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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

10 Reasons You Should Explore Portugal with a Soul Campers Campervan

Portugal was the first stop on our travels through Europe and is a country which we very quickly fell head over heels in love for. It is a country where you can relax on some of Europe's most beautiful beaches, eat the freshest of seafood straight off the boat in small, traditional fishing villages, stroll through charming historic towns, surf waves that people travel from all over the world to surf and fall further in love with the country the more you explore. We travelled for a week along the coastline with Soul Campers in one of their new campervans and it was one of the most incredible experiences of our travel lives to date! Here are 10 reasons why you should explore this incredible country with one of their amazing campervans.



1. YOU'LL HAVE SOME OF EUROPE'S BEST BEACHES AT YOUR FINGERTIPS
Portugal is known for having some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe and truly has some of the most breathtaking beaches we've seen in all our travels! The Algarve boasts a perfect Mediterranean climate, sandy golden beaches, incredible towering limestone formations and beautiful, inviting azure waters and we loved the freedom of our campervan which meant we could drive until we found the most picture perfect beaches to stop and explore. Portugal has some of the most beautiful and unique beaches along its long stretch of coastline that we've seen and we absolutely fell in love with its gorgeous scenery.





2. THE PERFECT WAY TO EXPLORE THE DIVERSITY OF PORTUGAL
During our week in our Soul Campers campervan we drove the whole length of the Algarve from East to West and up through the Alentejo National Park stopping at beautiful, untouched wild beaches along the West Coast. We also made a few detours inland to the countryside to visit small, traditional Portuguese towns, unique medieval castles and also explore the gorgeous countryside around the Algarve and National Park that covers the South West of Portugal. During this week we were lucky enough to experience the huge diversity of these different regions of Portugal. Portugal is a truly incredible country and we loved the variety of experiences we had which ranged from strolling through traditional fishing villages and eating the freshest seafood straight off the boat to exploring busy, touristy Lagos with its charming old town and stunning beaches, eating the best oranges of our lives in countryside Moncarapacho in the Eastern Algarve as well as finding the most beautiful beaches which we had all to ourselves along the west coast! We'll be sharing our full itinerary over the next few days so stay posted for that!





3. SURFING, SO MUCH SURFING!
The entire south-west and west coasts contain beach after beach with perfect sets of waves rolling in. Whilst some beaches are popular and well known, many are completely empty and with an adventurous spirit and a small amount of luck you will find your perfect beach. The Atlantic coast is wild and large swells are common and there's enough perfect waves to make a surfer drool. If you are a surfer then a Soul Campers campervan is the perfect way to travel! You can carry your surfboards with you, on top of the campervan and have them with you at every single beach you visit. You also have the flexibility to pack up your "home" within a few minutes to follow the waves.




4. YOU CAN SPEND THE NIGHT ON EMPTY BEACHES
Portugal is a country where "free camping" is tolerated in many parts and as long as you are courteous and cautious (for example don't park where there is no parking signs and take all your rubbish with you) then you're more than likely to find the perfect, empty beach to spend the night. Whilst the Algarve is filled with plenty of others on campervan holidays we still managed to find a perfect, empty beach to spend the night with not a single other soul around! On the west coast we found countless incredible places to park up and stick around for the night and spent an amazing night in a deserted beach town with the whole beach to ourselves and another night literally parked at the top of a cliff overlooking the powerful sea below us where we went to sleep to the sound of enormous waves crashing on the rocks directly below us.






5. THERE IS TRULY NO BETTER WAY TO HAVE A RELAXING HOLIDAY
A campervan holiday is the ideal vacation to relax and ensure that you return home rejuvenated! Our Soul Campers campervan had absolutely everything we could have possibly wanted or needed literally within reach (or at least within a few steps). We had a fridge, cooker, bed, indoor and outdoor tables and chairs, a beach and a rain umbrella, a toilet, a shower, all our cooking equipment, maps, campsite guides and even a deck of cards and a frisbee! We loved that when we collected our van we literally didn't even have a plan for our week just a few recommendations from the lovely Tim at Fazenda Nova Country House, my friend Lydia who lived in Portugal for a summer and from the wonderful, friendly Tania at Soul Campers. The time you spend in your campervan is yours to do as you please and if you want to simply find a beach and lie on it you can or if you want to drive the length of Portugal you can do that too! Campervan life is a life where you are on your own schedule and you can cook your meals whenever you want, drive to a new destination whenever you want and see and do as little or as much as you want during your holiday. We loved every second of life on the road in our campervan and when we dropped it off after a week we were sad but left feeling full of life, happy and completely relaxed!






6. PORTUGAL IS A VERY CAMPERVAN FRIENDLY COUNTRY
Portugal is a country that is very well set up for campervans and is generally a very campervan friendly country! We were blown away by how many campervans there were during our visit in early April which is very early in the year and the weather is only just starting to heat up! Whilst there are a lot of other campervanners it is still easy enough to get off the beaten track and find beaches and destinations with no one else around! There are hundreds of campsites set up for campervans all through Portugal and are very reasonably priced and for the two nights we stayed in a campsite one cost us €14 and the other €10! It is also tolerated to free camp in many parts of Portugal, just be sure to avoid staying anywhere that has a no parking sign or you will most likely get moved on or get a fine. We found the roads very easy to navigate and drive and did all our navigation just using a map as we didn't have a GPS.



7. YOU CAN EXPLORE THE COASTLINES & HAVE MAGNIFICENT BEACHES ALL TO YOURSELF
Portugal has a very beautiful and diverse coastline that ranges from majestic cliffs, beautiful carved out grottoes, pure white & golden sandy beaches and everything in between! The water is clear, clean and ranges from every shade of blue under the sun and we loved that our campervan allowed us to get off the beaten track and explore many places that most people never get the opportunity to visit and if you're lucky you'll find many that you will have all to yourself.



8. A COST EFFECTIVE WAY TO TRAVEL PORTUGAL 
A campervan holiday is a very cost effective way to travel Portugal. Having come from the UK we found fuel to be a lot cheaper than at home, the cost of hiring the campervan with Soul Campers is very reasonable (and cheaper than a hotel) and you can also cook for yourself! We also found that food was cheaper than in the UK and that campsites are very affordable (most are under €10 a night) and free camping is also tolerated in many parts of the country. Campervans are not just a great way to see all that Portugal has to offer but also a very cost effective and affordable way to travel.


9. FREEDOM & THE OPEN ROAD
Portugal is an incredible country to do a road trip and we loved the incredible opportunities and experiences which presented themselves to us during our time in our Soul Campers campervan. The excellent network of roads, beautiful towns of all shapes and sizes, bustling cities, high quality, cheap food and wine, empty, unspoilt beaches, incredible Mediterranean climate, breathtaking scenery, majestic sunsets and amazing surfing proves that Portugal really does have it all! Be sure to explore as much as you can in your campervan, because the freedom of life on the open road is an incredible experience you will never forget!



10. BECAUSE SOUL CAMPERS ARE AWESOME!
Soul Campers have literally thought of everything when creating their incredible campervans. The campervans are so well equipped, comfortable, cosy, practical and homely as well as being super modern and were wonderfully reliable throughout our entire trip. We were so sad to leave our campervan which had very quickly become our little home on the road and which we'd become very attached to! We've both discovered a new way of travel that we've fallen in love with and it's safe to say this won't be our last campervan holiday - thank you Soul Campers! Visit their website to book your incredible Portugal holiday in one of their amazing campervans!




Have you ever had a campervan holiday? We'd love to hear all about it so please let us know in the comments! x

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