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Portugal 2020

kurienp

kurienp

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Newbury, Berkshire, UK
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Me: Ok, go straight or turn right?
Wife: er …. Ahem … mmmm …
Me: OK, lets turn right

Well, the plan was to go to Switzerland, but the day before we were to leave for Switzerland, it was taken off the UK's free travel corridor list. So plans had to be changed last minute … literally last minute … and that just highlighted the flexibility of the California. So Portugal it was.

Now, to be fair, what I have on Google maps are personal maps such as:
- Switzerland 202-
- Portugal 202-
- Scandinavia 202-
- Northern Lights 202-
- Russia 202-
- Poland 202-
- Eastern Europe 202-

... So you see where I am going with this. All I had to do was to rename one of the files and my trip itinerary was ready. A basic level of planning was already in place. Switzerland 2020 was reverted to Switzerland 202- and Portugal 202- was renamed to Portugal 2020.

On our travel style - we like to see and get a vibe of the place we visit, see the streets, old town places. We do not stay at one place for more than 2-3 days. All our trips are planned with this focus. In addition, this time around, taking the ferry was off the cards, so driving it would be. With just the two of us, while driving we are observing surroundings and often chatting away about life and various other things ... and time flies.

This was to be a 2 week trip, again, approximately. We are always flexible to change our itinerary if need be.

So Portugal it was - with the route map as below. Approx 3800 miles, but with such a super comfortable vehicle, that can munch miles, I was looking forward to this.
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For those who want to copy the map and edit it as needed, here is the link - https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=1svYAGjADWAEDaYoQt7-fyYzZ9-UFqoja&usp=sharing

Finished work by 4pm Friday. The Cali was already loaded and ready with a full tank of Fuel and water.

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Reached Folkestone on time and straight on to the shuttle. As you can see, not too many people at this time of the evening :) we had our crossing at 8:20 pm.

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One we got off the shuttle, we drove for about 2 hours, 12 pm local time in France, before we decided to call it a day. Pulled into the next available Aire, just outside of Rouen, France, opened the poptop and had a nice sound sleep.

We usually select Aires with attached fuel stations so that the place is not deserted at night and also we can use the facilities at the fuel station. This pic is midnight, but the camera just makes it look more day than night :).

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An early morning start the Saturday at about 6 AM saw us hitting the empty motorways for a nice drive to make up more miles.

Another stop later in the day for breakfast ...
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by evening we were near Leon, and just a few hours from our first destination in Portugal - Porto. Called it a day at another Aire just outside of Leon and had a good night's sleep. it is surprising how well you can sleep in the poptop. All through the trip, not once did we use the downstairs bed. it was always up top in the poptop.

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An early morning start, saw us entering Portugal and straight to Canidelo camping on the Coast just outside Porto. This was our first stop and the campsite was booked for 2 nights. Our original plan was to go to Braga and Amarante, before Porto. Having our house with us, enabled us to change our plans. So Porto it was. Campsites are quite flexible when it comes to bookings.

Well, we were in Porto at the campsite at 8AM. The office opened at 9, so it was breakfast in the van, parked up by the beach.

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After breakfast, got into the campsite, parked up and had a nice warm shower ... and all ready to get into Porto.

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The campsite was very conveniently located a 30 minute walk along the coastline into Porto, along the Duoro river. All that you have to see in Porto is mostly along the Duoro River.

Below is the new bridge that connects the north and the south sides of the river near the river mouth.

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A bit more walking upstream and you come across the main part of the south side and you get the first glimpse of the most famous bridge in Porto - Luís I Bridge. There are many eateries along the river front and you are spoilt for choices on food.

The easiest way to get to the top bridge level, from where you have great views of Porto is by cable car. So here we went, in the cable car, to the top level of the bridge.

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With such wonderful weather, we could walk all around the place, enjoy the sunshine and the city famous for its wine - Port wine.
 
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kurienp

kurienp

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Newbury, Berkshire, UK
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T6 Ocean 204 4Motion
After a long day, it was back to the campsite for a well-deserved rest
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... witnessing a beautiful sunset across the ocean

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The next day, with the flexibility of the van, we visited Braga in the morning

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... and a few other places ...

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... and then came back to explore Porto, with the objective to visit one of the many wine manufacturers and bottlers around here. The vineyards and real distilleries are further up the river. We plan to visit the vineyards and the Duoro valley on our way back up the east side of Portugal.

It is great to get a view of Porto from the river, so a river cruise got added to the itinerary.

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After another great day it Porto, it was back to the campsite for a good sleep in the van.

Tomorrow, it will be down to Aveiro.
 
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kurienp

kurienp

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Newbury, Berkshire, UK
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A lazy morning start, saw us get into Costa Nova, by the side of the Aveiro Lagoon by 10 AM. It was very foggy/dusty ... unexpected. On asking around, got to know that this was caused by forest fires in the adjoining mountains and the smoke had drifted towards the sea.

Costa Nova is well known for its striped painted houses. We parked up and had our breakfast and morning coffee, watching the world pass by.

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You can see the haze in the picture below.

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To escape the haze, we drove to Aveiro (also known as the Venice of Portugal) to look around. Took a canal boat. These boats are also called Moliceiros.

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... and had a great afternoon meal in Aveiro . Well, Portugal is all about the fish.

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Our plan was to spend the evening in CostaNova. So drove back to CostaNova, but on the way stopped over at the local salt production facilities (look closely and you will see the salt mounts. Aveiro's economy was built around salt production until it was no more an economically viable business. Now Portugal's economy is dependent on Tourism.)

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and also stopped at the light house at Praia Da Barra and caught some fishing boats coming in with their catch.

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With the footprint of the California, it is never a problem to park it anywhere.

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IMG_20200908_152102.jpg
 
Last edited:
kurienp

kurienp

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Location
Newbury, Berkshire, UK
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T6 Ocean 204 4Motion
With Portugal economy's reliance on tourism, there is no dearth of parking reserved for campervans in towns and villages. They make it very easy for you to stay in town and spend your money :).

Here we are parked in Costa Nova for the night, facing the Aveiro Lagoon.

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... and this is what you are treated to early morning. What a sunrise!

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When you witness such beautiful sunrises, you cannot but stand there in awe of the beauty of nature!

This was the view from the upstairs bed, when we woke up ...

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Pictures cannot capture the sheer beauty of an early morning sunrise.

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The village had all services available for a great morning start. We had our breakfast overlooking the lagoon and the beautiful sunrise.

After a lazy morning, we were off to Nazare, our next stop.

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Portugal is well known for its beaches ... and sunshine. Nazare is one of the well-known beaches with sun and sand and also famous for its 30 foot waves ... a must visit location for surfers. Waves have known to hit 100 feet as well, and that attracts surfers here from all over the world.

We reached here on a very calm day :). Traveled up the cliff via the funicular - a train that takes you from a lower lever to a higher level and vice versa ... and due to the mountainous layout of Portugal, you will see funiculars everywhere.

that's the funicular in Nazare ...

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and that's looking down at the Nazare beach. Lovely.

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We still had some time in the evening and being so close to Lisbon (Lisboa), we decided to drive to our Lisbon campsite. Again, the campsite staff were very accommodating and changed our booking dates when we arrived.

That's us parked up at Lisboa camping - just outside of main Lisbon. The flexibility of the Cali - we can drive into town when needed, but at the same time, stay away from noise and crowds, especially during these times.

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A good day and we still had some daylight left, so headed into Lisbon, to see the city by evening.

What a beautiful city! There is something about Lisbon that you want to stay there and just take in the sights.
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kurienp

kurienp

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When in Lisbon, bumped into a local tourist guide - Jorge - who then took us around the old and the new part of the city in his tuk-tuk.

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We still had two more days in Lisbon, but this evening tour of the city set us up for the next few days - to explore more on foot later.

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Came across the oldest continuously running book shop in the world.

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Running since 1732 ... that is 288 years.

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After a great tour by Jorge ... and we were all set to return to our campsite for the night.

If in Lisbon, you need to taste Pasties de Belem.

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...and which we did :)

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A bit of sightseeing and tasting local food made up the next day. This time we decided to leave the Cali at the campsite and instead took an Uber into town.

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and in the evening, returned to the campsite. What a lovely day and what a great way to retire to your own campervan and have a good rest.

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As always, yes, we slept upstairs ... and had a good night's sleep.
 
Last edited:
kurienp

kurienp

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With Lisbon as our base, the next day we drove to Sintra, to see the palace.

The flexibility of the Cali, parked up at a random location to have a cuppa tea.
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If in Sintra, visit the Pena Palace. A good place to see.

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and the views from up here are amazing as well.

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After walking around Pena palace, our next stop was Cabo da Roca. Again, a fantastic place to admire the beauty of nature and also to experience those hidden sandy beaches.

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Making use of the 4Motion, went off road and parked up at a most awesome location and had to take the drone out to take a pic. The only time I took the drone out. :)

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The beauty of this coast is amazing and you can spend a lot of time here. We spent a lot of time walking around the cliffs, and also visited Cascais. In Cascais, visited a friend ... so not too many pics from there.

Later in the evening, decided to drive further down south, so we did and parked up at an Aire/roadside service station.

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Woke up to another beautiful bright warm and sunny day.
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Today it was to go further down south into the Algarve Region. We had decide to make the town of Lagos, more specifically the small village of Luz - our base for the next few days.

Luz is a very pretty village with some awesome beaches. We were spoilt for choices here.

Reached the campsite, Orbitur Camping, late morning and took it easy.

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Later in the day, stepped out for some food in Luz and also played around in the sea and in the sand.

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Came back to the campsite for a good evening's sleep. Very quiet and peaceful campsite, and bumped into some Brits who have been camped there for the last 8 months, soaking in the sun. Well, no wonder the Algarve is popular with the Brits.

Lagos is also a good base to visit Sagres, also known as the end of the world (similar to lands end) and go for some dolphin watching.

The Lagos marina
IMG_20200912_190058.jpg
 
Last edited:
kurienp

kurienp

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Newbury, Berkshire, UK
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T6 Ocean 204 4Motion
The Lagos promenade ..

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Sagres/Cape St Vincent
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Some dolphin watching ...

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Absolutely gorgeous mammals in their natural habitat ...

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and then a rest and a cuppa tea in the van ... with awesome views as always ...

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That evening was spent on the beaches of Faro ... witnessing another glorious sunset.

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No tour of the Algarve region is complete without a grotto tour ... a tour of the caves off the coast. It is stunning and worth a visit.

Another day ... and more sand and sun and the sea.

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Well time has flown by. it is already 10 days and we need to return home as well.

After a final visit to Albufiera and the beach,
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We headed back up the eastern border of Portugal. Only one more place to visit - The Duoro river valley with the vineyards.
 
kurienp

kurienp

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With nothing booked, looked online around the Duoro River Valley for campsites and came across one with a 4.6 rating in a town called Lamego. One email to them confirmed availability. With such fantastic roads, there was no delay in getting up to Lamego from Albufiera.

What a lovely place - Camping Lamego. Very different from other sites. Just an open parking area, but with a very nice vibe to the place.

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The site also had good views down into the town and the valley below.

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Lamego as a city is also a hidden gem, but no visiting cities this time around. Maybe some other time. Our focus was to see the Duoro Valley, either by boat, or, as the receptionist at Lamego camping informed us - maybe by train. It is a different experience. So the train it was to be.

In the morning we drove to Regua a town along the Duoro river and one of the vineyard towns. Beautiful scenery all along the way, with hillsides dotted with vineyards.
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We then drove a part of the N222 road to Pinhao. the N222 that runs from Porto, along the Duoro river, all the way up to Vila Nova and beyond, has been rated as one of the best drives in Europe ... and the section we did from Regua to Pinhao was a really sweet drive.

From Pinhao, we took the train to Pocinho, where it turns around and comes back to Pinhao. it was a great journey, with some very nice views.

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and back to Pinhao for some great food.
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and then back to camping Lamego for a rest and a good sleep.

We needed to start our return journey home now. Stocked up well with food and water for the road and switched off the lights for a good night's rest.
 
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kurienp

kurienp

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The return drive was interesting. 16 hours to Calais allowed us to reminisce about the wonderful places that we had visited and all that we had seen in - The beautiful country of explorers - Portugal!

In between all this, Portugal was removed from the list of countries with air corridors. It will be a 14 day quarantine on return. We were ready and prepared for that.

The return journey was good as well. The Cali well-behaved as always. Long drives never tires you out. It is always a pleasure to drive and brings up a smile to your face.

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With some beautiful views along the way and with one night stop, we reached Calais Thursday evening for a Friday morning train back home.

The Aire in Calais, just 5 mins from the Eurotunnel was very nice. 10 Euro for 1 night and you can pay and stay No facilities, but camper van facilities available on site. It was a good leisurely relaxed evening in the van.

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With the van looking like this, it definitely needed a wash before being parked up for 2 weeks.
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Before we reached home, stopped at the local wash and got the car washed. We did not have to get out of the van, so with masks and all, all was well.

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The van is now sparkling clean and in its parking place all ready for the next adventure.

What a wonderful journey it was!

Things that made the journey more good were:
- Google maps ... for all the routes.
- France, Spain and Portugal toll tags, that made the travel so much easier ..

and of course, the flexibility of the Cali, which made every day special.
 
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ThomasHJ

ThomasHJ

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Netherlands
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Wow! Just read the entire post. What a lovely trip! A while back we did a trip of a couple of months but had to cut Portugal out for lack of time. But this really makes me enthousiastic to go to Portugal! Lovely photos also!
 
T6 CFO

T6 CFO

Mike
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Great post. Very useful for others. Loved our Portugal trip.


Mike
 
Dr-Snickers

Dr-Snickers

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What a lovely trip! Thank you for sharing.
 
W

Woolley

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Wiltshire
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T6 Beach 150
Thank you for posting in detail. A breath of fresh air -a reminder of how varied Portugal is and that I must return - this time with the Cali. Feeding some dreams for 2021!
 
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D

dvla3336

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canterbury kent
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T6 Ocean 204
The return drive was interesting. 16 hours to Calais allowed us to reminisce about the wonderful places that we had visited and all that we had seen in - The beautiful country of explorers - Portugal!

In between all this, Portugal was removed from the list of countries with air corridors. It will be a 14 day quarantine on return. We were ready and prepared for that.

The return journey was good as well. The Cali well-behaved as always. Long drives never tires you out. It is always a pleasure to drive and brings up a smile to your face.

View attachment 66516
View attachment 66517

With some beautiful views along the way and with one night stop, we reached Calais Thursday evening for a Friday morning train back home.

The Aire in Calais, just 5 mins from the Eurotunnel was very nice. 10 Euro for 1 night and you can pay and stay No facilities, but camper van facilities available on site. It was a good leisurely relaxed evening in the van.

View attachment 66518

With the van looking like this, it definitely needed a wash before being parked up for 2 weeks.
View attachment 66519

Before we reached home, stopped at the local wash and got the car washed. We did not have to get out of the van, so with masks and all, all was well.

View attachment 66520

The van is now sparkling clean and in its parking place all ready for the next adventure.

What a wonderful journey it was!

Things that made the journey more good were:
- Google maps ... for all the routes.
- France, Spain and Portugal toll tags, that made the travel so much easier ..

and of course, the flexibility of the Cali, which made every day special.
fantastic
 
Wayne rocco

Wayne rocco

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18
Location
East Yorkshire
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T4 PopTop
Very interesting and useful info. Thanks for posting. Any problems with the language?
 
Lyndak

Lyndak

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Doncaster
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Grand California 600
Thank you for sharing this. We lived in the Algarve and you demonstrated there are other parts of Portugal just as lovely.
 

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