Well-known for its scalloped bays, picturesque fishing villages, and soaring cliffs, Portugal’s Algarve region and its capital of Faro have been on my bucket list of places to visit for some time now. Fortunately, our paths have finally crossed and all I can say is that this whole Algarve road trip experience by campervan exceeded all of my expectations.
From the charming Guadiana Valley Natural Park and the city of Seville in the Andalusia region to the cobbled streets of Algarve’s Tavira and the popular beach resort town of Lagos, there is definitely plenty to look forward to on this journey.
Covering an area of roughly 70,000 hectares between Ribeira do Vascão and the area of Pulo do Lobo, the Natural Park of the Guadiana Valley is home to landscapes ranging from lush valleys to wild areas covered in dryland trees and cistus.
From the highest point in the park on São Barão and Alcaria Hill, try spotting local wildlife like eagles, otters, and the (extremely shy) Iberian lynx, while gazing over cork and oak trees, roaring rivers, and colourful patches of wildflowers.
A pretty sight to kick off the holidays, isn’t it?
Your Algarve road trip takes you to the village of Mértola where the local tourist office offers a variety of excursions including canoeing activities, trips in motorboats from Mértola / Pomarão to Vila Real de Santo António, and other activities by bicycle or on foot.
The small whitewashed village isn’t just the perfect launchpad for exploring the park and the lovely nearby Pulo de Lobo Waterfall but is itself worth a visit, perched confidently on a hill overlooking the Guadiana river. It’s mosque-turned-church and domineering castle speak volumes of the reconquista of the 13th century.
Guadiana Valley Natural Park
from Faro pick-up center
Church of Nossa Senhora da Anunciação, Mértola
An 11th-century church and former mosque
Sao Domingos Mine
Deserted open-pit mine
Pulo do Lobo
The highest waterfall in Southern Portugal.
Ponte de Mértola
A lovelt structure located along the Guadiana River
Big portions, excellent river views from the terrace
Family-owned restaurant serving Alentejan dishes
Restaurante O Brasileiro
Traditional cuisine game dishes
Rua Dr Afonso Costa, Mertola
Riverside, spacious (overnight) parking
I didn’t know much about Seville before my Algarve road trip and this itinerary proved the perfect opportunity to explore the Spanish city. The capital of Andalusia is famous for many things, but flamenco and tapas definitely come first to mind.
From the palaces and the cathedral in the historic centre to picturesque parks, bars with a laid-back vibe, and flamenco clubs, there were plenty of attractions and activities to keep me entertained for 2 days.
The Gothic Cathedral is probably the most iconic landmark here in Seville. It’s one of the largest cathedrals in the world and I have to admit that it looks seriously awesome.
You can also check out the 10th-century Alcázar Palace, which is the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe, go for a stroll through the lovely Maria Luisa Park and admire its flower beds and orange trees, or see paintings and sculptures from the Sevillian School at Museo de Bellas Artes.
Catedral de Sevilla
Large Gothic cathedral with Moorish bell tower
A palace built for the Christian king Peter of Castile
Maria Luisa Park
Famous for its scenic plazas with landscaped gardens
Museo de Bellas Artes
Boasts a collection of mainly Spanish visual arts
The best (and only) Michelin-starred restaurant in the city
Taberna del Alabardero
Upscale restaurant with a traditional menu
Excellent tapas bar close to the cathedral
Quiet place in front of Carrefour de San Pablo, (overnight) parking
Área de Autocaravanas Sevilla
Overnight parking in Seville. Showers, toilets, and laundry facilities.
near Seville, free Wi-Fi and a swimming pool.
No campervan road trip adventure from Faro is complete without visiting one of the prettiest towns in the area, the lovely Tavira. Famous for its cobbled streets and whitewashed buildings, this small town on the Gilão River is an ideal destination for getting away from it all and experiencing the local Algarve life.
If you are looking for overcrowded tourist attractions, you won’t find them here in Tavira. Besides the ruins of an ancient castle and the Roman Bridge, there isn’t anything that stands out in particular here.
Instead, the charm of Tavira lies in small things like wandering through the old streets and alleys, taking photographs of all the colourful buildings around you, ordering the catch of the day at a local restaurant, and admiring the stunning coastline of pristine beaches nearby.
If you are into bird-watching, make sure to visit the Ria Formosa Natural Park. The easiest way to explore the park is by boat and there are dozens of tours that depart from Tavira’s harbour.
The ruins of the town's Moorish castle
Igreja de Santa Maria do Castelo
Picturesque church from the 13th century
Praia do Barril
Ilha de Tavira
One of Algarve's most iconic coastal spots
Mira Café Tapas & Wine
Traditional food and an extensive wine list
Rota dos Sabores
Great service and big portions of local dishes
Parque de Campismo da Ilha de Tavira
Municipal campsite on the isle, pack mosquito repellent
Algarve Motorhome Park Tavira
Overnight parking with facilities except toilet
Parque de Campismo da PSP
Just outside town, showers, friendly service
Lagos is one of the most sought-after coastal towns in the Algarve region and an ideal destination to finish your Algarve road trip adventure.
Whether you are looking to explore the stunning natural treasures of Lagos, navigate through the old town and indulge in some fine cuisine at the local restaurants, or explore the sandy bays with tiny coves and stunning rock formations, Lagos offers something for everyone.
Go on a kayak tour along the coast and explore hidden sea caves and ancient grottos, visit the Lagos Zoo to see a variety of mammals and birds, or spend a day swimming on Praia de Dona Ana.
There’s also the Slave Market which houses exhibits that show the dreadful history of slavery in Portugal and the lovely Lagos fish market where you will find dozens of stalls selling everything from fresh fish to homemade Portuguese sauces and fresh fish.
Praia de Dona Ana
Popular beach surrounded by colourful cliffs
Various birds, mammals, and reptiles
Ponta da Piedade
Coastal rock formations with lighthouse, caves & grottos.
Ponta da Piedade Lighthouse
Offers sweeping views of rugged coastlines
Lagos Fish Market
Super fresh fish and seafood for on your BBQ
Cosy restaurant close to the centre
Tasca do Kiko
Superb seafood, modern joint
Casa do Prego
Modern twist on petiscos (Portuguese tapas)!
Area Camper Lagos
Large site with fresh water available, (overnight) parking
Motorhome Park Silves
Friendly service, showers, laundry facilities
RV Park Praia de Alvor
Large site with fresh water available
Orbitur Camping Park - Valverde
Swimming pool and amenities