Some of the best driving roads are in Portugal. Avis elected the road between Peso da Régua do Pinhão (EN222) as the best road according to their driving ratio formula, the roads in serra de Monchique have been featured on The Grand Tour first episode The Holy Trinity and recently have been picked by Jaguar for the presentation of the new I-Pace and Evo drove a Bugatti Chiron up to 350km/h on a country road in Alentejo.
Get out of the city, pick a road and go have fun!
Portinho da Arrábida (EN379-1)
This amazing road is where the famous Rampa da Arrábida hill climb takes place since the 50's. This road has great turns, elevation changes and a beautiful scenery of Arrábida and in the background Setúbal and Troia.
Start at the Outão Camping Park and take the direction of Praia da Figueirinha. It's actually only after Praia da Figueirinha that the road becomes interesting, as it passes quite close to the sea, until you arrive at Galapos beach. Not for driving pleasure per se, but for the amazing view. After that there are some long straights with open corners until you arrive at the intersection to Portinho.
The road will go uphill with some nice corners and chicanes that will make you smile for sure. There is a left, right turn with a nice incline that is amazing. Pure driving pleasure as there is high vegetation on the sides and there isn't much to see. Then you will arrive at the intersection to Convento.
Take a right to Convento and you are now in the mountain pass part of the road. Right at the beginning there will be a quick succession of turns, a swooping left followed by two sharper right turns, a small kink left and another right. You will be so focused on the road that you will be taken by surprise by the amazing view as the vegetation disappears.
There are plenty of places by the roadside to stop and take in the view. The road is now mostly straight until you get to the part were you move inside the mountain pass and have a great view of the convent just ahead. The road now goes downhill on a long left corner that closes in, followed by a sharper right turn.
The road will go back to uphill and you will see the convent on your right side. The road will be straight for a while and there is a great view where you can see the beaches of Portinho, Figueirinha and Troia in the distance.
The road will go back to downhill with an amazing elevation change that goes back to uphill very quickly. We are now reaching the top of the mountain pass and the vegetation will open up on the left side allowing a nice view of Lisbon and Palmela from the distance on the left, and Portinho, Figueirinha and Troia on the right.
In the distance you will see some antennas, once you arrive there there is a right followed by a left turn and you go now downhill. There is a nice and long straight were you can appreciate the view of Troia as you descend to, probably, the best part of the road. There will be a tight left were you are presented with a full view of the Troia peninsula. Now you are in for a treat, pure driving pleasure with some very nice corners. You will arrive at a nice area with a quick left followed by a right hook as you arrive at 7ª Bataria, now abandoned, was part of the Portuguese coastal defense system.
Keep going, the vegetation will keep blocking your view, you will only see the cement factory every now and then, but there are some great curves with elevation changes that make a fun spirited drive.
After that there is a stop sign and an intersection. Stop having fun, the road has ended. Turn right to Setúbal, drive for 1km passing the factory entrance and you will be back at the start of the road. Just turn right to drive it all over again.
Tips and advice
During the summer you are not allowed to drive between Figueirinha and Portinho, only at night. Usually drivers would park on the side of the road, and you were able to drive only in one way, from Figueirinha to Portinho. Since Galapinhos was elected as the best beach in Europe there was caos with cars parked everywhere so now it's impossible to do this road in the summer.
If you are planing on driving during the summer months (June, July and August) you can still drive on the mountain pass part of the road without restrictions.
The best time to drive in this road is on April or May at the end of the day (between 17:00 and 18:00) or in September at the same time.