Before we found our pitch on the place Salema Eco Camp, we experienced a wonderful surprise.
We were on foot on the huge terrain to find the most beautiful place for our “Dicken”. Suddenly, a few meters away, a woman jumped from her camping chair in front of the tent and stood wildly dancing in the street.
We heard our names shouting. It was actually a friend and former work colleague, we ran into our arms here. What a beautiful coincidence. We couldn’t believe it all and arranged for a wine later. In any case, we had to respond to this coincidence. There was so much to tell and we had a wonderful first evening in Salema. The start couldn’t be much better.
The next day we wanted to explore the area a little bit. From here you could drive a lot of nice places with the rental car and we didn’t know where to start first.
We chose Sagres. A small town that doesn’t really care much about the tourism of the Algarve. Small, hidden cafés with Galao and Natas, surf shops here and there and, of course, the Cabo de Sao Vincente, the southwesternmost point of Europe, with a lighthouse on the cliff and fabulous sunsets.
So for us, too, it was time to enjoy the sunset right here in the evening!!
Well, there it isn´t really a enjoyment. We were here together with about 250 other people and cars, it stormed like crazy and the fog enveloped the highly praised sunset. As the crowd peeled out of their cars, defying the storm, wandering to the lighthouse to catch the one photo, we decided to sit in the car and watch the whimsical hustle and bustle from inside. At just before half past nine, crowds make a pilgrimage to the lighthouse, it is rammed full and point quarter before nine, they are all gone again. You can’t look that fast.
At this very time we drove by car all the way to the front, once photo and off home.
Sagres is surrounded by various beaches, which are very popular with surfers. We were still looking for these beaches and especially surfers. A perfect place to do this is the Praia do Tonel.
Here they were now for the first time, the countless boards with owners in the water, waiting for the perfect wave. We were happy and enjoyed the great atmosphere, in a beach bar with the obligatory coffee.
Another beach in Sagres is Martinhal, which we had already received recommended by the dear people in Tarifa, because here there should be the possibility of windsurfing.
We packed our neos, bikinis and towels into the car and drove there.
There was a surf school that gave her equipment. Our time had come. Without a surf instructor, simply borrow a board and sail and try out what we have learned by ourself.
We changed the clothes at the “surf parking” (everyone does this here and we are now part of it ;)) and hiked to the surf school in a wetsuit with a bit of a queasy feeling. We wanted to venture onto the water for an hour. Two not so sympathetic ladies explained to us how far out we can surf and what to consider and we were already on a surfboard again!
Initially it went quite well, but the different wind conditions on the water were not to be underestimated, the surf instructors curled up with a motorboat next to us and shouted tips.
And then one of us fell off board relatively far out and it wasn’t really possible to sail back in the beach direction.
So, put on board and swim.
The hour was over faster than planned, while the other was able to record quite good successes.
Still proud, we ended the day with a sagres on our place…
One of the greatest moments of travel is getting to know new people. In this case, it was our neighbour Patrick. He came up to us one morning and asked if he could load his power bar with us. Sure, no problem. Patrick is riding a motorcycle and tent and has spent the lockdown in Morocco, incl. Suspicion of Corona. He has been a backpacker for years and is now riding a motorcycle for the first time. He also writes a blog “Rutis Reisen” and has a Youtube channel. Follow him, he has great experiences and impressions in his luggage.
With Patrick we spent a whole day at the Dicken, with coffee, chatting, hammock and lots of fun. We also sat together in the restaurant of the Salema Eco Cap, there was Wi-Fi, and everyone wrote their blog. And, we were on the way, we in the rental car and Patrick on the motorcycle. We drove up a bit of the coast, to one of the many surf spots, in this case, Praia da Arrifana. Looking for a restaurant we walked a bit along the cliffs. We arrived at incomprehensible slate cliffs, so steep and impressive, up to a parking lot.
And strolled across the parking lot, the friend we had met spontaneously at the campsite and who had already left there a few days ago, she was here with the family for dinner, in the restaurant where we also wanted to stop. You know what’s going on here, the world is a village after all. Put a few chairs at the table and see the sun go down in a big round and eat really good fish, what more could you want.
We also made our way back to the eastern Algarve with the rental car to see the legendary beach of Benagil. Okay, there was something going on, tons of kayak and SUP rentals as well as boat tours because it’s actually the caves of Benagil that are so very impressive. With a lot of luck we got a parking lot at the top of the cliff and so we went one of the paths we entered to see the cliffs and small beaches. And to throw through a huge hole in the ceiling of the cave on the beach below, the boats, kayaks, SUP boards and people. Honestly, we liked it better upstairs. But to be down there when there is no one there, off-season or very early in the morning, that has to be very nice.
Another dream beach, which is here like sand by the sea, is the Praia de Trés Irméos. You climb down stairs beaten into the cliffs and then walk through small caves between the beach sections. The colors, the sea, just a dream. But also well attended at this time. We were in the sea and soaked up the atmosphere and then we said goodbye to the crowds. This is simply not ours, even if it is the most beautiful environments, fewer people, that’s more our thing. And even more so in Corona times.
One of these beach trips we then connected with a visit to Lagos, the most beautiful town in the Algarve, they say. And yes, Lagos is quiet beautiful. Maybe a little bit more if you’re not there in the high season, but we’ll repeat ourselves. No no, go there, enjoy the harbour, stroll through the city, the small streets and the small shops. Here you will find everything your heart desires. Includes free parking at the old city wall. A perfect day.
Sea, beaches, windsurfing, surfers, we can also inland by the way. With the rental car an easy one, because you don’t always have to think about whether the “Dicke” fits through this or that little place and above all what you do, if not. The weather was windy, so we just took the car and drove off. Rough direction Monchique, only small streets to be as much away from tourism as possible and see. Just let it drift. Small streets through the mountains, so many different shades of green, old men and women in front of small pubs, farmers, small farms, here a goat herder and there bells ringing from cow bells. Sounds dreamlike? By the way, it is. We didn’t want to see anything specific, somewhere a coffee would be great and then at some point back, don’t like the same way. Honestly, it’s not really easy either, where’s nice to drive for the short coffee stop, here or better? What about supper, do we need a long way back? Sounds like a luxury problem? Could be, but such a day on the road also somehow needs its structure. We clocked it up quite well, had our coffee and were on the way back on a road from which we hoped to bring us back. Hardly driven, in the middle of forests, we were surprised by a deer. He looked at us briefly, jumped into the field, but stopped there again to fix us and then trot his way. These moments always have something very unique in themselves.
On this day we decided to make a stop in the neighboring village. Burgau, nobody had told us how beautiful it is there. We walked steep streets towards the beach, passed restaurants, minimal, crowded, it smelled of grilled fish, there were only a few small shops and then just before the beach where the fishing boats lay, we returned, while the sky over the sea turned pink, we drank wine and ate fish.
Man oh man, how long have we been at this campsite? We were still hiking. A circular route between Bordeira and Carrapateira, about 5-6 km, depending on how often you make a detour from the sandy road to the cliffs. A dream, preferably take the cliff side in the afternoon, because then the sun already descends and the colors become breathtaking. And plan for dwell time. Standing or sitting on the cliffs, observing storks, looking at the waves and letting the thought run free, or even better, leave the thoughts free. More freedom is not possible.
Small anecdote at the end: The rental car was great, a Skoda station wagon. Long cars we can!! Directly on the first day we wanted to go to the neighboring beach, there it should not be so crowded and you had to walk a winding path there. We could have been looking for signs, but we asked Google Maps. Forget it! First through a path full of potholes and so narrow, the bushes at the roadside we could have cut out of the car and then off to a mountain, why mountain, we wanted to go to the beach?! Following this thought before the turning manoeuvre, the crash backwards against the stones would certainly have spared us. The shock sat deep. First day rental car, gravel road with stones, fear for the underbody and at the end again nice with the stern against the stones. Big cars, we can. 🙂