Castro Marim to Tavira

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A good overnight location in our Park4Night just below the castle walls at Castro Marim, Portugal, just over the border from Spain. Our preference is always to spend the night in a rural or coastal location wherever possible, so as to minimise traffic, and general urban noise. However, we weren’t near a super busy road, and vehicle movements soon petered out and didn’t disturb our slumber.

We’d had a stroll around the little town the night before, and with a little help from TripAdvisor decided on the “A Tasca Medieval” restaurant for lunch the next day. It is very traditional inside and the food matched, with great flavours throughout. With wine at EUR3 for half a litre, and coffee at EUR0.50, you knew you weren’t being ripped off, and the service was excellent, with their command of the English language a massive help for us, who are struggling with the basics of Portuguese at the moment. We also made some new friends who were on their holidays from Luxembourg, although the young gentleman was Portuguese and his command of several languages really put us to shame.

So far in Portugal, in our first couple of days, we’ve noticed that around these parts Motorhome services are not as common as in Spain, and even Spain requires careful planning for us free-campers who prefer to overnight in more wild and remote spots. So a free aire at Castro Marim was a key part of my strategy. Unfortunately, the aire’s toilet area’s drain was completely blocked, so a new plan would be required, but we had scope to wait.

We then left the town and followed the coast, popping into a number of Park4Nights along the way, by way of research. There were plenty, and I have to say that we were pleasantly surprised at their quality and close proximity to the beaches. From what we’ve seen, the beaches were more our kind of beach, more wild, little development, and beautiful sand.

My objective for the night was Tavira’s coastal area, and we were not disappointed. The Park4Night was situated along a narrow spit of land, with marsh on one side and the sea on the other. Good hard standing and amazing views. There were other neighbours there too, but none in our faces and all was perfectly peaceful. Even in the middle of the night, when awakening momentarily, all you could hear was the gentle lapping of the sea, the seabirds, and the occasional engines of passing small fishing boats – very relaxing indeed.

A visit to the town at Tavira was in order, and somewhere I’d always been keen to see. The main challenge when visiting a town, of any size, is where can we park a motorhome, and not have to have a major hike into the old town. As usual, Park4Night came up trumps with a useful car park for us by the river at 88 Rua João Vaz Corte Real. This will not suit much larger motorhomes, but there were larger ones than us, taking advantage of decent scope to back up with the overhang over the very generous pavement.

The town was a delight to explore, and there were very many eating out opportunities, but beware the hard sell as each restaurant has someone on duty to persuade you to eat at their establishment. We’re not keen on this approach, and had made our own mind up before the very pleasant hard seller began his patter, but you have to admire their impressive language skills. We definitely paid tourist prices for the meal, but to be fair, we were eating outside in a lovely location, the food and wine were of a reasonable quality, and the service good, so we factored all that into our conclusion that the occasion was worth the money.

After some more exploring and a visit to a local wine shop to pick up a couple of bottles of reasonably priced vinho verde, plus a bottle of the very lovely Portuguese Amaretto-style liquor, Amendoa Amarga (EUR3.99), we were on our way.

*** Just to mention that our blogs can be up to a few weeks behind reality, as we’re always in catch-up mode ***

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