CHARACTERISTICS

  • Number of travellers: 2 + dog
  • Vehicle type: T447
  • Destination: Algarve coast, Portugal
  • Stopovers: Belgium, France, Spain
  • Travel period: 3.5 weeks
  • Kilometres covered: 2200km

Debi Flügge, known as Debi Flue on Instagram, was born in Mainz and is a successful influencer. Between wanderlust, fitness and travel, she takes almost 1 million people on a journey through her life. She and her boyfriend Kev have been traveling the world together for several years. They met their dog Django on their last trip together in summer 2020 and could not part with him.

 

The first time traveling with a motorhome - two people and a dog. A new adventure for us. So, this year we went on a 3.5-week trip to southern Europe with a Carado T447 Clever+ motorhome. Before we started our trip, we were admittedly sceptical whether living and traveling in a “small & narrow” motorhome was really our thing, but we really wanted to try it out with Django. That is why we opted for a large model with a kitchen, toilet, shower, refrigerator, solar panel, and power supply.

First of all: it's absolutely our thing! But one step at a time.

 

Here we go:

Then we went south. 2,200 km through Belgium, France, Spain to our destination: Portugal. So, the first 3 days only consisted of driving, driving and more driving! Our stopovers were a lake just outside Paris, the next for the first time near the beach just outside Bordeaux and the last stop before our destination in Spain at a small river near Valladolid. We searched for and found all our parking spaces using the “park4night” smartphone app - an amazing recommendation for any tour with a camper or motorhome. A big advantage if you always have your living room with you: One is driving and the other can work, because you can buckle up for the journey in the living area too.


The first times

We not only found our sleeping places with the app, but also the places where we could refill water & empty wastewater and the toilet.

The part that nobody likes to talk about and of which we had no real idea beforehand - namely, emptying the toilet - was not a big act in the end, because everything is well thought out here too. Put disposable gloves on, take out the toilet cassette, unscrew the drainpipe and point towards the drain and press the button on the cassette that “shoots out” everything - nothing can go wrong, unless you do not pay attention to the filling level of the cassette!

The first shower caused us more problems because we only understood how the hot water preparation works on day 4 - so we showered fairly cold and fairly sparingly in the first 4 days 😊 Tip: Error “W162h” is only due to the window the boiler must be closed and off you go.

Cooking was the easiest here. Turn on the gas bottle (we had 2 of them with us that lasted until the end), turn on the stove, open the skylight directly above the stove and off you go. Our tip here: Pots and pans should not be too big, otherwise not all three hotplates can be used.

Finally, Summer

After 4 days of driving, it was finally time for sun, sand, and sea, on the shortest route to the west coast of Portugal! Django jumped out of the car and immediately ran into the waves; he was also happy that we finally arrived in summer! The water was pretty cold, but we just had to follow it after we hadn't been able to see the sea for so long. Here too, through park4night, we found a parking space right on the beach near Aveiro, where we also spent the night.

New day - new beach

From here we went day by day along the coast towards the south, whereby we only drove a maximum of 1-2 hours per day. From Nazaré (no waves above average at this time of year) the coast becomes steeper and steeper and slowly becomes cliffs. The parking spaces are also becoming more and more spectacular. Unfortunately, in Portugal you are not allowed to park overnight. But here, too, park4night helps to find impressive spots with incredible views. During the entire trip, we never stayed at a campsite, but only on free spaces, from where we could almost always watch the sunset. There have never been more than 2-3 other campers & motorhomes in the vicinity - absolutely perfect for us. At Nazaré, for example, we were able to stand on a cliff right on the beach. Fortunately, there was also a beaten path that led down to the beach (no problem even with a dog), so it was the perfect parking spot 😊 The beaches here are kilometres long, extremely wide, and very deserted, an absolute dream.

The motorhome service stations:

After the 2 days in Sines, it was time to take care of water and sewage again. The good thing about Portugal is that there is a supermarket chain (Intermarché), which in addition to the supermarket on the premises also has camper service stations (to be found via park4night). That means we were able to take care of everything with one stop: toilet, water, wastewater, washing clothes, refuelling & shopping - super practical and timesaving! Then it went a good 100 km further south.
Tip: what is missing at these stations is a vacuum cleaner. We took a handheld vacuum cleaner with us. Absolutely worth its weight in gold after a day at the beach! So, the living space always stays nice and clean.


The Algarve:

After we brought dog & owner back together, we went on the last journey south. After another hour we arrived on the Algarve coast. We have often been on vacation here in the past and were really looking forward to coming back, but we had never been there with a motorhome and a dog before. Unfortunately, many of the beaches / parking lots we tried to go to were either forbidden to dogs or RVs. We still found a parking space near Abfeire via park4night, but it was not comparable to the parking spaces of the last few days. There were only 3 parking spaces for mobile homes, all of which were occupied, so it was relatively tight. But it must be said that the beaches down there in the south are really unique with their orange cliffs. Unfortunately, not so suitable for dogs because the beach is much narrower here on the one hand and there are more tourists on the other, which makes everything much narrower. That's why we decided to go back to the west coast after only 2 days.
Tip: what you shouldn't miss here or in Portugal in general:
If you like it: the Indian restaurants! There are quite a few of these in Portugal and we haven't found a bad one yet.
Outlet / Factory Shopping! There are also many options for this in Portugal.


Time to rest:

2.5 weeks go by so quickly and the end of the journey slowly approached. Therefore, after the 4 days at Praia Bordeira, we wanted to slowly head north again to shorten the way home. So, we stopped near Sines 2 hours later and enjoyed the rest of the day again. Unfortunately, the further north we got, the less luck we were with the weather. When we woke up the next day, everything was suddenly grey. That didn't stop us from having a cool morning swim, but we made it quick and decided to move on to the next stage. After 3 hours of driving and finally nice weather again, we ended up back at our parking space in Nazare, where we were parked at the beginning of the trip. This time we weren't quite as alone as the first time, but the sun was shining now! There we spent our last day on the beach and the last evening with Indian food and a movie in the cosy bed.
Before heading back home the next morning.


Again and again:

3.5 weeks and 6,000 km later we have to say very clearly that it was an unforgettable and completely new way of traveling for us. The initial scepticism about space and functionality subsided fairly quickly and turned into enthusiasm. As I said, we have spent a lot of time in Portugal in recent years, but never have we experienced Portugal the way we did with a motorhome - a completely different way of traveling. It was our first trip with a motorhome, but it is almost certainly not the last! 🥰


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