Hitting the rugged West Coast

Looking at a map of Portugal you will find from Sagres in the south west tip all the way to Sines just below Lisbon is all nature reserve, a mix of rugged granite cliffs at Sagres slowly dissipating into softer sandstones and dunes by the time you reach Sines. The skyscraper holiday apartments of the algarve are heavily restricted all along this stretch of coastline leaving swaths of pine forest and wildflowers, creating one of the most spectacular and undeveloped coastlines of the entire Mediterranean Europe.

Due to an old Portuguese bylaw access to the sea can never be restricted to its inhabitants and as such all along this coastline is hidden beaches and coves just waiting for the adventurous #vanlifer to explore.

I left Vila do Bispo fully stocked with supplies, slowly spending the next week exploring my way up the coast moving from one stunning location to the next. It was now February and the weather was unusually calm, bright and sunny giving me endless sunsets and glorious days allowing me to walk open sandy beaches and cliff top paths with only the odd fisherman to keep me company.

With supplies running low I headed for Odexiera a stunning village of white washed houses nestled onto the banks of the river Seixe. The parking areas on the cliff tops over looking the beach don’t allow overnight parking. A better place is over the other side of the river using the village as a backdrop as in the photo above. I stayed hear for a few days with only a minor incident involving a German girl who reversed into my wing mirror to report. No damage and a nice friendship has emerged.

Villa nova de Milfontes was my next stop and it wasn’t to disappoint nestled along the entrance of the river Mira with its natural estuary and safe harbour this area has been inhabited for thousands of years from early man until 1485 when king John established the town, then using it as a prison. For over a hundred years the town suffered constant attacks and raids by pirates until eventually it was destroyed by 1590. Rebuilding came and this time a fort was constructed under the rule of king Phillip II. Most of the old part dates from this period and is well worth a stroll. For me however finding a camp spot on the other side of the river was the high point and with this as a view you can see why.

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