Algarve this Easter and kick-start this year’s summer in our colourful roadsurfer VW campers. Just remember, respect the locals, regardless of whether on the road, while camping, or while out in the line-up. Also, remember to clean up after yourself and leave nothing but footprints wherever you end up.