Southern Portugal is an active vacation maker’s 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. With our roadsurfer station in the heart of Faro, you also have an international airport, simplifying arrival and departure.
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, come and say hi to the roadsurfer team, and pick up your fully equipped camper van or class B RV.
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 harbor 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.
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 vacationing 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.
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.
The next chapter of your Portuguese camper van 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.
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 van adventure; you have the Portimão Race Track, which hosts Formula 1 and MotoGP, and 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.
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 in our colorful roadsurfer camper vans. 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.