I recently returned from a two week European roadtrip through Spain, Portugal and France, that was an escape from the city as well as a last ditch effort to enjoy my free time before starting work again. Graduating from undergrad is a much sweeter, more exciting experience because you don't know what you're getting into, and future opportunities to take time off (i.e., grad school) still await. Now, many of my classmates are on long journeys in far flung locations, grasping onto what little time we have left to gallivant about before rejoining the real world.
Portugal was a new country for me, therefore I spent a decent amount of time reading various articles in the Times and Vice, as well as finding various blog posts and Anthony Bourdain episodes. Our itinerary included driving along the coasts of the Algarve (southern) and Alentejo (western), then cutting in for the Alentejo countryside before heading to Lisbon and Porto.
In short, Portugal is a beautiful country full of wonderfully nice and inviting people. My friend and I were often staring in silence, taking in the scenery that was delightfully free of hoards of tourists. Portugal is a country of only 10 million, therefore there were stretches of road that we would drive for an hour and see only one other car, and as we were there in early June, summer holiday crowds hadn't yet poured in. The food was cheap, but great, and we struggled to find a bottle of wine that cost more than 10 euros.
In just over a week we were able to drive almost the entire coastline, and I would highly recommend our route to anyone else looking to escape to a quiet, cultured, and well-fed destination.
- Day 1: Sevilla - Olhão: stop in Tavira, Santa Luzia, eat at Tasquinha O Galo in Olhão
- Day 2: Olhão - Vila Nova de Milfontes: stop in Praia da Marinha, Sagres, eat at A Sagres and Patio Alentejano in VN de M
- Day 3: Vila Nova de Milfontes - Herdade do Vau: stop in Cabo Sardão, Zamujeira do Mar, eat and sleep at Herdade do Vau
- Day 4: Herdade do Vau - Évora: stop and eat at Herdade do Esporão
- Day 5: Évora - Lisbon: drink at The Insolito, eat at Ramiro's, Buenos Aires Cafe, and Casa Pasteis de Belem
- Day 7: Lisbon - Coimbra: stop by Cabo da Roca, Sintra, Obidos, see Coimbra University
- Day 8: Coimbra - Porto: eat at Cafe Santiago for the francesina, sunset byob in Jardim de João Chagas, drink at Gaia's port houses, stop in Duoro Valley