February 16, 2016 at 9:04 AM
It’s going to be an early start. You’ve been looking forward to the trip for months. The car has had a full service. It has had a full service hasn’t it? If you feel your car will not make it have a look for a new used car Whether six months or six years old, when you’re about to undertake a round trip of about 5,000 km (3106 mi), plus your mileage visiting the sights and attractions along the Algarve, you want to keep the chance of any kind of mechanical failure to a minimum.
You’re away at the crack of dawn on a hopefully bright July day. Heading for one of the ferry ports along the south of England, your journey to Faro in the Algarve will take around three days and nights. For those adverse to water, the trip can be undertaken using the Channel Tunnel, but it does put a few extra hours on the travelling time.
With Calais being one of the shortest most popular crossings, the drive down should see you around Bordeaux or further south towards the Spanish border by the end of day one. Make sure you have a pocket full of Euros. With the motorways being toll roads the journey through France could cost upwards of €50.
If time isn’t of the essence, and you have reasonable navigation skills, then the A roads are generally good.
Once you get south of Bordeaux, begin looking for a stopover. Roadside services on the French side are more plentiful at around €60/€75 a night. Once over the border you may well have to detour to a Spanish town for any reasonable accommodation. I really wouldn’t recommend parking by the roadside and sleeping in the car.
Day 2 and into Spain
Within a short time of crossing the Spanish border the flat forestry landscape of France will change to the mountain ranges of Spain. With the change of scenery comes a change of road type, with narrower undulating roads slowing you down on your run through to San Sebastian.
Once through San Sebastian following the signs for Burgos will take you through a series of tunnels cut through the hillsides on your way down to Salamanca.
From Salamanca head for Placencia, a small town with reasonably priced accommodation, it is ideal for your second night’s stopover and about halfway down Spain.
Day 3 – and Maybe the Algarve
If you are travelling in the summer months, by now you should be able to feel the heat. The hot Spanish summers will begin changing the landscape from pine forests to olive groves, and the general outlook will be barren and arid.
With the Algarve being at the southernmost tip of Portugal the destination is one that can be reached on day three. However, unless two of you have been driving it may well be worth enjoying the local hospitality of a final overnight stop around Merida.
Close to the border it has a good selection of reasonably priced accommodation. In the morning a final run down to Seville, through to Huelva and into Portugal on the A22 motorway from Ayamonte to Faro... and your tour of the Algarve can begin.
Here are some ressources where to find a few tips:
- French Motorways Association: http://www.autoroutes.fr/
- Spanish Motorways Association: https://www.autopistas.com/
- Visit Algarve Tourism Board Website: http://www.visitalgarve.pt/
Now that you are all set up, go and drive safely.