The Road Trip Continues Down The Coast Of Portugal.
If you’ve been following along on my posts you’ll know we’ve been on a bit of a road trip from the UK to the South of Portugal. If you’ve missed out on the first two posts, go check it out by clicking on the links below. If you have been following, just keep reading and find out where we went along the Coast of Portugal 🙂
Post #1: Epic Adventures Under the Beautiful Portuguese Sun
Post #2: How To Greet The Breathtaking Beast Of Nazare
Peniche: coast of Portugal
From Nazare we clung to the coast as we made our way further south to the Surfing epicentre of Portugal, Peniche. Another perfect example as to why Portugal is seen as the surf capital of Europe. With plenty of beaches to suit any surf levels it also has the world famous Supertubos with it’s powerful waves. Peniche has something to offer for everyone, with a vibrant nightlife contrasted by the exotic charm of an old Portuguese fishing village.
Luck must have been on our side again here. We rolled into Peniche while the ASP World Tour was hosting their event at Supertubos. Though the weather wouldn’t have it while we were there and we didn’t get to see much. The vibe was still colourful and exciting, I’d love to go again for the whole event.
Seeing as Peniche is one of Portugal’s big surf locations, we had a nice big choice of surf shops. Which is what we’d been waiting for ever since we first saw the coast after crossing the boarder. We went on a hunt for boards and wetty’s. Unfortunately, we were also on a budget… But we found what we were looking for in a solid blue for Sam and bright orange for me. The wetsuits weren’t quite within our reach there. So we left without them, and found our camp spot for the night.
Intent on using his new board, Sam got in the water the next day despite the lack of wetsuit. Portugal’s west coast is met by the Atlantic Ocean’s trade mark icy waters. Nevertheless, Sam stuck it out until well after his feet went numb and lips turned blue. We were still wearing shorts and T’s at this stage, so maybe the weather was still mild enough, I didn’t think so though.
Ericeira: Coast of portugal
After the surf and a quick jump into warm clothes, we were off again. Ericeira, home to Europe’s first World Surf Reserve and the second in the world. Sandy beaches lined with high cliffs and topped with the fishing village turned major port. Here is where we found surf culture. Strong and vibrant, but not as frenzied as Peniche. It was beautiful, with so many different beaches up and down the coast in that particular section. I could happily spend a lot of time here exploring. All levels of surfing could feel welcome along this part of the coast.
For some reason, now that we had boards, we had no waves. It was a little bit depressing, but no matter. Everything around us made up for that loss. The coast line has endless views, and that beautiful clear water you dream about while looking at post cards. We camped at night, and drove short distances during the day. Making our way from beach to beach, we slowly got to know the country a little bit better. Picking up new words in Portuguese, or realising we’d been saying them wrong the entire time. Regardless, we had a good time trying.
We’ll probably head back here in the future. There’s some unfinished business to tend to with the waves. But for the time being, we moved on and delved further into the South.
Lisbon & Sintra: inland
We shot into Lisbon for a couple of nights while a big storm was passing through. It seemed a bit nicer to have dry clothes and a warm bed over wet shoes and a muddy mattress in the back of the Audi. Lisbon is a maze of cobble stoned streets and intricate history. It has so much to offer as one of Europe’s oldest cities, even older than London, Paris and Rome. Crazy. The history we came across was incredible, and accidental… And we loved it.
When we arrived at the little flat we rented for the two days, we were a bit damp. It was a bit hard to navigate the narrow cobblestoned streets of the inner city. Especially since our old Audi had the turn curve of an Ox-wagon. The intermittent bursts heavy rain didn’t make it any easier either. But when we finally managed to find a safe pace for our car, and hauled our things up to the flat, it was great. A couple warm showers later and we were out the door again, looking for dinner. Found a couple seedy looking shops that smelled awesome! Went in and got something dericious cooked up. We asked no questions, it tasted great.
The next day was time for exploring. We had a good travel guide yet somehow left it at the flat. I noticed pretty early on, but the first thing we did after walking out the door was go up a massive hill. I didn’t really want to do that twice, for a guide. So we decided to just chill out, and wander through the city without any particular plan. It was great! Despite not knowing where we were going, we managed to see everything I wanted to see by accident! Epic fluke.
Not too far out of Lisbon is a city known as Sintra. Another of Portugal’s cities that has a deep founded history to capture the traveling mind. This time however, we set our destination to the slightly more recent history. The Quinta da Regaleira built between the 19th and 20th century, is interesting to say the least. Gardens taking you in random, almost laberynth-like, circuits. Paths turn into grottos that snake along in the dark. The path then splits into three in a glumly lit tunnel, and all of a sudden you’re in a cave behind a waterfall.
We spent hours getting lost in all the weird and wonderful corners of this gothically built garden. Another, particularly interesting part is the Poço Iniciáticoin, also known as The Initiation Well. Accessed either from the top as you stumble across it in the garden, or from below depending on your choice of dark tunnel. We spent a fair while wandering through this ferry-tale world of grottos and overgrown water features. Then walked back down to the sweet little town where we found a delicious cheese and wine bar.
Bustling with customers, your timing might be everything with this little nibbles restaurant tucked away in a hidden corner. Only a small shop with 4 to 5 tables but patrons a-plenty. So prepare yourself to dine with strangers and turn them into friends. We were placed at the seat of a beautiful wooden table and ordered their local wines and beers, then chose between the selection of cheese boards they offer. Shortly after another couple was seated at our table and so it’s either make conversation or sit in awkward silence. Our choice; conversation. Don’t knock it till you try it! It definitely added something different to the meal!
What’s Next: more from the coast of portugal
On my next post for Travel, Surf, Skydive and Snow, we’ll be heading further into the South and sticking as close as possible to the coast of Portugal. Come with us as we visit places along the Portuguese coastline down to the belly of the Algarve. Get inspired to make your own travel plans or simply enjoy our adventures vicariously.