5 of the most scenic coastal drives to experience in Portugal

One of the best ways to explore a foreign land is with scenic drives that soak in the best of a destination – and these coastal road trips in Portugal do just that.

A small country bordered by the wild Atlantic ocean, the rhythm of life in Portugal revolves arounds the changing tides. Pass through white-washed fishing villages, along golden sandy beaches, watch the sunset over the ocean and feel the wind in your hair in Portugal as you travel by car, bus or van around the Iberian nation.

From Lisbon to Cascais and Sintra

Cascais in Portugal

One of Portugal’s shortest but most scenic coastal road trips starts just outside the capital. Weaving from Lisbon to the classy coastal village of Cascais, skip the highways and follow the seaside Marginal to see where the Tagus River meets the Atlantic Ocean. Along the way you’ll pass a dozen small beaches with golden sand, sunbathers and surfers before reaching the upmarket town of Cascais.

Stop for lunch or coffee here before continuing, following the coastline around to the wild (and usually windy) Guincho Beach. Surrounded by untouched sand dunes, you’ll likely spot surfers catch waves or wind surfers catch the breeze. Make Cabo do Roca your final stop and tick standing on continental Europe’s westernmost point off your bucket list. For the return trip, weave through the Sintra mountains looking out for the many enchanting palaces, historic manor homes and ancient castle along the way.

Algarve Coast: Albufeira to Sagres

There’s nothing like seeing the dramatic orange cliffs and stunning golden beaches of the Algarve up close. One of the best scenic coastal drives in Portugal takes your wheels from the heart of the Algarve to the western edge at clifftop Sagres, a laid-back surf town with a lot of history. From the top, soak in spectacular views down to Baleeira Beach and the soaring surrounding cliffs. Stand at the edge of Cape St. Vincent, Europe’s most south-westerly point and the place where many sea battles happened centuries ago. On the return trip, drop by Lagos, a hip coastal town that was once the home of Henry the Navigator, the man behind Portugal’s Age of Discoveries.

INSPIRED? GrownUps Holidays travel partner Trafalgar offers a 11-day Best of Portugal tour, and for a limited time you can save 10%* on September 2022 departures. For more information click here or call 0800 842 685.

Portugal’s southern Costa Vicentina

Golden sand dunes, vibrant wildflowers, tiny white-washed villages and gorgeous blue ocean define Portugal’s unreal Costa Vicentina. As Europe’s best-preserved coastline, this destination draws those looking to slow down and appreciate nature on a scenic coastal drives – ideally – without time restraints. Located on the west coast of Portugal between Lisbon and Sagres, travel between 31 of Europe’s most spectacular beaches, including the crowd favourite Monte Clérigo Beach.

Madeira Island

Madeira Island's landscape makes driving a challenge

Driving Madeira Island is not for the faint-hearted. If you dare to hire a car, make sure it has plenty of power to get you up and around the remote rock island’s steep, narrow roads. While visiting the Portuguese archipelago you’ll definitely want the chance to explore highways that curve around mountains, via tunnels and along the gorgeous rocky coastline on one of the best scenic drives in Portugal. It’s the skinny countryside roads that you need to be wary of!

INSPIRED? GrownUps Holidays travel partner Trafalgar offers a 11-day Best of Portugal tour, and for a limited time you can save 10%* on September 2022 departures. For more information click here or call 0800 842 685.

Loop around São Miguel Island in the Azores

If you land on the biggest island of the beautiful Azores archipelago it would be a great shame not to explore the unreal volcanic landscapes and scenery that are like a cross between Hawaii, New Zealand and Iceland. Easier to drive than Madeira Island, there are scenic coastal drives on all corners of this island that will take you between rolling farmland, black sand beaches and cute stone villages with ocean views the whole time.

INSPIRED? GrownUps Holidays travel partner Trafalgar offers a 11-day Best of Portugal tour, and for a limited time you can save 10%. For more information click here or call 0800 842 685.

Blog courtesy of GrownUps Holidays travel partner Trafalgar. 

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