Portugal, Day 6: Sintra to the Algarve

Road trip continues!!!

There were many sights we didn’t get to see in Sintra while we were there, but the one we wanted to that we didn’t get a chance to check out yesterday was the Castelo dos Mouros, or the Moorish Castle. Aside from giving us a chance to continue our dorky habit of singing the last line of the Castle on the Hill chorus and to make jokes about how you shouldn’t climb to the Palace of Penne (Pena) because it’s hard to climb with all that pasta in your stomach, or that the Moorish Castle “isn’t really a castle for Moors, it’s just Moorish”, visiting the 8th century castle gave us a view of every single castle in Sintra at once and (we’re pretty sure) our last big hike of the trip, as we descended from the top of the castle back to our guest house (the lovely VIlla Dos Poetas) via foot after taking the 434 bus up. Great way to start what was going to be a long day.

We knew that a “beach vacation” in Portugal in March probably wasn’t going to be a thing, in spite of Daina packing three tank tops. Still, when given the choice of more towns and history or beach-front views that you probably wouldn’t be able to swim in, we opted for the later. Today proved that the beauty of those views would likely carry us through.

There was a pretty direct inland route through to Sagres, the westernmost part of the Algarve, Portugal’s southernmost beaches, but we wanted to take in more water, so we took the much longer route. We drove from Sintra to Setubal where we were able to hop a ferry down to Troia to begin our coastal drive. First stop was a fantastic roadside seafood lunch at Mira Ponte, with insane portions and great taste. We decided we could make two more stops on the way to Sagres, so we chose two simple ones.

Sines

We didn’t spend too much time in this port city, but we did checkout the nice views over the Praia de Vasco de Gama, so named because he was born in the town. We got a look at the outside of the Sines Castle, but didn’t go in, and a shot of the de Gama monument before almost re-enacting the Austin Powers stuck-in-the-hallway but behind an old lady who had parked badly in a street we needed to turn down.

Odeceixe-Mar Beach

One of the most visually stunning beaches I’ve seen in a while, it’s a sandbar that seems to jut out with a river encircling most of it, with massive cliffs on the sides in a half-circle. It was cold and windy, and the waves would have been unsafe for anybody but the most hardened surfer, but it was quite the sight.

Mum’s Restaurant

The food varied, and it was pricier than most places we’ve been in Portugal, but the atmosphere was great and they had just switched their wine list, so anything off of the old list was discounted, so two bottle, please.

Just a beautiful region and I can’t wait to see more of it tomorrow.

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