There were certainly some glum faces as we left the fantastic campsite at Turiscampo on the Algarve... certainly deserving of it's title as one of the Leading Camping sites in Europe! As Turiscampo proved to be a fantastic place to enjoy the many special places that we discovered across the breath of the Algarve... but sadly the time has come to move on as part of our 'European Roadtrip'
Heading up through the torrential rain that has hit the entire south coast of Portugal over the past 24hrs, we've sadly had to forgo the chance to travel slowly through the wonderful region of Alentejo... Famed perhaps as much for it's cuisine as its ancient city of Evora... we simply fell in love with this region on our last trip here in November 2105..
Alentejo is full of places of genuine natural beauty from the NE 'white town's of Estremoz or Villa Viçosa that remind us of travels across Andalusia and the 'pueblos blancos' of Ronda, Arcos de la Frontera or Zahara de la Frontera. This region borders both the Spanish border and the Atlantic ocean so the landscape dramatically changes from west to east... yet it's hard not to miss the heavily fortified towns near the Spanish border... full of Moorish influence (especially Beja and Mértola)
But our favourite route north tracks the coastline via the N120 towards Porto Covo...a friendly fishing village full of white houses, stunning hidden coves and superb restuarants..
Lying some 100km south of Lisbon, Porto Covo offers a superb series of places to spend an evening... be it in the central motorhome aire, beside the seas on the many places that offer breath taking views of the ocean or even one of the small intimate hotels within the centre.. Immsersing ourselves in the history of this pretty seaside town, we were suprised to find it had been flattened by the terrible earthquake that hit Portugal in 1755 as it is so far from the epicentre... but ruined it was!!
Rebuilt by the Marques de Pombal, it dates back to Carthargian times as a trading post for ships travelling up the Atlantic Coast... it even has it's own abandoned island in Ilha do Pessegueiro with clear Roman ruins throughout... Legend has it that it was home to various pirates on the island .. but nowadays it offers a greater chance to see genuine local life unfold in it's peaceful seaside location.. if you get time to visit don't miss these beaches which lie nearby including the popular Praia do Espingardeiro, Praia Pequenaand Praia dos Buizinhos... In fact even the Guardian Newspaper recently wrote that we should forget the regular known European destinations (like Ibiza etc) and take in a visit to Alentejo.... we can certainly see why and heartily agree!
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