Sunday, 19 June 2022

Portugal to Calais EuroTunnel.

Finally after 8 weeks of sunshine in Portugal we were on our way home. We allowed 6 nights for the journey from Ria Formosa in the Algarve, to the tunnel. 

For those who like figures, 

The total journey was 3380 miles, door to door.

Fuel cost £502

Tolls in France, Spain and Portugal, 190 Euros.

Tunnel only £150 , as we used our Tesco coupons!

Campsite fees 1106.70 Euros. 

Bargain of the holiday was Ria Formosa Camping. As we arrived before 1st June and stayed for a month, we got the special rate of 365 Euros all in. Camping Turiscampo was a Yelloh Village site which we booked and paid for in advance. All the campsites en route we just turned up for and booked in at will, they varied in price from 15 Euros ( Alentejo Portugal) to 29 Euros ( Only Camp Tours)

The only site we could have made a saving with using ACSI, was Larouletta in France, we would have saved the princely sum of 1 euro if I had bought the ACSI card and book. Travelling home was very easy as all the sites were open. Going down at the beginning of April we used Camping & Caravanning Winter Sun sites as we knew they were open. Most of the other sites we used were already known to us or we picked them up on Camper Contact ( well worth 5.99 Euros a year) We could probably have saved a bit of money if we had used Aires, but we prefer sites and we don't wild camp.

All in all, including spending money and food, the holiday cost £61.14 a day, that included fuel and travelling costs. Not bad overall we thought for 64 nights away.

Leaving Ria Formosa we travelled back up through Portugal to Alentejo near Evoramonte. Again we passed a quiet night and bought a pizza from the site shop for dinner. Delivered hot to the van by the site owner, not bad for 7.50 Euros. Washed down with a bottle of local wine. The camp site was slightly busier than on the way down and the pool was open. This site is beautifully kept the owner lives on the premises. Nice hot clean sanitary facilities and an outdoor pool. Our last night in Portugal very warm.

The next morning we headed over into Spain and after a long drive made it to Salamanca. Our first choice stop over was closed, so we made a slight detour to Hotel Regio where we had stayed before.

Hotel Regio has a campsite attached, large toilet block and campers get a discount in the restaurant. It was a great stop this time as the weather was beautiful and all the facilities were open. A nice outside bar and a swimming pool which we didn't use. The meal in the restaurant was good too. Next time we go we will stop for two nights and take a trip into Salamanca the bus stop is at the hotel.

Slightly long grass and dodgy electrics, but clean and well worth a stop and reasonable at 23.10 Euros a night.


We had a very nice meal in the restaurant here.

The following morning found us doing another long drive to France. Just over the border and back to Larouletta. This time the weird trees had leaves on them so seemed lass spooky.

Two months makes a world of difference to a tree!!!

Our second French site was at Tours. Another mammoth drive but easy on the motorway with little traffic. Lucky for us it was a Sunday so no lorries.

Only Camp in Tours is just off the main road and avoiding the "No Entry" signs over the bridge we managed to find it. Clean, friendly and convenient. Tours is walking distance but the site is by the River Loire so lots to see. We wandered into the village but all the restaurants were closed as it was a Sunday. We finally manged to find a pizza place and had a very entertaining meal surrounded by all the locals all for 10 Euros.

The camp site is on Pilgrims route to Compostela. Lots of cyclists so looks like it could get busy in season. Opens from February so a handy stop.

We were on the final route to the tunnel one more sleep at our usual stopping place Les Erables at Escalles. The sun was shining in the distance over the white cliffs of Dover. England only 22 miles away.

 Another great meal at the restaurant  Les Falaise in the village and then finally home!

What would we do differently? We will definitely go back to Portugal next year at the same time. April to the  beginning of June. I think we would buy a flexi ticket for the tunnel next time and not worry about booking sites as most places are quiet in April/May. The weather is certainly better at this time and most of the attractions are open but less crowded. We may make a couple of two night stops on the way home so Den gets a break from driving. Can't wait till next year. Just a van to clean now. 

Wednesday, 1 June 2022

Review Camping Ria Formosa. Portugal.

 Our second site of this season takes us to Camping Ria Formosa near Tavira almost at the Spanish border. We had been before in January/February and thought we would like to try it more in season.

Ria Formosa is situated almost in Tavira in the village of  Conceicao and Cabanas de Tavira. The site is right by the train station and an easy one stop into Tavira main town. Infact, the train very conveniently, goes all the way along the Algarve and in the opposite direction to Spain, so it is perfect for motor homers who want to use public transport.

 Loads of bike paths nearby and you can even cycle into Tavira across the salt flats which we did. 

We think this site has the best of two worlds, traditionally Portuguese in Conceicao and a bit more touristy in Cabanas. Cabanas in actually an old fishing village and has lots of bars, cafes and a beautiful beach accessed by water taxi at 1.50 Euros return. Cabanas is a bustling resort but not yet ruined by too much tourism!

The beach is beautiful fine sand, with loads of umbrella for shade.

Not too busy in May!

There is also another local beach called appropriately "Poor Man's Beach", because at low tide you can actually wade across to the beach avoiding the charge of a water taxi. We road our bikes across the salt flats to reach it. Good going for me!!

Cabanas itself is a great place to relax and is full of old fisherman's cottages that still retain their charm and have actual fishermen living in them.

There are a few tourist shops but also local shops for meat and fish. This is a local community garden filled with mannequins, fun but a bit spooky I thought.

We couldn't really make out what it was about but the dummies were really well done!

The campsite is very well laid out. We opted for a double pitch for not much extra. We actually got a bargain winter rate for a month which cost 365 Euros all in, so we had a double bonus. Pitches are all on gravel and the site staff are very fussy about keeping within the pitch markings, which was fine for us. The shower blocks and loos are beautifully clean and well kept with loads of hot water. There is a site supermarket, but also two more good local supermarkets in walking distance. A huge Lidl is at Tavira next door to the train station. We did the journey a few times and with a "wrinkly discount" ( you have to ask!) the fare was 1.50 Euros return.

Tavira is well worth a day or more to look around. There is an old town and you can take boat trips along the river or to Tavira Island, the beach resort. We had a fabulous meal of grilled sardines in a typical Portuguese back street restaurant.

There is also a well priced restaurant which does a daily menu but there are loads of places to eat. We managed a main meal and wine for around 20 euros. At the local Expat bar "The Barrel", a main meal, dessert, coffee and wine is 10 Euros. Wine came in at 1 Euro a glass. All in all, a cheap place to eat out.

The weather this year was really hot temperatures in the high 20's most days, certainly we will return next year at the same time.

We spent our days in the sun and with walking, biking, eating and drinking, 4 weeks has flown by really fast. There is a lovely swimming pool on site with lots of loungers great for cooling off in.

We did a trip up the train track to Monte Gordo ( two stops) If you like Blackpool you will love Monte Gordo a tourist hot spot. Massive hotels backing onto the beach. Not our cup of tea but worth a day out!

The best bit of beach at Monte Gorda was the fisherman's end, but not as authentic as Cabanas.

We have thoroughly enjoyed our holiday this year. Staying put has its advantages and we have certainly found out loads more about this area of Portugal. We will be back.