Discover the 2300 km Wintersun Route: Scenic Road Trip from France to Portugal

May 6, 2024

Every November, a switch flips in Southern France. The weather flips from sunny days with temperatures over 20 degrees to gloomy rainy ones. That's the cue to pack up your camper and head south to warmer vibes.

This 2300 km road trip takes you from the first snow in the Pyrenees to the best hot springs in Southern Spain. You'll hit up the surf spot Tarifa around Christmas, then venture into the serene hinterlands of Portugal.

 

In Portugal, life slows down to a pure state of chill while you snack on oranges straight from the trees. You'll swap coastal resorts for the authentic inland Algarve, where valleys breathe Zen.

The Route

 

This route takes you through 3 different countries and two time zones over 2 months. Pre-Firsty era, that meant juggling 3 different SIM cards with various data plans. Sign-ups, picking fixed data bundles, guessing which local provider has the best coverage along your route, and finding resellers for purchases and upgrades in a foreign tongue. You know the hassle.

 

Unplug and Explore: Discovering the 2300 km Wintersun Route

 

France

 

Starting in Espérazain, South France. Make sure to hit it up on a Thursday or Sunday for a trip to the infamous "hippie" market. With around 150 vendors, it's a vibe. You'll find vintage clothes, fancy wines, local cheeses and breads, fresh paella, awesome dried prunes, and salty olives.

 

At the"hippie" market, snag bracelets, flowy pants, and wood carvings. You'll catch whiffs of incense and weed while browsing trinkets and doodads. Plus, grab fresh goods for the first leg of your journey to Spain.

French market Photo: MichalOsmenda

 

Before you hit the Pyrenees, you might hang around the Corbières plains if there's a good Indian Summer going on, maybe lasting until late November. You can do fantastic treks, via ferratas, and rock climbing there.

Via ferrata Saint-Paul-de-Fenouillet Photo:Michel Kleinjan

 

Head into the Pyreneesto Porté-Puymorens, a French winter sports haven where you can tap into the mountain spirit. Before the first snow falls, trekking to the crystal-clear mountain lakes at 2000 meters is an adventure in itself.

 

Spain

 

For non-Firsty app users, the border town of Puigcerdà is the spot to grab your first SIM card. Keep in mind the siesta here—it's Spain, so between 12 PM and 4 PM, all SIM card sellers are closed, and they only speak Spanish.

 

Firsty app users don't have to worry about the outdated hassles of switching SIM cards and can roll into Organyà the same day for a refreshing dip in the Basses d'Organyà. Then soak in the authentic Spanish mountain culture in this lively village.

Basses d'Organyà Photo: Michel Kleinjan

 

The journey follows a route deeper into the Spanish mountains. Only tackle this stretch in beautiful autumn weather. You'll traverse deserted roads through rugged mountain ranges, reaching heights over 2000 meters with views to the Pyrenees in the north.

 

The aim is the Serradel Montsec, a nature reserve with breathtaking beauty of majestic cliffs and deep canyons. You can snap some epic shots with the enchanting mountain light. Camarasa is the hub where you'll find everything for your adventures.

Serra del Montsec Photo: Michel Kleinjan

 

If the mountain weather turns sour, the route heads straight to La Morera de Montsant, a tiny mountain village close to the Mediterranean coast. You can still marvel at giant cliffs and circling vultures here.

 

Activities to tackle here include parasailing, climbing, and canyoning. The weather can stay splendid here well into December. Also, pay a visit to Siurana, an iconic castle village where the world's best climbers have been finding their challenges for decades.

 

The Mediterranean

 

First stop on theMediterranean coast: Playa Casablanca, half an hour north of Valencia. With a camper, you can stay there for free, right on the beach. In autumn, the sea is still delightful, and you'll almost have the beach to yourself.

Playa Casablanca: Photo: Michel Kleinjan

 

If you dig the buzz of bustling Spain, continue to spots like the famous Mercado Central, Plaza de la Ciudad de Brujas, Valencia. It's the biggest market for fresh food in Europe. Or check out Casa Montaña, a centuries-old joint in the El Cabañal hood by the port.

Casa Montaña, Valencia Wikimedia Commons

 

If you're more about the quiet, head inland. Aim for Albarracin and Cuenca. Two exceptionally beautiful mountain areas that will make nature lovers' hearts race. Witness magical landscapes here.

 

From these mountain ranges, set your sights on the southernmost tip of Spain: Tarifa. You've got a journey of almost 800 km ahead. It'll be a wander through deserted regions where no tourists tread, but where the adventure of the unknown awaits every day.

 

Deserted mountains, South Spain Photo: MichelKleinjan

 

Spain's Most Beautiful Hot Spring

 

Make sure to overnight in Riópar, a village on the edge of an immense nature reserve where nobody ever goes. Head out early in the morning to the plateaus at 1500 meters deep in the reserve.

 

Pay a visit to Cumbre De Pontones, a traditional ham producer like you've never seen. The serene surroundings invite beautiful hikes and treat you to stunning views. If you overnight on the plateau, the stars are countless!

Cumbre De Pontones Photo: Michel Kleinjan

 

The highlight of your Spain visit lies over100 km away: Manantial Baños de Zújar. Spain's most beautiful hot spring where you can swim blissfully. The water is between 35 and 39°C and trickles gently from the rock wall.

Manantial Bañosde Zújar Photo: Michel Kleinjan

 

Along the Sierra Nevada, continue the journey to Tarifa, where you'll stay just a day. Since this iconic surf spot can get crowded, you might opt for a hidden gem 60 km away: Los Caños de Meca. A small paradise for surfers and hippies.

 

Winter Sets In

 

The Algarve in Portugal is the sunseekers' sanctuary in European winter. With temperatures between 15 and 20°C, it's the perfect region to hang all winter long. Treat yourself to luxury in coastal resorts.

Inlands Algarve, Portugal Photo: MichelKleinjan

 

Digital nomads flock to the far west around Sagres, while travelers seeking a special Zen paradise opt for the Algarve hinterlands. With fresh oranges straight from the trees and endlessly quiet valleys.

 

At Firsty, we make sure every traveler can make these trips worry-free. With a Firsty eSIM, you're always connected to your friends and loved ones. Whether you want to stay connected solo or keep working remotely during your journey. Firsty has got you covered. Firsty's eSIM automatically switches between providers when you go from one region of the country to the other, or even from one country to another. Our global eSIM ensures you have a reliable connection wherever your adventure may take you.

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