Skip to main content

An Insiders Guide for an Awesome Road Trip in Portugal

A road trip through Portugal – that means cruising along the coast in your roadsurfer. Explore beautiful beaches, taste delicious local food and discover unique camping destinations on your journey. Read on below to follow the adventures of Magda and Luca on their road trip through Portugal. Take note, that there are lots of insider tips to help you plan your road trip in Portugal.

Hire a Campervan  Find your dream camping spot

Ready, Set, Go!

We rented a VW camper and started our road trip with the first stop in Spain – But our mission in July: Camping in Portugal. Admittedly, it is an extremely long way from Germany and we had to get some miles behind us. But we can already gather many great impressions and discover beautiful places on the way to our camping holiday in Portugal.

Day 1 – Barcelona

We decided to travel a huge chunk of the journey on the first day and therefore only stopped at a supermarket in France and had a quick nap in a parking lot. We have planned our first longer stop with our camper in Barcelona.

We already reserved a camping site somewhere outside the city in advance but upon our arrival, we realized that in spite of the high season there would still have been a free place without a reservation.

Our conclusion: With all amenities included plus our roadsurfer, camping in Barcelona was well worth it! It was an all-around beautiful camping experience with plenty to offer. After two days of sightseeing and gathering strength for the next stage, we continue our journey toward Valencia.

→Campsites in and around Barcelona 

Day 2 – Valencia

When we arrived in Valencia with our camper, we decide to spend the night in a car park, just outside the city which has direct access to the sea. The advantage of our roadsurfer is that we have a mobile shower and there are also porta-potties almost everywhere on the beaches.

The sea in Valencia is bathtub-warm and beautiful turquoise blue. The small pebble stones instead of sand didn’t bother us. Instead, we are pleasantly surprised at how few people there are here, even in the high season, and how relaxed everyone is.

Valencia is an incredibly beautiful and diverse city. It’s not called the city of arts and sciences for nothing. We stroll through the streets, drink coffee, and let ourselves be carried away by the flow of the city. The neighbouring towns like Port Saplaya, Alboraya, or Burjassot are also really great places for a stopover.

Even if you don’t drive right into the centre of Valencia, the beaches right next to the city are great places to stop off on your way. There are many beautiful restaurants at the beach with a large selection of fresh fish and seafood. All in all, Valencia is an excellent stopover for our road trip to Portugal!

From Valencia, we left before sunrise to Seville. Many friends and relatives had previously raved about this Spanish city and advised us to make a stop there. And they were right!

→Campsites in and around Valencia 

a portugal road trip with a stop in spain

Day 3 – Seville

Seville is a charming city and the perfect opportunity for a relaxed sightseeing tour during a camping holiday in Spain. With impressive architectural buildings, splendid parks, and charming streets, Seville is an exciting city to explore. 

The great thing about Seville, apart from the beauty of the city, is its location: from here it is only a stone’s throw to the Algarve which makes it a great stopover.

→Campsites in and around Seville

pais vasco autocaravana

Day 4 – Tavira

Tavira is a small coastal town near the Spanish-Portuguese border. It is our first destination with our campervan in Portugal. The toll-free N125 is well developed and leads directly to the small village. Tavira lies on the calm river Gilão, which flows over lagoons into the sea.

Our highlight in Tavira was definitely eating tapas at D’Gutsa. You can’t say it any other way, the food is incredibly delicious. At the end of our entire Portugal road trip, which also lead us through Spain, we agreed that we had the best food in Tavira – even though we always ate well during the whole trip!

But you should make a reservation. Luckily, we got a table after waiting one and a half hours in the fully booked restaurant. Afterward, we made a walk through the alleys and along the river – simply beautiful!

→Campsites in and around Tavira

camping in portugal with a roadsurfer camper

Day 5 – Olhão

We’re heading west. Our first stop is the fishing village of Olhão, where we visit the weekly market. It has a large hall with fresh fish and seafood and another hall with delicious fruit and vegetables next door. We stocked up here for the next few days because we want to find a camping spot directly at sea.

The beach is very clean and spacious and has a restaurant with a beach bar and live music. Otherwise, the place is very quiet and the campers themselves are extremely relaxed. We met people who travel here for over 20 years, staying for several weeks, and just enjoying the wonderful view of the tides.

We, too, are enthusiastic about how quickly you rest in this place. Find a place in the shade of the pine trees or in the sun with a direct view of the sea, get the table and chairs out of our roadsurfer, cook something delicious, and then simply listen to the ocean.

Insider tip: Generally, it is easy to get a daily, monthly, or yearly fishing license in Portugal. We bought a one-month license in Olhão for just 4 euros which is valid for all coasts in Portugal.

→Campsites in and around Olhão

portugal road trip near the beach

Day 6 – Albufeira

After enjoying Quarteira, we thought it would be difficult to top this place. But that proved wrong: Shortly before Albufeira, we found our absolute dream camping spot, where we spent almost an entire week.

The tiny beaches Praia da Vigia and Praia de Arrifes are located next to each other. They are directly accessible from the parking lot (For navigation: Estrada do Aldeamento São Rafael 117, Albufeira). These beaches are secluded and thus not so crowded. We found exactly what we were looking for: Algarve’s typical rock formations off the coast, a pitch on the cliffs, and a stunning view.

Insider tip: With some luck, one can have the Praia da Vigia beach for themselves early in the morning. But be careful: The tides make an immense difference here! If one arrives at low tide and finds a wide, quiet beach, some hours later, the water can rise so high that the right section of the beach completely disappears, and one gets only back to the top through the water.

→Campsites in and around Albufeira 

Discover additional camping spots in Spain & Portugal

praia da luz roadsurfer spots beach

Our spots in Praia da Luz

Want a beautiful view near a sandy beach in Portugal? Well what are you waiting for? Check out our spots in Praia da Luz.

zambujeira do mar roadsurfer spots beach

Our spots in Zambujeira do Mar

Find your dream camping spot in Zambujeira do Mar!

playa de la antilla roadsurfer spots beach

Our spots in Spain

What better place to spend your holidays than in Spain? Discover our spots in Spain and set off on your journey!

a portugal road trip at the beach

Highlights – Praia da Prainha & Farol da Ponta da Piedade

A very beautiful place is Praia da Prainha where you can admire fascinating rock formations, and it is less busy – although this beach is also bustling.

Before we moved into our night camp in Lagos, we made another stop: The viewpoint Farol da Ponta da Piedade. For us a must-see when camping in the Algarve! It’s hard to believe what nature has created here.

→Campsites in and around Lagos

portugal road trip palm beaches

Day 7 – Sagres

We found another dream beach on the way to Sagres. The Praia da Ingrina is situated in a small bay with an almost Caribbean flair, thanks to the calm water and the adjacent palm trees. You can easily spend a whole day on the soft sand or in the nearby restaurant with a sea view. This pleasant, small restaurant is inexpensive and family-owned; this is the right place for anyone who likes a good coffee or traditionally prepared fish.

Another beautiful beach on the way to Sagres is the Praia do Barranco. Not easy to reach with a big car, but still worth a trip. The semicircular bay is hidden and thus far away from mass tourism. 

→Campsites in and around Sagres

camping in portugal next to the beach

Highlight – Cabo de São Vicente

It’s only a short drive from Barranco to Cabo de São Vicente, the most southwestern point of the European mainland. Here the Algarve ends quite spectacularly with a steep coast up to 70 metres. Standing at the edge of the cliffs is very impressive and seeing the waves crashing against the huge rocks. 

roadsurfer spots beach in playa a vouga

Day 8 – Faro

Again a great beach day is on the program. Even though we left the Algarve coast in the south and drove further north – the landscapes were simply beautiful. The southern part of the Atlantic coast also belongs to the Algarve region, respectively, to the district Faro.

We decided to return to Praia do Cordoama in the evening and spend the night here. There is a public parking lot where some caravans are parked. One can spend a few days here without any doubts. The beach is a bit cut off (But don’t worry: the access is still comfortable), so you don’t have any mobile reception here. Never mind! As compensation, you get a starry sky and beautiful sea noise directly from your roadsurfer. In the small nearby restaurant with a terrace, you can relax, drink your morning coffee and have a refreshment.

→Campsites in and around Cordoama

camping in portugal sunrise at the beach

Highlight – Praia do Castelejo & Praia do Amado 

From Praia do Cordoama, you can take a relaxing walk to the neighbouring Praia do Castelejo. Although the beach is smaller and the access is not quite as comfortable as in Cordoama, Castelejo has a more beautiful sunset since the sun is directly diving into the ocean. Just beautiful!

For the sunset, we walked from Cordoama to Castelejo and had dinner in a beach bar a little higher up. The way between the two beaches was wholly deserted and just amazing. The strong waves on one side and the huge rocks on the other have a fascinating attraction. This rugged, wild nature is worth seeing.

It is also worthwhile to make more minor excursions with your campervan from Cordoama. We drove with our roadsurfer on the N268 northbound and turned left at Praia do Amado towards the coast. There is a road where you will want to stop every 10 metres. The Estrada da Praia leads – as the name suggests – directly along the coast and guides us from one great lookout to the next.

portugal road trip with roadsurfer

Day 9 – Carrapateira

The road also leads you to the next beach: Praia do Bordeira (Carrapateira). The sandy beach is so broad that one feels like they are standing in the middle of the desert at some point.

But unlike a desert, Bordeira offers crystal clear water of the Atlantic Ocean and an incredible lagoon with shallow water. The lagoon is not very deep (You can stand almost everywhere), and the water is warm. A great alternative if the Atlantic is too explosive and cold!

→Campsites in and around Carrapateira

portugal road trip near lisbon

Day 10 – Lisbon

Our road trip through Portugal is coming to an end, and we are heading north – and gradually on our way back home. But of course, we must stop in Lisbon during our Portugal road trip.

Lisbon is worth visiting, so here are a few of our highlights:

  • The historic fortress Castelo de Sao Jorge gives you a magnificent view of the whole city.
  • Inside the castle, you should also visit the Obscura camera 
  • The streets of the picturesque Alfama district (In particular the great Miradouro Santa Luzia lookout)
  • The historic tram 28 (A great experience as this tram winds its way through the narrow streets)
  • The Gothic Convento do Carmo church
  •  The bridge of April 25th (Ponte 25 de Abril) with the Cristo Rei statue at the end
  • The Belémdistrict with the huge Hieronymite monastery Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, the Torre de Belém and the world-famous dessert Pastéis de Belém (An absolute must for everyone)

As I said: Lisbon has a thousand more beautiful corners to offer – but unfortunately, we didn’t have much time to explore the city on the way back from our Portugal road trip.

Another critical piece of information: Don’t try to drive into the town with your campervan; this only unnecessarily puts you under stress and gives you a thrill that nobody needs. The alleys are sometimes extraordinarily narrow and steep, and there are almost no turning possibilities in the centre. Additionally, nobody wants to get stuck with a car in these alleys in the middle of the tourist bustle. Therefore, we drove in the evening to Ericeira.

portugal road trip in ericeira

Day 11 – Ericeira

Ericeira is located about 30 km north of Lisbon and is THE Mecca for all surf hungry people. It is the first official surf reserve in Europe and attracts surfers from all over the world with its waves throughout the entire year. This is a must-visit during your Portugal road trip!

Interested in surfing? Find out our favourite locations for surfing and camping in Europe.

But even those on their way by foot will find a lot to do in this beautiful fishing village. For example, we went shopping extensively! There are many traditional small shops, vintage boutiques, shops with their mix concepts and surf shops with well-known brands and a large selection. Shopping is enjoyable here!

Also, simply strolling through the old stumbling streets and stopping for something to eat in a small bar or cosy café is an experience in Ericeira. Everything is very chilly and peaceful – of course, due to all the surfers and the charming hospitality of the locals.

Lastly, Ericeira also has a lot to offer in culinary terms. Seafood and typical Portuguese dishes dominate the cuisine. A feast for gourmets! On top, a delicious cocktail in one of the beautiful beach bars – Perfect.

Overall, Ericeira is the perfect endpoint for your Portugal road trip. Here, you can rest and recharge your batteries for the long way back home. We were very impressed by this charming fishing village, which has kept its engaging charm despite its fame.

→Campsites in and around Ericeira

Our camping spot tips for your Portugal road trip

Basically, the following applies to your Portugal road trip with a camper:

  • Keep your hands away from places where night parking is explicitly forbidden on signs. If you get caught, you have to expect a parking claw and high fines.
  • The most important rule is don’t leave any garbage behind! The fact that controls in Portugal have become stricter in recent years mainly concerns the growing littering of some places. Leaving your dirt behind and doing your nature’s call everywhere is a no-go! Those who want to live in nature should also respect it.
  • Don’t leave any camping equipment outside overnight: no table, chairs, or grill. 

Our conclusion: If you fancy a fantastic road trip with great nature, exciting cities, and excellent pitches and campsites, you should make your dream come true: Rent a camper and set off on your Portugal road trip. You will not regret it!

camping in portugal near beach

Start your adventure today!

Check availability