Since we have given ourselves unlimited time to travel, we hardly ever have a deadline. Even when we go to a Workaway, we always give our hosts an approximate date. So, we can always be a bit flexible when driving and visiting places. But now, we do have a deadline! We planned our first vaccination and even though it’s possible to change this date, we would really like to make it!
Does travelling with a deadline make things different? It’s definitely a luxury problem, but knowing that staying in one beautiful spot means not being able to visit another, is not something that we are used to! And we don’t love it either…
We skipped a big part of the Southern coast of Portugal. Mainly because of the large crowds, but also because of our time limit. After our night in Faro, we tried visiting a couple of beaches and other towns. However, navigating trough narrow streets and not being able to find any good parking spots (around Albufeira for example) made us decide to just keep driving all the way to Portugal’s most South Western point; Cabo de Sao Vicente. It was a bit windy and grey, but still a nice place to visit.
Then, we headed up North and realized that we had left the coast behind with only one short visit to a nice beach. Luckily, we stopped in a city called Sines. We had no expectations (maybe that is why we liked it so much), but what a cute fun city! It has a city wall and lays upon a hill, but it also has a nice beach just in front of the old city. The only downside was our park-up: we slept at the parking lot of the Intermarche, a big supermarket, surrounded by a dozen of other vans.
The next morning, we decided to drive to the beach just above Sines and it was amazing! There was hardly anyone there, and the beach was huge. The waves were so high that it wasn’t really possible to swim, but we could definitely cool off. Temperatures had risen above 30 degrees.
After our morning at the beach, it was time to soak up some more culture. We headed inlands to a city that’s on the UNESCO heritage list: Evora. The old city is totally surrounded by a city wall and also has a cool aquaduct. Thanks to one of Tamara’s friends we later found out (via Instagram) that the fountain is very special too; luckily we did see it! Thank you Lex :).
After Evora, we took a quick trip to a winery in the South of Lisbon. Since we have limited time and we have both seen Lisbon, we decided to skip it for now, even though we both really liked the city when we were there before.
Nienke still really wanted to do a long hike, so we drove up to a national park in the middle of Portugal, Serra da Estrella. This park has the highest mountains of Portugal, so we thought it would be a good place to hike! Thanks to a local, who had seen Tiny on the highway, we also received some recommendations via Instagram. We found a beautiful place to park for the night in a little village called Unhais da Serra. Some cities provide camper parking; this one even had an outdoor shower, a toilet, places to barbecue and a ‘natural’ swimming pool in the river. It felt like camping, but then for free! We could have easily stayed here a couple of nights, but, well you know by now, we’re in a bit of a rush!
That evening, the weather changed: it rained and the temperature dropped. The next day, it was still gray and a bit stormy, so we decided to leave this beautiful spot already, after only being there for half a day. We made a few very nice stops in the National Park that we’d still like to share with you and then we will tell you the rest next time. This blog is already quite long, maybe I’ve already lost you!
First, we drove up a very windy road, all the way to the rock carving of a woman called Senhora da Boa Estrella. From the parking lot, we walked through a rocky landscape to get to this cool statue. It was definitely very nice, but maybe we enjoyed the landscape even more.
Our second stop was a waterfall called Poco de Inferno. The road to get there was pretty terrifying. It was narrow with some steep drops and Nienke even had to get out once to make sure that Tamara wouldn’t drive in the ditch or hit the car which had to back up to find a place where the two cars would actually be able to pass one another. The place was worth it though! We have seen some immense waterfalls before and this one wasn’t huge, but the nature surrounding it was just beautiful.
The weather still wasn’t great, so we just kept driving. Nienke didn’t get her hike yet, unfortunately. Maybe next week!