Buckle up and discover the coastal beauty of the Algarve with this seaside road trip. Driving abroad with a hire car on holiday can be the best way to discover new places. So fill up your car with petrol, snacks, and of course your nearest and dearest, and head off on an adventure! Travelling with young ones? Then use a portable BubbleBum booster seat so everyone gets to enjoy the views.
No matter where you’re staying along the Algarve, pick up this east to west trip to the southwestern most point of mainland Europe! Using the N125 road passing through well-known towns and ports – join in where you can and explore the beautiful southern Portuguese coast.
Albufeira to Lagos
The wonderful Albufeira is where we start. The Old Town oozes with traditional Portuguese charm, with quaint cobbled streets lined with restaurants. Local shops entice the first ice cream purchase of the day and the bustling market is a great place to pick up some handmade souvenirs (or sweets for the car!). The sandy beach is only a short walk away too and if you’re lucky beautiful handmade sand sculptures will be lined along the shore.
The next stop is the stunning resort of Carvoeiro. With so much to take in from beautiful architecture to panoramic views, why not hop on the Carvoeiro tourist train? Kids will love being aboard the land train as it takes you around town, and you’ll get to sit back and let someone else do the driving! Filled with restaurants and cafés, many with amazing seaside views, it’s the perfect stop for a light bite.
Back on the N125, head west again for Lagos. On this 30 minute journey you’ll cross the impressive Arade River and the lush green fields of the Algarve wetlands, so be sure to admire the views along the way (with one eye on the road of course!). You’ll know you’ve arrived when greeted with the 16th century walls that surround this seafaring town. Filled inside you’ll find antique shops, pavement cafés and boutiques lined along the cobbled streets. Watch boats bring in the catch of the day in the large marina or seek out local history at the nearby Ponta da Bandeira Fort.
… and on to Sagres
If you want to keep going and turn your road trip into a day trip, this last leg takes us to the Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park to the most southwestern point of mainland Europe. Beautifully preserved beaches, rare flora and fauna, and the Cabo de São Vicente lighthouse fill this wondrous park – so grab your walking shoes and take a look around!
Before you reach the park, why not stop at a couple of beach towns on your way to break up the trip? The wonderful Praia da Luz and Salema are idyllic places to jump out the car and stretch your legs on the road from Lagos to Sagres. With quaint seaside cafés they might be the perfect place to fill up on a hearty local meal so you can spend the afternoon exploring the national park.
When you reach Sagres and the park, this magical landscape will have you eager to jump out and take in the surroundings. Whether you want to learn the history of the Fortaleza de Sagres or the lighthouse, pick a coastal trail for a walk or stick to the beach and bask in the sun – Sagres has it all.
Road trip fun
If the views aren’t enough, why not add a bit of fun to the trip with a game the whole family can enjoy?
How to play:
– Everyone take turns to say a colour
– Once the colour has been said, the first one to find/spot something out of the car in that colour wins!
– The winner then says another colour, and the game repeats.
– Can’t think of a colour that hasn’t been used already? Then you miss your turn!
Seated safely in the back with a BubbleBum booster seat, your children will have plenty to look at out the window. The BubbleBum inflates with a couple of puffs, and folds away when not in use, ready for the next trip! It fits easily into a rucksack or carry on bag, meaning its ideal for road trips abroad!