We checked out of the Manta Rota aire this morning, which cost just €4.50 for overnight parking, great value considering that included servicing.
It took about 45 minutes to get to Faro on the N125 road, though it would have taken less than 30 minutes if we’d taken the toll road. The N125 follows the south coast of the Algarve all the way to the west coast, and we were a little apprehensive about taking this road as a number of comments on the various Facebook groups suggested that the road was in a bad state of repair. In some areas the road surface isn’t great, like driving along a rumble strip, but there were no major potholes so we’ll continue to use the road as we head west, and see how we go.
There’s a large car park on the Faro seafront which has a motorhome parking area. A warden directed us to a space, and we coughed up €5 for the overnight parking which, although there are no services, is pretty good value given its location right next to the old town. It’s on the flight path for the airport, so it’s a bit noisy when a plane’s taking off, but it’s not a busy airport and the planes seem few and far between. There’s also a railway nearby, but we haven’t seen many trains.
After a brief wander to get a tourist map and some food shopping, we went back to the van for lunch and then went off sightseeing. Faro’s a charming little town, with cobbled streets which reminded us of Lisbon (only flatter!). There’s a lovely museum with a marvellous Roman mosaic, and a church with a chapel made from the bones of more than 1,000 monks. There was also an absence of lookie-lookie guys selling fake sunglasses and trainers, which made a nice change.
As we’re so close to the old town, we’ll go for a stroll after dinner. Tomorrow we’ll be stopping at Vilamoura on our way west.