Day 31: Lisbon to Algarve

Summary

We had two and a half days for Algarve which was a southern most region of Portugal. The first day was focused on getting to Algarve. We drove about 250 km from Lisbon to a small town on the north west cost of Algarve. It was a long drive so we made it interesting by having a number of breaks.

From Lisbon airport we drove to Parque Eduardo VII for a second visit to the Maze garden then we drove to Setubal to ride a car-ferry to Troia. Short distance after Comporta town we saw an interesting Heron Habitat. The it was down to Sines for a coffee break.

Driving down to Algarve via the west coast

Driving down to Algarve via the west coast

The first town in Algarve we stopped was Arrifana, it was also the town where we stayed for one night. At Arrifana we saw a beautiful sunset and the next morning we went down to its beautiful beach.

Back at Lisbon

Ryan Air flew us out of Lisbon Airport  from Terminal 2 and flew us into Terminal 1 of Lisbonon the return. At Terminal 1 we called  easyParking to arrange for a pickup. The easyParking van arrived in less than 10 minutes and we were brought to easyPaking airport parking outlet in less than another 10 minutes. After we showed the staff at the outlet our parking receipt another staff went to pick up our car from “somewhere” and drove it back to the outlet. We inspected our car and the bags in the boot, everything looked fine. We were happy with the services and left the outlet.

easyParking outlet at Lisbon airport

easyParking outlet at Lisbon airport

From the airport we drove to Parque Eduardo VII to view the amazing maze garden again. At our previous visit 4 days ago the beautiful long maze had a platform built over its mid-length. The platform was built for an event that would have ended by this day. Since the park was along our way to Sebutal port/jetty it was convenient to make a stop.

The drive from the airport to Parque Eduardo VII was 15 minutes over a distance of 6 km. At the northwest  part of the park was a free parking and from there was about 400 m to the viewing deck on the north side. The huge ugly banner of the stage was removed but the stage structure was still not taken down. The maze garden without the ugly banner across its mid length certainly looked much better!.

Maze garden of Parque Eduardo VII

Maze garden of Parque Eduardo VII

Car ferry ride at Setubal

From Parque Eduardo VII was a 40 minutes drive to Sebutal Port/jetty/pier (co-ordinates: 38.521780, -8.885219) over a distance of 49 km. Once we reached the pier we had to look out for the car ferry dock/pier. We thought it would be “fun” and faster to get to the west coast of Portugal via a boat ride than to drive a big loop.

Car ferry dock at Sebutal Pier

Car ferry dock at Sebutal Pier

At Sebutal Pier we bought the two tickets, one for the car which included a driver for €16.40 and another ticket for just the passenger for €5. We still had about 45 minutes to wait before the car ferry arrived at 1 pm. At ther pier there was no shops so it was a “boring” wait.  10 minutes before 1 pm the ferry arrived and we got ready to board the ferry.

Boarding car-ferry at Sebutal

Boarding car-ferry at Sebutal

Tróia Peninsula

The ferry ride to Praia de Tróia Rio took only 10 minutes. Since it was just a short ferry trip, we stayed in our car the whole journey. At Troia we disembarked and onward towards the Algarve. After 18 km we reached the town of Comporta and 4 km after that we came to a small town with a very fascinating sight. It started when we saw a flying heron and it landed on a nest on top of a lamppost. Then as we looked around we realised that there was a nest on practically every lamppost on that stretch of road!

An heron nest on top of each lamppost

An heron nest on top of each lamppost

It was so fascinating, its seemed like this town had purposely built a platform on top of each lamppost and the herons had came to nest there. Some nests were empty, others had one bird, some had two and there were some where we saw a smaller bird (baby?) with their parents. So cool!

nest, nest, nest

nest, nest, nest

Sines

It was about 45 minutes drive from Comporta to Sines where we stopped for a coffee break. We parked near a castle and walked along a promendade on the outside of the castle overlooking the beach. The weather was just too hot to stay out in the hot sun so we looked for focused on searching for a cafe/restaurant. 

Castle of Sines

Castle of Sines

We walked into a cafe/restaurant called O Murta. It was the first we came upon so we went in for some coffee. The cafe/restaurant was pretty empty and quiet but nice and cool. We had cafe latte for €0.90 per cup. Nice!

O Murto Cafe at Sines

O Murto Cafe at Sines

Arrifana

From Sines to Arrifana was another 100 km and took about 1.5 hour. We reached at about 6.30 pm and quickly checked into our “stay”. From our stay was a 1 km walk down to the beach. It was a tiring day, our journey started at 5.00 am this morning in Sao Miguel, we flew,  we “ferried”, we drove so by the time we reached our “stay” we were too tired to walk down to the beach.

At our “stay” we had a wonderful time viewing the gorgeous sunset.

Sunset view as seen from our room's balcony

Sunset view as seen from our room’s balcony

I was able to see the sunset directly  from the window of our room. It was very beautiful and stunning. I stood by the window for close to an hour, enjoying the “continuously-evolving” colors of the sky, the sea and the surrounding as the sun descended. Even after the sun disappeared below the sea horizon it rays still colored the sky above. It took more than 30 minutes before every colors turned black. 

Beautiful scenery seen from our "stay" after the sun set over the horizon.

Beautiful scenery seen from our “stay” after the sun set over the horizon.

The next day we went down to the beach soon after breakfast. The day was still cooling and there was a breeze in the air. The 1 km walk down the beach was good “digestion” exercise. It was a huge beautiful bay and there was not many people around. The bay was quite flat and the waves rolled in continuously

Arrifana Beach

Arrifana Beach

We saw some surfers in the water waiting to catch the right wave. We stayed for about an hour before we left to return to our stay and checked out.

Arrifana beach

Arrifana beach

Our stay

We booked a double room WITH A SEA VIEW at HI Arrifana Destination Hostel at €75 a night. It was a bit pricey compared to other rooms in the same hostel because we selected a room with a view of the sea and beach. The room price came with breakfast for two. 

The hostel was a bit difficult to find as on the front side of the hostel its name was not displayed well. It was on the side of the hostel where we found a big logo of its name. We parked our car in a huge “empty” land behind the hostel. This land was outside the boundary of the hotel and according to our host it was “safe” to leave our car there.

Our room was on the upper level and like the pictures that were shown in our booking it was a large room with big full length window facing the “far away” sea. The room was clean and spacious. Below our window there was a pool and outdoor sitting area for guests.

Our room came with an ensuite toilet that was huge and clean.

Ensuite toilet of our double room

Ensuite toilet of our double room

The hostel had a bar/restaurant, shared kitchen and dining room. Beside us there were several other guests. Many were sitting in the lounge of the restaurant surfing internet. This hostel also offered four person and eight person dormitories so for dormitory guests it was definitely more comfortable to relax in the shared lounge than staying in the dormitories.

Shared lounge and dining area

Shared lounge and dining area

For our dinner we made it simple. Though the hostel had a shared kitchen we were not up to any complex cooking. The only “stuff” we cooked were eggs (soft boiled/benedict eggs). Dinner was a an assembly of cherry tomatoes, salad veges, eggs and Portugese sardines and green tea.

Our DIY dinner

Our DIY dinner

HI Arrifana Destination Hostel was definitely located at the right location. It was not too far from the beach and it offered a fabulous view of the sunset at its roof top “balcony deck” assessible by all guests. Parking was also available close by. 

Accommodations: Arrifana

Booking.com

 

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