For mountain loving motorhome owners who want a bit of sun, sea, sand and beach time, the Algarve is the perfect choice for a summer holiday. It’s possible to go from beach to mountains in half an hour and enjoy the best of both worlds while taking advantage of glorious weather and fabulous beaches.
Staying in Praia da Rocha on the Portimao seafront will give you and your family access to all the best facilities in the Algarve. There are lots of resorts and hotels to choose from, with good value and high quality guaranteed at the Hotel Jupiter resort, which is right next to Praia da Rocha beach.
If you’re not in the mood for a salty swim and would prefer a pool, then the hotel has a lovely pool that’s heated in the winter months. It’s also cheaper to book during the autumn and winter so that could be a consideration, depending on your budget. The Jupiter Hotel boasts all the top quality facilities you’d expect, including live music, dancing and entertainment every night as well as spa facilities to help you relax.
It’s perfectly positioned around 1km away from Portimao Marina and less than 2km from Praia Grand Beach and Vau Beach. Portimao itself is the ancient capital of the Algarve and is located at the mouth of the River Arade. Sadly there isn’t much left to show of its ancient past but if you are interested in the history, it is possible to see glimpses of the past. Today it’s geared for the tourist with an excellent reputation for shopping, restaurants and one of the Algarve’s biggest and best markets. And if you’re a fan of seafood then you’ve found the perfect place! There are many restaurants selling fresh catches and you can learn to catch your own on a special boat trip. There are also many other sightseeing cruises available along the coast or up the river.
As well as sightseeing, sunbathing and swimming, there are plenty of action orientated activities, including water sports, dolphin watching trips, surfing and diving. And, of course, you’re only a half hour drive away from one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in Portugal – the Serra de Monchique (Monchique Range). It’s the most southerly mountain range in Iberia and is densely forested, with parts of the range growing pine, acacia and eucalyptus. It’s named after Monchique, a town nestled in the north-western Algarve.
Monchique itself is a market town and you’ll find that your journey to reach it is stunningly beautiful and offers a huge contrast to the experience of the coast on the Algarve. You’ll see typical Algarve-style white houses, narrow cobbled streets all the way up to the hillsides interspersed with cafes, small shops and restaurants. When you reach the central square you’ll find a lovely area with benches, trees and a lot of peace. The main thing you’ll notice away from the busy tourist-orientated coast is the peace, quiet and tranquility of the mountains.
There’s plenty to wander around, including the remains of the Nossa Senhora de Desterro (our Lady of Exile, a 17th century convent), and although it can be a hike from the town itself, it’s most definitely worth it as you walk through shaded, wooded areas. In fact, it’s worth it for the stunning views alone – you can see the town beneath you and forested mountains all around – absolutely stunning!