• Escape To Algarve PART 1

"Portugal is considered to be one of the best surf destinations in Europe, but that's only one aspect of its many charms", discover the Portuguese coastline and its beautiful landscapes with Maïlys from Wanderlust Mango.

"If you are looking for good food, kind people, hot sun, laidback beaches and great waves then visting the Algarve region of Portugal is a must.

A road trip along the coastline is the best way to explore this part of the country as there is so much to uncover. From the wild, wild west of the Atlantic coast to the more touristic, but equally as fascinating, landscapes of the south coast, the Algarve is definitely worth taking the time to explore.

In addition to the kilometers of attractive beaches and quality waves, there are charming villages, both coastal and inland, untouched landscapes, stunning natural parks, fascinating cities and markets, and varied gastronomy.

We started our road trip from Odeceixe and traveled down to Cacela Velha.

Odeceixe is pure Atlantic bliss. At the border of the Alentejo and Algarve regions it is where the river Ceixe meets the Atlantic Ocean and provides wonderful natural scenery. With less than a thousand inhabitants and small, whitewashed houses dotted everywhere, Odeceixe is also one of the quaintest places to visit.

Prahia de Odeceixe (Odeceixe beach) is an exposed beach break and is great to visit any time of year. If you have time for a snack during your visit, I would highly recommend Esplanada do mar where you can choose from the best shrimps in town, a great burger for less than €5 and various healthy homemade juices - all of which can be enjoyed whilst watching the powerful waves roll in!

After experiencing that little slice of paradise we ventured down south to Carrapateira, passing through another surfer's heaven and the well known water sports destination of Arrifana. We stopped to take a walk at the bottom of the cliff to enjoy the fresh breeze, beautiful waves and the postcard-perfect landscape. Carrapateira is 27km from Arrifana and along the road you will enjoy the wonderful smell of pines and eucalyptus. Make sure you keep your windows down and eyes open.

Once in Carrapateira we went straight to Amado beach where surfers camp out in the parking area and make their own village. If you are looking for good vibes you are in the right place. Surrounded by wild landscape, the waves in Amado are a true gift for any level of surfer. Here you will also find a bar where everyone meets after long beach days to enjoy a local beer and the breathtaking sunsets. If you drive further along the cliff road you will find, Sitio do forno, situated at the very end. This restaurant has another blissful ocean view.

After the sun went down we decided to hit the road and spend our night in Vila do Bispo. This was a strategic choice as I was dreaming about sunrise on the Castelejo beach, which is the closest beach to the city. Casa Mestre is a guesthouse located in the center of the city. It is easy to find with its yellow wall (the only colourful house in the city) and you can find a room with a private bathroom for 30€ per night. Their jungle garden with a pool and bbq area to share with other guests and their surfboard racks make it a great place to stay.

After a takeaway coffee on the beach watching the early bird surfers having a blast, we drove 15 kilometers to Cabo São Vicent to explore the high cliff, where you can almost hear the echoed voices of sailors and mermaids. This is magical place that you can't miss.

The clifftop with its lush greenery that blankets the rugged rock face, provides visitors with a unique perspective and ample photo opportunities. You will also find a beautiful lighthouse where some tourists battle to take the best picture, whilst others are at the bar enjoying a €5 Caipirão, a delicious Caipirinha style cocktail made with Portuguese liquor instead of rum.

To end our exploration of the South West region and before starting the drive along the southern coastline, we stopped in the tranquil town of Sagres; an old fisherman’s town where we had an amazing Cataplana, a typical local dish made of veggies and seafood. It was a great place to have a break before discovering the very different landscapes of the south. I hope you enjoyed traveling with us and see you very soon to finish the road trip."

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Follow Maïlys on Instagram @wanderlust_mango