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Sunday, April 10, 2016

An Amazing Week Exploring the Algarve & Alentejo with Soul Campers

If you're a regular reader or follow us on Instagram then you'll certainly know by now that we had an amazing time on our week exploring Portugal in a campervan with Soul Campers. We very quickly fell in love with everything about Portugal and it is without a doubt one of our favourite countries in the world. 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. Our week with Soul Campers has been a highlight of our travels to date so far and we're so excited to share all our photos, tips and stories with you!



Soul Campers are a campervan company run by a young couple, Tania and Pedro just outside of Faro in Portugal. They are technically based in Faro which means they are close enough to the airport but far enough out of the city that you don't have to drive through the city (unless of course you want to)! They have four incredible campervans and told us that they are looking to expand and increase their fleet very soon! Both Tania and Pedro were incredibly down to earth, friendly and helpful and obviously love what they do which shows in their work and the high quality of the campervans! We loved the Soul Campers Logo where the O in SOUL has been replaced with a blue surfboard. It was clever, creative and would really appeal to their main clientele who are surfers and beach lovers. It helped it stand out among other campervans and everytime we returned to it we looked at each other, smiled and said "there's our home" or "we live there".





As we detailed in our Life on the Road post, our campervan was incredible! Everything you could possibly want or need for your life on the road is included and Tania and Pedro have done such an amazing job fitting out the campervans. Our van slept four people, though would be much more comfortable with two, had four driving seats (the front two which could be turned around when the van was stopped), as well as a table inside and table and chairs for outside! The bed was comfortable and we rented a bedding set from Soul Campers which had two sheets, pillows, pillowcases and sleeping bags. Our van also had a small bathroom with chemical toilet and shower, and we also had an outdoor shower which we could plug into the water tank to wash of sand after being at the beach and would also be p­­erfect for cleaning up surfboards and gear!

In addition we had a kitchen which had a two ring gas burner, sink and cutlery, plates, cups, glasses and saucepans etc. There was also a fridge which worked perfectly and kept all our ingredients fresh & cold! We couldn't believe how much storage space there was with little cupboards everywhere which allowed us to store our dry food and belongings. We had window shades for the front and side windows which we put up each night to turn the van into "sleep mode" and which worked fantastically and kept the van really dark even in the morning sun! The little extras were very much appreciated also including a deck of cards, frisbee, cleaning equipment, beach and rain umbrellas!






We did a bit of research before our trip, more out of excitement than necessity but the information we found was quite contradictory and we just couldn't quite find the information we were looking for and the small snippets of information that we did take with us also ended up being not helpful at all. Our savours ended up being the few people we spoke to about their own personal experiences and recommendations of thing to do and see in Portugal. Their advice and recommendations helped to shape our trip and give us a sense of direction! A lot of the incredible places we visited we were lucky enough to stumble upon ourselves, sometimes by accident and sometimes by just taking signs to the next beach (many of which weren't even on the map)!

My wonderful friend from my work in the UK, Lydia was kind enough to give us pages of recommendations of amazing things to see and do on the western Algarve. She lived and worked in Praia da Luz near Lagos for a summer and her recommendations were spot on and really ensured we had an amazing time in that part of the Algarve. Lydia always talked so highly of Portugal and how much she loved it, and now that we've been we can really understand why she loves it just so much!















The night before we collected the campervan we stayed at the beautiful Fazenda Nova Country House located in the heart of the East Algarve. When Tim, one of the owners found out that we were picking up a campervan the next day and didn't really have a plan we saw his eyes lit up and within seconds he had a map and pen and was giving us incredible recommendations for our trip. His advice was particularly helpful for the unspoilt Eastern Algarve region where we'd managed to find very limited information about online and so hadn't really even considered spending much time there during our trip. We ended up spending two nights in the East Algarve and were so grateful for our time there and for Tim's tips, it is a really authentic, beautiful part of Portugal which a lot of people don't know about and really should be a must for anyone even considering visiting the Algarve!











And finally, the morning we collected our campervan Tania and Pedro took the time to go through the region in detail and give us countless recommendations of places to go, in particular beautiful beaches which we were very happy to hear! Tania and Pedro's advice was particularly focused around the West Coast and Alentejo National Park which was fantastic. Everyone we spoke to said that it was essential we visit this region of Portugal but no one could really pinpoint particular areas as the whole region was stunning, rugged and unspoilt. Tania and Pedro's tips were really helpful and really helped make our time on the West Coast unforgettable!














Portugal is truly one of the most incredible countries we've visited. We very quickly fell in love with the beautiful countryside, the untouched, secluded beaches, incredible food, friendly people, the sunshine, the history and of course our wonderful campervan which we became extremely attached to in a very short period of time. Soul Campers are a wonderful company and you are really made to feel like part of the "Soul Campers family". The campervans are not just modern and reliable but are comfortable, cosy and are fitted with everything you could possibly need! We had such an amazing week and certainly would recommend hiring a campervan with Soul Campers to anyone considering visiting the region, we loved every moment of it and haven't stopped talking about it since!



If we've inspired you to book your next holiday to Portugal and hit the open road in a Soul Campers campervan then head over to their website to find all their information and book your next amazing holiday: http://soulcampers.com.pt/


Thanks so much to Soul Campers for hosting our week in Portugal, we loved every moment of it & of course, our opinions are as always, our own.

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