09 AUG 2019
Pristine beaches, fishing villages and picturesque hamlets: this is what you can expect to see on a road trip between Porto, Sintra, Lisbon and Faro aboard your Fiat Ducato-based motorhome!
Fasten your seat belts as we guide you on a journey to discover colourful towns, headlands with breath-taking views and secluded coves.
First stop: Faro! What better place to start this journey than here, immediately immersing yourself in the authentic local culture and festive ambiance of Portugal?
Once you have parked your Fiat Ducato-based motorhome, you can lose yourself in the streets of this fascinating city. You will discover a delicious old town surrounded by ancient fortified walls, while the city’s modern centre is full of pedestrian shopping streets and quiet squares. The atmosphere is relaxed during the day, but in the evening Faro comes alive, transforming into an unexpectedly vibrant and lively place. The most popular event, even as far as neighbouring countries, is the Festival do Marisco, the best seafood festival in the Algarve and along the entire Atlantic coast!
The city is also the gateway to the Ria Formosa Natural Park, which contains a series of salt-water lagoons and mudflats that are a paradise for migratory birds and wildlife. Beyond Ria Formosa are three islands formed by sandbanks, home to Faro’s pristine beaches and a traditional and respected fishing community, which ensures that the local seafood is of the highest quality. Have we convinced you yet?
Let’s board our Fiat Ducato motorhome and set off for Lisbon!
We take the A22, then travel along the A2 for 265 km until we reach the great Portuguese capital. There are many things to see, but topping the list of places to visit is São Jorge Castle, the highest point in Lisbon, from which you can enjoy a magnificent view over the whole city. In 1940 it was completely rebuilt and converted into an area with gardens, parks, viewpoints and exhibition areas. It is an ideal place from which to admire Lisbon, while also enjoying some cool respite between one excursion and the next, especially in the warmer months.
Returning to the city centre, it’s well worth taking a stroll in the Bairro Alto, the neighbourhood with a dual personality. Once the district where the city’s aristocratic families resided, today it is a hub of creativity and a place for artists, young people and fun. Equally charming is the district of Belém, which is full of colourful gardens and splendid monuments, notably including Belém Tower, which was originally conceived as a lighthouse and a defensive fortress for the port of Restelo.
Before resuming our journey, we cannot resist tasting some Pastéis de Nata, delicious custard tart pastries unique to Portugal. Now that we’ve “refuelled” for our trip, we can get back on the road!
Driving along the A16, it takes 40 minutes to reach Sintra, a kaleidoscope of colours and jaw-dropping views. Hidden here and there among the pine-covered hills are extravagant palaces, luxurious villas and the ruins of an ancient castle. It is this architectural diversity that makes the charming town the best destination for a day trip out of Lisbon.
The main attraction is the splendid Pena Palace, regarded as one of Portugal’s best tourist attractions and a must-see destination on any visit to Sintra. The brightly painted palace is a delightful mix of different styles and influences. Its popularity makes it very crowded during the summer, so when visiting, we suggest you park your Fiat Ducato-based motorhome in the centre of Sintra and take tourist bus number 434. The bus will drop you at the foot of the Pena Palace and from there you can also visit the Moorish Castle, which lies directly opposite.
We set off again along the A1 in the direction of Via Panorâmica. It takes just a few hours to reach the last leg of our Portuguese road trip. Welcome to the "Capital do Norte" (Capital of the Norte Region), as the Portuguese call the city, one of the most industrialised areas of Portugal.
The city lies not far from the Atlantic Ocean, overlooking the northern bank of the Douro river, and is a fascinating and dynamic place that is quickly becoming a go-to getaway for tourists. Among the attractions not to be missed are the riverside neighbourhood of La Ribeira, the iconic Dom Luis I Bridge and the city’s biggest church, Porto Cathedral, which stands on a hill and affords wonderful views!
The steep, narrow streets create an up-and-down experience that, juxtaposed with the city’s old-fashioned houses, creates a magical atmosphere that is immediately bewitching, although it makes road travel rather complicated. So, it’s time to stretch those legs! Park your Fiat Ducato-based motorhome and get ready to wander between laundry-strung alleys and hidden staircases, exploring the most picturesque corners of this city.
Parking and Camping Sites
Faro: Camping Olhão – Pinheiros de Marim, 8700-225, Olhão, with shady pitches in a grove of maritime pines.
Contact: (+351) 289 700 300 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisbon: Lisboa Camping – Estr. da Circunvalação, 1400-061, Lisboa. Pitches are equipped with electricity and water supplies. Pets allowed.
Contact: +351 21 762 8200
Porto: Canidelo Camping – Avenida Beira-Mar, 441 – Praia de Salgueiros - Canidelo 4400-382
Vila Nova de Gaia, a stone's throw from the beach and 15 minutes from Porto. There is also a restaurant and a supermarket on site.