North of Portugal in September, camping and hostels in Porto
Ryanair has sometimes quite cheap flights to Porto, and the city as well as the surroundings in the north of Portugal are a dream! September 2013 I was there with a couple of friends, we planned a mix of camping, city and beach holiday. During the day we were lucky with dreamlike summer weather, at night it is quite cool in the tent.
Porto is for me one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. It is even not far to the beach on the outskirts – just take the bus 502. On the beach you can surf and swim. If you walk along the promenade towards the city, the beach becomes rocky and you can walk along beautiful walkways. The promenade is overall super nice, the way to the city is quite far to walk from there, just take the bus 500 direction old town.
We loved the bridge “Ponte Dom Luís I”, a bridge on two levels. On hot days crazy people jump from the bridge into the river Douro.
Costa Nova: We want to go camping! Renting a car is too expensive, so we take the train from “Sao-Bento” train Station to “Aveiro” for 3.90 €. There at the small train station around the corner a bus drives to “Costa Nova” for 2.30 €. Costa Nova is a nice small beach town with striped houses and a fish market. A little bit out of the town there is a dreamlike, lonely dunescamping place Camping Costa Nova, we payed about 6 € per person per night, without car. The beach is wide, lonely, windy and wild. In the evening we grilled fish. In the morning before breakfast at the beach, we were the only ones. The water can be dangerous. In the evening again to the beach, the algae glow in the sand, over us shooting stars and a fireworks on the horizon.
Gala, near Figueira da Foz: After a few days we continue to the campsite “Parque de Campismo da Foz do Mondego” in Gala, where we want to surf a bit. From Aveiro by train to Figueira da Foz, at the train station a bus goes to Gala. Admittedly: Traveling without a car is tedious and takes a long time! The campsite is cheap, simple and beautiful and is located directly on the sea. There is a small, quiet beach, further back you can surf and rent things. There is a surfbar nearby, it is quite a long walk to the supermarket. We spend some days mainly in the water, when the waves are high, we prefer to do some bodyboarding.
Campo do Geres: Next step, we have swallowed enough salt water and we lure the hinterland, many people told us to visit the National Park “Peneda-Gerês”. Train to Figueira da Foz > Coimbra > Porto > Braga (18€), from there by bus to the bus station and from there by bus to Campo do Geres, a day trip through beautiful areas! Walking distance to the very beautiful Campsite Parque Cerdeira, with outdoor camp atmosphere.
If you go up the mountain in the village, you will quickly reach the dam “Vilarinho das Furnas”, turn left over the huge wall, you will come to the ruins of a flooded village. To the right is an old hiking trail with Roman tracks and oak forests. Beautiful stony paths go along the river bank. We do not meet many people, the peace of the river valley is overwhelming.
Back to Porto we take the bus to Braga and from there a bus to Porto. We enjoy the city again, our hostel has a roof terrace and in the evening we sit by the river and enjoy the lukewarm night. Dinner is great at “Casa da Horta“, a vegetarian / vegan left-wing project and restaurant. At noon we were in the restaurant “O Oriente no Porto“, an interesting little vegetarian bistrot.
Any other tipps or experiences for the North of Portugal? 🙂 I’m happy to answer all questions.