Lagoa de Albufeira to Praia de Aeria Branca (Lourinha)

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Today didn’t exactly go to plan. I’d read on Park4night that it was possible to park on the South side of the river and get a ferry across into Lisbon. We checked it out and in principle we could see it working, but the carpark was packed full and with no sign of any other motorhomes, we thought we’d stick with plan A, which was the usual park in the big carpark and walk a bit.

So we took the toll bridge across to Lisbon (€3.95) and attempted to get to this carpark recommended for motorhomes. We knew something was up when we were on the Lisbon side and we were being directed over a viaduct with only 2.8m clearance. We’re under 3m, but only just, and so at the last minute had to effect a questionable escape on a roundabout.

Convinced there’d be another way to get there we continued along Lisbon’s seafront, and in fact beyond it, until I found a way to turn back. At this point, Sophie’d seen loads and suggested we just head on out, which sounded great to me. I do dislike driving in big cities. I have to say that it does look like a really interesting place to visit, but not on a busy day like we did. Incidentally, we deliberately chose a Monday, assuming it would be quiet, but we can only assume from the crowds here, and at the other towns we “visited” that there must have been some national holiday today.

Next on the agenda was Cascais, a very pleasant seaside town, but we knew parking would be a non-starter, so did our usual drive-by. After a brief onboard lunch by the waves on the headland beyond Cascais, we made our third attempt on a town visit, Sintra.

Now I’d say straight off, if you’re visiting in a motorhome, even a modest 6m one, don’t even go into the town, like we did. There are places to park for motorhomes, even a free one if you check out your aires book. What I can’t tell you is how far that is from the town, but it’s probably not too bad.

We headed for a well-reviewed carpark in town and once we’d committed and drove down the tight access road, our fate was sealed. It was like being a ball-bearing shot into a complex narrow maze, but with only one possible route, and no scope to deviate. The carpark was full for starters, and after that you have to leave the town down the tightest of roads, and today being super busy, this tightness was even more tangible as we passed the wing mirrors of all the extra parked cars, with little room for error. At the bottom of the winding, endless road we were spat out onto some proper roads, which was a great relief. We could have gone back and started again, choosing a more sensible parking option, but by this time we’d had enough and were happy to be on our way. I definitely feel it is a town that should be visited, but don’t do what we did.

At this stage, I’d done enough city and difficult driving and was keen to breathe again on the open road, so we headed back to our coastal route. We finally ended up at Praia de Aeria Branca in Lourinha, in a very nice carpark by the beach. Despite a fantastic sunset, Sophie wasn’t best pleased with another night with the sound of the surf, but I slept well.

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

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