Sea view in the autumn holidays, but where? The choice we made was Portugal and more specifically, the Algarve coast in southwestern Europe. When the weather is already getting bad in central Europe, then it is still warm and sunny there, with litte rainfall. A reason why many travel companies advertise with cheap flights at this time.
There are plenty of car and motorbike rentals right at the airport in Faro. Our choice were motorcycles from Hertz Ride Portugal. The two BMW R 1200 GS 2017 with suitcases were perfect for the hilly landscapes of the Algarve. After a few fast minutes of paperwork, the keys were handed over and the suitcases were fastened to the bikes. We only had to stow our luggage and we were ready to go. We left the city on the N2 northbound. Already while driving away, we knew that the temperatures were higher than expected. We followed the N2 to Ameixial and then turned west. From a well-developed road we wanted to explore the Algarve off the beaten track.
While beeing just worse asphalt at the beginning, the road quickly turns into a narrow gravel strip. Due to some roadblocks, we always had to leave the original route to enjoy the off-road kilometers through the unique landscape. The Algarve is the part of Europe where the most hours of sunshine are counted annually, with the temperatures in summer getting very hot and in winter rarely dropping below 10°C. Therefore it was very dry along our day’s stage and we were not surprised that there are forest fires here, again and again. Shortly before Sao Marcos da Serra we returned to the IC1 and then back to the N267. We expected nice weather in advance, but we were not prepared for the astonishing 34.5°C. Exhausted, we arrived in Monchique. The spa is the center for many tourists and bathers visiting the “Caldas de Monchique”. For us the location was ideal as it provides a perfect starting point for the next days. In a small villa on the outskirts, we enjoyed the sunset by the pool and even got tips for dinner from the boss of the house.
We decided to continue north and chose the N266 towards Padrona. We simply had to stop dozens of times along this route just to enjoy the views. Those looking for high mountains and rugged rocks will not find them in the Algarve, but the small hills with their often man-made terraces exude their own special charm. The streets are empty in October and November and most of the time we are on our own. The sleek curves are reminiscent of a slalom course and you have to be careful to hide in between some tight long curves. Parked rental cars on the roadside often give away starting points for hiking trails and sigths. We have now arrived in Sao Luis and entered the Natural Park Southwest Alentejo and Costa Vicentina.
Unfortunately, there is no continous road along the coast and you always have to switch back to the main road. Starting from the N120, there are numerous beaches and coastlines you can visit. On the coast, every offroad heart starts to beat faster as sand and gravel roads spread further than the eye can see. Not to forget the steep coast which only another few meters further, rushes into the cool Atlantic. We were advised to visit the “Praia de Odeceixe Mar”, where we didn’t trust our eyes upon arrival. In front of us, a huge beach opened up with a turquoise blue sea, which was worth the trip to Algarve alone. The N268 led us to Sagres and on to the lighthouse at Cao de Sao Vicente. This is located on the southwestern tip of the European mainland. The up to 70 meters high cliffs are very impressive and a popular destination. Where else can you eat the last bratwurst before America with a German emigrant who sets up his food truck here every day? Strengthened we made our way back to Monchique. Past many small mountain villages nestles the N267 on the hills of the Algarve.
In a Portuguese proverb it says: “Deitar cedo e cedo erguer, dá saúde e faz crescer.” – Those who get up early stay healthy.
On the last day of our trip we enjoyed a few hours on the beach and met Facebook friend Roger from the coastal town of Portimao. The district of Ferragudo has its own charm and is ideal for a leisurely stroll. Dozens of small streets with countless restaurants remind of Venice or coastal cities in Croatia. With a typical Portuguese meal, we end our adventure in Algarve and start the journey home with a crying eye.
We will definitely come back.