Camping

Camper Tales from Portugal

You can have a great time here.

There are tons of places to camp and hike.

The weather is awesome.

You can rent a campervan and travel around the county on an adventure.

Places to camp

  1. Campsites: Portugal has numerous campsites, ranging from basic facilities to more luxurious holiday parks. Most campsites offer amenities like restrooms, showers, electricity, and sometimes even swimming pools, restaurants, and shops. You can find campsites along the coast, in the countryside, and near major cities or tourist attractions. Make sure to research and book campsites in advance, especially during the peak summer season.
  2. Wild camping: Wild camping, or camping outside of designated campsites, is generally not allowed in Portugal. However, it may be tolerated in some remote areas or with the permission of the landowner.
  3. Best regions for camping: Portugal offers a variety of landscapes and attractions for campers to explore like:
    • Algarve: Known for its stunning beaches, dramatic cliffs, and charming villages, the Algarve is a popular camping destination, particularly for beach lovers and water sports enthusiasts.
    • Central Portugal: This region is home to lush forests, rolling hills, and historic towns. The Serra da Estrela Natural Park offers excellent opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and camping.
    • Northern Portugal: The Peneda-Gerês National Park is a must-visit for nature lovers, with its rugged landscapes, diverse flora and fauna, and picturesque villages.
    • The Azores and Madeira: These Atlantic archipelagos offer unique camping experiences, with their volcanic landscapes, subtropical climate, and abundant outdoor activities.
  4. Weather and climate: Portugal has a Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. The best time for camping is usually from late spring to early autumn (April to October), when the weather is warm and sunny. However, be prepared for cooler nights, especially in the mountains or on the islands.
  5. Local regulations and safety: Always familiarize yourself with local regulations and safety guidelines when camping in Portugal.

Campgrounds

  1. Algarve Region:
    • Camping Albufeira: Located close to the famous Albufeira beaches, this campsite offers a range of facilities, including a swimming pool, restaurant, and supermarket.
    • Orbitur Valverde: Situated near the coastal town of Lagos, this campsite offers spacious plots, modern amenities, and a convenient location for exploring the Algarve’s beautiful beaches and charming villages.
  2. Lisbon Region:
    • Orbitur Guincho: Located near Cascais, this campsite is close to the Guincho Beach and offers a range of facilities, including a swimming pool, playground, and restaurant.
    • Parque de Campismo de Monsanto: Set in the heart of Lisbon’s Monsanto Forest Park, this urban campsite offers a peaceful retreat within easy reach of the city’s attractions.
  3. Central Portugal:
    • Coimbra Camping & Bungalows: Located just outside the historic city of Coimbra, this campsite offers modern facilities, a swimming pool, and easy access to the city’s UNESCO World Heritage sites.
    • Camping Oleiros: Nestled in the picturesque countryside of the Serra da Estrela Natural Park, this campsite is perfect for nature lovers and offers a range of outdoor activities, including hiking and birdwatching.
  4. Northern Portugal:
    • Lima Escape Camping & Glamping: Situated in the Peneda-Gerês National Park, this campsite offers a mix of traditional camping and glamping options, with a focus on sustainability and eco-friendly practices.
    • Camping Vila Cha: Located along the Costa Verde, this campsite is close to the beach and offers a range of facilities, including a swimming pool, sports courts, and a playground.
  5. Azores and Madeira:
    • Parque de Campismo da Ribeira Grande (Azores): Located on the island of São Miguel, this campsite offers a peaceful setting close to the beach and natural swimming pools.
    • Funchal Camping (Madeira): Situated on the island of Madeira, this campsite is close to the city of Funchal and offers a range of facilities, including a swimming pool and a restaurant.

 

Photo of a VW Westfalia

I was excited to see what this beautiful country had to offer. From stunning beaches to lush forests, Portugal has it all.

One of the highlights of my trip was camping in the Serra da Estrela mountains. The views were breathtaking and the fresh mountain air was invigorating. We set up our tent near a crystal-clear stream and spent our days hiking and exploring the surrounding area. At night, we cooked over an open fire and gazed up at the stars, feeling grateful for the opportunity to be surrounded by such natural beauty.

Overall, my camping trip in Portugal was an unforgettable experience. It allowed me to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of daily life and connect with nature in a way that is hard to describe. If you’re looking for a unique and adventurous vacation, I highly recommend packing up your tent and heading to Portugal.

 

 

Visiting Portugal

  • Best time to visit: Portugal has a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and warm summers. The best time to visit is typically during the shoulder seasons (April-May and September-October) when the weather is pleasant and there are fewer tourists. Summer (June-August) is the peak tourist season, with hot weather and crowded beaches, but it’s also an excellent time for festivals and outdoor activities.
  • Places to visit:
    • Lisbon: The capital city is known for its historic neighborhoods, picturesque streets, and iconic tram system. Key attractions include the Belém Tower, Jerónimos Monastery, and Alfama district.
    • Porto: Portugal’s second-largest city is famous for its historic center, Ribeira, the Dom Luís I Bridge, and the Livraria Lello, one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. Don’t forget to try some port wine at one of the many wine cellars.
    • Algarve: This southern region is famous for its stunning beaches, dramatic cliffs, and charming coastal towns. Popular destinations include Lagos, Albufeira, and Faro.
    • Sintra: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sintra is known for its romantic palaces, such as Pena Palace and Quinta da Regaleira, as well as the Moorish Castle and beautiful gardens.
    • Évora: A historic city in the Alentejo region, Évora is home to a well-preserved Roman temple, a medieval cathedral, and a picturesque old town.
  • Transportation: Portugal has a well-developed transportation system, including trains, buses, and domestic flights. The train network connects major cities like Lisbon, Porto, and Coimbra, while buses serve smaller towns and rural areas. Renting a car or campervan is also a good option for exploring the country at your own pace.
  • Accommodation: Portugal offers a wide range of accommodation options, from luxury hotels and boutique guesthouses to budget hostels and Airbnb rentals. In rural areas, you may also find traditional farm stays, known as “turismo rural.”
  • Food and drink: Portuguese cuisine is diverse and delicious, with an emphasis on fresh seafood, grilled meats, and hearty stews. Must-try dishes include bacalhau (salted cod), pastéis de nata (custard tarts), and caldo verde (green soup). Portugal is also renowned for its wines, particularly port and vinho verde.
  • Language: The official language of Portugal is Portuguese, but English is widely spoken in tourist areas. Learning a few basic phrases in Portuguese can be helpful and appreciated by locals.
  • Currency and payments: is the Euro (EUR).

 

FAQ

Q: Is camping popular in Portugal? A: Absolutely! Camping in Portugal is as popular as pasteis de nata (a.k.a. Portuguese custard tarts) – and that’s saying something!

Q: What’s the camping scene like in Portugal? A: Portugal’s camping scene is as diverse as a box of assorted chocolates. From seaside sites where you can hear the ocean’s lullaby to mountainous retreats where the birds perform daily concerts, to city campsites for the urban explorers, you’ve got options!

Q: Can I wild camp in Portugal? A: Ah, the call of the wild! Unfortunately, wild camping (i.e., pitching your tent outside of designated camping areas) is officially a no-no in Portugal. It’s like trying to sneak a pet into a hotel room – better stick to the rules.

Q: What are the facilities like in Portuguese campsites? A: Most Portuguese campsites come equipped with the essentials: toilets, showers, and often a place to do your dishes. Some might even have a swimming pool or a restaurant on site. It’s a bit like taking your home on an adventure with you!

Q: How much does it cost to camp in Portugal? A: Camping in Portugal can be as affordable as those lovely €1 bifanas (pork sandwiches) you find in local markets. Prices vary depending on the location, facilities, and whether you’re bringing a tent, caravan, or motorhome.

Q: Can I camp all year round in Portugal? A: In theory, yes! Portugal’s mild climate means that most campsites stay open all year. But remember, winter in the mountains can still get chilly, so pack accordingly. Don’t forget your fluffy socks!

Q: Do I need to book campsites in advance in Portugal? A: During peak season (summer and national holidays), popular campsites can fill up faster than concert tickets for a famous Fado singer. So if you’ve set your heart on a particular spot, booking in advance can be a good idea.

Q: Is it safe to camp in Portugal? A: Absolutely, but just like sipping on a glass of vintage Port, it’s all about moderation and common sense. Keep your belongings secure, be aware of your surroundings, and abide by the campsite’s rules. Also, always be mindful of fire safety, especially in the hot, dry summer months.

Q: What are some of the must-visit campsites in Portugal? A: Oh, where to start? It’s like asking to pick the best pastel de nata in a Lisbon bakery. But a few standout options include Zmar Eco Experience in Alentejo for its eco-friendly approach, Camping Orbitur Guincho near Cascais for its close proximity to the beach, and Parque de Campismo de Monsanto in Lisbon for city-dwelling campers.

Q: Can I bring my pet to campsites in Portugal? A: In many campsites, your furry friends are as welcome as a plate of freshly grilled sardines. However, rules can vary from one campsite to another, so it’s best to check ahead. Be prepared to keep your pet leashed and always clean up after them.

Q: Can I camp in a van or RV in Portugal? A: Yes, you can! Many campsites in Portugal are fully equipped to accommodate vans and RVs. Some might even have specific areas with electricity and water hookups. It’s like a 5-star hotel, but on wheels!