Camping Holiday in Portugal
Author: Annika Ziehen
Portugal is a wonderful destination for a camping holiday. Beautiful coastal roads, historic sites and fantastic regional food await you! What’s the best part about visiting Portugal? Portugal is a great destination for a short or long trip, can be visited all year round and offers plenty for surfers, golfers and wine lovers alike.
Photo: Marcin Zabinski
Travelling in a Campervan Around Portugal – The Most Beautiful Routes
7 Days in the North of Portugal
The north of Portugal is a great place for a round trip journey with a campervan, conveniently starting and ending in Porto. On the way, you can explore the beautiful areas of the Douro river valley and follow the famous Port wine routes. Please note that Autumn is the busiest time of year as the grand grape harvest begins on the farms.
Day 1 – Porto
- Porto is best known for its charming cultural flair and the labyrinth alleyways of the Ribeira district.
- Take a boat trip on the Duero River to explore Porto from the water.
- At the Edifício do Instituto do Vinho do Porto you can learn everything there is to know about port wine production.
Campsite: ORBITUR Canidelo
Day 2 – Lamego
- Even climbing stairs is fun in Lamego, so climb the 686 baroque steps to the Nossa Senhora dos Remedios Church.
- Visit the ruins of the Mosteiro de Sao Joa de Tarouca, Portugal’s most important monastery!
- In the Caves da Raposeira, you can taste the wine that makes the region so famous.
Campsite: Camping Lamego
Day 3 – Vila Real
- Join a guided tour of the stately Palácio de Mateus and its beautiful gardens!
- In the Alvão Nature Park take a hike and see many rare animals such as Iberian wolves and golden eagles.
- Picnics and barbecues make for the best day at Bragadas Leisure Park. There is also a playground and football pitch for children.
Campsite: Vila Real Camping
Day 4 – Chaves
- Relax in the famous thermal springs of Chaves, perfect after a long drive in the camper!
- For a great view over the river Tâmega, climb the ruins of Chaves Castle.
- Fill your cool box with local presunto ham and ‘vinho dos mortos’, a wine that is buried rather than aged in the cellar.
Campsite: Parque de Campismo Quinta do Rebentão
Day 5 – Braga
- Hop in the cable car to Bom Jesus Natural Park and visit its memorial, an architectural masterpiece!
- Stroll through the lively and historic city centre Praça da República Square.
- All the horse lovers out there can enjoy a horseback ride in Peneda-Gerês National Park.
Campsite: Camping Braga
Day 6 – Viana do Castelo
- Learn the exciting maritime history on a tour of the Gil Eannes Hospital Ship.
- Take a day trip to Ponte de Lima, the oldest city in Portugal and arguably one of the most beautiful!
- Check out the Megaliths of Mezio, an exciting prehistoric site from the Copper Age!
Campsite: Orbitur Viana do Castelo
Day 7 – Porto
- To finish the trip off right, find a beautiful location to once again sip that sweet port wine. The best way to do this is to sample many different wines in one of the city’s many port wineries where you can also buy a few bottles to take home as souvenirs or gifts.
Spots in Northern Portugal
Spots in the Mountains
6 Days in Central Portugal
From Lisbon, this route takes you north along the west coast to Aveiro, also known as the Venice of Portugal. This route will interest culture lovers and surfers. There are fantastic UNESCO World Heritage sites and the famous library of Coimbra. There are also plenty of stunning beaches perfect for relaxation or water sports.
Day 1 – Lisbon
- Visit the impressive Hieronymus Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site – among others, Vasco da Gama is buried here.
- Visit the Café Pastéis de Belém nearby to taste some of the region’s heavenly custard tarts.
- The coast around Lisbon is not only great for surfing but also ideal for stand-up paddlers, specifically Parede beach.
Campsite: Parque Florestal de Monsanto
Day 2 – Sintra
- Reminiscent of a kitschy film set, the Palácio Nacional da Pena, the National Palace, impresses visitors with its architecture and colours.
- Admire the Quinta da Regaleira, the heart of Sintra, designed by the visionary Italian architect Luigi Manini!
- Golfers will enjoy a round on the lovely Penha Longa Golf or Beloura Golf courses.
Campsite: Camping Orbitur Cascais
Day 3 – Caldas da Rainha
- Enjoy the view where the ocean meets the dunes at Foz do Arelho. There are also nice boardwalks to walk along.
- Pick up some fresh fruit from Praça da Fruta – this fruit and vegetable market dates back to the 15th century!
- A visit to the medieval town of Alcobaça will teach you all about the story of D. Pedro and Inês, which is considered the Romeo and Juliet of Portugal.
Day 4 – Leiria
- During a visit to Leiria Castle you can enjoy some Portuguese history and is a landmark of the region.
- Santana Square is perfect for a coffee and appreciating the vibrant city life.
- Take the ferry to the Berlenga Islands, where you can swim in crystal clear waters.
Campsite: Camping Coimbrão
Day 5 – Coimbra
- Visit the Universidade de Coimbra and its impressive library, where there are more than 250,000 books.
- The Quebra Costas staircase is one of the city’s landmarks – once you make it to the historic centre, visit some of the classic bars, cafés, and restaurants.
- In Portugal dos Pequenitos you can admire Portugal’s villages and monuments in miniature form.
Campsite: Parque de campismo de Coimbra
Day 6 – Aveiro
- Stroll along the canal of the ‘Portuguese Venice‘ and see the colourful Moliceiro boats.
- Feast at the Mercado do Peixe, the fish market where you’ll find the best fish restaurants.
- Enjoy a cup of coffee in Aveiro. They drink their coffee with a local pastry called ovos moles!
Campsite: Camping Costa Nova
Spots in Central Portugal
Spots in the Mountains
5 Days Through the Algarve
Golfers and swimmers should absolutely visit the Algarve, this region in the south is also great for winter travel in Portugal with your cosy home on wheels. Hire a roadsurfer in Faro and drive all along the coast. You can expect to see picturesque fishing villages and some of the country’s most beautiful beaches.
Day 1 – Faro
- Stroll through Faro’s beautiful old town and satisfy yourself with Dom Rodrigos, the city’s traditional almond pastry.
- The Ria Formosa Nature Park offers dunes, beautiful beaches and lagoons waiting to be explored.
- See Faro by boat, along the way you can spot numerous birds and, with a bit of luck, even flamingos.
Campsite: Faro Campervan Park
Day 2 – Albufeira
- Albufeira’s beaches are particularly nice for swimming, many of these beaches have been awarded the Blue Flag.
- Hop on a boat again to discover the gorgeous caves hidden all along the coast!
- In the evening, it’s especially nice to stroll through the traditional old town and feast on the local fish.
Campsite: Camping Albufeira
Day 3 – Silves
- Enjoy a lovely panorama view from the sandstone towers that are part of the Castelo de Silves.
- If you come in the summertime, you should attend the Medieval Festival and experience the life of ancient Portugal.
Campsite: Campismo O Paraiso
Day 4 – Portimão
- Portimão’s beaches are ideal for water sports, diving and snorkelling.
- In the wetlands outside the city, you can relax and enjoy nature at its finest.
- Praia da Rocha is a great place to party, and you can dance the night away with many renowned DJs.
Campsite: Camping Alvor
Day 5 – Lagos
- View Lagos and it’s bay from the Muralhas, the old city walls!
- Fill up on seafood, by ordering a range of whelks, razor clams, and horse mackerel!
- Golfers touring Portugal with their campervan must play 18 holes in the Algarve – Palmarés Golf near Lagos is particularly beautiful.
Campsite: Algarve – Turiscampo
Spots in Algarve
Spots for Dog Owners
Tips & Costs For Your Portugal Road Trip
In Portugal, you will also have to pay tolls on some roads. On some, you can pay either in cash or electronically, although several designated routes now only accept electronic payment. Depending on the length of your journey through Portugal, there are different systems that allow you to pay electronically.
Unfortunately, wild camping is also forbidden in Portugal and is not appreciated by the locals, as it has become too rampant in recent years. But fortunately, pitches are quite cheap compared to the rest of Europe and you can get a site for 18 euros per night on average, including electricity. Alternatively, you can rent a parking space at one of our beautiful Portuguese roadsurfer spots. Here you’ll find lots of overnight sites, some are directly on the water, all have nice hosts, offer more privacy, and can even be booked online.
If you want to travel around Portugal in summer, you can expect high temperatures and large crowds. If you want to avoid the tourist crowds, you should visit outside the holiday periods. The Algarve is also a good place to visit in winter as the weather is pretty mellow and can average around 15 degrees.
How Do You Get to Portugal With a Campervan?
Depending on your distance to Portugal and the length of your road trip, you can definitely drive to Portugal with your campervan. For example, to travel from the UK to Portugal with a campervan, you need a bit of time to get there. Even the shortest route from London to Lisbon is around 2000 kilometers and takes you through France and Spain. So, if you are limited on time, it makes more sense to travel to Portugal by plane and then hire your roadsurfer locally. If you are in no rush, then you can travel with your campervan through Spain and Portugal and make a long road trip and discover several countries at once.
Tips for the Road
- The speed limit in Portugal is 30 mph (50 km/h) in towns, 55-60 mph (90-100 km/h) outside towns, 60 mph (100 km/h) on dual carriageways and 75 mph (120 km/h) on the motorway.
- The blood alcohol limit is 0.5, and 0.2 for those who have had their licence for less than 3 years.
- Children younger than 12 years and smaller than 135 cm must ride in a special child seat.
- If you want to drive a campervan to Portugal in winter, snow chains may only be used on designated roads that are covered with ice and snow. There is no general obligation to use winter tyres.
- Lights are compulsory on some designated roads and on IP 5.
- If you commit a traffic offence, you may have to pay your fine on the spot.