The Gap Decaders

Campervanning in Portugal: Complete Guide for 2024

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Campervan & Motorhome Travel Portugal

Portugal is a perfect motorhome and campervan destination. This tiny country in Western Europe packs one hell of a punch; wild coastlines, beautiful natural parks, picturesque cities, exquisite wines and one of the hardest languages in Europe to learn!

We spent months campervanning in Portugal and loved the laid-back vibe and diversity of this stunning country. With fabulous winter weather perfect for all-year-round touring, Portugal has to be at the top of the campervanner’s bucket list!

In this ultimate guide, we share our own lived experience and travel tips about driving, where to stay overnight and wild camping, motorhome services and a round-up of the best motorhome and campervan destinations. In fact, you’ll find all the information you need to help you plan an amazing campervan trip in Portugal!

Campervanning in Portugal

Portugal Campervan Routes

“How long to drive to Portugal?” I hear you ask. The question about the best route to Portugal in a motorhome from the United Kingdom is whether to pay for a long ferry crossing or pay for fuel and tolls doing long miles in expensive France. Your options for driving to Portugal from the UK in a motorhome are these;

Sail to Spain

Sailing from Portsmouth or Plymouth to the northern Spain ports of Santander of Bilbao (depending on which day of the week you want to depart) is the only way to avoid France. From here, it’s a 5-6 hour drive into northern Portugal.

It’s a long crossing of 32 hours and the sailing navigates the Bay of Biscay which can be choppy in autumn and winter, but it does give you the chance to have a proper night’s sleep if you book a cabin. Cabins are not mandatory but the alternative reclining seats are uncomfortable and noisy. 

This is the best motorhome route to Portugal if time is of the essence, you’re travelling with a dog (some boats have pet-friendly cabins and some have kennels at extra cost) but cabins and kennel places book up quickly, or you’re in a larger motorhome which will push up fuel and toll costs.

Make your booking for the ferry to Spain with Direct Ferries , where you can compare routes and prices to ensure you get the best deal.

Top Tip: Even if you book a standard class cabin, it’s possible to book into the Commodore C-Club lounge, where free hot drinks, water and wine are served, along with generous snacks, meaning you don’t need to pay for expensive food on board.

Is this your first time visiting Portugal? Get all the information you need in our Portugal Travel Guide , including what to pack, the best time of year to go, getting there and practical tips to help you have the best trip!

Drive Through France

Get to France and head down the west side of the country, via Tours, Bordeaux and Bayonne. This is one of the quickest motorhome routes through France and Spain to Portugal, is the cheapest from a toll perspective (see more about tolls in the driving section below) and lends itself well to ferries which arrive in Caen or Cherbourg.

It is also the best motorhome route from Calais to Portugal as you can travel south on a diagonal route, which is always quicker.

Looking for more driving routes to Portugal? Our driving from the UK to Portugal guide has other options and includes costs, tolls and route details to help you plan.

Campervan & Motorhome Rentals Portugal

If you don’t own your own van, hiring a campervan and  road tripping Portugal  is a great way to see this incredible country. On a per-trip basis when campervanning Portugal, you’ll spend less than you would staying in a hotel.

For the best campervan hire in Portugal, check out  Indie Campers Portugal  and  Siesta Campers . Both rental companies have depots in Lisbon, Porto and Faro. Expect the price range to be between €75-120 per day (plus a security deposit) for a Fiat Ducato-type converted van kitted out with a kitchen with running water, a gas stove and a small fridge.

For motorhome hire Portugal – best if you’re travelling with a family or need more room – check out Motorhome Republic , who have over 40 pick-up and drop-off locations in Portugal, meaning you can plan a one-way drop-off, or access the bit of Portugal you want to see really easily.

An aggregate motohome and campervan rental company, Motorhome Republic pull together all the best deals from a number of renters, to offer you a wide choice of options alongside an excellent English speaking expert motorhome Concierge Team.

If you’re intending to pop across the border in your hired van for a spot of campervanning in Spain , make sure to let your hire company know.

You can also hire a motorhome in the UK and drive it across to Portugal. Most hire companies allow their motorhome rentals to be taken overseas, including our recommended hirer, Spaceship Rentals . With a depot in London, top-notch customer service and all the equipment you need for an easy holiday, Spaceship offers the best deals for Europe.

Campervan Portugal & Brexit

Although the UK left the EU at the beginning of 2020, because the pandemic came swiftly on its heels, many of us are still realising the repercussions and getting used to how it affects travelling in a van.

You can find out all the details you need in our guide to motorhoming in Europe after Brexit . In the meantime, here are a few frequently asked questions and answers:

Do I need a visa for Europe?

Nothing changes with your passport, but from 2025, the EU will introduce the  ETIAS  (European Travel Information and Authorisation System), which will be an additional entry requirement for visa-exempt travellers and will involve the traveller registering their details online before travelling, mainly for security purposes.

How long can I stay in Europe?

UK citizens can only stay in the Schengen Area (a zone in Europe where countries have no internal borders and allow the free and unrestricted movement of people) for  90 days in every 180 days  in the Schengen Area. 

The 90 in 180 day rule works on a rolling basis and it can be difficult to work out whether you are within the rules or not, especially if you have visited the Schengen area on several occasions in the preceding 180 days. Use a  Schengen calculator  to ensure that you stick to the right number of days and stay within the rules.

What food can I take in my campervan to Portugal?

The European Commission says the following:

  • Travellers are not allowed to bring in  meat ,  milk or their products .
  • There is an exemption for  powdered infant milk, infant food, and special foods or special pet feed  required for medical reasons if weighing less than 2kg and provided that: such products do not require refrigeration before opening, that they are packaged proprietary brand products for direct sale to the final consumer, and the packaging is unbroken unless in current use.
  • For  fishery products  (including fish and certain shellfish such as prawns, lobsters, dead mussels and dead oysters), travellers are allowed to bring in up to 20kg or the weight of one fish if this is higher.
  • For  other animal products , such as honey, live oysters, live mussels and snails, travellers are allowed to bring in up to 2kg.

Can I use my mobile data in Portugal?

It very much depends on who your mobile phone contract is with and when you started the contract. All UK providers now limit data usage in the EU in some way or another, and it’s best to check with your provider to make sure you don’t run up a big bill.

You can find lots of information in our guide to the best SIM cards in Europe , especially if you’re planning to be away for more than a few weeks or use a Wifi hotspot, which can make it difficult to keep track of data usage.

We have been using and recommend ConnectPls for cloud SIM connectivity in the UK and Europe. You can choose from unlimited data packs to just single days, depending on your needs. The device is no larger than a slimline smartphone, connects with up to ten devices, is charged easily with a USB and can be delivered within a few days of ordering. Use the code ‘thegapdecaders’ at checkout to get 50% off in the first month!

Woman taking an image of hot air balloons on a smartphone

Can I take a pet to Portugal in my motorhome?

Yes, you can take dogs, cats and ferrets to Portugal. You’ll need to book a pet-friendly cabin or kennels on the ferry or travel via the tunnel. Your pet will need a microchip, a valid rabies vaccination and an animal health certificate (AHC).

It can take some time to get all the documents together and the vaccines organised, so make sure you start the process well in advance. You can find out more about travelling with pets on the Gov.UK website .

More Portugal campervan travel advice and guides;

  • Tips for Campervan Rental and Motorhome Hire in Portugal (and the rest of Europe!)
  • What Is the True Cost of Touring Europe in a Motorhome?
  • How to Tour Europe in a  Motorhome 2021
  • Motorhome Stays with Portugal EasyCamp
  • The Best European Campsites – For Camper, By Campers
  • 29 of the Best Motorhome Apps – Free & Downloadable Now!

When to Camper Van Portugal

The winter months of December to February in the Algarve are usually pleasant and popular with van lifers from Northern Europe, with temperatures topping 20°C. The sea is warm and you’ll be able to sit outside for meals, although a long-sleeved top may be required in the evening. North of Lisbon, temperatures come down, rain can be frequent and you may see snow north of Porto.

The months of March to May are a wonderful time for a motorhome trip to Portugal, with temperatures warming up across the country. Markets increase in size, restaurants start preparing different dishes and the countryside is carpeted with wildflowers and grapevines unfurling their leaves. You’ll still find the roads and cities less crowded, and most attractions will be open.

The summer months of June and July are high season, with perfect temperatures for campervanning and outdoor activities. Portugal’s interior can be extremely hot in peak season, especially between Lisbon and the Algarve. August will be the busiest time on the coasts as schools across Europe finish for summer and families take their annual trip to Portugal.

September to November is a fantastic time for motorhoming in Portugal. The coasts will be quieter but still warm, the grape harvest takes place and the glorious colours of autumn bring vibrancy to the countryside.

motorhoming in Europe

The Ultimate Guide to Motorhoming in Europe

If you’re planning a motorhome trip to Europe for the first time, our guide has tips, advice and info to help you plan your tour.

Don’t struggle trying to plan your European trip, find out everything you need to know before you go + loads of motorhoming tips for when you arrive.

Driving Motorhomes & Campervans in Portugal

Portuguese roads around cities and major towns are generally well maintained although it’s usually a different story in rural areas.

Drivers in Portugal have a bad reputation, not always fairly so, although the proper use of roundabouts and indicators seems to elude most! Go at your own pace and follow our driving in Portugal tips to stay safe in your van.

Portuguese Speed Limits for Campervans & Motorhomes

Always observe the speed limits when  campervanning in Europe . There are speed cameras just as in the UK, and the Portuguese (and other EU) authorities have been known to pursue Brits for non-payment of fines. This has not changed since Brexit as the information-sharing agreement with the DVLA continues.

Motorhomes < 3,500 kg

  • In urban areas: 50 km/h
  • Main roads: 90 km/h
  • Motorways and autovías: 120 km/h

Motorhomes > 3,500 kg

  • Main roads: 70 km/h
  • Motorways and autovías: 80 km/

Documents You Need to Drive & Travel in Portugal

  • You must have at least three months remaining on your passport (issued in the past ten years) at your intended date of departure from Portugal.
  • You must have at least 3rd party insurance for your vehicle. Update August 2021 – you no longer require a green card to prove you have vehicle insurance cover when travelling in Europe.
  • Your UK licence allows you to drive in all EU countries. If you only have a paper driving licence or a licence issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man then you will need an  International Driving Permit .
  • Breakdown cover documentation (not compulsory).
  • Vehicle V5 logbook or vehicle registration document (which must show your correct address).
  • Trailer certification if you are towing.
  • Personal travel and medical insurance (we recommend  True Traveller ), EHIC or  GHIC  card (not compulsory).
  • Animal Health Certificate  if you’re travelling with a pet.

Make sure you have travel insurance you can trust as you motorhome Portugal. We recommend True Traveller for their 5-star TrustPilot reviews, variety of cover options, best activities cover as standard, great prices and excellent service.

Vehicle Safety Equipment for Portugal

  • Reflective jackets (mandatory to carry in your vehicle and wear if you need to get out of the vehicle on the carriageway).
  • Warning triangle (not compulsory for foreign-registered vehicles from countries where warning triangles are not compulsory).
  • Spare wheel and the tools to change a wheel or a tyre repair kit.
  • First aid kit (not compulsory).
  • Spare bulbs and fuses (not compulsory).
  • Fire extinguisher (not compulsory).
  • Headlight beam converters (unless you can adjust yours automatically).
  • From 28th September 2021, you will have to display a UK sticker on the rear of your vehicle, instead of a GB sticker, unless you have a new style UK numberplate which displays the Union Jack flag.

Information About Driving a Campervan in Portugal

  • It is forbidden to use a dash cam or radar detector in Portugal. 
  • When driving a motorhome in Portugal it is permitted to carry bicycles at the rear provided that they do not project beyond the width of the vehicle.
  • Campervans or motorhomes and cars with caravans or trailers are not allowed to exceed 18.75m in total length, 4m in height and 2.55m in width.
  • You will see Portuguese drivers using mobile phones at the wheel frequently but this is actually illegal, despite appearances to the contrary.
  • Police can impose on-the-spot fines on drivers of foreign-registered vehicles and receipts are given. Most police cars are equipped with portable ATMs to ensure immediate payment. 
  • If you are driving in a large town or city, then ‘helpers’ will wave you to spaces or car parks in the hopes of getting a tip. Clearly, you do not have to tip them unless you feel it’s deserved. When you are hot and stressed and trying to park, having someone waving at you and ‘helping’ is not always that helpful!
  • If you have an accident you’ll need to complete the  EU Accident Statement , which you can find here to download if your insurer hasn’t provided one. Stop safely and use your hazard lights and warning triangle to alert other drivers. Exchange details (a  translate app  comes in handy here) and take lots of photos to add to your form when you submit it to the insurers. If the other party won’t give details or there has been an injury, you should call the police on 112.

Toll Roads in Portugal

Toll roads in Portugal are complicated! Travel on all Portuguese motorways is subject to tolls, which fall into two categories – conventional tolls with booths and those that are exclusively electronic.

Toll Booths

On motorways with toll booths, payment is made with cash or card, or through the Via Verde system. Via Verde is an electronic toll system where the toll fee is debited directly from the registered debit or credit card. To use the scheme you must get a Via Verde identifier tag, which can be obtained through the Via Verde Visitors visitors portal.

On some motorways, there are no toll booths but a collection system that is entirely electronic, and your vehicle is detected as it passes the electronic gateways along the motorway.

Electronic Systems

To make the corresponding payment, vehicles with foreign number plates may use the forms of payment listed at . There are several possibilities that are intended specifically and solely for the electronic lanes, whose purchase may also be done online:

The Easytoll  system associates the payment card to the vehicle’s license plate and the fee is debited directly from the credit or debit card. This is the easiest option for foreign-registered vehicles. A Tollcard  is a pre-paid card with a fixed prepaid amount that is linked to the licence plate and is valid for one year. You can purchase a prepaid Toll card here .

Having spent quite a bit of time touring in Portugal, we think the  temporary Via Verde devic e is the best option. It’s the only option that is valid throughout the Portuguese highways network, highways with electronic-only tolls and designated lanes on traditional tolls.

Multi-Country Toll Tags

Spanish Via-T devices, Emovis and Bip & Go tags all work on both types of Portuguese motorways.

RELATED POST: Tolls for Heavy Motorhomes >3.5T in Europe: Country by Country Guide

Low Emission Zones in Portugal

Portugal has one low emission zone (LEZ) in Lisbon, which was introduced in the inner city centre in 2011. In 2012, a large area was added to the LEZ, which now comprises two sub-zones and currently covers 33% of the whole city. Click  here  for more information.

Many other city centres in Portugal have limited traffic zones which you can find out about here .

Campervanning in Portugal FAQs

Can i park a campervan anywhere in portugal.

You can park a motorhome or campervan on the street or in a car park for a maximum of 24 hours, provided there is no sign prohibiting this. Remember that ‘parking’ is different to ‘camping’ though, and if you’re wild camping in Portugal where it isn’t expressly allowed, you are likely to be fined and moved on.

Where can I sleep in a camper van in Portugal?

Motorhome and campervan overnight parking or camping within national parks or coastal zones are not allowed unless you are in a designated place like an aire or campsite, where the overnight stay of motor caravans is permitted. Inland and outside of protected areas and national parks, you can wild camp for up to 48 hours in a municipality as long as there is no signage prohibiting it.

What is the motorhome route in Portugal?

There are lots of motorhome routes through Portugal, taking in the beautiful coastline, rich history and lively cities of the country. Follow our Portugal campervan and motorhome itinerary to see all the best bits!

Motorhome & Campervan Services in Portugal

Motorhome service areas in Portugal are generally widely available throughout the country, with a good network of service points around larger towns, mostly totally free. You will find the odd petrol station and supermarket will also have fresh water and a place for grey water.

You’ll often see the typical pictogram sign by the side of the road pointing you to a service point, this may be a dedicated area, within an aire or another facility. The types of built-in services you find in France are few and far between. Use an app like  Park4Night  on your camper trip to locate motorhome and campervan services.

LPG for refillable systems is available in many garages, use the myLPG app to search near where you are, although you’ll find LPG to be around 25% more expensive than in neighbouring Spain.

Gas bottles are also widely available, with butane generally being more popular because of the climate (butane is more suited to milder weather conditions but propane is better for cold weather as it burns at lower temperatures). For Portuguese gas bottles, you will need a different regulator, available from most DIY or camping shops.

Most garages will require you to pay electronically for fuel at the pump. Usually, you can adjust the instructions to English. Supermarket fuel is generally the cheapest, and rural garages can be quite expensive.

Recommended Reading

wild camping motorhomes

Motorhome Wild Camping – Your Complete Guide

traffic on a bridge by the sea in Portugal

Driving to Portugal from UK – Routes & Tips

Campervan stopovers in portugal, motorhome aires in portugal.

Motorhome and campervan aires in Portugal operate much like they do in France or Spain . They cannot be booked and operate on a first come first served basis. Municipal aires are generally free and offer motorhome services. Don’t outstay your welcome, certainly any more than 2-3 nights.

In Portugal, you will find more commercial than municipal aires, although the latter is on the increase. Commercial aires operate in a similar way to a campsite so you can stay there for as long as you wish.

You won’t find a swimming pool or other typical campsite facilities though. This is reflected in the price which is usually around €10-12 per night and there may be an extra charge for services such as electricity.

Vanlife Portugal can be noisy! Not only are there often barking dogs but there are usually church bells too. The notion of stopping the bells overnight does not seem to have occurred to many village councils; take earplugs if you’re a light sleeper.

Use the Park4Night or CamperContact apps to find the best aires, or buy All the Aires Spain and Portugal from Vicarious Media .

Two campervans using a motorhome service point in Portugal

Wild Camping for Motorhomes & Campervans in Portugal

Updated January 2021 & August 2021 to reflect changes in Portuguese legislation regarding motorhome and campervan wild camping.

Every year tens of thousands of motorhomes and camper vans visit the Algarve looking for winter sun. Many people prefer free parking and along the southern coast of the Algarve and the surf spots of the Atlantic, it can often feel like a camper van and motorhome car park next to the beach. 

Free camping spots generally have no facilities and lots of campers have no toilets. This leads to human waste, rubbish and other waste being dumped inappropriately which in turn damages the environment. In some popular beach wild camping spots, toilet paper and faeces are often visible.

Is Wild Camping in Portugal Legal?

After years of the Portuguese government tolerating this behaviour, a new law has come into force, so if you’re wondering whether it’s legal to wild camp in a campervan or motorhome in Portugal, here is your answer:

As of 9 January 2021 (and further updated 25 August 2021) a new Decree-Law no. 102-B / 2020 entered into force, which prohibits overnight stays and parking in all locations that are not expressly designated for motorhomes or camper vans. 

This decree amends the Portuguese Highway Code and complementary legislation, transposing Directive (EU) 2020/612. One of the changes affects freedom and the way in which motorhoming and caravanning in Portugal is viewed as follows :

Article 50-A Prohibition of parking and overnight stays of motor caravans ;

1 – Without prejudice to the provisions of articles 49 and 50, the overnight stay and parking of motorhomes or similar are prohibited in areas of the Natura 2000 Network, protected areas and areas covered by the Coastal Zone Management Plans, except in the places expressly authorised for this purpose. In the rest of the territory and in the absence of municipal regulations for the activity, motorhomes approved by the IMT – Institute of Mobility and Transport are allowed to stay overnight for a maximum period of 48 hours in the same municipality, except in places expressly authorised for this purpose, for which there is no limit on overnight stays.

2 – For the purposes of the preceding paragraph, it is considered:

a) ‘Aparcamento’ means the parking of the vehicle with more space than its perimeter .

b) ‘Motorhome or similar’ means a vehicle that has a living space or that is adapted for the use of a living space, classified as a ‘motorhome’, ‘special bedroom’ or ‘caravan’ by the Portuguese authorities .

c) ‘Overnight’, the permanence of a motorhome or similar at the parking place, with occupants, between 9:00 pm one day and 7:00 am the next day.

3 – Anyone who violates the provisions of paragraph 1 shall be sanctioned with a fine of €60 to €300, unless it is an overnight stay or parking in areas of the Natura 2000 network and protected areas, in which case the fine is from €120 to €600. 

What does this actually mean for me?

This Portugal campervan ban means that any motorhome overnight parking or camping within national parks or coastal zones is not allowed unless you are in a designated place like an aire or campsite, where the overnight stay of motor caravans is permitted.

Within two months of the new legislation coming into force, it was reported in the local news that over 60 motorhome and campervan owners were fined in these areas.

Inland, outside of protected areas and national parks, you can wild camp for up to 48 hours in a municipality – you can find a list and map of each municipality here – as long as there is no signage prohibiting it.

You can stay in a municipality for up to 90 days (because that’s the maximum time you can spend in Portugal without a visa) if you stay in a campsite or aire.

We do not condone anyone breaking the law, and whether you decide to take the risk or not is entirely your choice.  Park4Night  or another  free app  are good options for finding the best legal overnight stays which are authorised for motorhomes. 

The important thing to remember is that hanging out your washing, getting your awning out and leaving your step and chairs out overnight will absolutely ensure a visit from the GNR (National Republican Guard), even in authorised parking (where parking but not camping is allowed), who patrol frequently and in large numbers along the coasts.  

For the best chance of going unnoticed, head inland to remote spots away from crowded areas and follow our general tips on  wild camping  to stay safe and have a great night’s sleep.

Motorhome parked overlooking a large sandy beach with blue skies

Are you new to motorhoming? Our motorhome beginners resources have everything you need from helpful printable motorhome checklists and easy guides to taking your first motorhome trip . Or check out our motorhome beginners e-book and find all our resources and guides in one place!

Portugal EasyCamp

A newcomer to Portugal and a great alternative to wild camping, Portugal Easy Camp  is similar to France Passion but operates in a slightly different way.

With this Portugal motorhome stopover scheme, the first step is to identify where you want to stay on their website, then book for your chosen date and finally buy a product from the producer, before heading to the location where you can then stay for 24 hours.

Your Portugal EasyCamp host may be a winery, olive oil producer, rural tourism attraction, agricultural farmer or artisanal producer and these vineyards and farms, or quintas e herdade , are in some of Portugal’s most beautiful and unspoilt places, and often on scenic routes. Typically your camp spots will be amongst vines, olive trees and nature with the option of olive oil, produce and wine tastings.

The scheme is growing rapidly and now has 60 farms and vineyards in various locations and is certainly worth a try if you are heading to Portugal. We spent a few months touring Portugal in a motorhome and staying with a dozen Portugal EasyCamp hosts, and had the most amazing experience!

RELATED POST: Motorhome Stays with Portugal EasyCamp – Our Review

Campervan parked amongst grape vines in Portugal

Other Alternatives

There are several other new projects popping up across Portugal that offer alternatives to off-grid camping.

HomeCamper , Camperland and Evazion all offer camping pitches on private land managed by private hosts, from a simple plot to more luxurious experiences.

We have not tried any of these schemes, but would love to hear about your experience if you do!

InterMarche Supermarkets

In the spring of 2021, supermarket chain Intermarche started to offer parking for motorhomes and campervans with drinking water and waste facilities at over 60 of its Portuguese supermarkets. 

Use the interactive store map on their website and tick ‘ parque para autocaravans ‘ to find stores with dedicated campervan parking.

Portugal Motorhome Campsites

Portugal campervan campsites vary from very basic with limited facilities to 5* luxury with heated and indoor pools, tennis courts, spas and restaurants, especially in the Algarve. Book with Eurocampings for the best offers on over 100 campsites in Portugal or use the Turismo de Portugal site to search for smaller and locally run sites.

CampingCard ACSI is widely accepted when camping in Portugal, although you may find that the ACSI pitches (which are usually smaller and have fewer on-pitch facilities) are full when you arrive and you have to pay to upgrade to the next level, which negates the discount! This is common on the larger and more commercial sites along the popular Algarve coast.

If you want to camp long-term in a campervan in Portugal then booking your site well in advance is advisable, especially if you’re planning on visiting over the Christmas and New Year periods. Many sites offer stepped winter rates; the longer you stay the cheaper the per night cost. 

Portugal Travel Books

Take the Slow Road Spain & Portugal

Top Portuguese Motorhome Destinations

Portugal is a fascinating country , from the historic north with its rich trading and fishing history to the beaches and good life of the Algarve, Portugal’s most popular tourist destination.

Portugal is well set up for campervan and motorhome travel, with free service points in many towns and villages. Below are some of our favourite  Portugal road trip spots , along with motorhome-specific tips about where to stay and what to do when you’re there, for the best campervanning in Portugal.

Portugal Campervan Itinerary

Map of motorhome and campervan routes in Portugal

Ponte de Lima

Ponte de Lima is the oldest  vila or chartered town in Portugal. Named after the fine medieval bridge ( ponte ) that passes over the Lima River, this northern Portuguese town holds a huge market, typical of this part of Portugal, every Monday on the riverbank.

This is not a sanitised tourist market, but full-on local growers, live chickens and rabbits in cages type of market. It’s a great stop if you’re heading south from Spain.

Like most Portuguese marketplaces, the marketplace in Ponte de Lima is used for parking when it’s not a market.  If you take your chances and decide to park overnight here, be mindful of signage. You don’t want to be woken in the morning with your van surrounded by traders and no way out!

Ideal for campervan travel, there is a  service point  just outside town and several spots where wild camping may still be possible. We stayed in this very  peaceful car park  beside the International Garden Festival grounds (which are beautiful in spring and well worth visiting) for two nights and didn’t see another soul!

RELATED POST: Road Trip Portugal – Two Incredible Itineraries

Silver A class motorhome parking in a tree lined car park in Portugal

Parque Nacional Peneda-Gerês

The Peneda-Gerês National Park, located in northern Portugal near the Spanish border, boasts rugged hills that provide a habitat for deer, wolves, and golden eagles. It is the oldest protected area and the only national park in Portugal.

You can explore trails, including a Roman road adorned with milestones. Nearby, the spa town of Gerês and the traditional village of Lindoso with its medieval castle and stone granaries are well worth a visit. Just to the north, the 19th century Shrine of Santuario de Nossa Senhora da Peneda overlooks a stairway in Peneda village.

campervan travel portugal

One of our favourite Portuguese cities, Porto is charming, intimate and bursting with life.  A day in Porto  is enough to get a flavour of this wonderful city, home to Port wine, trams and beguiling cobbled streets.

Stay at the  excellent aire  attached to the Gaia Biological Park. There are seven places in this gated and secure spot, with electricity and full services provided.

It’s around 20 minutes by scooter into Porto city centre, or get a taxi for around €15. There is also a bus from nearby to the Vila Nova de Gaia side of the city centre, Reception at the Bio Parque will be able to give you more info.

RELATED POST: Porto in One Day – Itinerary, Map, Tips & Guide

Passadiços do Paiva, Espiunca

A short trip from Porto,  Passadiços do Paiva  is a hike with a difference. This unique experience offers a series of suspended wooden walkways along the banks of the Paiva allowing you to follow the stunning river from Espiunca to Arouca, or  vice versa .

The Arouca end of the hike is also home to a pedestrian  suspension bridge  that claims to be the longest in the world, named 516 Arouca and measuring 516 metres in length, which opened in May 2021.

Built in the  Arouca Geopark , the bridge is suspended 175 metres above the Paiva River and links two hills with granite cliff faces we saw it being built when we were last there and it sure is huge!

Take advantage of the large car park at Espiunca right on the river, with a great bar and restaurant, where you can in the late afternoon and stay overnight in your van and start the hike at that end. The walkway is 8.7km each way, with a punishing 600 steps to be climbed (or descended) at Arouca.

There are buses and taxis at each end if you want to hike one way. It costs €1 to use the passadicos , which you can pay on the day, or book online – the best option as numbers are limited on the day.

The Douro Valley

The stunning Douro Valley follows the mighty river all the way from Porto to the eastern border with Spain. It’s a fantastic drive along the N222, especially in autumn when the colours of the vines are spectacular.

Make sure to take the slight detour south to visit Lamego, home to the pilgrimage site of Nossa Senhora dos Remedios and its double flight of nearly 700 steps, recently judged worthy of UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

You’ll find lots of Portugal EasyCamp sites along the Douro and some great wild camping spots that are off the beaten path enough that you’re unlikely to be detected. 

Cavao dos Conchos, Serra da Estrela

The fascinating Covao dos Conchos, high in the Serra da Estrela natural park is called the ‘eye’ by locals. This incredible man-made hole is actually a bell-mouth spillway and well worth the short hike to get up close to the mesmerising spectacle, set deep in the rugged and glacial mountain range.

The easiest way to get to the hike start point at Lagoa Comprida is by driving from Seia on the N339 or Covilha, on the other side of the Serra da Estrela, on the same road. The N339 is a normal two-way tarmacked road which is regularly driven by tourist coaches and is a stunning drive across the mountains in itself. 

There is plenty of level parking at Lagoa Comprida which makes it a  great spot to stay overnight where you’re unlikely to be disturbed, although there are no services. There is also an excellent Portugal EasyCamp spot in the nearby Dao Valley, Quinta do Escudial, where you can park next to the tiny chapel which overlooks the vineyards.

RELATED POST: Covao Dos Conchos – Getting Up Close

Portugal’s medieval capital city is a revelation. Rising above the wide Rio Mondego, Coimbra celebrates a rich history and is home to the country’s oldest university. The Moorish historic and stacked centre is perched on the river bank and has a majestic cathedral with lots of atmospheric alleys and squares to explore.

Probably one of the most well-known places between Lisbon and Porto , Coimbra is also famous for live music, including the haunting Fado and guitarra, the Portuguese guitar, which you can hear in many of the bars and restaurants in the old town.

There is a dearth of campsites in Coimbra and not much on the wild camping front either. We stayed at  Portela do Mondego , an old municipal site, which was actually not bad, despite its poor Park4Night reviews.

You can walk into the centre of Coimbra in around half an hour from the campsite, a cycle ride will probably take 10-15 minutes.

RELATED POST: Driving from Lisbon to Porto: Itinerary, Route & Tips

Foz do Arelho

This west coast spot quickly became one of our favourite places and was one of the best places we visited for kite-surfing and paddle boarding right from the van, with super little cafes and eateries just a few minutes walk or bike ride from good (with basic facilities)  aire  on the lagoon. 

You’re also 30 minutes from the long sandy beaches of Nazare to the north, home of big wave surfing (but limited motorhome parking and access) and the same distance from Peniche to the south, and its incredible coastal rock formations.

The beautiful walled city of Obidos, which has easy and convenient parking for large vehicles, is just 25 minutes away.

Foz do Arelho is separated from the sea by a large sandbar, which creates a huge saltwater lagoon. Close to the sea, the water is shallow and clear, further inland there is plenty of natural beauty to discover.

It’s a perfect spot during your Portugal campervan trip to spend a few days or weeks, and the aire, which is basic and sadly not that attractive, is well priced and managed.

If you can get a front-row spot overlooking the water, you can ignore the slightly run-down buildings of what was a municipal campsite behind!

White motorhome over looking sea inlet with two camping chairs and small boat in the distance

This larger-than-life parque natural is home to colourful fairytale castles, whimsical villas and mysterious forests. The long-time mountain playground of Portuguese royalty, Sintra is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country and is conveniently close to Lisbon. 

It’s not motorhome friendly though! There are narrow roads and no suitable parking for larger vehicles, although those in a VW size van would be okay. From Sintra town, you’ll need a tuk-tuk or other official transport to get to the interesting places and medieval castles such as Pena Palace and Quinta da Regaleira, where you’ll find the much-photographed Masonic initiation well. 

One of the best ways to explore the area is to stay at a nearby campsite (there are not many) such as  Parque De Campismo Orbitur Guincho , and use it as a base to visit Sintra and  Lisbon  if you have enough time. You’re also on the doorstep of lively Cascais, one of Portugal’s top coastal resorts, and Cabo da Roca, continental Europe’s most westerly point.

If you don’t have a scooter or tow car to get around, Lisbon and Sintra are easily accessible by bus from Cascais, with Lisbon also being accessible by fast train in just an hour.  

The city of Lisbon has to be one of the most picturesque and atmospheric cities in all of Europe. With stunning architecture from numerous time periods, lively narrow streets, and a setting right on the Rio Tejo, Lisbon is a dream destination and a must-see on your Portuguese road trip.

There are numerous things to see and do in the city. You’ll be able to cover many of the main highlights and see lots of Lisbon’s hidden gems in a day.

RELATED POST : One Day Lisbon Itinerary with Map & Tips

The Alqueva Dam

We loved the Alqueva Dam for its big landscape, tranquil feel, dark skies status and great roads. There are lots of good wild camping opportunities here, where you’re unlikely to be troubled by the GNR – this spot was one of our favourites.

We also spent a very quiet night in the parking field of the Alqueva Dark Skies Observatory (with the owner’s permission) near the beautiful walled town of Monsaraz . Visiting the observatory was one of the best things we did in Portugal – there is no light pollution in the area and the weather meant our ‘class’ was held outside!

On your way to the Alqueva from Lisbon, make sure to stop in Evora for a few days . The capital of the Alentejo region and another lovely Portuguese town, Evora is known for its local gastronomy and has a top wine heritage. You’ll find some excellent Portugal EasyCamp stops in the area.

Large motorhome parked overlooking misty dam with small trees and blie skies

Zambujeira do Mar

Further south on the wild Atlantic Coast is the small village of Zambujeira do Mar, in the Southwest Alentejo and Vicentina National Park. This is a perfect spot to explore this coast with its empty beaches beaches, big seas, rocky cliffs and the fantastic Rota Vicentina (Fishermans Trail) walking route on the doorstep, Zambujeira is a great base for a few days.

Stay at  Camping Villa Mar  and enjoy the small, family-run seafood restaurants, live music events in summer and splendid town beaches.

The Algarve

The Algarve is by far the most popular place for motorhoming in Portugal, for its year-round climate , beautiful beaches and lively coastal resorts.

Pre-Brexit, the Algarve was swamped with over 100,000 motorhomes every winter, now us Brits are unable to spend the whole winter there, so the pressure on the region may lessen just a little.

Along with the Atlantic coast of Portugal,  the south coast was the most popular place for wild camping and campervanning in Portugal, and every beach car park used to resemble a motorhome site, with people flagrantly camping for months on end in every possible spot.

With the double whammy of Brexit and the clamp down on wild camping, Portugal van life on the Algarve has changed and the region now offers more and better quality aires, and some of the best campsites in Portugal.

Portuguese Life

Portugal is Europe’s oldest nation; proud, conservative and family-orientated. Traditional Christian values are held strongly here; family and home are at the core of the social structure, coming before friendships and business loyalties. 

  • Do not make comparisons between Portugal and Spain! Portugal is proud to be a separate and distinct country with a rich heritage; their identity as Portuguese is important. Portugal dislikes being overshadowed by their larger neighbours.
  • Portuguese people speak quite rapidly and loudly; this does not signify anger or displeasure although it can be a little disconcerting at first to hear little old ladies yelling at each other in the street!
  • Every town and village holds an annual Festa when all but the restaurants and bars close. These events are loud and colourful, usually with different themes around music, dancing, food or religion. Check out the calendar  here  and be sure to attend if you can, you will be made very welcome; just don’t expect to be able to buy a pint of milk or a loaf of bread!
  • Children are welcomed everywhere; there don’t seem to be issues with kids in bars and restaurants until late at night. This is a testament to the importance of family life but perhaps a little frustrating if you’re out for a quiet or romantic meal.
  • Not many older people in Portugal speak English, especially away from the coast. It’s a great idea to learn a few words:  olá  (hello),  tchau  (goodbye),  por favor  (please) and  obrigado/obrigada  (thank you male/female). Whoever you’re conversing with will appreciate the effort.
  • Time moves slowly in Portugal; people are happy to wait in line or be bound by red tape. The Portuguese appear endlessly patient and don’t stress about officialdom…try it, it feels great!
  • In rural Portugal, many people keep dogs for security. Be prepared to be barked at by tied-up or fenced-off attack-style dogs. It also means there will be barking at night, wherever you park your motorhome in Portugal.  Get used to it and take earplugs ‘cos you can’t escape it!
  • There are also lots of stray dogs, generally well-behaved but they poo anywhere and everywhere. Keep your eyes peeled when walking in built-up areas!
  • Traditional markets are a way of life in Portugal, many people only ever shop at markets and you’ll find one in all the  best cities in Portugal . The range of produce is huge and stalls range from those clearly professional sellers to farmers with one stool, a few chickens and some walnuts to sell. Buying local and seasonal is so different to the UK experience, it took us a while to get past wanting out-of-season fruit when we were living in a motorhome in Portugal, but we have really come to appreciate cooking with such fresh ingredients. Make sure you take cash and change and plenty of re-useable bags. 

Hiker on large rock overlooking forest with blue skies

Food & Eating Out in Portugal

Did you know that Portugal introduced hot chiles to Asia and tempura to Japan? Maybe not, but I’m sure you will have heard of Pasteis de Nata , the infamous custard tart which must be tried warm if at all possible. 

  • Coffee is HUGE in Portuguese food culture. Don’t expect though to find Costa or Starbucks here; macchiato and latte are unknown words, ask for anything ‘skinny’ and you’ll be laughed at.  Coffee comes very strong, very hot and in a very small cup…usually for less than a euro and drunk in less than a minute.   
  • Salt cod or bacalhau is a Portuguese staple.   It is stocked in all supermarkets and small food shops, stacked precariously high like pieces of white and grey corrugated cardboard and smelling pretty pungent (understatement!). Apparently, there are 101 ways to cook salt cod, try it and eat like a local.
  • Eat out at least once during your motorhome tour of Portugal. Try a tasca,  a small affordable neighbourhood restaurant; you will be served local dishes cooked traditionally, such as suckling pig or grilled sardines.  
  • Portugal’s wines are fabulous, from the famous Port to the fresh and crisp Vinho Verde and sweet Madeira wine , there is something to suit everyone. If you visit Porto, try a tour of a port wine lodge, finishing with a tasting. For our money, Ferreira is the best and has the added bonus of being the oldest house still in Portuguese ownership.
  • Mealtimes start at around noon for lunch and 7pm for dinner, although this could well be a couple of hours later in the cities.
  • Once seated, you will be served  entradas  which usually consist of pao (bread), azeitonas  (olives) ,  tuna or sardine patés and butter . The cost is usually minimal, €1-2, similar to a cover charge. If you’re eating on a budget ask for the  entrada  to be removed and you should not be charged.
  • Menus, especially in  tascas,  are simple; it is assumed you will understand that main courses are served all-inclusive with potatoes or rice and vegetables.
  • If you order water it will be bottled and you will be asked if you prefer it  fresca  (cold) or  natural  (room temperature) .  The Portuguese prefer their water at room temperature, even on a hot summer’s day …who knew that about Portugal?

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camping car Portugal

How to Travel Portugal by Campervan + Rental

How to Travel Portugal by Campervan + Rental

Cliffside roads, warm breeze, mountain backgrounds, wild ocean, and golden vineyards: this is a campervan trip in Portugal ! Hop behind the wheel and travel Portugal by campervan on one of the most legendary road trips going. By day, surf and chill at the golden beaches, visit hilltop villages and stunning natural parks. By night, camp under the starry night sky, listening to music and cooking on the grill. Nothing beats the adventure of a road trip in beautiful Portugal .

Campervan Rental in Portugal

With a campervan in Portugal, you can move at your own pace, choose your own itinerary, and have the freedom to be totally nomadic on your trip! Perhaps you’ve seen a stunning vineyard on your journey to the coast? Simply pull over and spend the day learning about wine on your own schedule. Rather rent a car? That’s also possible!

We recommend to rent a car in Portugal through Sunny Cars with free cancellation and insurance included. Book your rental car here .

Travel Portugal Campervan

Who Should You Hire From?

Portugal is one of the main players in the road trip game, and because of this, there are plenty of companies to hire a campervan from. From big companies to vintage camper companies and smaller family-run businesses, there’s a camper for every kind of traveler!

google maps phone

We are big fans of Soul Campers. We’re happy to share a 5% discount on your campervan only for readers of Salt in our Hair. Make a reservation and mention the code SALTINOURHAIR in the booking form.

Soul Campers is a family-run company, and we couldn’t have been happier with our experience. Besides being extremely comfortable and equipped with everything you need for the trip, they are environmentally friendly! Our van was insulated with locally sourced cork and even had solar panels for power. Pick-up is free from the town of Faro in the Algarve. Alternatively, the pick-up can be arranged in Lisbon or Seville for a small fee.

Get 5% off your campervan at Soul Campers with the code SALTINOURHAIR.

how to travel algarve portugal

Campervan Hire Price

The price of hiring a campervan in Portugal will vary depending on the season and the size/type of campervan you need. For example, in the summer high season, rental prices can double, as well as campsites are more expensive. Prices, on average, start from 60 EUR per night in the low winter season but will be higher if you need add-ons.

Campervan Extras

When considering what you need for the campervan holiday, take into account the extras you may need. For example, in the summer, you may want a grill, some wetsuits, or a surfboard. Most campervan rentals in Portugal provide all of these for an extra hire fee.

Tip: Navigation? Download the map of Portugal in Google Maps offline and use it while driving.

How to Travel Portugal by Campervan + Rental

Important Documents for Campervan Hire

  • Valid driving license – check yours is valid before arriving in Portugal. Depending on your country of residence, you may need an international driving license.
  • Passport – you normally need to show some form of ID at the pick-up point.
  • A printed-out rental agreement – it’s always worth printing out your rental agreement to show when collecting your campervan.
  • Insurance – basic insurance is provided in most campervan hire fees, which means you will need to leave a security deposit on arrival. If you want more comprehensive insurance, it’s worth looking into having your own.

Travel Insurance Don't forget a travel insurance for your Portugal trip! Heymondo covers medical emergencies, theft, delays, cancellations, lost luggage, and more, with 24/7 worldwide assistance and medical chat. As a Salt in our Hair reader, we've got you 5% off! Check Heymondo here

How to Become digital Nomad passports

Choosing a Route

Choosing your route is one of the most exciting parts of a campervan road trip in Portugal ! Consider where you are collecting the van from and the type of holiday you want. For example, do you want to explore cities and do some surfing on the coast? Or would you rather head inland to natural parks and beautiful mountains? Our 3-week Portugal route covers a bit of everything!

monsanto beautiful village portugal

Toll Roads Portugal

The toll roads in Portugal are incredible for quick transport. However, the scenic routes are much more rewarding! On top of that, the toll roads are quite expensive and could add another 200 – 600 EUR to your road trip in Portugal .

Because of this, it’s best to avoid as many as possible. Additionally, you may discover some beautiful spots that weren’t on your original itinerary, even if it takes a little longer. To opt for the scenic route, just click the avoid tolls check button on Google Maps.

Also read: Everything you need to know about renting a vehicle in Portugal

travel portugal campervan route

Campsites in Portugal

Campsites in Portugal vary from very basic to those with showers, a swimming pool, and even tennis courts. Depending on what you are looking for, there are plenty of ways to book your camping slot ahead of time, such as using websites like or via the official tourism page of Portugal . The app ‘ Park4night ‘ also shows places to park up for the night, reviewed by other motorhome users.

campsite campervan portugal

Wild Camping in Portugal

Please be aware that wild camping is illegal in Portugal. However, you will notice that, particularly on the coastal roads, there are tonnes of campervans parked up overnight. Generally, the authorities turn a blind eye, but wild camp at your own risk. Wherever you are, make sure to respect the nature around you and clean up after yourself. 

Read our guide: How to Travel Sustainably

portugal nazare surf

Tip: looking for an alternative to wild camping? Consider trying ‘Portugal Easy Camp’ , where you can camp on remote vineyards and farms, soaking up the wild nature of Portugal. All you have to do in return is purchase the farmer’s product/service.

Our favorite spots during our campervan trip through Portugal:

  • Quinta do Pomarinho
  • Salema Eco Camp
  • Parque de campismo da Praia da Vagueira
  • Quinta do Monte Travesso

portugal getting around

The Basics of Traveling by Campervan in Portugal

Traveling through Portugal by campervan is an amazing experience and super easy! Use these tips to make the journey even smoother.

Food and Water

There are plenty of big supermarkets to shop from throughout Portugal, such as Intermache and Lidl. Lidl is particularly cheap to shop for food and can be found in small towns, cities, and on the edge of motorways. 

campervan portugal road trip

In the campervan, you won’t have an oven, only a stove, so make sure to take that into account when shopping. Tinned food, pasta, fresh veggies, and fruit are easy to get at all supermarkets.

Although restaurants and cafes will always bring you bottled water, tap water is safe to drink in Portugal. The taste might be not exactly what you’re used to, but if you’re worried, consider using a water purifier. Bring refillable water bottles with you to save on plastic and keep your water cold while traveling.

Here are: Easy Tips to Travel Plastic-free

travel portugal campervan food

Campervan rentals will have an inverter, so you are able to charge your laptop, phone, and camera battery while traveling around Portugal . Only use the inverter while you’re driving unless you’re wild camping, as it will drain the car battery. At most official campsites, you will be able to charge devices using their facilities. 

See what’s in our camera bag

Staying Connected

Portugal has a good 4G signal in many places. However, be aware that in more remote locations, such as national parks or mountains, there may be no service. Consider bringing a wifi dongle like Solis Wifi Hotspots (formerly Skyroam) if you need wifi for work while camping.

Get 10% discount on  Solis Wifi Hotspots by using our code SALTINOURHAIR.

portugal algarve things to do Praia do Amado

Showers and Toilets 

Our Soul Campers van had a hot shower included as part of the van hire price. For an extra 40 EUR, you can also hire a chemical toilet, which can be handy if you’re wild camping. Remember that you will also need to empty the waste from the toilet tank at designated places, normally at most service stations ;-). We chose to use the toilets in supermarkets, shopping malls, restaurants, and campsites.

Tip: If you’re not wild camping, most campsites will have toilets, showers, and laundry facilities on site.

campsite portugal

It is recommended to bring or arrange a sleeping bag to stay warm during the nights in winter. You might want to bring a pair of earplugs, to be sure. Other than that, the nights in a campervan are great! Nick is 190 centimeters long, and he fits in the bed perfectly.

travel campervan


There is nothing better than driving on the open road accompanied by your favorite playlist. You can use the offline mode on Spotify while driving to save data.

Listen to our:   Salt in our Hair Travel Music Playlist

During the nights, especially in the summer months, it’s lovely to sit outside in the warm breeze, listen to music, and enjoy the stars. However, it’s still worth downloading some movies/series from Netflix!

Costs of Traveling by Campervan in Portugal

  • Airport Hotel: 30 – 60 USD / night
  • Camping: 18 – 40 USD / night
  • Food: 18 – 25 USD / day
  • Campervan: 70 – 150 USD / night
  • Shower: 3 USD / day
  • Gas: 30 USD / day

Best Time to Travel by Campervan in Portugal

The best ‘all-around’ time to travel to Portugal by campervan is either in the spring or in the autumn. During these seasons, the price of hiring a van and camping for the night is lower, and there are fewer tourists on the road. The days are still sunny and warm, and it’s a beautiful time to watch the seasons change.

porto day trip Duoro Valley

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  • Find Hotels via
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  • Find Flights to Portugal via Skyscanner
  • Get a Travel Insurance via Heymondo
  • Book Tours & Attractions via GetYourGuide
  • Book a Bus/Train/Transfer via 12Go

Ferragudo, Portugal: The Prettiest Village in the Algarve

Evora, portugal: a travel guide to the historical treasure, 14 best things to do in lisbon (3-day guide).

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Motorhoming & Campervanning in Portugal- Ultimate Guide

Motorhoming and campervanning in Portugal- complete guide

Planning a motorhome or campervan trip to Portugal? Want to see some of the most breathtaking places in Europe? Here’s everything you need to know to go campervanning or motorhoming in Portugal, including routes and places to visit.

Don’t forget to download your FREE Europe motorhome travel checklist below to help you plan your Portugal road trip.

*We work hard to make this the best motorhome travel blog and road trip website possible, full of helpful content for you. The website is supported by our readers, so if you buy through links on this site we may earn a commission- at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain our own .

If you find this post useful, you can also treat us to a coffee – we promise to enjoy it while creating more useful content like this- we might even indulge in a biscuit (or two!)


Motorhoming in Portugal- why you should go!

Portugal has a little bit of everything- dramatic coastline with sandy beaches, caves, mountains, fantastic cuisine and history. Oh, and wine. Lots and lots of lovely wine. It’s wonderfully traditional and many parts of it still feel utterly untouched by the modern world.

One of the best things about being able to explore Portugal on a motorhoming holiday is that you can see the differences between the regions, try the local cuisine (and wine!) and really get a feel for the country in a short space of time.

It’s also one of the cheapest countries in western Europe, so you can travel on a small budget without much issue.

In this guide, we’re going to share with you everything you need to know to go motorhoming or campervanning in Portugal, including getting to Portugal and planning your route, where to stay (motorhome campsites, aires or wild camping with your camper), some road trip ideas and places to visit, driving tips and other practical advice to help you have an amazing Portuguese road trip.

We’re also going to share some things NOT to do- like use your dash-cam! (Did you know dash-cams are illegal in Portugal?!)

If this is your first campervanning trip to Portugal (or Europe!), don’t forget to grab your free motorhome travel checklist which will help you plan and organise everything you need.

Planning to take your motorhome to Europe?

Europe Motorhome travel checklist- FREE

GUIDE: Stop the overwhelm with our step-by-step guide. Contains eBook, checklists and more. Complete Europe Motorhome Travel Toolkit

CHECKLIST: Don’t forget to grab your FREE Europe motorhome travel checklist HERE

GEAR – If you need any motorhome gear for touring Europe, here’s what we recommend.

Campervanning in Portugal- Where to go

When planning a motorhome trip to Portugal, the first thing you need to do is decide where you’re going (and how long you have for your adventure!)

How long to go for?

If you’re driving from the UK to Portugal (we’ll cover that shortly), you need to allow at least 2 days from arriving in France (by either ferry or Eurotunnel ) to get to Portugal. And that’s 2 days of pretty much solid driving (it’s about 15 and a half hours (1013 miles) from Calais to the north-eastern Portuguese border)

We don’t recommend visiting Portugal if you only have a week for your road trip. It’s too far and all you’ll do is drive there and back. Of course, if you’re going to rent a motorhome and fly in, that’s perfectly doable in a week (more on that shortly).

If you have a couple of weeks, you can certainly explore a good chunk of Portugal, but you will be doing a lot of driving unless you stick to just the North of the country.

Portugal isn’t a huge country- it only takes about 7 hours (470miles) to drive from North to South, so once you’re there it’s easy to see a lot in a short space of time.

Motorhoming and campervanning in Portugal- complete guide

Highlights of a Portugal Motorhoming Holiday

Some of the best places to visit when campervanning in Portugal include:

  • The Algarve – the beaches there are some of the best in Europe
  • Lisbon – one of Europe’s most historical cities
  • Sintra- it really does look like something from a fairytale
  • Alentejo National Park- the largest protected coastal Natural Park in Europe
  • Porto- one of the oldest ports in the world
  • Cape St Vincent- Europe’s most south-westerly point
  • Serra Da Estrela- Portugal’s highest mountain range
  • Duoro Valley- if you like wine, here’s the place to go
  • Megaliths near Évora- these are amazing!

If you enjoy reading books before a trip, here are some we recommend:

Lonely Planet Spain & Portugal's Best Trips (Road Trips Guide)

See more fun and practical motorhoming books we recommend reading

When to go motorhome touring in Portugal 

Portugal has one of the warmest climates in Europe. As such, it’s a magnet for northern Europeans- especially in winter.

Campervanning in Portugal in winter

Portugal is great in winter. It’s one of the warmest places in Europe in February with average temperatures of over 16°C.

The nice thing about campervanning in Portugal during the winter is that most things remain open, as so many tourists still visit, so it doesn’t all shut down like many other countries in Europe. (Of course, some campsites do choose to close, but there are still plenty open all year.)

However, not everywhere in Portugal is warm in winter. Expect snow and skiing in the mountains- especially in Serra Da Estrela (the highest mountain range).

Touring Portugal in summer

For us, summer in Portugal is just too hot. Average temperature in the Algarve in August is 29°C- that’s the AVERAGE. As we don’t have air conditioning in our motorhome, and because we travel with a dog , we try to avoid hot places like this and go motorhoming in Norway or other places with mountains and cooler air.

Also, it gets crowded in summer. Crazy crazy crowded. Beaches are packed and queues for tourist attractions are long. Being crammed in, especially in hot weather, doesn’t appeal to us at all.

Get more tips for summer van life and keep your camper cool

Motorhoming in Portugal in Spring and Autumn

As with most of Europe, Spring and Autumn are perfect times to explore Portugal. The weather is still warm (average of 19.8°C in April and 22°C in October), but the crowds from summer have gone and you might even get stretches of beach all to yourself.

If you want to go hiking in Portugal , this is a great time to visit, especially in Spring when the flowers are blooming.

TOP TIP: If you are travelling outside of peak season, definitely get an ACSI CampingCard – you’ll save a fortune on campsites all over Europe, including Portugal

Driving from the UK to Portugal

Did you know that Portugal and England have the oldest alliance in the world, dating all the way back to 1373?! (Just one of many fun facts about Portugal .)

If you’re planning a campervanning trip to Portugal, there are a couple of options from the UK, assuming you’re bringing your own vehicle (if you’re flying in and hiring, we’ll deal with that shortly.)

There are two ways people get their motorhomes to Portugal- drive through France and Spain or take the ferry to Spain and then drive into Portugal. There are pros and cons to each.

Generally, taking a ferry from the UK is much more expensive than driving through France (depending on the time of year and type of cabin).

New to motorhome or camper travel in Europe? You might find these posts helpful:

Tour Europe in a Motorhome; Motorhome Europe Travel

See all our Europe motorhoming posts here

NEED GEAR? If you need any kit or essentials for motorhoming in Europe, here’s what we recommend and where to find it

Ferry from the UK to Portugal

There are no direct ferries from the UK to Portugal. You can travel with Brittany Ferries from Portsmouth or Plymouth and go to either Santander or Bilbao (both on the north coast of Spain)- those are the closest ports to Portugal. (Bilbao is about a 5-hour drive from the Portuguese border- 480km)

A one-way trip on either ferry from the UK takes about 24 hours and booking a cabin is recommended. They also have dog kennels onboard but you CANNOT keep your dog in the ferry cabin with you (like you can from Portsmouth to Caen).

The biggest consideration to this ferry (apart from the cost), is the weather. You will be crossing the notorious Bay of Biscay- and it can get ROUGH. Even in the middle of summer.

As someone who gets seasick (hilarious considering I’m ex-Navy and lived on boats for 15 years) , I avoid this crossing and prefer to drive from the UK through France to Spain and then Portugal, but it’s entirely up to you.

Driving routes through France to Portugal

If you decide that you want to drive your motorhome or camper through France down to Portugal, you first need to decide if you’re going to take the ferry or Eurotunnel from UK to France (there are pros and cons to both).

The quickest route from Calais is via Le Mans and Bordeaux, crossing into Spain at San Sebastian. Then head towards Valladolid and you’re nearly in Portugal. It takes about 18 hours from Calais and you can join this route easily if you decide to come over on a ferry to Caen, Le Havre, Dieppe or Cherbourg.

This is our favourite route for a France road trip as you pass some incredible places (including some of the most historic places in France! )

Can I drive to Portugal in the Winter?

Yep. I know there are several huge mountain ranges (especially the Pyrenees), but generally the routes are all open, unless you happen to be really unlucky and hit it in the middle of a snowstorm (do check the weather forecast before travelling.)

If this happens, then we recommend stopping for the night somewhere safe (the beauty of travelling in a motorhome) and then continuing on when the snow has stopped and the roads have been cleared. Don’t forget you will need snow chains and make sure you have fitted all-weather tyres- more on that below.

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Borders / Customs in Portugal

There is no border control if you’re driving between Spain and Portugal. However, there are restrictions on how much tobacco and alcohol you can carry and it must all be for personal use.

Also, now that the UK is a third country, you are only allowed to carry:

  • Wine/ Spirits: 2 litres
  • Perfumes: 50 grams of perfume/ 250 ml EDT
  • Coffee: 500 grams/ Coffee extracts and coffee essences – 200 grams
  • Tea: 100 grams/ Tea extracts and tea essences – 40 grams

You can find a full list of all current allowances here

Hiring a motorhome or campervan to tour Portugal 

If you don’t have your own vehicle, or don’t have time to drive all the way to Portugal, you can easily fly in and hire one. Just make sure to ask how to get from the airport to the rental agency- not all of them are at the airport itself and you might need to book a taxi.

To rent a vehicle in Portugal you must:

  • be over 21 or 25 years old, depending on the company’s rental policy;
  • show identification (identity card for EU citizens or a valid passport for other nationalities) 
  • have had a driving licence for more than one year

Make sure you have proof that you can take the vehicle across a border into another country if that’s what you’re planning to do. Read the article below for other things to check as well before you agree to hire.

Don’t forget, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure the vehicle has the required safety equipment. The on-the-spot fines apply to you as the driver, not the company. Check in advance with the company what kit they will provide with the vehicle and what you will need to bring.

Take a list of what is legally required with you and check it off one by one as you are given the handover. Do not drive until you are happy you comply with the local laws.

You can expect to pay around £70/ day- be sure to ask the right questions so you know what to expect from your motorhome or campervan rental

Want to rent a vehicle for your road trip?

These might help:

  • Discover incredible deals for motorhome/ camper rentals
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READ: 10 essential questions to ask before you rent a motorhome

Motorhoming in Portugal- what gear do you need to carry?

Just like motorhoming in Spain , there are certain things you MUST carry with you in your motorhome or campervan whilst touring in Portugal.

Also, be sure to read the secton below about dash-cams!

Don’t forget, if you are driving through France and/ or Spain to get to Portugal, you need all the kit required by those countries, as well as the kit needed in Portugal. (Luckily, if you’re used to motorhoming in France , you’ll have pretty much everything you need already)

campervan travel portugal

Things you need to drive in Portugal- safety gear

These are the things you MUST have with you when you’re motorhome or campervan touring in Portugal.

  • Hi-vis reflective jackets – not as strict as in France, but you must wear them on the side of the road or hard shoulder or risk being fined.
  • Warning triangle
  • Headlight beam converters – if you have a UK vehicle. These must be fitted before you drive in Europe. (If you have a vehicle which allows you to adjust the beam automatically for European driving, you won’t need these.)
  • Car sticker attached to the back of vehicle or on reg plates. (NOT the EU sticker anymore!)
  • A spare wheel (and tools to change it!), or a tyre repair kit.
  • If you wear glasses you MUST carry a spare pair

TOP TIP: Buy these essentials for driving in Portugal in advance. If you wait until you’re at the ferry/ tunnel, you could spend THREE times as much! See the latest deals and best prices here

AA High Visibility Vest for safety and emergencies - Yellow

Using a Dash-cam in Portugal

This warrants its own section, because so many people don’t realise the law. Using a dash-cam in Portugal is illegal. Not just that, but OWNING a dash-cam is illegal in Portugal.

Now, I don’t think for one second that the police are going to stop and search you looking for a dash-cam, but I suggest you put it away safely before you get to the border- just in case.

Road trip accessories you MIGHT need when campervanning in Portugal

The following kit are things you might need to carry in your car, motorhome, caravan or campervan, depending on when you are planning your road trip in Portugal.

You will probably want an automatic toll tag- as many of the motorways insist on them before you can use the road. You can avoid these, but it’s a lot of extra driving. More on that in the ‘toll’ section.

  • Winter tyres are not compulsory but snow chains are mandatory where signage indicates.
  • Red/ white warning board sign – for bike racks or anything overhanging the end of the motorhome or campervan. Lines must point into the middle of the road. Again, this is a legal requirement in Spain, but worth having in Portugal
  • First aid kit – not compulsory in Portugal (unlike many countries in Europe) but worth carrying. Find out what we carry in our European first aid kit here
  • Spare bulbs for all lights in the vehicle
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Road Trip snacks and water- just in case!

Zelsius - 2-in1 Reflective Warning Plate - Aluminium - For Spain...

Motorhomes or campers with a total train length of over 12m

If you’re travelling in/ through Spain and your outfit exceeds 12m, you need to have marker boards fitted to the back of your vehicle. You can either have two small boards or one large board but they must be placed at the back of the outfit between 50cm and 150cm off the ground.

Your marker board must:

  • be yellow in the centre with a red outline
  • be made out of aluminium
  • be manufactured to ECE70 standard

This is not law in Portugal, but I fail to see how you’re going to get your 12m vehicle train to Portugal without driving through Spain…

What documents do you need to road trip in Portugal?

If you’re driving in Portugal, you need to carry the following documents:

  • Passport (or identity card)
  • Driving licence (check it is in date!)
  • Motorhome Insurance documents- check you are covered for driving in Europe
  • Breakdown cover
  • Vehicle V5 logbook (which must show your correct address)
  • Vehicle must be legally taxed and MOT’d
  • Trailer certification (may also need a document from your insurer)
  • International Driving Permit if required
  • Personal travel insurance

Do I need a green card to drive in Portugal?

Most UK license holders don’t need a green card to drive in Portugal. You may need one if you have a trailer- please check with your insurer.

Do I need an international driving permit to drive in Portugal?

Most UK citizens do not need an IDP to drive in Portugal, as long as you have a card driving licence issued in the UK (in date, of course!)

You might need one if you have:

  • a paper driving licence only
  • a licence issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man

(If you do need an IDP, here’s an  in-depth guide on how to get an International Driving Permit  and which one(s) you need from a UK post office.

Touring Portugal in a campervan- Other useful things you might need

We’ve been touring Europe in our motorhome for several years. We’ve tried all sorts of kit- some useful, some not so much.

Here is a list of things we highly recommend when motorhoming in Portugal, but which are NOT essential:

  • Motorhome WiFi – learn our favourite way to get internet on the road
  • Toll pass (see below)
  • TV- If you’d like TV in your motorhome or camper , here’s how to get it.
  • Motorhome sat-nav – get one you can enter your motorhome dimensions into, like these
  • Motorhome security camera – this thing is GOLD for allowing us to go exploring and leave the van for a short time.
  • An awesome motorhoming logbook to record and remember your adventures!

road trip journal logbook

Motorhome stopovers & overnight parking in Portugal

In Portugal, there are several types of motorhome and campervan stopovers you can use.

  • Free/ approved motorhome parking schemes
  • Wild camping in Portugal for vans

Portugal Camping sites for motorhomes, campervans and caravans

It’s easy to find motorhome campsites in Portugal and they’re much like campsites anywhere else in Europe. Some are rustic and have very basic facilities, while others are designed for long-term visitors and have entertainment, clubs, pools and bars!

Campsites in Portugal are often a lot cheaper than you might expect, especially if you’re used to other countries in western Europe. Some are as little as 2€/pp/ night- but they are very basic.

Many campsites have either long-term residents who live in their motorhomes in Portugal, or have permanent statics or caravans which the owners visit when they can.

There is often one ‘main’ or municipal campsite in each town, which is signposted using blue and white signs to help you find it. Expect to show your passport or identification on arrival and many places require you to leave one passport behind the reception.

If you’re travelling out of high season and are planning to use campsites, we highly recommend buying an ACSI CampingCard membership , but be aware that some campsites either shut during the winter or are booked up entirely months in advance, so you may wish to book one too.

Also, many campsites put ACSI users on ‘lesser’ pitches (either bad view or no electric or drainage). You can ask for a different pitch, but will usually need to pay a supplement which wipes out the ACSI discount! This is especially common on the coast in the Algarve.

At some campsites, you will need to pay extra for shower or electric usage. Be warned- the hot water in the shower is on a timer- usually between 3-5 minutes per token.

If you’re campervanning in the Algarve, this is a great resource to help you find places.

TOP TIP : If you’re planning to stay in one area for a long time (30+ days), negotiate a special rate with the campsite directly. Most of them have some sort of discount- some are as little as £10/ day, including electric.

Aires in  Portugal

Aires are just approved motorhome overnight parking places- often provided and maintained by the local commune. Unlike if you go motorhoming in Italy , aires in Portugal are usually just called aires, like in France or Spain (they’re called Sostas in Italy)

There aren’t quite as many aires in Portugal as in France and they’re often a little more out of the way, but the network is still very useful and easy to use.

READ MORE: Learn how we find and use aires and approved free overnight motorhome stopovers across Europe

There are a mixture of private and municipal motorhome aires in Portugal. Private aires are very similar to a campsite, and often you can stay for as long as you wish (unlike if you go motorhoming in Germany , where 48h is generally the max).

Municipal aires are sometimes called ASAs and are approved overnight motorhome stopovers, provided by the local council. At these, there is a restriction of 2-3 nights maximum in one place.

You cannot book motorhome aires in advance- it’s first-come, first-served, so if you’re visiting at peak times you might feel happier booking a campsite so you’re assured of somewhere to stay.

A good tip is to try and arrive AT your destination just before lunchtime. Many people move on after. a lazy morning, and stop en-route, so you have the best chance of finding a spot around this time, but that’s when the day is at its hottest, so be careful.

There are very few facilities at an aire. You should be able to get water and empty waste, but don’t expect restaurants, pools or entertainment areas. Also, do not hang out washing, get your awning out or put chairs out- this is camping and is not allowed- the police will stop and ask you to move.

It’s always worth investing in a book of aires, as well as an online app- just in case you find yourself without internet in your motorhome (or without a wifi signal). Of course, the downside with any book is that it goes out of date, but don’t worry if it’s only a year or two out- most information about aires won’t change too much.

Motorhome guide Camperstop Europe 30 countries GPS

Other approved motorhome stopovers and parking in Portugal

Portugal EasyCamp is a scheme which connects local business owners to motorhomers and campervanners looking for safe places to stay overnight. If you’d like to avoid busy campsites and aires, but don’t want to risk wild camping, this might be the option for you.

It works very similarly to France Passion, with one big difference- you have to go online and buy the product or experience BEFORE you visit the location. You can then head there and stay for up to 24 hours.

READ MORE: How to make the most of Portugal EasyCamp

Motorhome camping in Portugal

Wild camping in Portugal for motorhomes and campervans

Usually, I am the first person to promote and encourage responsible motorhome wild camping . We enjoy it immensely and have done it across most of Europe with any issue.

Portugal has long been the destination for campervanners and motorhomers looking to stay off-grid, despite the fact that wild camping in Portugal has ALWAYS been illegal.

However, the country has been overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of vans in recent years (much like wild camping with a motorhome in Scotland ) and they have had to deal with years of abuse and mistreatment.

The problem with many of the campervans who visit Portugal is that they don’t have their own facilities onboard- and people have been leaving waste (of the human kind) all over the place. 🙁

On top of that, many wild camping spots don’t have any facilities, so people have been leaving piles of rubbish and even emptying their chemical toilets into bushes or over the countryside. Times this by thousands upon thousands of vanlifers and it’s no wonder the Portuguese government are trying to protect their country.

Is Motorhome campervan Wild camping legal in Portugal?

In January 2021, the Portuguese government passed a law which changed the highway code so campervans, motorhomes and caravans had to stay on an official site. It was prohibited to park and stay by beaches and places marked as unauthorised and it is also prohibited to stay overnight in any car park not expressly designated for caravans, motorhomes or campervans.

Wild camping was always illegal in Portugal, but was tolerated or overlooked if people were discreet although the rules were changed in May 2020 to prohibit campervan parking near beaches in Portugal.

Sadly, Portugal has been abused in recent years by vans wild parking. In early 2021, Portugal banned motorhomes and campervans from staying anywhere apart from campsites or aires. Wild camping was never legal to begin with, and was already banned completely near the coast, but they bought in fines.

I’ll be honest, I’ve been appalled by the pictures of waste and vandalism left behind by so many thoughtless and selfish idiots and I can’t blame the Portuguese for trying to stop it.

At the same time, I’m sad that a few idiots have ruined it for the many responsible and conscientious campervanners – we’re not all dirty horrible vandals.

Thankfully, in summer 2021, they amended the law BACK to allow “overnight stays in motorhomes approved by the Institute of Mobility and Transport for a maximum period of 48 hours”.

What this basically means is that motorhome/ campers with their own facilities like a fitted toilet are allowed to wild camp. Of course, PLEASE don’t leave waste (of any kind!) behind- we don’t want them to change back again!!

Wild camping is still banned near the coast, in National parks and near protected areas. Violations can result in a fine between 120 to 600€. 

Also, there probably aren’t enough campsites or Aires to deal with the number of people who visit in vans each year. There will need to be new facilities, more waste and service points and a new infrastructure and I’m not sure who, when or how it’s going to happen.

Motorhome and campervan service points in  Portugal

There are motorhome service areas spread around the country. Many are on municipal aires and facilities include drinking water supply points and places to dump dirty water(grey waste) and chemical toilet (black) waste. These areas could also have electricity power points for charging the batteries of camper vans and motorhomes.

We find them using Park4night, but you can also use this website (although it is in Portuguese!)

Driving tips for Portugal

Portuguese drivers have a luke-warm reputation- mainly because the country has one of the highest accident rates in Europe, but honestly they’re probably better than the Italians. Having said that, they rarely use indicators and will regularly cut wildly across several lanes to reach an exit. So expect the unexpected and you’ll be fine.

Ok, let’s deal with the basic rules and some tips for motorhoming and road tripping in Portugal:

  • Portugal drives on the right
  • Vehicles coming FROM the right have priority at junctions
  • On roundabouts, vehicles already on the roundabout have right of way.
  • Seatbelts are compulsory
  • Speeds are in km/h, not mph (you might want to change the setting on your motorhome sat-nav)
  • You do not need to have driving lights on during the day
  • Handsfree kits are allowed
  • It is forbidden to use a dashcam or radar detector for speed cameras
  • Road surfaces are generally pretty good in towns and cities, but can be bad in the countryside.
  • Avoid cities if you’re driving in a motorhome- many of them are too crowded and the streets are just not cut out for large vehicles. Park outside and use public transport to get in.
  • Trams always have priority everywhere- keep eyes in the back of your head if you’re driving near a tram network.
  • Emergency vehicles and military vehicles have priority over other road users.
  • You may carry a load, such as bikes on a rack, extending by up to 10% of the length of the vehicle to the rear. The load must be indicated by a board/ panel with diagonal red and white stripes – this is legal for Spain, but worth having in Portugal.
  • Bikes or a load being carried must NOT be wider than the vehicle
  • Helmets are compulsory if you are motorcycling in Portugal
  • There is no border control between Spain and Portugal – you can just drive right in

Roads in Portugal

There has been a lot of money spent in recent years to build new roads (hence all the tolls!) Most of the major roads have been resurfaced and are pretty good, but there are many older roads in more rural areas which are in poorer condition. You will be fine to drive them with a motorhome or camper, but slow your speed and drive with care.

Traffic Lights in Portugal

Traffic lights use the 3 colour system. There is no amber signal after the red, and a flashing amber light indicates “caution”. A flashing or constant red light indicates “stop” and is used near level crossings and to give warning of an obstacle.

Speed Limits in Portugal (unless otherwise signed!)

Breaking the speed limit could result in either an on-the-spot or an automatic fine being sent to you.

Cars and vehicles under 3.5 tonnes:

  • 120 km/h (74mph) on motorways and some dual carriageways
  • 100km/h (62mph) on major roads
  • 90 km/h (55 mph) on minor roads (out of town)
  • 50 km/h (31 mph) in built-up areas

Motorhomes and Campervans weighing over 3.5 tonnes:

  • motorways 100km/h (62mph)
  • major roads 90 km/h (55 mph)
  • minor out-of-town roads 80 km/h (50 mph)
  • urban areas- 50 km/h (31 mph)

Motorhomes with trailers or caravans

  • major out-of-town roads 80 km/h (50 mph)
  • minor out-of-town roads 70 km/h (44 mph)
  • built-up areas- 50 km/h (31 mph)

Speed Cameras in Portugal

Many roads have automatic speed cameras on in Portugal and they’re quite happy to send tourists a fine through the mail.

You might also find random traffic lights, which turn to red in the middle of nowhere if you’re speeding and make you wait for a couple of minutes before turning to green so you can move off again. These are surprisingly effective!

Drink Drive law in Portugal

Alcohol laws are stricter in Portugal than the UK. The legal limit is 0.05% blood alcohol (the UK is 0.08%) and applies to the driver of any motorised vehicle. If you’ve had your license for under 3 years, the limit is 0.02%

– A blood alcohol level between 0,5 g/l and 0,8 g/l is considered a serious offence, and it is sanctioned with a driving inhibition between 1 month and a 1 year and a fee payment of an amount from 250 up to 1.250 euros.  – A blood alcohol level between 0,8g/l and 1,2g/l is a very serious offence, sanctioned with a period of driving inhibition between 2 months and 2 years and a fee payment of an amount from 1.250 up to 2.500 euros.   – A blood alcohol level of 1,2g/l or more is considered a crime, that can be punished with imprisonment up to 1 year or fee penalty up to 120 days, and driving inhibition between 3 months and 3 years.

Low Emission zones in Portugal

Portugal has a low emission zone (LEZ) in Lisbon. It’s split into 2 zones – Zone 1 and 2. About 33% of the city is inside it, so be careful if you drive in. Find out more about the Lisbon Green air zone here.

Click here for more detailed information about how to find zones across Europe.

Tolls in Portugal

There are two types of toll in Portugal- both on motorways:

– traditional motorways with toll booths, where payment is made by cash, bank card or electronic tolls.

– Purely electronic toll motorways. In order to use these roads, you MUST have an electronic device in your vehicle.

Easy Toll uses your bank card and number plate to take payments. You enter your card details at a sign up location on the border and get a photo of your registration plates taken. The system will then deduct toll payment from your bank card every time your vehicle passes a toll gate.

Signing up costs 0.74 euros, plus a 0.32 euro administrative fee. 

This method is valid for 30 days, and the tickets issued at the toll must be kept as proof in case of a problem. You can find out more on the  Portugal tolls website . 

If you regularly use toll roads, it may be worth signing up to the Via Verde scheme which takes you through the fast lane without having to stop and pay.

Via Verde is the only system which works on ALL the Portuguese motorways. It also covers a decent section of Spanish toll roads too. You buy a transponder and then get charged or what you use. The nice thing about them is that once you have one, it doesn’t expire, so it’s valid for whenever you return to Portugal.

Personally, we use e-Movis for tolls all over Europe and we’ve never had a problem. These allow you to use the VIA-T lanes in Portugal

It’s worth noting that you need a DIFFERENT e-Movis tag for Spain and Portugal (one does both countries), than you do for France. So if you’re driving from the UK to Portugal, you will need at least 2 e-Movis toll tags in your motorhome and you’ll need to remember to switch them over.

Pre-paid Toll Card

This system is relatively straightforward and handy instructions are written on each card.

You buy a pre-loaded card with either 5, 10, 20 or 40 euros. You then activate the card with an SMS message, using the code printed on the card and the licence plate of the vehicle. 

There is a service cost of 0.74 euros for each card purchased. 

If you head home with credit still on your toll card you can get this refunded – just return it to the main post office in Portugal, the CTT.

There is also a Toll Service, which is a pre-loaded card with unlimited use for 3 days or previously defined journeys.

You can purchase these at the CTT post office, online at  or at various service areas.

This website also shows how much each toll road will cost, so might be worth a look when you’re planning your route through Portugal.

Driving in Portugal- what to do in the event of a road traffic accident

You should have a European Claim Form provided by your insurer before you leave. In the event of an accident, all parties complete and sign the form at the scene and then send a copy to your insurer for assessment.

What to do at the scene:

  • Stop your vehicle immediately but safely- out of the flow of traffic if possible.
  • If a vehicle is blocking the road, use hazard lights and put the red warning triangle 30 metres from the scene to warn approaching traffic
  • Name and address of all the people involved in the accident
  • Vehicle registration numbers of all parties
  • Insurance company details of all parties
  • Take photos of damage using a camera, GoPro or phone

For more details, read our step-by-step guide on dealing with a road traffic accident in Europe

Other essential tips for campervanning in Portugal

Petrol and diesel.

Petrol and diesel are widely available. Many fuel stations are 24h on the main roads and are self-service with card machines.

Petrol is Sem chumbo (95 / 98) – Green handles on pump

Diesel is Gasóleo or Diesel. Black or yellow handles on pump

Carrying fuel in cans is NOT allowed, even in small amounts, so be careful if you have a motorhome generator.

Some places are 24h pay at the pump, but may require you to go into the shop and pay the cashier either in advance or after you’ve filled up- there will be a sign to tell you what to do. (Leave your car in front of the pump and make a note of the pump number.)

You can pay using cash or a credit card. Many places do NOT take American Express. You can usually use your UK cards without a problem.

NOTE: It is illegal to run out of petrol when crossing Lisbon’s mile-long 25 de Abril bridge.

LPG (GPL) can be found at many petrol stations. There are actually more places than in Spain. If buying from a petrol station, you may need to wait for an attendant to turn the system on for you.

You can find places which sell LPG using

Remember, if you don’t have refillable gas bottles , you will be unable to buy a gas bottle which fits straight onto a UK system- you need a new pigtail. Portugal mainly uses the euro connector.

READ MORE: How we find motorhome LPG or bottles while touring Europe

Campervanning in Portugal- security

Portugal has a lower crime rate than many other countries in Europe, but vehicle break-ins do happen, as does petty theft and pickpocketing.

We highly recommend paying extra attention to your motorhome security when travelling in Portugal. You might even wish to fit an extra camper habitation door lock and never leave your vehicle unattended in an unsecure area.

READ MORE: Essential tips for protecting your van at home and on the road


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More useful things to know about vanlife in Portugal

Some more tips to help you enjoy your time in Portugal.

Emergency Numbers: 112 will get you everything

Language – The Portuguese are pretty good at languages. Portuguese is spoken, along with Spanish. Many of the younger generation speak English well.

Currency – Euro

Cards – most major credit and debit cards are accepted. American Express is only taken in large stores (not at tolls and often not at fuel stations)

Timezone – GMT (same as UK- yes, Spain is in a different time zone!)

Mobile Phone and Internet – It’s usually possible to use your UK phone and data in Portugal, but there will likely be a charge to use your UK phone data abroad. Please check with your UK network provider.

Tipping- Tipping is not expected but appreciated. 5% – 10% in restaurants is standard if you are happy with the service.

Shops – Food prices are pretty inexpensive. Traditionally, shops are open from Monday to Friday, from 9 or 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Some close for lunch from 1 to 3 p.m. On Saturdays, shops generally close at 1 p.m. though in city centres some are open in the afternoon. Many shops close on Sundays. Bigger supermarkets may be open, but will close at lunchtime.

Don’t confuse Portugal with Spain- the Portuguese are very proud of their culture and heritage. They enjoy life at a slower pace and there are plenty of queues.

Motorhome and campervan touring holiday in Portugal

Food and Drink in Portugal

Markets are the hub of life in Portugal. You’ll find one in every village, town and city, with a range of local produce for sale. Many people in Portugal only ever eat seasonally, so local dishes will change depending on time of year.

Make sure you have cash (including small change) and bring your own bags. Be warned- the markets are often held in the biggest car park in town- which is often where the motorhome parking is. Pay attention to the signs in these car parks- they will say when the market is and if you are unable to park on certain days.

Local dishes in Portugal to try include:

  • pastel de Belém/ pastel de nata- DELICIOUS custard tart
  • Francesinha – ham and cheese sandwich
  • Caldeirada de Peixe -stewed fish
  • Salt cod or bacalhau

Touring Portugal with a dog

Portugal is slowly becoming more dog-friendly. Dogs are now welcome in cafes and restaurants and are allowed on trains- make sure you have a muzzle and their paperwork.

Read more:  changes affecting travelling to Europe with a dog after BREXIT

They are not allowed on many beaches in summer and are not allowed into public places like museums. Small dogs in crates are allowed on buses and trams; large dogs are unwelcome on most of them.

Don’t forget how hot it gets in summer and to make sure your dog is comfortable. Do NOT leave them in your motorhome or camper on a sunny day- vans heat up just like cars do. Here are some tips to keep your dog cool on a road trip.

To return into the UK you’ll need a vet on the continent to administer a worming treatment and then allow between 24 hours and 5 days before re-entering the UK.

Be warned, there are MANY stray dogs (and cats) in Portugal- more than I’ve seen anywhere else in Europe. Feeding them is a bit like feeding seagulls…

Using a drone in Portugal

You are allowed to take and fly your drone in Portugal, but they are VERY hot on privacy laws and recording people without their permission- especially if you then upload the footage to Youtube or something.

READ MORE: What’s the best travel drone (and how to choose)

Drones and similar remote-controlled flying devices must be kept at least a minimum 150m from people, vehicles and buildings that are not connected with the drone operator. Flying must happen in daylight only and up to a maximum height of 120m. Never fly closer than 5km to airports. The drone must always remain within the sight of the operator.

Please check for local regulations and military or other special restricted areas where all the aforementioned activities are forbidden by law.  Here are current rules .

Other posts you might find useful:

  • Motorhoming in Spain- complete guide
  • Unmissable road trip ideas for Europe
  • The best logbooks to record and remember your road trip
  • Essential motorhome checks to do before you travel

See all our Europe travel tips and ideas

Campervanning in Portugal- complete guide on how to tour Portugal in a van.

Kat never planned to buy a motorhome. She also never planned to quit her job as an air traffic controller, go touring around Europe in said motorhome, start one of the UK’s largest motorhome travel websites… or get a cocker spaniel.

Find out how she went from stuck in the rat race to being a digital nomad and inspiring thousands of people to have their own epic adventures here.

If you’d like to connect with Kat, send her an email or follow her adventures on social media.

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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10 best campervan & motorhome/rv rentals in portugal [2024] (by someone who's actually been in a camper).

Cazzy Magennis

We took our wonderful campervan (named Helen) to Portugal back in 2022 for an EPIC road trip around Portugal.

And, in our opinion, the best way to road trip Portugal is by renting a campervan or motorhome!

Sure, you could hire a car in Portugal , but we found that having our own camper here offered us so much more flexibility in terms of where we stayed each night.

There is so much to see on a Portugal road trip, from the stunning Douro Valley (I recommend you camp overnight on a vineyard!), to the fairytale castles of Sintra, to the famous beaches of the south! 

Luckily, the market for rentals is now expanding, meaning there's more choices on offer for campervan and motorhome rental companies in Portugal. 

But, there is so much research needed when choosing the best firm for you (uughhhhh, right?!) so we have done all the hard work for you!

In this guide, we have included the best motorhome rentals in Portugal, and the best campervan rentals in Portugal; along with a quick description of what each one offers.

As well as the best way to save money when you book!

Looking for a SUPER QUICK answer? Then head on over to Go See (Motorhome Republic) and start comparing campervan rentals in Portugal right now!

Want more details on specific companies?....then let's get stuck in!


How to book your chosen camper or motorhome rental

By far the best way to book your rental in Portugal is through a company called Motorhome Republic .

They have ( by a very long way ) the biggest database of campers and motorhomes across Europe.

They are essentially a comparison site which lets you search by your chosen dates and pick-up/drop-off locations to find the best possible deal.

A quick search on their site will show you which companies are available for your dates, saving you a LOT of time and effort.

Motorhome Republic Portugal Campervan and Motorhomes for Rent

For the best rental firms below, I have included their link to Motorhome Republic wherever possible as I recommend that's where you begin your search.

By far the best reason to book through Motorhome Republic is their Vehicle Guarantee . Meaning, if you book with a firm and then something happens like your vehicle suddenly becomes unavailable due to an accident or some other unforeseen incident, GoSee will personally find you the equivalent rental with a different company.

No other company can offer this, making Motorhome Republic unique. On top of this they have a huge team of support staff to help you with your booking 24/7.

For more info, read our in-depth review of GoSee Travel (Motorhome Republic) .

1. Camperline - Best campervan rental in Portugal

  • Pick up/drop off location/s - Faro, Lisbon & Porto
  • Price range - $-$$$ 
  • Best suited for - Couples & Families 
  • Availability - Check here

Camperline Campers in Portugal

Camperline is a great company, dedicated to those who travel in a campervan. Offering perhaps the widest and best range of campervan rentals in Portugal.

This is also popular choice amongst travellers as they offer third party insurance on all their rentals. 

Another added bonus is the unlimited mileage on rentals you hire for five days or more. Otherwise, they are capped at 500 kilometres per day if you are opting for less than five days.

The app and website are pretty user-friendly, and the consultants speak a range of different languages to accommodate people. 

Whether you are travelling as a couple or a family, you are sure to find something to suit your needs. 

Vehicles on offer:

Camperline offers five different classes of motorhomes ranging from class 0 to VIP class. 

Class 0 are simple self-contained motorhomes with a toilet, shower and small cooking area accommodating two people. As the classes increase, they fit more people and have a lot more space and facilities. 

The VIP class is for those looking for a more luxurious experience. It contains a lot more additional space and includes a bathroom and shower. 

You can add any optional extras if you need, e.g. WiFi hotspot, tables, chairs, baby seats etc. 

2. McRent - Best motorhome rental in Portugal

  • Pick up/drop off location/s - Algarve, Coimbra, Lisbon, Porto 
  • Price range - $- $$

McRent Campervan Rentals Portugal

One of the largest rental companies in Europe, McRent is a highly trusted motorhome rental company in Portugal. 

You will find many positive reviews online, and they have years of experience, so you are sure to be satisfied! 

The company stands out as they take many extra measures in terms of hygiene and disinfecting with the current pandemic. 

They also have a focus on sustainability and encourage users to treat the environment respectfully. 

If you’re also planning to visit a few other countries around Europe, McRent is an excellent option to consider as you are sure to find depots all over different countries. They are one of our top picks for camper/motorhome rentals in Wales , Scotland and Portugal!

McRent currently offers four different types of vehicles: urban, compact, family and comfort. 

The Urban class vehicles are suited for smaller getaways. The comfort plus can fit four adults and is much larger designed for longer journeys. 

All of the vehicles are quite spacious and equipped with basic kitchen and bathroom facilities. They also come with unlimited mileage and a comprehensive insurance cover.

3. SouthCamper

  • Pick up/drop off location/s - Spain
  • Price range - $$-$$$ 
  • Best suited for - Families 

SouthCamper Motorhomes

If you’re arriving in Spain but don’t want to miss out on visiting Portugal you can consider SouthCamper for your next family journey! This is another rental motorhome company that offers a variety of different vehicles as per your needs.

We love that the depots are located close to the airport, and SouthCamper offers free transport to and from the hub, which will save you so much hassle.

Enjoy the extra peace of mind knowing you will receive comprehensive insurance and get 24/7 breakdown assistance if required.

If you’re looking to cover Portugal and Spain in one trip, this company is a great choice as they have many depots located all around Spain. 

Their vehicles are designed for families or bigger groups. The smallest campervan sleeps two adults and two children, while the larger ones fit four or five adults.

All the campervans contain a kitchen and bathroom as well as an awning and bike racks.

The company offers only new vehicles which are a maximum of 2.5 years old which gives a lot of satisfaction to customers.

Like other companies, you can purchase extra add ons such as WIFI and GPS.

4. Ocean Camper

  • Pick up/drop off location/s - Faro 
  • Price range - $-$$
  • Best suited for - Singles & Couples 

Ocean Camper Campervan Rentals in Portugal

Ocean Camper is a great contender for the perfect motorhome if you’re looking to explore the Algarve coast with freedom. 

They specialize in mini campervans for up to two people. 

You will be picked up from the airport and transferred from Faro city, beaches or airport free of cost. 

The staff are accommodating, and the company is known for excellent customer service. 

Even though the campervans may seem highly compact, it contains everything you will need! 

They offer three different campervan models: Vagabond, Atlantic and Nomad.

The Nomad is an older campervan with no air-conditioning and a radio aux cable perfect for those on a budget.

Vagabond and Atlantic are newer models with features such as air conditioning, cruise control, electric window openers and Bluetooth.

All the campervans are complete with two seats in the front and a double bed at the back. You also get a full set of camping equipment to use for free on your journey. 

You might also like: Best Campervan Accessories

5. The Getaway van

  • Pick up/drop off location/s - Porto 
  • Price range - $ 
  • Best suited for - Couples, Families & Pets 

The Getaway Van Campervan Rentals Portugal

If you’re looking to make a mark, the stylish painted motorhomes from ‘The Getaway Van’ will be perfect for you.

The Getaway Van is a small family-owned business that is not looking to expand into a huge company but remains close to its customers and ensures they feel supported throughout their journey around Portugal.

If you want to take your pets travelling with you, all the vehicles they offer are pet-friendly.

You can also enjoy the flexibility of working remotely whilst you travel as all the vans give access to unlimited wireless internet.

Make anywhere your home with unlimited kilometres and campervans equipped with everything you will need.

All the vans are fitted with a double bed, dining area, kitchen area, air conditioning and outdoor hot shower. 

The majority of the campervans they offer can fit four people whilst they offer a few for five people. 

You can even enjoy a seaside breakfast as the campervan is packed with a kitchen and all the essentials. There are also multiple sockets included to plug your devices in. 

The vans are extremely easy to drive around Portugal. Even if you encounter any problems along the way, the team is extremely helpful and offers 24/7 roadside assistance.

6. Vanscape

  • Pick up/drop off location/s- Lisbon & Porto 
  • Price range - $$- $$$

Vanscape Campervan Rentals Portugal

Vanscape is another small motorhome rental company hoping to help you to discover the best things to see in Portugal .

The company aims for people to feel at home even when they are travelling through the remote areas of the country. 

You will enjoy the opportunity to disconnect whilst you are surrounded by a homely environment. 

Each of the Campervans they offer are stylish and spacious with a vintage look.  

The company currently offers seven different coloured vans, each with its own qualities. 

Each motorhome is equipped with the basics such as a solar panel, fridge and water heater. 

Guests will save money by cooking their own meals as a cooker, and cooking utensils are included. 

Like other rental companies, you can purchase additional extras such as a wifi router, bicycle, tent and other items. 

7. Fly “n” Surf

  • Pick up/drop off location/s - Porto, Faro, Lisbon 
  • Best suited for - Singles, Couples & Small Families 

Fly N Surf Portugal Campervan Rentals

Enjoy Portugal’s coastline by renting an affordable campervan and exploring the destination at your own pace. 

Everything about Fly N Surf says fun, freedom and enjoyment. The vehicles don’t have any big branding, so it’s perfect for those who want to be discreet. 

The campervans they provide are primarily normal vans that have been transformed into campervans and contain a large bed and storing area.

Fly n Surf are a wonderful company offering campervans for an easy-going holiday 

The company offers two camper models.

The first model, known as 'The Economist', is available at just €36 per day. In this basic model, you get all the basic necessities such as a gas stove, surfboard storage, camping table, chair and pillows. You will need to bring a sleeping bag, but they will provide it if you don't have one.

‘The second model is 'The Spaceship', which is much bigger and can accommodate up to four people. It is equipped with all kitchen facilities, a pump and a camping shower.

There is a range of additional items available you can purchase for an extra fee. 

  • Pick up/drop off location/s - Nationwide 

Yescapa Motorhomes for Rent in Portugal

Yescapa is similar to Airbnb, but instead of houses, you rent campervans. 

This company allows you to rent campervans from people rather than larger companies. 

It’s quite a simple process. You will be connected to a campervan host after choosing your vehicle and location for pickup based on your requirements.  

Because they operate across Europe, they can also offer more competitive rates to customers depending on the season and availability.

There is a range of vehicles available with Yescapa. You can choose from 2, 4, 5 or 6 berths, each offering a unique experience. 

You will be able to see a detailed outline of what is included in the price of each campervan or motorhome. 

The listings also come with reviews, so you will be able to view feedback from previous guests. 

9. Indie Campers

  • Pick up/drop off location/s - Porto, Lisbon & Faro 

Indie Campers Portugal Campervans for Rent

Indie Campers is a famous campervan rental company that was founded in Lisbon in 2013 by two friends. The company takes a more modern approach by offering a fully digital experience. 

If you stay longer, you will also get a better discount. You can even enjoy added peace of mind as you can cancel your trip for a full refund up to 15 days before your trip. 

They are a great choice if you are planning to travel around other cities, as they have expanded and operate across 14 different European countries. Helping them become one of the top picks for camper rentals in the UK , as well as plenty of other popular European countries.

Enjoy a digital and personalised experience of your trip around Portugal. Indie Campers will be able to accommodate the needs of all modern day travellers. 

The company offers eight different types of campervans to rent, which you can choose directly from the Indie Campers website, depending on your requirements. 

When you start your trip, you will be introduced to how everything around the campervan works to ensure you have a smooth journey.  

You can choose to add on different things to your rental for an extra fee, such as a heater, outdoor table and chairs or a small BBQ. If you work on the go or want to watch YouTube, Netflix or Prime, you can pay €20 for a WIFI hotspot, so you’re covered for the entire trip. 

10. Siesta Campers

  • Pick up/drop off location/s - Porto, Lisbon, Faro 
  • Price range - $$-$$$
  • Best suited for - Couples, Families and Groups 

Siesta Campers Campervans and Motorhomes

Siesta Campers is another great pick for renting a camper in Portugal.

Because they specialise in vintage VW vehicles! As well as a range of super modern VW's. So it's a win-win whether you want all the mod-cons, or an epic taste of nostalgia.

Better still, each of the iconic VW vehicles has been created with passion and love. 

With over 20 years of experience in custom building VW vans and being on the road, this family-owned company is determined to create an unforgettable experience for anyone travelling around Portugal. 

They offer classic VW vehicles right through from the 1970's to the present day. 

This is made up of ten different VW vehicles ; each has its own unique personality. Most of their vehicles fit four people comfortably. 

Every campervan comes fully equipped with a fridge, cooker, shower, toilet, kitchen kit, sheets, pillows, tables and chairs. All of the equipment and materials are high quality and sourced responsibly.

There are also many optional extras you can choose from. All of the modern campervans are under two years old.

The campers maintain incredibly high standards and top quality. Staff is also extremely helpful if you need help planning your journey, and you will also be given 24/7 roadside assistance if required.  

We also love that Siesta Campers is helping to reforest Portugal! The company recently purchased a protected nature reserve and plants one tree for every rental.

Recently they began offering portable chemical toilets free of charge to keep waste where it belongs. Their sustainability efforts also include a transition to fully electric campervans.

Important to note:

  • They offer a one-way hire option between their rental locations in Lisbon, Porto & Faro for anyone wishing to pick up and drop off in different locations.
  • Their modern vans can be taken outside of Portugal.
  • Siesta Campers offers a 100% money back guarantee and a transparent pricing policy with no hidden fees or service charges.

Portugal Campervan / Motorhome Hire FAQ

campervan travel portugal

How much does it cost to rent a campervan in Portugal?

The approximate range you can expect to pay is between 50 and 100 for smaller campers and between 100-180 for larger and more luxurious motorhomes in Portugal. 

Another factor to consider is what time of the year you will be travelling. Prices will increase during the high season around July and August.  

The prices will depend on what size campervan you choose to rent and whether or not you purchase extra top-ups such as GPS, WIFI or other features.

Can you wild camp in Portugal in a campervan?

The rules do change often but currently, as of 2021, wild camping is generally prohibited in Portugal. It’s essential also to avoid nature parks and reserves as it could incur a heavy penalty.  

Where can you go with a motorhome in Portugal?

You can surely drive your motorhome through most cities and towns in Portugal as roads are pretty well maintained.

When you are travelling through mountain ranges or old heritage villages; make sure to check the route of your travel and beware of narrow streets as you may have to look for alternatives. 

Check out our guide on the best things to do in Portugal ; which we saw all of our in our camper, so you will be fine as well!

How old do you need to be to hire a motorhome in Portugal?

The minimum age for driving a motorhome in Portugal is 21 years old, while the maximum age is 75. 

There are also additional terms and conditions with different companies. You need to be over 25 to book the larger motorhomes, so be sure to check all the regulations with the company before travelling. 

Can you park a campervan anywhere in Portugal?

Portugal is one of the most motorhome friendly countries in Europe so you won’t need to worry too much! 

But for clarity, here are the exact rules on campervans and motorhome in Portugal

Previously, wild camping in Portugal had minimal restrictions, but as of the beginning of 2021, a complete ban was imposed on wild camping, requiring motorhomes to park exclusively in approved sites after 7pm.

However, regulations shifted once more on August 25th, 2021.

Right now, wild camping is permitted in Portugal under strict guidelines with location and duration.

According to the current law, overnight stays and motorhome parking are prohibited in Natura 2000 Network areas, protected zones, and areas designated by Coastal Plans, except in expressly authorized locations.

In other parts of the country, motorhomes authorized by the IMT (Institute of Mobility and Transport) can stay overnight for a maximum of 48 hours within the same municipality. Essentially, for your purpose, wild camping is now restricted unless their motorhome is IMT-approved.

But don't you worry, there are numerous ASAs (Service Areas for Motorhomes) that offer essential amenities such as water refills and waste disposal. They provide legal overnight stays at a nominal cost of a few euros per night and typically come with a nice view!

We've also just asked people if we can park overnight in their carpark, or outside ther building, and we never had a no!

Not to menion all the winieres you can also stay in overnight!!

But if wild camping isn't your thing, there are many designated campsites throughout the country for you to park your motorhome. We stayed in some lovely campsites, one had a pool and was right next to a golf club! (so naturally Brad played!) You also have the choice of parking at a free parking spot. 

Check out some websites such as or apps such as ‘ park4night ’, which will allow you to book a parking slot in advance. 

For more help planning your visit to Portugal, check out our epic 10 day Portugal road trip itinerary .

For any other questions, just drop a comment below!

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Campervanning in Portugal – The Best Guide to Portugal Vanlife

  • December 11, 2023
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Campervanning in Portugal is one of the best ways to experience this beautiful and diverse country. In this guide, I share everything you need to know about Portugal vanlife, so you can come fully prepared and ready to explore.

When it comes to the best campervan destinations in Europe, Portugal often tops the list. With endless rugged coastlines, bustling cultural cities, and so much more, it’s not too difficult to see why.

We recently spent a couple of months touring Portugal in our self-converted campervan . We fell in love with its diversity, culture, wine, and, of course, its unrivalled winter climate.

In this guide, I aim to share everything we learned about driving a campervan or motorhome in Portugal. Things like road laws and regulations, where to camp, and the best places to visit.

There is plenty to consider when it comes to vanlife in Portugal. So please read the entire article to ensure you remain safe and compliant and make the most of your trip.

But with all that said, let’s jump into it. Here’s our ultimate guide to campervanning in Portugal.

Vanlife Portugal

Disclosure:  Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you purchase a product through these links, we will earn a small commission  at no extra cost to you.  And we can continue bringing you free tips and advice. If you found the content helpful and are kind enough to use our affiliates –  you are awesome, and we thank you! 

Driving to Portugal in a Campervan or Motorhome

When planning your campervan trip to Portugal, the first thing you’ll want to work out is how you’ll get there.

Whether you’re driving from the UK to Portugal or from elsewhere in Europe, this section will give you a few options to think about.

Alternatively, if you’re looking to rent a campervan while in Portugal, I also have some information on that.

Driving from the UK to Portugal

The most popular way of driving to Portugal from the UK is to cross over into France, then head South into Spain and on to Portugal.

Unfortunately, it sounds easier than it actually is. There are a lot of miles to cover between the UK and Portugal. You can expect to be driving at the very least for two whole days.

Also to take into consideration are the costs of completing such a drive. First, there’s your crossing from the UK to France, then your fuel, and on top of that, there’s likely to be tolls.

Tolls in France are notoriously expensive. There are ways of avoiding them, but they can add a significant amount of time to your journey.

I talk more about the difference between toll and no-toll roads further down.

Ideally, you will have enough time to stop over in France and Spain on your way through. That’s what we did, which helped break up the journey.

If not, you can find a breakdown of different campervan routes from the UK to Portugal in this article.

Portugal from UK

Ferry Crossing from the UK to Portugal

Sadly there are no direct ferries from the UK to Portugal. However, there are crossings into Spain which might be an option if you don’t fancy the long drive.

The two closest ports to the Portuguese border are Santander and Bilbao. Brittany Ferries have regular sailings from Portsmouth or Plymouth, and the crossing takes around 24-30 hours.

The issues with this option arise if a) you’re travelling with a dog or b) you get seasick!

While each crossing has pet-friendly cabins available, they often sell out months in advance. If you miss those, your only option is to keep your dog in the onboard kennels.

Then there’s the crossing itself. You will be crossing the Bay of Biscay, renowned for its rough sailing conditions. So if you get at all seasick, it might be wise to avoid it.

Driving from Somewhere Else in Europe

Regardless of where you are driving from in Europe, your road trip will ultimately lead you through Spain.

There are several routes that you can take through Spain. It will all depend on where exactly you are coming from and whether or not you want to make some stops along the way.

Either way, as long as you drive from another Schengen country, you can travel freely into Portugal without border checks.

Portugal Motorhoming

Renting a Campervan in Portugal

If you don’t have your own home on wheels yet, renting a campervan in Portugal is always an option.

With the rise of vanlife in Portugal, there are many campervan and motorhome rental companies from which you can rent a van.

Two of the more popular companies include Indie Campers and Siesta Campers, who have depots in Lisbon, Porto, and Faro. But there are plenty of others if you decide to shop around.

Regardless of who you rent a campervan from, you can expect to have everything you need for a convenient and comfortable trip.

Things like cooking facilities, a comfortable bed, running water, and campervan electrics  should come as standard. So be sure to check all of that before committing to your rental.

To rent any vehicle in Portugal, you’ll need to be over 21 (sometimes over 25, depending on the rental company), you’ll need a valid passport or identification, and you’ll need to of held your driving license for over one year.

It’s also your responsibility to check that the vehicle you hire has the required safety equipment for driving in Portugal. You can find more information about that in our road laws and regulations section.

Related Read

Campervan Gift Ideas

Vanlife Portugal FAQs

Since returning from our Portugal campervan adventures, we’ve been b0mbarded with questions about our trip. 

Here I answer the most common ones, excluding those about road laws and regulations. I have an entire section on that further down the article.

campervan travel portugal

Best Time to Visit Portugal in a Campervan

There are a few things to consider when planning the best time to visit Portugal. So here’s a quick rundown of what to expect during the different seasons.

December to February 

The winter climates can vary wildly in Portugal. For example, there might be snow and sub-zero temperatures in the north. Whereas the South Coast can see temperatures of 20 degrees plus.

Yes, The Algarve has dreamy, all-year-round weather conditions. With a winter that most of us can only dream of, thousands of vanlifers flock there, searching for some winter sun.

It still gets rather chilly at night though, so you’ll want to pack some warm and cosy clothes. Especially if you don’t have heating in your campervan!

March to May

As spring starts to bloom in Portugal, you can expect pleasant temperatures throughout the country.

It can be a great time to visit Portugal, as it’s still out of season. Meaning fewer people and, quite often, cheaper rates at campsites and aires.

While we’ve not experienced Portugal at this time of year, it’s meant to be the perfect time to admire the wildflowers and plants that blossom across the countryside and nature parks.

Serra Da Estrela National Park

June to August

As we approach the Summer months, temperatures soar, and so does the number of visitors. With that brings busier roads, crowded beaches and inflated prices.

If you are set on visiting Portugal during the summer months, I suggest going in June or early July to avoid the summer school holidays.

However, do keep in mind that it’s common for temperatures to reach 30 degrees plus, which could be quite uncomfortable when travelling by campervan.

September to November

The autumn months might be the best time to visit Portugal. We went at this time of year, so I might be biased, but I couldn’t have wished for anything more from our time there.

The weather was fantastic. Dry & sunny but rarely too hot, and I can count on one hand how many times it rained. The climate doesn’t allow for much autumn foliage, but it’s beautiful nonetheless.

By this time, the summer crowds have died down, so that you can enjoy quieter beaches and cities. Parking enforcements for campervans also seem more relaxed at this time of year.

Porto Itinerary

Is it Safe to Drive in Portugal?

Driving in Portugal is relatively safe and stress-free. Roads are generally in good condition, and other road users aren’t as erratic as they are in, say, Germany or Italy.

You will still want to have your wits about you, though. I noticed that many drivers don’t like using their indicators, and it’s not uncommon for them to cut across you unexpectedly.

The toll roads allow for the safest and quietest driving conditions; however, they can be expensive, so you’ll want to be selective.

It can also be stressful around big cities like Porto or Lisbon, so I would avoid driving in the city centres if you’re not a confident driver.

If you want to visit these cities, look for Park & Rides or Campsites nearby. That way, you can leave your van in a secure place and use public transport to visit the city.

We have some tips further down on places to stay with your campervan in Portugal.

campervan travel portugal

Can I Travel with my Pet?

Yes. You are permitted to travel with selected pets to Portugal. These include dogs, cats, and ferrets; however, they must meet certain requirements.

It’s vital that you check the requirements for each country you travel to. Rules change all the time, and you don’t want to find yourself in a position where your pet is quarantined.  

At the time of writing, pets travelling to Portugal from the UK need the following:

  • A microchip
  • A valid rabies vaccination
  • An animal health certificate*
  • Tapeworm treatment – administered at least 24 hours and no more than 120 hours before returning to the UK.

*Please note that pet passports issued in Great Britain are no longer valid.

We found the easiest way to cross over to France with a dog is by the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle. That way, you all stay inside your vehicle and won’t have to put your pup into the kennels.

Campervanning Portugal

Do I need a Visa?

Most tourists travelling to Portugal do not need a visa. However, from November 2023, the EU will introduce the ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System).

It will be an electronic system that keeps track of visitors from countries who do not need a visa to enter the Schengen Zone. It’s expected to be a quick enough process and will cost around 7€.

How Long Can I Stay in Portugal?

Tourists travelling with a passport issued outside of the Schengen area can stay for 90 days in any 180-day period.

It’s confusing to understand, but from the date you enter a Schengen country, any visits to the Schengen in the previous 180 days count towards your 90-day allowance.

If your passport was issued within the Schengen area, you are free to stay as long as you like. Lucky so and so’s!  

Couple in Portugal

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Costs of Campervanning in Portugal

If you’re wondering what a campervanning adventure in Portugal might cost you, here’s a quick breakdown of expenses*.

  • Ferry Crossing: 100 – 200 GBP
  • Channel Tunnel: 75 – 200 GBP
  • Fuel: 10 – 30 GBP  / Day
  • Insurance: 100 GBP
  • Breakdown: 25 GBP
  • Tolls: 0 – 25 GBP / Day
  • Food: 20 – 40 GBP / Day
  • Camping: 10 – 40 GBP / Day

*Based on 2 people travelling from the UK to Portugal.

Crossing the Spain/Portugal Border

It’s a straightforward process of crossing the border from Spain into Portugal. In fact, we didn’t even realise we’d crossed the border until our phones updated.

That’s because the Schengen area is a travel zone without borders. It allows both EU and non-EU residents to travel freely between the 27 Schengen countries without border checks.

National authorities can still carry out police checks at the borders. But this has only ever happened to us when travelling at night and never when crossing into Portugal.

Converted Ford Transit Camper

Can I Take Food Across the Border?

You will have no issues taking food across the Spain/Portugal border; however, there are restrictions when travelling from the UK to France.

Travellers from the UK are not allowed to bring meat, milk, or any products that contain them into the EU.

There are some exemptions. For example, powdered infant milk, infant food, and special foods or pet feed required for medical reasons. 

You can find more information on the  European Commission website.

 Staying Connected

If you’re travelling from the UK or elsewhere in Europe, you should be able to use your own SIM card in Portugal. But first, check with your provider about any applicable roaming charges.

If steep roaming charges apply, consider getting a local e-sim  instead.

Portugal has good 4G signal in most places. It’s only when travelling to more remote locations that you may not get service.

Tip: We use the  Huawei B535 4G wifi router  to help improve internet coverage when staying in remote areas.

campervan travel portugal

Portugal Motorhome Road Laws & Regulations

This section aims to provide accurate information regarding local road laws and regulations when driving a campervan in Portugal.

Remember, it’s your responsibility to ensure you adhere to local guidelines, not only in Portugal but in the other countries you drive through to get there.

It’s not uncommon for local authorities to pull tourists over for routine checks. They can issue on-the-spot fines if you do not carry the correct documentation or safety equipment.

Documents to Carry

Here is a list of documents that you’ll need to carry when driving in Portugal:

  • Passport or other valid identification.
  • A full, valid, and in-date driving license.
  • International driving permit if required*
  • Motor insurance – make sure you’re covered for driving in Europe.
  • European breakdown cover (Not compulsory but recommended).
  • Personal travel insurance (Not compulsory but recommended).
  • Animal health certificate if travelling with a pet.
  • V5 registration document displaying your current address. 

*If you have a driving license issued in the UK or another EU country, you shouldn’t need an  International Driving Permit . You might need one, however, if you only have a paper driving licence or a licence issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man.

campervan travel portugal

Equipment to Carry

In addition to the required documentation above, drivers are required to carry the following items:

  • Hi-vis reflective jackets  – (mandatory to carry in your vehicle and wear if you need to get out of your car on the carriageway).
  • Warning triangle – not compulsory but recommended.
  • Headlight beam converters  – unless you have a vehicle that allows you to adjust the beam for European driving.
  • ‘UK sticker’ on the back of the vehicle – GB stickers are no longer valid.
  • Spare tyre and a tyre changing kit  – not compulsory but recommended.

Tip – Remember, France, Spain and other EU countries have their own requirements. So be sure to check if there’s any additional equipment you’ll need for driving to Portugal.

Ford Transit Camper Conversion

Portugal Speed Limits

Portugal uses the metric system for all road signage, which means speed limits, distances, etc., are displayed using kilometres. 

You must observe and adhere to local speed limits. Not only for safety reasons but to avoid any fines. 

If you don’t have a kilometre speed gauge in your vehicle, be sure to  know your conversions  to avoid unintentionally going over the speed limit.

Contrary to popular belief, it can follow you home if you commit a driving offence in Portugal. This is a result of the  EU cross-border directive, which was enacted in May 2017.

Campervans Under 3,500 Kg

  • In built-up areas: 50km/h (unless indicated otherwise by a road sign)
  • Outside built-up areas:  90km/h – 100km/h (unless indicated otherwise by a road sign)
  • Motorways:  120km/h

Campervans Over 3,500 Kg

  • I n built-up areas: 50km/h (unless indicated otherwise by a road sign)
  • Outside built-up areas: 70km/h
  • Motorways : 80km/h

campervan travel portugal

Portugal Toll Roads

Some of the motorways in Portugal have tolls, so you’ll need to plan your route accordingly. Most digital apps like Google or Apple maps allow you to avoid tolls if you’d prefer.

Routes with tolls are generally much quicker as the roads are quieter and in better condition. However, they are often less scenic compared to the non-toll routes.

Compared to other EU countries, it’s not so easy to Pay as you Go when using Portugal’s toll roads. Most motorways only accept electronic payment, which can be a bit of a pain.

The best option for electronic tolls is pre-ordering the Via Verde Visitor Transponder. 

You place the transponder in the front of your vehicle and fees are automatically deducted from the credit or debit card associated with it.

If, like us, you’re already on the road when finding out this information, do not fear. There are other options:

EasyToll  – You can sign up for EasyToll at any of the  4 border points. Here you’ll provide your payment details and a photo of your vehicle registration. Each time you pass a toll, payment will be taken automatically.

Pre-Paid Toll Card  – You can purchase these at your local Post Office. You’ll add pre-paid credit to it and then activate it over text message.

Pay Online – Finally, you can check and pay your electronic tolls online at Click on “Easytoll Services” and enter the requested information.

Rules of the Road Vanlife Portugal

More Rules of the Road in Portugal

Here are some more tips, tricks, and things to know about driving a campervan or motorhome in Portugal.

  • Dash Cams – Any dash cam or device that actively detects speed cameras or interferes with police transmissions is prohibited by law.
  • Road Use – In Portugal, motorists drive on the right and overtake on the left.
  • Right of Way – Drivers coming from the right have the right of way on junctions and roundabouts.
  • Horns – Horns should be used in moderation and never at night in built-up areas.
  • Seat Belts – It’s compulsory to wear seat belts.
  • Accidents – In the event of an accident, you should stop safely and use your hazard lights and warning triangle to alert other drivers. Exchange details with the other parties involved (use a translation app if required) and take plenty of photos to attach to your claim. You’ll also need to complete the  EU Accident Statement. 
  • Emergency Number –  112 will connect you to the emergency services.
  • Towing – Campervans or motorhomes with trailers are not allowed to exceed 18.75 metres in length, 4 metres in height and 2.55 metres in width. Loads must be at most 10 tonnes at a single axle.
  • Children – All children under 12 years of age and measuring under 1.35m must travel in a child restraint system adapted to their size and weight.
  • Low Emission Zones – Portugal has one low-emission zone in Lisbon.  Click here  for more information.

Portugal Vanlife

Portugal Campervan Services

Here I will briefly go through the various services you’re likely to require when driving a campervan through Portugal. 

Petrol is known as Sem Chumbo (95/98), and Diesel is known as Gasóleo. Fuel is readily available throughout Portugal. You can use Google Maps to locate your closest petrol station and compare prices.

Many fuel stations are open 24 hours, and you pay using a self-service card machine. Most of our UK credit and debit cards worked, but our EasyFX travel card did not.

At some fuel stations on the motorways, you might find that you have to pre-pay for your petrol with the cashier. 

In our experience, the price of fuel fluctuates throughout the country; however, generally, it’s on par with the UK.


The most popular supermarkets in Portugal are Lidl, Aldi, Continente and Intermarche. 

Lidl and Aldi are great for everyday items, such as fruits, veggies, meats, etc. However, if you want branded items or international ingredients, Continente has a better selection.

Again, the cost of groceries is on par with the UK. But you can expect to pay a premium for the brands you love at home.

Shopping locally and seasonally is most cost-effective when touring in Portugal.

campervan travel portugal

If you run out of gas when campervanning in Portugal, you shouldn’t have too much trouble refilling or getting a replacement.

We use the  Campingaz 907 Cylinder, which you can exchange at hundreds of outlets in Portugal and other EU countries.

LPG is also readily available at most petrol stations. 

Dump Stations & Water Refills

If you plan on doing a lot of wild camping in Portugal, you’ll need to know where you can find essential campervan services such as dump stations and water refills.

You can locate these easily on  campervanning apps  like  Park4Night  or searchforsites . 

It’s also worth checking with local aires or campsites as they may allow you to use their services for a small fee.

Campervanning in Portugal - Where to Sleep

OK, we’ve got all the essential (and, let’s face it, boring) information out of the way. So now, it’s time to start planning the fun stuff.

Here I’m going to run through all your options regarding stopovers in Portugal. By that, I mean places where you can stay overnight in your campervan or motorhome. 

Portugal Campsites

Wild Camping in Buttermere, Lake District

Campsites are pretty much everywhere in Portugal. They range from the extremely basic and budget-friendly to the more expensive and more luxurious end of the scale.

A basic campsite can cost as little as 5-10 a night. For this price, you’ll get a pitch to park your campervan and use of essential services but little else.

For 10-20 a night, you can usually expect an electric hook-up (link) plus onsite facilities such as showers and toilets.

Campsites at the higher end of the scale often have swimming pools, restaurants, and evening entertainment. 

It’s worth noting that many campsites in Portugal close down during the off-season. As a result, campsites that remain open often get booked up months in advance.

For excellent deals on campsites throughout Portugal, we recommend  booking with Eurocampings .

Tip: If you’re travelling outside the peak season, it’s worth investing in an ACSI Camping Card. The card allows for discounted rates at campsites all over Europe, including Portugal!

Portugal Campervan Aires

campervan travel portugal

Aires are approved overnight parking places for campervans and motorhomes. 

They operate similarly to what campsites do; however, you cannot book them. They operate on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

There are two types of campervan aires in Portugal – Municipal Aires and Commercial Aires.

Municipal Aires (sometimes called ASAs) are mostly found near larger towns and cities. They are generally free and offer essential campervan services. 

The general rule of Municipal Aires is to stay at most 2-3 nights. You also shouldn’t hang out washing or put camping chairs out as the authorities could move you on.

Commercial Aires, on the other hand, you have to pay for. They are usually around 10-12 a night and include EHU and basic facilities.

You can stay as long as you like at commercial aires, but remember; you cannot book them in advance.

You can locate Portugal’s campervan aires using vanlife apps such as  Park4Night  or searchforsites .

Portugal EasyCamp

Portugal EasyCamp

A fairly new concept on the Portugal vanlife scene, Portugal EasyCamp provides a sustainable alternative to traditional overnight stopovers.

The idea is to connect travellers with local businesses. It allows you to stay overnight at various locations, from vineyards and farms to rural tourism units. 

In exchange for your stay, you must buy a product or welcome pack from the landowners in advance. It’s a great deal considering the uniqueness of the experience.

It allows you to explore the real and rural side of Portugal, and you’ll also get to sample local produce and maybe even connect with a local family.

Ashamedly, we only just learned about this concept once returning from our Portugal road trip. But it’s certainly something we look forward to trying next time!

Wild Camping in Portugal

wild camping Portugal

Portugal has been a vanlife hotspot for years now. Long before the trend became popular, vanlifers would flock to The Algarve for its year-round climate and beautiful beaches.

Up until 2021, it was common to see campervans parked overnight in free car parks up and down the country. 

The authorities tolerated this behaviour so long as people were discreet and respected the environment.

After the pandemic hit, more and more people bought campervans and motorhomes. But unfortunately, not all of them were very sensible or considerate.

The lack of facilities at wild camping spots led people to leave their rubbish and excrement and dump their chemical toilets into the environment. 

Times this by hundreds and thousands of campervan owners, it’s no wonder the Portuguese government finally had enough.

Is Wild Camping in Portugal Legal?

After years of abuse and mistreatment of the environment, a new law was introduced in 2021 prohibiting campervans and motorhomes from wild camping.

Initially, the law stated that all campervans or motorhomes must stay overnight in a designated campsite or aire regardless of where you are in the country.

However, they later made an amendment, and this now only applies to protected areas, coastal zones, and national parks. 

Outside of protected areas, coastal zones and national parks, you can wild camp for up to 48 hours in a municipality, as long as there is no signage prohibiting it.

So, Can I Wild Camp?

Naturally, the rules do not stop people from wild camping in restricted areas. We ourselves wild camped on various occasions when touring Portugal and never once got ‘the knock’.

However, I believe we got lucky because we were campervanning Portugal out of season. I’ve heard plenty of stories of offenders getting fined during busier times of the year.

Of course, I do not encourage anybody to break the law. However, if you do choose to wild camp in Portugal, be sure to follow these  wild camping guidelines. 

And again, Park4Night and searchforsites are excellent apps for locating wild camping spots.

Watch Our Vlog Portugal Vanlife

Places to visit in portugal with a campervan .

From picturesque cities and charming towns to pristine beaches and natural parks, there are endless fascinating places to visit in Portugal.

Of course, how many places you’ll visit when campervanning in Portugal will depend on how much time you have. We were there for about six weeks, so we were able to cover a lot.

Below you’ll find a map of our campervan trip around Portugal, followed by a short write-up of recommended places to visit.

Unfortunately, we needed more time to visit all the places on this list. But I’ve also included the spots that are on our bucket list for next time.

Map of our Campervan Trip in Portugal

Peneda-gerês national park.

Penede Geres National Park

We are kicking off our list in the very north of the country. Peneda-Gerês National Park is the only protected area classified as such in all of Portugal.

The sprawling national park is a dream come true for lovers of hiking, nature, wild swimming, and other outdoor activities. 

Get lost amongst the rugged landscapes. Find waterfalls and wild swimming spots. Go canyoning or canoeing along the river. And discover medieval castles, monasteries and traditional villages.

The opportunities to adventure and connect with nature here are endless. Although I’m ashamed to say we missed it this time around, it’s a priority for our next trip

Porto Viewpoint

Our Portugal campervan adventures began in Porto – the second-largest city in Portugal (after Lisbon).

Honestly, we aren’t usually city people. We much prefer to get lost in nature. But we left Porto feeling incredibly grateful that we’d taken the time to visit.

With its impressive architecture, world-famous wine and cuisine, and budget-friendly prices, it’s easy to see why Porto’s popularity has exploded. It’s a beautiful and fascinating city.

I talk more about my favourite things to do around the city in this Porto weekend itinerary . You’ll only need a day or two to get around the highlights.

My only advice is to be cautious about where you leave your van when exploring Porto. Reports of campervan theft around Porto are high.

We parked our van free of charge at this park & ride location. A gentleman there watches over the vans, so we felt very safe leaving it while we were out exploring the city. 

weekend in porto itinerary

Douro Valley

Douro Valley

Another location we are gutted to of missed on our last trip is the jaw-dropping Douro Valley.

The Douro Valley is widely considered one of the most beautiful regions in all of Portugal. With its terraced vineyards and enchanting mountainous landscapes, it’s not too difficult to see why.

Located just 100km east of Porto, many vineyards that produce port wine are found here. It’s also home to charming villages, endless hiking opportunities, and breathtaking viewpoints.

It’s possible to take a day trip to Douro Valley from Porto . Or, if you have the time, I would visit there in your campervan and spend a few days enjoying the soul-soothing scenery.

Paiva Walkway Trail - Arouca

Paiva Walkway Trail

If you’re looking for something unique to do when campervanning in Portugal, I highly recommend the  Paiva Walkway Trail in Arouca.

The 8-km trail is part of the Arouca Geopark – recognised by UNESCO as a geological heritage site. The trail is made up of a series of wooden walkways that snake alongside the Paiva river. 

The route extends from Areinho to Espiunca, encountering a variety of natural scenery along the way. You may also see the Arouca suspension bridge – the second-largest of its kind in the world.

Be aware that dogs are not permitted on the trail, and there is no wheelchair or pushchair access.

Serra Da Estrella National Park

Serra Da Estrela National Park

Another unmissable spot for hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts is Serra Da Estrella National Park – home to the tallest mountain range in the country.

In contrast to the pristine trails that we experienced in the French Pyrenees, the hiking around Serra Da Estrella is rugged and almost eerie.

Huge boulders litter the landscapes (which reminded me a lot of Hampi in India), and there’s little to see in terms of flora and fauna. It’s bewitching nonetheless and well worth a visit.

We found this wild camping spot next to Vale do Rossim, one of our favourites in all of Portugal.

From here, we hiked to Covão dos Conchos – one of the most interesting attractions within the park – and spent time swimming and paddle boarding in the lake. It was fantastic!

Buçaco National Forest

Bucaco Forest

From Serra Da Estrella, we continued our Portugal road trip to the Buçaco National Forest – a 259-acre natural reserve and one of the most picturesque woodland areas in the country.

We stumbled upon this place while looking for hidden gems in Portugal. We knew we had to visit as soon as we saw the photos.

No less fascinating is the location’s rich history. Benedictine monks established a hermitage here as early as the 6th century, planting exotic tree species from their missions all around the world.

Navigating the moss-covered paths through the forest is like a journey through wonderland. Discover enchanting grottos, majestic ruins, and the star of the show, Buçaco monastery.

Coimbra Streets

If you are at all interested in Portuguese history, you may wish to add Coimbra to your vanlife Portugal itinerary. 

Coimbra is Portugal’s former capital city. It has a rich medieval history and boasts some of the country’s most acclaimed architectural wonders.

The most famous of them all is the University of Coimbra. Founded in 1290, the university is a UNESCO Heritage site and one of the oldest universities in Europe.

There’s plenty else to see as well. Be sure to meander the atmospheric streets of the medieval town, explore the grounds of the old cathedral and marvel at the beautiful Santa Cruz Church.

For overnight stays, there’s little in terms of campsites. You could try this municipal site, although the reviews aren’t very good.

We took our chances and wild-camped at this spot that we found on Park4Night.


Next, we visited our first coastal location in Portugal – the surfer’s paradise town of Nazaré.

If you’ve heard of Nazaré before, it’s likely because of its infamous surf conditions. Some of the highest waves ever recorded were in Nazaré, which is a magnet for extreme surfers.

Planning a trip around a natural spectacle is always risky, but the best time to see the enormous waves and the impressive surfers who brave them is between November and March.

Outside of that time, the coastline is still impressive. Praia do Norte, for example, is a vast expanse of beach that attracts surfers and tourists all year round.

As with most surfer towns, Nazaré itself is cool and vibey. Enjoy quirky restaurants and lively bars, or soak in the laidback atmosphere at one of its plentiful beaches.

Again, you’ll need to be careful where you park your van. I read many stories on Park4Night of vans being broken into. Your best bet would be to book a nearby campsite .


We continue your Portugal campervan trip to the country’s capital and one of the most picturesque cities in Europe.

As you would expect from any capital city, atmospheric Lisbon is teeming with things to do, see and eat. 

You’ll spend your time wandering charming cobbled streets, admiring the impressive architecture, and delighting yourself in local delicacies from pastel de nata to bacalhau.

This is a big, bustling city, so it’s not ideal for campervans or motorhomes. Many vanlifers stay at a campsite like this one  and use it as a base to visit both Lisbon and Sintra.

We didn’t get a chance to visit on our last trip, so I have no recommendations for wild camping, but there are plenty of options on Park4Night.


Located just 30km from Lisbon, Sintra is one of Portugal’s most extraordinary locations.

It’s basically a vast, majestic pine forest, home to whimsical fairy-tale palaces and other fascinating historic buildings.

Historically, the area of Sintra was a popular destination for Europe’s most wealthy and elite. They built their grand palaces and mansions here due to its slightly cooler climate.

While many people visit Sintra on a day trip from Lisbon , there’s plenty to be discovered here. You could easily spend 2-3 days enjoying its beautiful natural scenery and magnificent buildings.

Only Sintra is not at all motorhome friendly. That’s why many people stay at a  nearby campsite  and use public transport to get to and from the town. 

 Vicentine Coast Natural Park

campervan travel portugal

The Vicentine Coast Natural Park is a protected area of coastline that spans 100km along the southwest coast of Portugal.

While considerably less popular than the Algarve, there are plenty of reasons to visit this beautiful stretch of coastline. 

First of all, it’s one of the best-preserved coastlines in all of Europe. The dramatic cliffscapes and unusual rock formations are a prominent attraction.

Then there’s the diversity of wildlife, birdlife, and vegetation that you won’t find anywhere else in the country. Along with other highlights such as the local culture and excellent surf.

Of course, the park stretches over a vast area, so you might have to be picky about where you choose to visit. Sagres on the Southern tip should be on everyone’s must-visit list!

Remember, this is a protected natural park, so wild camping is not permitted! You can, however, find several campsites and aires.

The Algarve

Vanlife Algarve

We are rounding off our Portugal campervanning trip to one of our favourite locations in Europe – The Algarve!

There are many reasons why The Algarve is so famous amongst vanlifers and other travellers. 

Pristine beaches & remarkable rock formations, charming towns & villages, and a fantastic all-year-round climate, to name but a few. 

It’s also a fantastic location for outdoor activity enthusiasts. Enjoy excellent hiking in the Algarve, like the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, or learn to surf or paddleboard on Praia de Faro.

Again, there are countless places worth visiting in the Algarve. Some of my favourite spots include Lagos, Alvor , and Portimao.

Wild camping of any kind is not permitted in the Algarve. We did, however, wild camp for a few nights along Praia de Faro without any bother. Otherwise, there are plenty of campsites and aires. 

Campervanning Portugal

Campervanning Portugal Essentials

We are rounding off this Vanlife Portugal blog with some campervanning essentials. 

The items, apps, and services on this list come with us on every road trip – including Portugal. 

  • Security Camera : It’s always worth having a campervan security system . Van theft is rising, so the more advanced the system, the better.
  • Motion Sensor Alarm : Another deterrent should anybody attempt to get into your van.
  • Apple AirTag : You can hide this in your van; should the worst happen, it could help you track the location.
  • 4g WIFI Router : Works using any sim card, allowing for better coverage in remote areas.
  • Ear Plugs : It can get noisy at night, depending on where you are camping. Ear plugs will help.
  • Levelling Blocks : You’ll need these more than you think. It’s not at all comfortable trying to sleep on un-level ground.
  • Blender : Smoothies are our all-time favourite breakfast. There’s nothing better than starting the day with a ton of nutrients and vitamins from fruits and veggies.
  • SUP Board : We love this activity! It’s made us even more intentional with our travels, as we always seek places we can use our board.
  • Jackery Solar Generator : Although we have a fully-functioning electric system in our van (link), our Jackery Generator is a handy backup on days when we don’t have much power.
  • Camping Chairs : An obvious one, but an essential nonetheless.
  • Head Torch : Again, pretty self-explanatory. 
  • First Aid Kit : Always handy to have, just in case.
  • Movie Projector : There’s nothing cosier than setting up a movie projector in a campervan.
  • Breakdown Cover: Always hope for the best but prepare for the worst. We had to use our breakdown cover on our first day of road-tripping in Europe.
  • Park4Night App: The best app for finding wild camping spots, campsites, and other campervan services. App: An offline map should you ever run out of data or lose signal while on the road.
  • Travel Insurance: The vanlife lifestyle has its fair share of challenges and worries. Having a suitable cover that protects you if anything goes wrong should never be one of them.

Campervan Essentials

Enjoy Portugal Vanlife

I hope this Complete Guide to Portugal Vanlife has you excited about your trip! It’s the perfect destination for anyone who loves nature, food, arts, and friendly people. 

If you’ve already been to Portugal and have something you’d add to this guide, let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

Stay adventurous and Happy travels.

portugal flag

Planning a trip around Portugal? Check out our Portugal series  for more travel tips and advice. 

Charlotte & Natalie


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Home >  Destinations  >  Portugal

Campervanning in Portugal: How to Travel Portugal by Campervan

Want to experience campervanning in Portugal ? Portugal offers incredible beaches, wildly shaped cliffs, a countryside with cosy vineyards and mountains, and vibrant cities – and there’s no better way to explore it than with a road trip. This blog post will serve you a compact version of what you need to know before traveling Portugal in a campervan, with tips on campervan rentals, best road trip routes, important equipment, and much more.

Table of content

Why you should go

Campervan hire in Portugal

Portugal campervan routes

Campsites in portugal.

When to visit

Extra equipment

Life in a campervan

campervan travel portugal

No time to read now?

No worries! Save it to Pinterest to read it later.

Campervanning in Portugal – why you should go

There is no easier way of finding total freedom than to pack your bags, throw them in a van and drive away. When visiting a country like Portugal, where there are lots of places to see, it’s both exciting and smooth to do it with a van since you can go whenever, wherever, and stay as long as you like. As many countries are making it easier and more convenient to travel with a campervan it’s important to respect the rules and regulations.

campervan travel portugal

Campervanning in Portugal opens up a lot of opportunities where you can stay for just a couple of hours or spend a couple of days. The country offers a great coastline with incredible beaches, wildly shaped cliffs, a countryside with cosy vineyards and mountains, and vibrant cities with enough history to cover an entire bachelor’s degree.

Campervan hire Portugal

Who you should rent from.

There are many campervan rentals out there and they all have their own niche. We did some research and found a small family-run company called Soul Campers . They took really good care of us and provided us with a van that had everything we needed. To reduce their environmental impact the company uses natural and renewable materials like cork for insulation and has solar panels installed which makes you completely independent of electricity.

Soul Campers are based in Faro on the south coast. You can either pick up the cars there yourself or order a pick-up in Porto, Lisbon, or Seville for a fee.

campervan travel portugal

Campervan rental price

Depending on when you plan to go, the price can differ a lot. In the summer, during peak season, the price will be around €180 per night. In low season it can go down to as low as €70 per night.

Important documents for campervan rental

Valid driving license: Make sure to have a valid driving license before going on your trip. In some cases, it can also be necessary to have an international driving license.

Passport: Can in some cases be needed to identify yourself.

Rental agreement: If you want to be sure you have everything in order it can be a good idea to print out the rental agreement. In our case, we got a copy when signing it when picking up the car.

A basic insurance is often included when renting a campervan which means you will have to leave a deposit at pick-up. Our deposit was €2000 and was smoothly charged on a credit card. If you don’t smash the vehicle, the deposit will be transferred back to your account.

Good to know is that if you plan to drive more than 100 km per day, be more than one driver or want to visit Spain you may have to extend the insurance.

campervan travel portugal

The coast outside of Lagos offers dramatic cliffs.

Since there are so many places to discover in Portugal, deciding on a route can be the most tricky part of your campervan trip plan. You can cover the whole country at a decent pace in three weeks. If you don’t have that much time, you will have to choose if you prefer to explore beautiful and historical cities, surf on infinite beaches, hike in the mountains, or visit the national parks.

Portugal toll roads

The big motorways in Portugal are great for fast transportation, but they come at a cost. There are two types of toll roads in Portugal: electronic tolls and traditional toll booths. If you rent a campervan in Portugal, the rental company will most likely provide you with an electronic toll system ( Via Verde ). The electronic toll system registers your tolls, which will be charged to you by the rental company when your holiday is over.

If you plan to road trip with your own car, you can register for a Via Verde transponder and have it sent to your home before your holiday. This site provides a full description of how it works if you drive a foreign-registered car.

My suggestion is to avoid the toll roads where possible. The smaller, more scenic routes, are much more rewarding! Besides, the toll roads are quite expensive and could add another €100–500 to your travel budget, depending on the length of your vacation.

If you want to take only the scenic route, just click the avoid tolls check button on Google Maps.

campervan travel portugal

The astonishing view from the coast of Sagres.

How long to go for?

This of course depends on what you want to see. If you want to drive around the whole of Portugal, I recommend you have at least two to three weeks. On our first road trip in Portugal, we focused on the Algarve coast, which required one week to be done properly.

Where to go?

Choosing your campervanning route is one of the hardest, but most exciting, parts of a Portugal road trip. Starting from where you pick up your car is a good way to go. Then, you need to decide what type of holiday you’d like. Do you want to see the coast, the mountains, the wine districts, or the cities? Or all of it?

Portugal is divided into different regions: Northern Portugal, Central Portugal, Lisbon and around, Alentejo, and Algarve. Visit Portugal can give you a proper description of what the different regions have to offer.

Aker Brygge in Oslo

Motorhome travel in Portugal is popular, which has resulted in a large number of campsites all over the country. The standard of the campsites varies from very basic ones with only toilets, to those with swimming pools, tennis courts, and restaurants.

During our time in Algarve, we tried (and recommend) the following campsites:

  • Parque de Campismo Orbitur Sagres
  • Camping Albufeira

There are plenty of websites and apps to help you find a good campsite. Both Visit Portugal and Siesta Campers list great campsites. The app Park4Night also lists places to stay for the night (everything from wild camping to car parks and campsites), uploaded and reviewed by other campervan users.

Tips! If you want a unique experience, you should take a look at Portugal EasyCamp . Here you can book camp spots at remote farms and vineyards and in return you buy a welcome package, often consisting of wine and other good stuff.

campervan travel portugal

Wild camping in Portugal

Is wild camping in Portugal legal? Yes, since 2021 wild camping is once again allowed in Portugal, but with exceptions. According to Portuguese law, “overnight stays in motorhomes approved by the IMT (Institute of Mobility and Transport) for a maximum period of 48 hours are allowed”.

However, it is still illegal with overnight stays on lands belonging to the Natura 2000 Network, protected areas, and areas covered by the Coastal Zone Management Plans. It can be hard to find up-to-date information about the permitted camping areas. Siesta Campers have some information, but make sure to ask your campervan rental company for the latest updates.

The fine for staying overnight where it’s not legal is between 60 and 300 euros, except in the case of Natura 2000 Network areas, protected areas, and areas covered by the Coastal Zone Management Plans, in which case the fine is between 120 and 600 euros.

This section was written based on information from November 2022. Make sure to stay updated on the rules and regulations as they could have changed since then. If you plan to road trip to more countries in Europe you must check the rules for each country.

Ålesund from above

The incredible Algarve coast.

When to visit Portugal in a campervan

The summer months are the busiest in Portugal. The area between Lisbon and Algarve can sometimes be too hot. We would recommend going in September when the weather is still great but the busiest period is over.

campervan travel portugal

Exploring Portugal in a campervan is an amazing experience, and even if it’s not as convenient as staying in a hotel there is a pretty good infrastructure for getting the basics going.

Food and water

There are lots of supermarkets in Portugal, such as Lidl, Pingo Doce, and Supermache. Since many campervans and motorhomes don’t have an oven, you need to make a food plan that doesn’t require one. We made stews, pancakes, pasta, and salads and were happy to mount our outdoor table and prepare our meals with the craziest views.

Since the number of electrical devices in the travel bag increases the supply of electricity is getting more and more important. We travel with computers, cameras, drones, and headphones – and it’s absolutely essential to be able to keep them charged. Soul Campers solved this by having solar panels on the roof that, combined with generating electricity while driving, covered all our needs. In our van, we had one 220V outlet for laptops and several USB ports for headphones and mobile phones.

We used our electrical devices a lot during our road trip, including both of our laptops around 4 hours a day, so it’s safe to say that we really tested the system.

campervan travel portugal

Toilets and showers

The most common question we get after campervanning in Portugal is about toilet usage. The thing is that it can be a bit of a hustle, and for it to work smoothly we recommend planning your stops and errands so you can combine them with a toilet visit. Campsites in Portugal usually offer quite nice toilets and showers, and when wild camping we either used the portable toilet included in our Soul Campers van or found a gas station or supermarket that offered toilets for free.

Our campervan was equipped with an outdoor shower with hot water that was really welcomed after a semi-cold surf session in the Atlantic.

We did our laundry when staying on a campsite, but laundry machines can also be found in some gas stations and supermarkets. In general, you need to buy a special laundry coin to get the laundry machines running, and sometimes the detergent is included, and sometimes it’s not.

campervan travel portugal

Emptying grey water

We needed to empty our grey water tank (from the kitchen sink) every third day. This can be made at gas stations, motorhome service areas, or campsites. Our van had a tap under the car that was easy to open. If you have some water to spare it can be a good idea to flush the tank to make sure the pipes stay clean and open.

The 4G reception in Portugal is generally good and, if needed, you can add a wifi router with fast internet and great reception.

campervan travel portugal

Campervan extra equipment

To be able to enjoy your trip even more, campervan rental companies usually offer extra equipment like grills, surfboards, wetsuits, and outdoor tables and chairs. For us, this added an extra touch and convenience to our holiday!

A guy sitting in a waterfall near Trollstigen

As mentioned above, life in a campervan is not meant to be glamorous or too convenient, but the standard that we had in our van from Soul Campers made it as comfy as it can be on the roads.

Sleeping was a breeze with blackout curtains, a roof hatch with a mosquito net, and sunrises of your own choice. When driving you can connect your phone to the speakers and enjoy your favorite music or podcast.

More road trips

Do you find motorhoming interesting and want tips on more road trips? Next to Portugal, Norway is my favorite road trip destination (especially northern Norway, wow!). Find all my Norway road trip guides here.

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The Ultimate campervan itinerary for a kick-ass road trip around Portugal

campervan travel portugal

Last Updated on the 13th of May, 2024

All we ever wanted – for as long as I remember – was to drive along the Portugals rugged West Coast with nothing but ocean on one side, with a few essential pieces of clothing in our backpacks, with no hotels to check in or out and with our future unwritten.

We have talked and dreamed about this type of road trip for way too much and for way too long and I’m glad we finally made it happen.

We longed for freedom off the road and didn’t mind our hair full of salt, shoes full of soft sand and pockets full of pine kernels and seashells.

We did not plan much for this road trip. Instead, we favoured practising new travel movements taking the world by storm – slow travel . Our initial goal was to rent a campervan and drive from the capital city of Lisbon to Faro located in the sunny southern region over seven days, devoting our time to surfing and getting to know Portugal more.

One week was enough time to squeeze in visits to quaint villages, photograph endlessly verdant vineyards, go for a quick side trip to our much beloved Ericeira ,  Nazaré and Peniche , spend a day exploring Sintra Castles and more.

Spending a week without the luxury of hot water, a comfy bed and Wi-fi, while mastering the art of living in a super small space we learned quite a lot about ourselves, had a chance to clear our heads and forever changed the way we look at our lives.

Read More: The Very Best Madeira Activities For A Fun Filled Portuguese Vacation


Campervan rental and where to stay

Renting a campervan in Portugal is very easy. There are loads of companies to choose from, and as we travelled in the first week of April, which is considered off-season, we managed to get a real bargain with loads of stuff thrown in at no extra cost.

We booked our home on wheels with PORTUGAL BY VAN , a small company run by a handful of friendly and knowledgeable locals. Our three-seater was spacious enough for the two of us and contained a little fridge, kitchen utensils, a solar-powered shower, a cooker and even a BBQ.

Portugal is a paradise for travelling by campervan. Digital nomads and adventure seekers can easily navigate away from busy tourist spots and sleep under the stars in amazingly beautiful locations that even fancy all-inclusive resorts would struggle to provide.

On average, campsites around Europe can cost up to EUR 25 per night. So a week or two camping around Portugal would add a significant amount of money to the budget. Gladly, an abundance of free campsites scattered throughout the country won’t leave you hanging dry. Check out  VWFurgo and  iOverlander for more detailed information; we found both sites useful.

Read More: Your Ultimate Guide To Planning The Best Ericeira Vacation In Portugal


Best time to go to Portugal

With 300 days of sunshine, the weather in Portugal is mild pretty much all year round.

July and August are hectic months with prices at their highest and the crowds at their bulkiest. September and October are perfect for visiting the southern part as the temperatures are below scorching and crowds are much thinner.

We prefer the  springtime . At this time of the year, nature wraps Portugal in a fluffy cloud of pink almond blossoms, and the Atlantic breeze brings the essence of the fast-approaching summer.

Read More: 5 Top-Rated Day Trips From Beautiful Lisbon, Portugal You Shouldn’t Miss


Some of the Highlights of the Portugal road trip

  • Flavourful Pastel de Natas
  • Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park
  • Fragrant orange trees in full bloom
  • The ancient Roman Temple of Évora in beautiful Évora town
  • Sintra town and a fantastic Quinta da Regaleira estate
  • Boundless Atlantic waves
  • Mesmerising sunsets and sunrises


Day 1. Arriving in Lisbon and  picking up the campervan

Although we had an option to fly into Faro or Porto, we decided to travel from Dublin to Lisbon and start our journey there.

We deliberately booked an early morning flight, giving ourselves a full day ahead for picking up a campervan, stocking up on supplies and driving to Nazaré to spend the first night.

We arrived just in time for sunset and settled in beside a small fort perched on a cliff edge facing the notorious North Beach well known for massive waves.  The sun was rapidly vanishing behind the horizon, allowing the falling night to swallow the last of the light. Air was unforgivably heatless; it was creeping under my clothes and down my spine.

However, as the scent and the roar of the ocean arose, reflecting the vibrant shades of the sunset, we felt entirely at ease. Gazing up and seeing loads of shooting stars was the most rewarding way to end our first day on the road.

When it comes to surfing, the potential in Nazaré is entirely on a different level. Waves are incredibly vast, and currents are strong. However, for those brave enough and with the right gear, this place is a playground. In 2011 Hawaiian daredevil Garrett McNamara set a Guinness World Record by riding a 78ft wave, and after that, in January 2013 he surfed an estimated 100-foot one.


Day 2. Visiting Sintra Town and its charming castles

One of our favourite things about Portugal is it never feels huddled, except when it comes to a very imposing  Pena Palace . Thousands of tourists come to gawk at the multicoloured castle tucked amidst well-trimmed gardens, and it is impossible to blame them. We wanted to see it to

Pena Palace is a centrepiece of the Sintra region with a touch of romanticism, incredible viewpoints and a charming exterior. On top of the Palacio Nacional da Pena, we also visited Monserrate Palace, Quinta da Regaleira and The Moorish Castle.

After exploring the Sintra region, we set the sails south and crossed the Tagus River over The 25 de Abril Bridge.

Day 3-4. Exploring Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina

This protected stretch of land, wholly exposed to natural elements, exceeded our expectations. We did not see any visitors for two days, and coastal habitats with such staggering diversity were unlike anything we had seen before.

Besides fishing eagles, another bird species nesting along Vicentine Coast Natural Park is the white stork. We looked out for a signpost for Cabo Sardão as we wanted to see the birds and photograph a nearby lighthouse known for its unique characteristics.

The builder misread the construction plans, leading to the lighthouse being built with the entry door facing the ocean, which is the wrong way around. We found the lighthouse and plenty of nests, but no storks in them, just a few high up in the sky.

Read More: Portugal Travel Guide: Discovering the Best of Nazare in a Day


Day 5-6. Discovering the sunny south region

Our first stop in the southern Algarve was a place that’s very popular among surfers. Sagres village, located in the uttermost southwest of continental Europe is worth the stop, especially to experience the ‘end of the world’ feeling at the iconic Cabo de São Vicente lighthouse.

After pausing at Sagres for a much-needed green tea and Pastel de Nata,  we set up to visit beautiful beaches around Lagos.

Some places feel familiar because we keep seeing them on social media but it’s completely different to see them in person. This was the case with the Ponta de Piedade.

We could not believe there was no one around that day. Well, apart from a camper van with German license plates parked right beside the ‘no overnight parking sign, it was just the two of us. Beautiful coves and towering limestone cliffs were much more significant than we imagined.

Read More: Portugal Road Trip; the Best Places You Should Visit Right Now


As soon as we arrived in Albufeira , we wanted to get out. Yes, we have to admit that the old town is charmingly welcoming, the beaches are stunning, and all the apartments painted in blue, pink, green and orange colours around the marina were super cute. However, to have people approaching us every 100 meters to lure us into restaurants and cafes was very annoying.

Leaving Albufeira, we spent a few hours in a place where storks nesting high up on chimneys attracted visitors’ attention and where the neoclassical archway, Arco da Vila, marks the gateway to the historic old city.

Faro is the capital of Portugal’s southern region, and as soon as we arrived, we went straight to the rooftop of The Cathedral of Saint Mary for panoramic views of the Ria Formosa lagoon.

The first noticeable thing about Faro was the sweet smell coming from orange blossoms. We learned that traditionally, these flowers are used to make honey and perfume.


Day 7. Évora and a way back home 

The fastest and most convenient way to get back to Lisbon from Albufeira was to travel on the A2 highway, which is also quite a dull drive without many possibilities to make photo stops.

Valters remembered reading in one of the surf magazines about a little historical town called Évora. The next day we got up unusually early to be ready for a drive through the south-central part of Portugal known as the Alentejo region .

The Alentejo might be Portugal’s most impoverished region, but the landscape unfolding before our eyes was beautiful and very different from what we were used to driving along the coast. Large green and yellow fields of crops on one side of the road and trimmed vineyard hills on the other.

We fell in love with the twisted olive trees and cork oaks scattered throughout.

Not only is Évora a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but also a member of the Most Ancient European Towns Network. The best way to see the place is on foot, and we started from the main square – the Praça do Giraldo.

We got a map at the Tourist information office to be sure we do not miss anything. Besides traditional heritage, culture and slow pace of life, Évora is a vibrant and young city with a large number of students who attend the second oldest university in the country.


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Now, over to you!

Have you travelled around Portugal in a campervan? Let us know in the comments below!

If you benefited from this post and wanted to show your support, share it with friends!

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campervan travel portugal

30 thoughts on “ The Ultimate campervan itinerary for a kick-ass road trip around Portugal ”

I did more or less the exact same trip two years ago and LOVED it! Portugal is just so beautiful, it blows my mind every time!

Like Liked by 1 person

We absolutely loved it too, travelling south of Lisbon and seeing the idyllic landscapes and wild places, sticking your head out the window and feeling the wind. Thanks for stopping by and safe travels xx

Great pictures. This looks so beautiful and with lovely, colourful buildings. Great post!

Thanks so much, guys and sorry for the late reply, somehow your comment ended up in a spam section! Portugal really is amazing and colourful and there’s plenty of places to escape the crowds

  • Pingback: Kick-ass Portugal road trip – Campervanfans

Great post that we had to share on 🙂 We once traveled from Albufeira to Lisbon and we loved it. Portugal has a warm place in our hearts.

Thanks so much and that’s how we feel about Portugal too, there’s a certain magic to its laid back way of life

Great pictures! Portugal is one of our “bucket list” countries! We will definitely use this post to guide our planning.

Thanks so much for stopping by and reading! Hope you get to explore Portugal someday, it’s an amazing country full of wonder and pretty sights.

Way cool! We’ve been thinking of doing something like that here in the states.

We had so much fun exploring Portugal in a campervan, that soon after we arrived back in Ireland, we were on a mission to get one for ourselves too, it took us longer than anticipated, but now we can go on a proper road trip every weekend, highly recommend 😀

We’ve been thinking once our road trip around the US, Canada and Alaska comes to an end, of hitting the road overseas. This is great stuff! Thank you so much for the info!

You are welcome, Europe is an exciting place to explore, I hope you make it over here one day! And, I have to say your road trip adventures look and sound amazing! Safe travels 😀

What a fun trip! And Portugal is so beautiful!

Portugal is so beautiful that we’ve been back 5 times already and would go back again without hesitation 😀

This is such a useful article! Thank you! You saw an amazing amount of beauty and history for very little cost. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks so much for stopping by and reading! Portugal still is a budget-friendly country to visit, even if you choose to stay and explore its biggest cities! Travelling in a campervan gifted us with so much free time, we were able to visit every single nook and cranny.

Thanks so much, I’m glad you enjoyed it!

I m going to visit Portugal next week. Great recommendations

Wow, how exciting for you, have a lovely trip! What part of Portugal are you travelling to?

Lisbon, Porto and if there is time going to the south as well

Sounds amazing, I hope you have a great time, Portugal has a way of working its magic into your heart

Thanks a lot

Thanks a lot. I am sure i will love it❤️

Those cliffs are stunning!

Thank you! Those cliffs were one of the reasons why wanted to travel along Portugal’s coast! They were insanely beautiful and a joy to photograph. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. Aiva

I understand Portugal is quite beautiful. I speak Portuguese (Brazilian) but have never gone to Portugal. One day. Até logo. 😉

Something about this post does not add up? is it pure marketing? you drive firstly to nazare and then back to Sintra?

Hello, and thanks for your comment. Yes, we drove first to Nazare and then to Sintra followed by Alentejo National Park, because the route from Lisbon Airport-Nazare-Sintra was 2 hours 40 min versus the 3 hours and 15 min for the route Lisbon Airport-Sintra-Nazare-Sintra. Also – our initial road trip itinerary was from Nazare to Faro, so it made perfect sense to travel to Nazare first and then slowly snail down south. Thanks for stopping by, and have a good day. Aiva xx

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Portugal by Van

Campervan Rental in Portugal

Portugal by Van

campervan travel portugal

Welcome to Portugal by Van – Your must have Campervan Experience in Portugal.

Make the ultimate roadtrip with a campervan in Portugal, starting in Lisbon, Porto or Faro. As a small campervan rental company in Portugal, we’re dedicated to providing you with the best way to experience our Portugal. From the coastline of Algarve to the vinewieard of Douro Valey, all the roads will take you to the most amazing campervan experience. Explore Portugal’s coast, where sun, surf, and golden sunsets await at every turn. Set off on an indie adventure and make our campervan your home, experiencing the freedom and flexibility that only vanlife can offer.

Book your campervan now and let the adventure begin!

Choose your van and discover Portugal

campervan travel portugal




Body Board


What others say about us

“brand new van, well equipped and super helpful staff. portugal beaches are amazing.”.

Alexandre Linha Paranhos

“Very lovely local organisation, friendly staff and super patient when explaining the van. Great vans, spacious and everything worked just fine (watch out for the small streets though!). Camping on a cliff is just the best way to relax!”

“excellent plan pour tous les amoureux du “tourisme-liberté” portugalbyvan nous a permis de découvrir ce fabuleux pay”s qu’est le portugal de la manière la plus agréable possible., “excellent car, great service and no problems at all a great way to experience portugal.”.

Jørgen Hustadnes Hagen

How to rent your van

Payments & Reservations


You can make the reservation: 

  • P By bank transfer paying 50% of the rental cost
  • P By our Paypal account, paying 50% (administrative costs may apply) of the rental cost.
  • P With credit card, paying 50% (administrative costs may apply) of the rental cost.

The Rental Payment

  • P By bank transfer.

Security Deposit

Red White Adventures

Everything you need to know about campervan rental in portugal.

Portugal is one of the best countries to travel by van and we’ll tell you exactly why. Portugal is such a beautiful country with a ton of things to do.

The best part? Everything is SO close together that you never have to spend too much time driving and have more time for exploration.

In this post, you’ll hear about what we think is the best camper van rental in Portugal. Yes, this is subjective because we’ve only ever had one camper van hire in Portugal – but our experience was awesome! 

Whenever we have a good experience with a company, tour, or adventure we love to share it so you can have a great experience as well. We know renting a camper van anywhere can be quite a bit of work, so let’s dive in.

Pin for Pinterest for Campervan Rental in Portugal.

Disclosure: this post is written in collaboration with Portugal by Van. This review is 100% our own. Thank you <3

Table of Contents

Renting a camper van in Portugal

This post is specifically going to be about renting a camper van from Lisbon since most people tend to fly into Lisbon and start their Portugal road trips from there. That’s what we did too.

Lisbon is located sorta central, so if you’re thinking about going down to the Algarve or heading up the Silver Coast (west coast) towards Porto you can do either option from there.

Portugal by Van is located right on the outskirts of Lisbon and you can easily get there by metro and from their office, you’ll be on the highway in minutes. 

There aren’t too many camper van companies in Lisbon but we had a friend who did a trip using one of Portugal By Van’s camper vans right before us and she only had good things to say. So we trusted her, and it definitely paid off. 

When renting a camper van in Portugal there are quite a few things to take into consideration. We cover all that in this post including how we camped for free in Portugal as well as our favourite campsites!

If you’re looking at a complete guide for camping in Portugal specifically, we’ve got you covered too.

Average cost for a camper van hire in Portugal

A man standing next to his camper van in Portugal.

When looking at the cost of hiring a camper van there are a few things to take into consideration: The price of the camper van per day and the price of campsites per day.

During the summer months, both of those will be more expensive and then cheaper during the winter months. 

That’s why we recommend travelling during the shoulder season (late spring or early fall) when prices are sort of in the middle.

When you take everything into consideration, it’s often a lot cheaper to rent a camper van in Portugal than renting a flat and always doing day trips from those places. Plus camper van life is just a damn good time! 

Here’s a list of the costs for campervan hire in Portugal:

  • Campervan €75 – €145 / day
  • Insurance €7.5 / day
  • Campsites €10 – €20 / day (or free)
  • Propane tanks for cooking €2.5 / 3 days
  • Fuel (is pretty expensive in Portugal – around €1.5 – €1.7 / liter)

Which camper van to choose

Portugal by Van Van with a couple sitting in front of it.

So since there were only the two of us on this road trip we went with the smallest van Portugal by Van has. They have three different models.

The smallest and cheapest one is the Fiat Ducato. And by the smallest we don’t mean it is small – it’s still quite big. There’s enough room for three people to sleep, cook, store luggage, and wash dishes. 

So we went with the Fiat Ducato! It’s quite spacious and as long as you’re not over 6 feet tall you will fit perfectly inside.

I (Dom) am just over 6 feet so I did have to bend over a bit when cooking and stuff. But that’s just a part of van life, isn’t it? 

You can see Portugal By Van’s different options of vans here .

When is the best time to travel Portugal by camper van

Portugal By Van price guide 2023.

So we actually did our Portugal road trip during one of the most uncommon times which is November. There are some perks to this since campervan rentals are cheapest around this time of year because there isn’t much demand.

This also means lots of the attractions, campsites, and places aren’t nearly as busy as they would be other times of the year.

For the most part, we actually enjoyed road tripping around Portugal in November! Except for a few reasons…

The downside is that the sun does go down sooner which means you will spend more time snuggling inside the van. The other downside is that it does get quite chilly at night. So make sure to bring warm clothes. 

Besides those minor things, it was awesome travelling in November. If we were to do it again I think we would go between the Medium Low and Medium High Season. 

Late May and early June (Medium low – Medium High Season) should still be nice and relaxing tourism-wise. And it’s also still warm enough to enjoy road-tripping along the coast and through all the small Portuguese towns.  

Next time we come and explore other parts of Portugal we’ll do it at different times of the year. It will, of course, cost more but we love warm weather.

Finding campsites around Portugal

A lady standing next to her van outside in Portugal.

Portugal is SUPER campervan and road trip friendly. There’s an app that basically has all the information you need during your trip such as where to camp (for free), where you can find drinking water, places to do laundry, and much more. 

Park4Night is the app that helps with finding everything camping-related. We used this app every day to help plan our road trip up the Silver Coast.

There’s quite a few free campsites around Portugal and also some really cheap ones that are worth staying at.

Actually, our favourite campsite that we stayed at was in Ericeira. It was €12.5 for the two of us when we went. That price included water and electricity hookup, and warm showers!

If you find your way up the Silver Coast make sure to stop by Ericeira Camping right in town.

Flush is another app you should consider downloading before your trip. It will tell you where you can find a bathroom which comes in handy if you don’t get a chemical toilet in your van.

Here’s a list of a few of our favourite campsites in Portugal . I’m sure this list will grow as we explore more of Portugal and get awesome recommendations from you guys!

Other things to know when renting a campervan in Portugal

A man and women working from their van on their laptops.

  • Propane tanks can be bought at Decathlon. If you use it every day to make coffee, lunch, and dinner then one tank will last 2-3 days. 
  • This can be confusing but Gas = Gasoline and Diesel = Gasoleo . If you’re confused, just ask the gas station attendants to double check. 
  • There are certain places you can fill up water and drop off your waste water. Most campsites offer these kinds of services. Some free campsites will also offer this for a fee.
  • There are different types of insurance you can get that cover a certain amount of damage in case of an accident or damage to the car. We went with the €7.5 / day package since that’s what we felt comfortable with.
  • There are highway tolls in Portugal where you have to pay to drive on certain stretches of the highway. If you use Google Maps, you can turn on the setting “avoid tolls” and you’ll be taken only on the free roads.
  • During the summer months, free camping “wild camping” is a lot more under surveillance than during the winter months. Since we travelled around in November it was a lot more relaxed. We stayed at night at the Cabo da Roca sunset spot and no one said a thing. In the summer months that could be a different story. 
  • Portugal by Van offers wifi as an extra feature, so if you work online like we do, this is definitely worth considering!

You may also like…

  • The Best Sunset in Portugal – Cabo da Roca
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Summary of hiring a campervan in Portugal

A man and a women enjoying lunch while camping in Portugal.

Hopefully, now you’ll be well covered and know what to expect when renting a van in Portugal. There are other companies in Porto and Lagos that do campervan hire but we loved Portugal by Van so that’s the one we’re going to recommend to you 😉

Since we flew into Lisbon it was easy to do it this way. Lisbon is also an awesome city to start your road trip from. Plus we had an amazing experience with Portugal By Van so it only makes sense to share our experience! 

Have an amazing time exploring Portugal. The beautiful beaches, castles, coastline, and wine! Portugal is such an amazing country and doing it by campervan is the right way!

Love it? Share it!

Camper van hire Pin for Pinterest in Portugal.

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We provide you with much more than a campervan hire in Portugal, it’s a unique travel experience. We cater for all your needs to make sure you get an unforgettable road trip adventure.

Solar Camper - 3 berth

  • 3 Front Seats + 2 back seats & table
  • Fixed Double Bed  (125 x 1.90 cm)
  • 1 Single Bed (converted from living area)
  • Kitchen: Tap & Sink / 2 Burner Stove / Electric Fridge 30Lt & Freezer
  • Bedding Kit + Outdoor Table & Chairs + Sun Umbrella
  • Exterior Hot Shower
  • All Cooking Utensils & Tableware
  • Air Conditioner
  • Roof-Rack for sports equipment
  • Inverter – 220v power source when wild camping to charge devices
  • 12V Car charger + 6 USB chargers
  • Portugal Road Map + Campsites Guide
  • Electronic Toll System  (activation €15)
  • Radio/Music player: Bluetooth/USB/ Aux
  • 2017 Fiat Ducato MH2 2.0 115Cv – Manual 6 gears
  • Diesel Consumption 8l/100 km
  • Basic Insurance included
  • 24h Road Assistance
  • Security Safe
  • Fire extinguisher + First Aid Kit + Flashlight
  • Ozone gas disinfection 100% natural (used in hospitals, canteens, etc.)
  • Additional Insurance Protection (optional)
  • Solar Panel + Natural Wood interiors
  • Cork Insulation – Natural, Renewable and Recyclable. Provides thermal, acoustic and  anti-vibration insulation. Cork-oak named “Sobreiro”, is the national tree of Portugal. Portuguese forests of cork oak trap 5 million tons of CO 2  per year.
  • 95% of our cleaning products are natural or biodegradable in 24h to 72h and made from cooking oil residue
  • Camper van and motorhome holidays reduce CO 2 emissions by up to 50% compared to traditional vacations (plane + hotel + car).

Motorhome 4 berth

  • 4 Seats / 2 swivel seats rotate to living area
  • 1 or 2 Double Beds  (120 x 1.90 cm)
  • WC with Hot Shower (gas)
  • Exterior Cold Shower
  • Portugal Road Map +  Campsites Guide
  • 12V Car charger + 2 USB chargers (when driving)
  • 220v Plug + Camping Cable  (when connected to campsite)
  • Lots of storage places
  • Extra Equipment: surfboards, wi-fi, roof-rack and more  (optional rent)
  • 2015 Fiat Ducato MH2 2.0 115Cv – Manual 5 gears
  • Natural Wood interiors
  • Cork Insulation – Natural, Renewable and Recyclable. Provides thermal, acoustic and  anti-vibration insulation. Cork-oak named “Sobreiro”, is the national tree of Portugal. Portuguese forests of cork oak trap 5 million tons of CO 2  per year

Bye Bye comfort zone…

Get ready, to get lost.

Customize your experience! From sports equipment to comfort items you can choose what best suits you. And if you have a special request we are here to make it happen.

10.00€ / per trip 1 hand towel + 1 shower towel

40.00€ / per trip Include chemical toilet

30.00€ / per trip Portable coal grill barbecue

Wi-Fi Router

40.00€ / 8GB Hotspot internet multiple users

30.00€ / per trip Portugal & European road maps

from 12.00€ / day Include leash and fins.

7.50€ / per day Full Body 3/2 mm, from XS to XXL.

70.00€ / per trip Extra only on the Motorhome Model

20.00€ / per trip Class 1/2/3 Children +18kg

10.00€ / per trip Up to 5h playtime Bluetooth and Aux

Explore nature and wilderness, discover inspiring stories along the way

We are located in the Algarve just 15min away from Faro Airport and Train Station.  View map We deliver and collect the vans at the following locations:

Travel in a campervan means freedom to explore the unknown, to improvise

Upgrade your insurance for more freedom and to be better protected in case of need

  • 100 KMS/ DAY
  • €2.000 - Security Deposit
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  •   €300 - Security Deposit


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Soul Campers - Van Life Portugal CAMPERVAN HIRE [email protected] +351 926 332 434 Sítio do Tesoureiro, 8150-161 São Brás Alportel Faro - Algarve - Portugal

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Campervan Rental in Portugal

The best fleet of RVs, campervans and motorhomes for rent in Portugal

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Save up to 20% and an additional 5% if you book 10 nights or more with the code: FESTIVALS24 . Click here and learn more.

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The process is swift, easy, and can be completed online. Simply enter your travel dates, pickup and drop-off locations, and find your perfect adventure on wheels.

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Over 6.000 RVs, motorhomes, and campervans for rental across +70 locations in Europe, Oceania and North America. Start dreaming and travel with us!

Campervan and RV Rental in Portugal

Rent a campervan or RV in Portugal to discover all that this captivating Portuguese countryside has to offer. Soak up the sun on the famous Costa Vicentina or sip wine in the stunning Douro valley. Glittering coastlines, rugged mountains, and fascinating culture–Portugal awaits your discovery!

National Parks in Portugal

Portugal is home to 24 different natural parks and preserves. Drive your campervan or RV rental into the rugged Estrela Mountains or head south towards the golden sand dunes that crown the Algarvian coast.

From Porto, drive your campervan rental west and watch as the charming Alto Douro wine region drops into plunging canyons and steep ravines. Located on the northwest Spanish-Portuguese border, the Parque Natural do Douro Internacional offers several hikes and roads to drive with panoramic views of this spectacular landscape. 

Serra de Estrela Natural Park is a must-see for mountain lovers, foodies, and adventurers. Just northwest of Lisbon , this lush national park is dotted with lakes, streams, and a wealth of diverse fauna. If you're looking for a challenge, take a hike up Torre mountain–the highest peak in Portugal.

Take your campervan or RV rental south to the Parque Natural de Arrábida. Rocky cliffs turn into sandy beaches at this Mediterranean oasis. The park is located just south of Lisbon and offers a wealth of stunning scenery to explore. Hike, swim or take a boat tour to see this park from all its best angles.

Portugal's Coastline, Lakes, and Rivers

From Faro to Porto, Portugal is known for its beautiful beaches. Copper-colored cliff faces turn into golden dunes as you drive your campervan or RV south towards the sun-drenched Algarve . 

Surf, swim, or sun tan at any beach along Portugal's Costa Vicentina . Join the crowds at the stunning Praia do Malhao or escape into the secluded oasis of Praia das Adegas. For a bit of history, go north and park your campervan or RV rental at the Castelo de Queijo, which overlooks the Praia Castelo do Queijo.

Hang with the locals at Lago de Vela. Here you can canoe, kayak, or hike around the lush river beds. Or, drive your campervan south of Porto to explore the lush wilderness surrounding Portugal's largest natural lake–Pateira de Fermentelos. This lake is surrounded by abundant flora and fauna, making it the perfect retreat for nature lovers.

Campgrounds in Portugal

It is essential to be well-rested on your campervan adventure. This means you will need to plan to ensure that your accommodation provides access to all the necessary services for you and your campervan or RV rental. 

Here are a few campgrounds you might consider as you prepare for your road trip: Parque Campismo Praia da Tocha, Toca Da Raposa, and Monte Carvalhal de Rocha. At these locations, you will find all camping essentials. Many include swimming pools, games, and common spaces to hang out in. As with any accommodation, it is always a good idea to make early reservations or call ahead to ensure they have a spot for you and your campervan. 

Portugal is a country with breathtaking beauty and a wealth of wilderness to explore. Rent a campervan or RV from Lisbon , Porto , or Faro to embark on the journey of a lifetime .

Own a campervan in Europe? Earn over $30,000 per year

Have you considered earning money when you don't use your RV? List your vehicle for free and rent it out whenever you want to.

Indie Campers welcomes you at these pick-up center locations

These are the places where Indie Campers depots can be found

Check out our blog for tips on traveling in a campervan in Portugal

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  • 2 Seat Belts
  • Semi Integrated
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  • 4 Seat Belts

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  • 6 Seat Belts

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  • 3 Seat Belts

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Compare Motorhomes

Hire your perfect campervan to explore Portugal

There's a vw camper for everyone.

Our iconic campervans span generations, from the 1970's to the present day. Explore our unique collection of motorhomes & campervans for hire in Portugal. All of them are beautiful, functional and each one is as unique as you are.

Take a luxurious trip into the wild in a VW Grand California or the Siesta Pacific RV. Each motorhome offers a spacious interior, heat, hot water, shower & toilet, so you'll feel right at home wherever your adventurous spirit takes you. Includes unlimited km's

Experience the joy of life on the road with a modern campervan in Portugal & Spain. With enough space for up to 4 adults, everyone will travel, eat, relax and sleep comfortably. Includes unlimited km's

Classic Camper

We began our journey with a single VW camper 20 years ago. We mastered our craft and have the details covered so you can step back in time and enjoy life in the slow lane. Hire a camper in Faro and discover the Algarve. Includes 100km's per day

Built for adventure

Slow down, go wild and be loved .css-91invm{display:inline-block;margin-left:1rem;margin-bottom:0.5rem;fill:var(--color-black);}.

We’re driven by the pursuit of adventure and the great outdoors. We pour our passion and creativity into restoring and building handcrafted campervans that give a respectful nod to the iconic VW Kombi. We build for adventure and the open road. We want you to be free, wild and embraced in nature while being fully supported by first-class customer service. Experience the thrill of raw adventure, leave no trace and take home long lasting memories from the holiday of a lifetime. Jump aboard the bus!

Why hire a Siesta camper?

Top rated company.

We’re one of the highest rated campervan hire companies in Portugal! We’ve been building and renting campers since 1996. We have incredibly high standards, our van quality and customer experience are unrivaled. You simply won’t find what we offer anywhere else. All our modern vans are under 2 years old and come with VW's 24-hour roadside assistance, 7 days a week.

Cancel up to 48h for a 100% refund

Unlimited km’s.

All of our modern campervans and motorhomes come with unlimited Km’s included in the price of your rental so you can pursue your adventure wherever the road leads stress-free. Our classic campers include 100 km per day at no extra charge which is more than enough for the majority of our customers. Also, all our campers come with Basic insurance!

Fully equipped & transparent prices

All our campervans come equipped with quality utensils and all you need to enjoy a wonderful holiday. We include a fully equipped kitchen, complete with coffee pot, ceramic plates, mugs and real glasses.  We also include a cleaning kit, cooking gas and an outside table/chairs.

Family owned

At Siesta Campers, we take pride in being a family-run business since 1996. Unlike corporate giants fueled by capital investors and shadowy shareholders with world domination in sight, we have remained true to our roots as a good old-fashioned family business. Our commitment to family values has been the driving force behind our success, ensuring that we prioritize quality, integrity, and a personal touch in everything we do.

Campervan hire locations:

A cosmopolitan capital overflowing with history and beauty. Experience one of the most charismatic and vibrant cities in Europe. Campervan hire Lisbon is the perfect base for exploration no matter which direction you choose to go.

More than sun, sea and golf, the Algarve is a playground of scenic, cultural & gastronomic delights. Campervan hire Faro an ideal location for access to stunning coastlines, historic villages & lush valleys.

Portugal’s second largest city offers visitors an authentic experience. Its proximity to beaches, vineyards and national parks make campervan hire Porto a great base for exploration.

Whether you crave the tranquility of coastal escapes, the thrill of outdoor pursuits in the rugged interior, or a fusion of urban charisma and natural wonders, campervan hire in Spain promises an unforgettable adventure.

Málaga, the capital of Costa del Sol on the shores of the Mediterranean strikes a perfect balance between culture and the sea. Campervan hire in Málaga is your gateway to Andalusia and Spain.

Seville is a delight to explore by campervan. The largest and arguably most intriguing city in Andalusia is surrounded by endless natural beauty, from the rolling hills of the Sierra de Grazalema to the picturesque beaches of the Costa de la Luz and Costa del Sol.

Nestled along the sun-kissed shores of the Mediterranean Sea, Barcelona effortlessly combines a rich cultural heritage with breathtaking natural beauty. Campervan hire in Barcelona is your gateway to an unforgettable experience.

"This is the kind of experience that is going to change your life!"

"We cooked many meals on Portugal's seaside cliffs and enjoyed our sleep under starry skies snuggling comfortably in our campervan."

We’ve been featured in:

Great stories start with siesta campers, the algarve’s secret islands.

Are you ready for a very different beach experience? Discover the Algarve's hidden islands. Accessed only by boat from Faro, Olhão, Tavira and Fuzeta, these six sandy islands, set in a diverse nature reserve, offer untouched beaches stretching for kilometres. 

The best music festivals in Portugal this Summer 2024!

Be Spontaneous; No need to book in advance! Portugal has become a mecca for vibrant alternative festivals. Imagine events where tickets aren't snatched up a year beforehand. Buying tickets last minute means you can plan that epic summer festival road trip more spontaneously.

Best Campsites in Portugal [2024]

Searching for the best campsites in Portugal? We’ve done the legwork for you. These are our recommendations for camping in Portugal in 2024.

Wild Camping in Portugal

Want to wild camp in Portugal? Avoid hefty fines. Stay up to date with recent changes to wild camping laws and check out our top tips on where to camp in Portugal—updated March 2024.

We're planting a forest!

Gone west our tree planting partners, ready to roll.

Adventure awaits!

Got questions?

Want to know more about campervan hire in Portugal? Check out these helpful resources to help you plan your unforgettable adventure.

What’s the best time of year to rent a campervan in Portugal?

Portugal is well suited for campervan hire and year-round camping due to a mild climate and an average of more than 300 sunny days per year .

During the summer months of July and August, expect temperatures of around 29°C to 37°C. When it's this hot you’ll want to be near the coastline where you will find cooler breezes and fresher nights.

We at Siesta prefer off-season campervan hire in Portugal from October to June to fully enjoy uncrowded beaches, campsites and restaurants. The weather is pleasant while less traffic and open parking spaces right by the beach are a great bonus too.

During the cooler months of December through March , you’ll be quite toasty as all of our Atlantic campervans and motorhomes are thermo insulated and come with auxiliary night heaters. Most of the South of Portugal rarely sees frost, making it Europe’s ideal winter camping destination.

How much does it cost to rent a campervan in Portugal?

The price of campervan rental in Portugal ranges between €50 per night during the low season to €175 per night during the summertime. The price of motorhome rental is a bit higher ranging between €90 to €225. Factors which affect the price of campervan or motorhome rental in Portugal include vehicle type, seasonality, rental duration, extras, upgrades and insurance cost.

Take a look at the date selector on our homepage. Enter your preferred dates and select the campervan or motorhome you want to rent to receive an instant campervan rental quote .

Below we break down some additional costs to give you a more accurate estimate of the total cost of a campervan holiday in Portugal.

How much does it cost to fill up a campervan?

Our data says that the average trip distance across all our campervan rentals for June 2022 was 809km. This would be a leisurely trip from Lisbon down to Algarve, Portugal’s southernmost region, and back to Lisbon. This would consume around 1 whole tank of fuel and cost around €120 to fill (estimate from July 8th, 2022). Take a look at this neat calculator that gives you real-time fuel prices based on the number of km’s you intend to drive.

There's no denying that the price of fuel has risen sharply recently. Luckily, our campervans are the most economical Euro 6 vans available on the market today. They take around 7L of diesel per 100km.

How expensive are motorhome campsites in Portugal?

A pitch for two people and a campervan or motorhome with electrical hook-up costs from €15 to €25 per night. We’ve negotiated discounts of up to 10% with many of the best campsites in Portugal. Be sure to read our blog post on Best campsites in Portugal and just mention that you are in a Siesta van when booking a campsite to receive a discount.

Food costs when you rent a campervan

Food, glorious food. Whether you enjoy staying in or eating out, campervan rental provides some surprising benefits and can save you a lot of money!

Unlike most traditional hotels, all our campervans and motorhomes are fully equipped with everything you need to prepare delicious meals wherever you are. This provides unmatched flexibility and better value for money than traditional dining options.

With amazing clifftop lunches and nights spent stargazing there’s nothing quite like exploring Portugal by campervan and cooking in postcard worthy locations. Imagine waking to the sounds of waves crashing on the shore and the joy of empty west coast beaches as you sip on a good cup of coffee and sample fresh local produce. Purchasing items from local markets costs a fraction of what you’d spend dining out too.

If you prefer to dine out, expect to pay €1 to €2 for coffee in a beach cafe . Lunch in a traditional village restaurant costs around €10 to €15 per person, with wine included!

Some of the beachside restaurants on the west coast can be more pricey but fresh fish of the day, for example in Arrifana , would cost you between €10 to €20 with extra added for desserts and drinks. 

Should you hire a campervan or motorhome?

Our vans vary in size, amenities, and style . Some are better suited for solo travellers and couples while others are ideal for groups and families.

Consider whether you will feel comfortable driving a larger motorhome, or prefer the agility and compact size of a campervan.

Certain models come with a manual transmission while others are automatic. Unlike our modern campervans or motorhomes, driving our vintage VW campers requires a bit more finesse. Check out the article to learn what it’s like to drive them.

Is a campervan exterior shower suitable for your needs or do you prefer the privacy of an interior shower & WC? If so, a motorhome is a better choice.

Ultimately, the choice is quite a personal one. If you’re unsure whether you should hire a campervan or motorhome, contact our team and we’ll help you make the right choice.

How long should you rent a campervan for in Portugal?

The majority of our customers rent a campervan for 1-2 weeks . Customers who embark on a tour of the whole country often choose to hire a motorhome in Portugal for 2-4 weeks .

We do have rental length minimums which vary by van and season and we offer long term rental discounts for bookings of 14 days or more. See our campervan hire deals for more information.

How long does the campervan hire process take?

The process is quick, easy and can be completed online. Simply enter your travel dates, pickup and drop-off locations, find your perfect campervan or motorhome, fill out the online booking form and submit payment. You will receive an instant booking confirmation. Our team will handle the rest.

Campervan hire tips

  • Book early. Our campervans and motorhomes are very popular. During peak season we’re often fully booked 2 months in advance.
  • Be flexible. If your preferred camper or motorhome is not available, our team can often find a great alternative. Get in touch via the website chat widget.
  • Be informed. Our van descriptions, FAQ’s, terms & conditions and blog articles are a great source of information for anything related to campervan hire in Portugal.
  • Don’t overpack. No one likes lugging around too much luggage. Our campervans and motorhome are fully equipped with everything you need.

How to pack for your campervan holiday?

Less is more! See our helpful article: 36 Camping Essential - Our Campervan Packing List . Learn what we put in all our campervans and motorhomes so you can travel lighter.

Fun activities to do while on a campervan holiday in Portugal

  • Surf! - Don’t know how? Check out our Portugal surf guide for beginners .
  • Swim - Water temperatures are quite pleasant most of the year.
  • Sunbathe - You’re in the land of sunshine, make the most of it.
  • Hike - Discover the Rota Vicentina and other incredible trails.
  • Mountain bike - Portugal is mountain bike heaven. We offer optional bike racks and mountain bikes for rent.
  • Yoga & Meditation - Lazy days and quiet places are perfect for relaxation.
  • Cook - Our campervans are fully equipped with all you need to try new recipes.
  • Make new friends - The Portuguese are kind and welcoming. Campsites are also a great place to meet like minded people.
  • Play games - Extra time and no responsibilities means you can connect with your inner child.
  • Stargaze - The night gets darker and the stars shine brighter when you leave the city in the rear view mirror.

I don’t speak Portuguese. Is that a problem when renting a campervan?

Speaking the local language will always improve the experience of visiting a foreign country, but in this situation it is not essential. Tourist facing businesses such as shops, bars and services including RV rental in Portugal generally employ multilingual staff. Our website exists in Portuguese, English, German, French and Spanish and we have a multilingual team. If you need any assistance with campervan, motorhome or RV rental, please let us know.

Portugal is a very popular international holiday destination for RV and motorhome holidays. English is widely spoken around the bigger cities and by the youth. Spanish, French and German are quite well established also.

Driving a campervan or motorhome in Portugal

Road conditions in Portugal are generally very good, but if you choose motorhome or RV rental in Portugal, be careful when driving through narrow historic village streets . Certain areas are inaccessible for wider vehicles. Rainy days are rare during the summer months, but when they arrive and water combines with a dusty layer on the surface, road conditions can become quite slippery. Here’s the breakdown of speed limits in Portugal:

  • 50km/h in residential areas
  • 90km/h in rural areas
  • 120km/h on national motorways

Is Portugal safe for camping in a campervan?

Portugal is an extremely safe and peaceful country . In the 15 years of running Siesta Campers we have had hardly any break-ins and we’ve had thousands of clients. We always recommend leaving your valuables out of sight especially when parked in towns or beaches closer to bigger cities.

Select your country preferences

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☀️ SPRING DEAL: $80 off with code SPRING2024 (min. 5 nights) | Offer ends June 3rd ☀️

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Camper Van Rental in Portugal

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Rent an RV in Portugal

If you’re seeking an unforgettable adventure in Europe, rent a camper van in Portugal and explore this enchanting country on the Atlantic fringe of Europe. Embark on a journey from the rugged cliffs of the Algarve to the lush vineyards of the Douro Valley, and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture and history of charming cities like Lisbon and Porto. Explore centuries-old castles and UNESCO World Heritage sites that showcase the country’s heritage, indulge in delicious seafood delicacies and local wines, and enjoy the warmth and hospitality of the Portuguese people. Whether you’re seeking the tranquility of nature or the vibrant buzz of city life, rent a camper van in Portugal and enjoy the freedom to experience it all at your own pace.

Lisbon city streetview with cable car and cars

Camper Van Rental Lisbon

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Camper Van Rental Faro

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Camper Van Rental Porto

Explore Portugal RV Rentals

vw california ocean as roadsurfer campervan surfer suite in blue with pop up roof from the sideview

Surfer Suite Class B RV | VW T6.1 California Ocean

  • 150 hp diesel engine
  • Integrated kitchen
  • Outdoor shower (cold water)
  • Automatic pop-up roof
  • Rear parking sensors with camera
  • Cruise and distance control ACC, GPS

roadsurfer couple cottage campervan from the side view

Couple Cottage Class B RV | Sprinter

  • 130 hp diesel engine
  • Large kitchen area
  • Indoor shower/wet bath (hot water)
  • Without pop-up roof
  • Parking assistance & tempomat

roadsurfer road house campervan with pop up roof from the side view

Road House Class B RV | Sprinter

  • 140 hp diesel engine
  • Manual pop-up roof
  • Rear parking sensors with camera, cruise control, etc.

Your roadsurfer Benefits

Brand new, fully equipped camper vans & RVs

Unlimited mileage & free 2nd driver

Rebook or cancel with the Flex option up to 48 hours before departure

Camping equipment & kitchen utensils included

Roadside assistance

Your Portugal Road Trip

From the dramatic Atlantic coast to the colorful buildings of the cities and the rolling hills of the wine valleys, Portugal is one of the best countries in Europe to explore by camper van. Taking around six hours to drive north to south, you’ll spend less time behind the wheel and more time soaking up the sun and sights. You can rent a camper van in Portugal year-round as the weather in the Algarve is warm and welcoming through the winter when storms hit the Atlantic Coast. Otherwise, spring and fall showcase Portugal’s natural beauty at its finest, while summer crowds bring with them an addictive electric atmosphere where cities and coastal resorts come to life.

  • Driving in Portugal
  • Tolls in Portugal

Camping in Portugal

  • Events & Festivals in Portugal
  • Popular Travel Regions in Portugal

Surfing in Portugal

Driving rules in portugal.

Stay safe when you rent a camper van in Portugal by reading up on the key rules of the road before you go. We’ve compiled a few of the most important ones below:

  • Make sure to drive on the right-hand side of the road in Portugal. However, road users turning left have priority unless otherwise marked, unlike in the USA.
  • The general speed limits on Portuguese roads are 50 km/h (31 mph) in urban areas, 90 km/h (55 mph) on non-urban roads, and 120 km/h (75mph) on highways. However, always pay attention to posted speed limit signs, as limits can vary depending on the type of road and location.
  • Passing should only be done on the left-hand side, and you should return to the right lane after completing the maneuver. Always check for clear visibility and use indicators when changing lanes.
  • Roundabouts are driven around counterclockwise, and drivers already on the roundabout and coming from the left have priority. Always make sure to use your turn signal to indicate your intended direction.
  • Highways in Portugal are almost always toll roads. See the ‘ Paying Tolls in Portugal ’ section below for more info.

Paying tolls in Portugal

Highways in Portugal are toll roads. They are either equipped with booths to pay on-site or are electronic toll roads.

  • Payment on-site : You can pay the toll conventionally at the exit of most roads. Please pay attention to the signs marked with a “V” (Via Verde) on green background, as those are reserved for people with transponders, and you should not drive on those roads if you don’t have one.
  • Electronic toll roads :Our cars with Portuguese plates are already registered on the electronic toll system. You can check your outstanding payments on this website by inputting the number plate. Please keep in mind that it can take up to 48 hours until it appears in the system. Alternatively, payments can be made at a post office and shops marked with “Payshop” flags.
  • If you are driving from outside of Portugal, it is important to register the car on the Easytoll system. As soon as you enter Portugal, you will pass through a toll booth. There is an entrance for non-Portuguese vehicles on the side where you will receive a receipt with an identification number and your plate numbers. When you drive through electronic toll roads, your plate will be scanned. From then onwards, the process is the same as for the Portuguese plates mentioned above. Alternatively, you can register digitally with Easytoll before you enter the country.
  • The time you are allowed to spend on toll roads is limited, and spending a night at a rest stop is not advisable.
  • There are also free roads, marked with “EN” but the travelling time might double if you choose them.

When you rent a camper van in Portugal, you’ll find a variety of campgrounds that cater to camper vans. Check ahead for availability during the high season, and make sure the campground is open in the low season. Here are some common types of campgrounds you can expect to find, as well as some info on wild or dispersed camping:

  • Wild or Dispersed Camping :While not illegal in most areas, it is forbidden to stay in a camper overnight between 9 pm and 7 am, otherwise you might be fined. Dispersed camping is also generally not tolerated by locals in Portugal. The golden rule of Leave No Trace has been broken one too many times, leaving popular dispersed camping spots covered in trash, destroying wildlife, and angering local communities. Luckily, the country has plenty of beautiful campgrounds suiting all budgets, needs, and preferences.
  • Full-Service Campgrounds : These campgrounds offer a range of amenities and facilities for camper van travelers. They typically provide designated camping spots with electrical and water hookups, and waste disposal facilities. Full-service campgrounds often have on-site amenities such as showers, toilets, laundry facilities, restaurants, swimming pools, and playgrounds.
  • Basic Campgrounds : Basic campgrounds provide essential facilities for camper vans, including campsites with or without electrical hookups. They may have shared bathroom facilities, but their amenities are relatively limited compared to full-service campgrounds. Basic campgrounds are often situated in scenic locations, offering a more natural camping experience.
  • Beachfront Campsites : Portugal’s extensive coastline offers beachfront campgrounds where you can park your camper van just steps away from the sand and sea. These campgrounds often provide beautiful ocean views and easy beach access.
  • Rural and Nature Campsites : Portugal’s countryside and natural parks are dotted with campgrounds that allow you to immerse yourself in nature, offering opportunities for hiking, wildlife viewing, and outdoor activities. They may have basic facilities and be a little more rustic, allowing you to better connect with nature.
  • Independent and Local Campsites: If you are seeking the thrill of dispersed camping but want to respect nature and the local communities, find and reserve a unique camping experience through the roadsurfer spots App . Whether it’s a secluded camping spot nestled amidst vineyards accompanied by evening wine tastings, a stay at an organic farm trying the local produce, or surf campgrounds right on the beach, there’s a perfect option for everyone!

Camping on the farm in Portugal with roadsurfer spots

Camping on the Farm

Camping in Portugal by the ocean with roadsurfer spots

Camping by Surf Spots

Camping in the Algarve with roadsurfer spots

Camping in the Mountains

Popular events & festivals in Portugal

Portugal has plenty of fascinating events and festivals that embrace the diversity of Portuguese culture, so why not plan your road trip around one of these when you rent a camper van in Portugal?

Lisbon Carnival, February/March, Lisbon : Lisbon Carnival is a vibrant celebration featuring colorful parades, lively music, and festive costumes. Join the revelry as the city comes alive with street parties and performances, showcasing the energetic spirit of Portuguese culture. Other cities also celebrate carnival, so keep an eye out for celebrations wherever you are!

Festival Internacional de Chocolate de Óbidos (International Chocolate Festival), March, Óbidos : Chocoholics will delight in this annual event held in the charming town of Óbidos . The festival celebrates all things chocolate, featuring impressive chocolate sculptures, tastings, workshops, and a wide array of chocolate-infused treats to satisfy every sweet tooth.

Holy Week, Eastertide, whole country : Holy week, leading up to Easter, is a significant religious observance in Portugal. Cities like Braga, Óbidos, and Bragança, hold processions, biblical re-enactments, and religious ceremonies during this time, providing a unique cultural and spiritual experience.

Rock in Rio Lisboa, June (even-numbered years only), Lisbon : One of the biggest music festivals in Portugal, Rock in Rio Lisboa gathers renowned international artists for a multi-day extravaganza of live performances. Held every two years, this festival attracts music lovers from all over the world, providing an unforgettable experience with a diverse range of genres and incredible stages.

Feast of Saint Anthony, 12-13th June, Lisbon : Lisbon’s beloved patron saint, Saint Anthony, is celebrating with great enthusiasm on June 12 th and 13 th . The city transforms into a lively street party, with parades, traditional dances, and people eating grilled sardines while enjoying the festive atmosphere.

Festa de São João (Saint John Festival), Porto, 23rd June : The Saint John Festival is a lively street festival honoring the city’s patron saint. Join the locals in the lively street parties, where participants exchange playful hits with plastic hammers, and enjoy firework displays, live music, and traditional food and drinks.

Porto Wine Festival, November, Porto : The Porto Wine Festival is a fantastic opportunity to indulge in Portugal’s world-renowned port wine. Enjoy tastings, vineyard tours, and cultural events in Porto, where you can savor a wide range of exquisite wines, and learn the art of winemaking.

Beautiful travel regions in Portugal

It’s hard to narrow down the best spots to visit when you rent a camper van in Portugal, as there is such a range of incredible places to see! That said, read below for an overview of some of the very best:

Lisbon and Sintra – The vibrant capital city of Lisbon is a must-see, combining history, culture, and a bustling atmosphere. Explore the narrow streets of Alfama, visit iconic landmarks like Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery, and indulge in the city’s lively food and music scene. Sintra, a fairytale destination nestled in the hills, is only a 45-minute drive from Lisbon and is definitely worth the trip. Immerse yourself in the romantic atmosphere and wander through lush gardens and extravagant palaces, such as the colorful Pena Palace and the mysterious Quinta da Regaleira.

Porto and the Douro Valley – Known for its historic charm and the world-famous port wine, Porto is a captivating city with colorful buildings, stunning bridges, and winding streets. Explore the area and visit the UNESCO World Heritage sites of the Douro Valley, famous for its terraced vineyards, where you can indulge in wine tastings and enjoy breathtaking views of the river.

The Algarve – Located in the southernmost region of Portugal, the Algarve is renowned for its golden beaches, picturesque coastal towns, and year-round pleasant weather. Relax on stunning beaches, explore charming towns like Lagos and Tavira, and enjoy outdoor activities such as surfing, hiking, and golfing.

Évora and the Alentejo – Stretching across the south-central part of Portugal, Alentejo is a region of vast plains, cork oak forests, olive groves, and charming villages. Savor the region’s renowned wines and traditional cuisine, and visit the likes of Monsaraz and Marvão where you can admire medieval castles and enjoy panoramic views. Step back in time in the historic walled city of Évora with its impressive Roman Temple and Gothic Cathedral.

Serra da Estrela – Explore the natural beauty of the Serra da Estrela Natural Park. Hike through valleys, discover charming villages like Manteigas and Belmonte, and enjoy winter sports in the colder months. Peneda-Gerês National Park – Situated in the northwest, Peneda-Gerês is Portugal’s only national park. It offers stunning natural beauty with lush forests, sparkling rivers, and granite peaks. Discover cascading waterfalls, hike scenic trails, and encounter wildlife in this unspoiled rural paradise.

Portugal is home to some of the best surf breaks in Europe, and the world championship tour comes to Peniche each year. If you’re looking for a full surf experience, there are some amazing places to stay near these spots when you rent a camper van in Portugal.

  • While not generally thought of as one of Portugal’s top surf spots, Aveiro has a gentle beach break at Praia da Barra, which is a wonderful place for beginners to learn to ride waves. Check out the roadsurfer spot ‘ Secret private house garden by the beach ’ which is ten steps from Praia da Barra!
  • Located just north of Lisbon, Ericeira is a World Surfing Reserve and one of Europe’s top surf destinations. It offers a variety of breaks suitable for all skill levels.
  • Peniche , a peninsula on the central coast of Portugal, is known for its consistent surf conditions. Supertubos, one of Europe’s best beach breaks, hosts the prestigious World Surf League Championship Tour event. Other popular spots in Peniche include Baleal and Praia da Consolação. Looking for the perfect place to park and enjoy this lively surf town, take surf lessons, and relax? Try the roadsurfer spot ‘ Da Silva Surfcamp ’ in Peniche.
  • Nazaré is famous for its enormous waves, particularly during the winter months. Only suitable for experienced big-wave riders from around the world. While it’s not a place most of us can surf, it’s worth a visit just to see the monstrous waves coming in. The roadsurfer spot ‘ Espaço Lirium Ricardo Ferreira ’ is a twenty minute drive from Nazaré where you can camp surrounded by nature near an edible garden, with bicycles available for rent.
  • Located in the southwestern tip of Portugal, Sagres offers a range of surf breaks with consistent waves. Try Praia do Tonel and Praia do Beliche. roadsurfer spot ‘ Casa da Horta ’ at Bordeira beach is the perfect place to stay just north of Sagres, where you can rent bikes and surfboards, as well as book horse rides.
  • Situated in the Algarve region, Arrifana is a picturesque beach with consistent surf conditions and a relaxed atmosphere. Stay at the above-mentioned ‘Casa da Horta’, just a half-hour drive south of Arrifana.
  • Close to Lisbon, Carcavelos is a popular surf spot with consistent waves and a vibrant surf culture. It is easily accessible and suitable for all skill levels, making it a great option for beginners and intermediate surfers.

More tips for your road trip in Portugal

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Camper Van Life

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Portugal is the late developer of the western European countries. It is still very traditional, and the cheapest country in western Europe. The Algarve is the warmest place in western Europe during winter, and a great place to visit or stay during that time. The Portuguese are friendly, helpful, happy people, and many speak good English.

The capital city of Lisbon is one of the most vibrant in Europe. With a great city centre, and a choice of beautiful beach side suburbs, Lisbon is worthy of a stop, even in winter when it is still warm.

Recommended Portugal

  • The Algarve – beautiful beaches, good nightlife in Lagos and Faro.
  • Lisbon – one of Europe’s finest cities.
  • Alentejo – undeveloped, warm and beautiful beaches.

Campsites and free camping in Portugal

Portugal has a good choice of campsites. Some are as little as €4 per night, for two people and a camper van or motorhome, off-season. Free camping is also very popular. Read more .

Vehicle ferries to and from Portugal

There are no ferries from the UK to Portugal. The most common choice is to take a ferry to France, or normally Spain, and then drive to Portugal. See the ferry section .

Driving in Portugal

Portugal has the highest accident rate in western Europe. However, if you take care you should not have any problems. Read more .

Portugal is a relatively crime free country. Vehicle break-ins are amongst the biggest problems, so always secure your vehicle, and leave nothing on display. Sensible parking can also reduce you risk of a break-in. Pickpockets and petty criminals operate in the big city centers, so be careful and avoid gangs of kids at night.

Portugal is the cheapest country in western Europe. You funds will go further in Portugal than elsewhere, much further than France or the UK. Generally vehicle fuel is the only thing you’re likely to find more expensive than neighboring countries. See the country cost comparison .


Portuguese food and drink, the portuguese language.

Portuguese is spoken throughout. The Portuguese are very good at languages. English is spoken well by a large percentage of the population. Spanish is understood by almost all. Italian and French are understood by a good number of people. Always ask if it is ok to speak in a language other than Portuguese. Knowing some basic Portuguese will help you.

There are many stray dogs and cats in Portugal. If travelling with your own pets take care, and never leave them unattended. Be cautious of stray animals, they might not be as nice as they seem, they may be carrying diseases, such as Rabies. If you feed the stray animals they probably wont leave you alone.

Sports in Portugal

Portugal has some of the best surfing in Europe, and the ideal place to spend a winter surfing. Sailing is popular on the south coast, in particular in Vilamoura.

Camping, camper van and motorhome stores in Portugal

See the list of motorhome and camper van dealers, and camping supply shops in Portugal .

campervan travel portugal

Beira Litoral

Camping in portugal, estremadura and ribatejo, mountain beiras.

New Castille and Extremadura

New Castille and Extremadura

Portugal 3g and mobile internet, surfing peniche.

The Algarve

The Algarve


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article on Portugal camping To say that many people speak English in Portugal is belying the truth, to say the least. Where do people get this info? I spent 2½ months in my campervan in Portugal 2015 and I can assure readers, there are NOT many English speakers in Porugal. Those WHO do are high-school students or the like and some others here and there, like s service station VW or a manager in a large shop…

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Camper in Portugal Interesting testimony of Jack. It is true that one must be careful but it happens in all countries. Anyway if we are prevented is always easier to deal with situations. Cheers!

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Portugal It all sounds idyllic, but there are one or two things to be aware of in Portugal, and particularly the Algarve.

On our last trip to the Algarve a chap jumped into the back of our VW as we waited at a roundabout and asked us to follow a car in front since it was involved in stealing children. I politely asked him to leave (in Anglo Saxon, with an accompanying tyre wrench)which he did. As an ex Para I was not too worried but an elderly or infirm couple might have been frightened, or worse. The Police told us (reluctantly)this is common and is an attempt to get you to drive to an isolated area and be robbed. So keep the doors locked.

Also, tourist spots can be overpopulated with single, usually middle aged men, who appear to be there for reasons other than the scenic. If you have children, please be aware that although the Portuguese are, in general, a lovely people, not all are either Portuguese or lovely. There are now many itinerants and illagal immigrants from the Middle East in Portugal and they have no way of earning money other than illegal, so please be careful.

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Latest update from tuesday 17th march, much more than a campervan rental.

Why is it more than a campervan rental? You’ll actually be getting yourself an experience of freedom on wheels and, at the same time, a ticket to a happy place!

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Campervan rental - Closer to Nature

Life Hacks for Campervan Traveling in Portugal: Tips for a Memorable Adventure

Campervan travel has become increasingly popular in Portugal in recent years, thanks to the country’s beautiful landscapes and diverse culture. Whether you’re planning a short trip or a long-term adventure, traveling in a campervan offers flexibility and convenience that traditional travel methods cannot match.

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3 Different plans for a 3 day getaway to Peniche

Great, here’s a 3-day itinerary for a trip to Peniche, with a focus on surfing at the famous Supertubos beach:   Day 1: Morning: Start

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Where to see Carnival in Portugal

From north to south of the country there are several traditional Carnival festivities in Portugal. But do you know when this fun cultural date came

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What do people say about our getaway van campervan rental service , here are some shared experiences people who've rented our campervans:.

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Now we know that we cannot travel this Easter break  as we usually would at this uncertain time, but here at the Getaway Van we

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Motorhome hire Portugal

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Hire a motorhome, campervan or converted van in Portugal and travel across Europe !

Choose among more than 15,000 motorhomes available to rent on yescapa..

Motorhome Low profile Joint joint For hire in Ponte De Sor

Motorhome Low profile

Ponte De Sor (25 km away)

Motorhome Coachbuilt Chausson Chausson Welcome 28 For hire in Tomar

Motorhome Coachbuilt

Tomar (28 km away)

Motorhome Coachbuilt Sunlight Ducato 2,2 l JTD 130 ch. For hire in Fátima

Fátima (48 km away)

Motorhome Coachbuilt Bürstner  For hire in Sertã

Sertã (46 km away)

Motorhome Coachbuilt Hymer Hymer For hire in Sertã

Sertã (47 km away)

Motorhome Coachbuilt C.I. Mizar For hire in Abrantes

Abrantes (7 km away)

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Motorhome and campervan hire in Portugal: Find the perfect hire

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Hire a campervan or a motorhome in Portugal

Travel with total freedom and security! Discover the best things to do in Portugal this summer. To visit Portugal, the ideal solution is to hire a campervan.

From North to South, Portugal is a country that offers countless opportunities, perfect for a campervan hire. The west coast offers a succession of beautiful beaches, some are ideal for surfing and others perfect for relaxing. The interior of Portugal is very varied and you can go from a dense green vegetation to a desert of red earth dotted with olive trees in a few hours of route. Take the road on a colourful motorhome trip to the land of fado.

Our team can advise you how to hire a campervan in Portugal. Yescapa makes hiring a motorhome in Portugal a very easy experience. The platform offers low cost campervan hire in Portugal and across Europe. Traveling by motorhome is a perfect solution to move around Portugal and discover its riches. Lisbon, Porto, Faro... whatever your destination, you will find the perfect campervan hire to travel Portugal with Yescapa.

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Book a motorhome in Portugal! A-class or coachbuilt, this sturdy and comfortable vehicle will win your heart:

Motorhome Coachbuilt Swift Ducato 2.8 JTD For hire in Almeirim

Almeirim (40 km away)

Motorhome Coachbuilt Mclouis 1 S-Line For hire in Fátima

Fátima (46 km away)

Motorhome Coachbuilt P.L.A. 415 For hire in Leiria

Leiria (60 km away)

Motorhome ‘A’ class Pilote Reference G 692 For hire in Leiria

Motorhome ‘A’ class

Leiria (61 km away)

Motorhome Low profile Pilote Fiat Ducato Multijet 2.3 130CV For hire in Tomar

Torres Novas (29 km away)

Converted van

Book a converted van in Portugal! Discover these vans for the whole family. Our converted vans have a bed, a kitchen and (often) a bathroom.

Converted van Peugeot Boxer 2,0 l 130 ch For hire in Fátima

Fátima (47 km away)

Converted van Ducato  For hire in Fátima

Fátima (45 km away)

Converted van Fiat Ducato 3,0 l 180 ch For hire in Colmeias

Colmeias (60 km away)

Converted van Fiat Jumper For hire in Torres Novas

Leiria (66 km away)

Converted van Mercedes Mercedes  For hire in Alcobaça

Alcobaça (65 km away)

Book a converted van in Portugal! Start your van life with our selection of vehicles:

Campervan Renault Renault Trafic For hire in Ourém

Ourém (51 km away)

Campervan Ford Transit For hire in Fátima

Fátima (44 km away)

Campervan Volkswagen Volkswagen transporte For hire in Moleanos

Moleanos (61 km away)

Campervan Mercedes 315 For hire in Leiria

Leiria (62 km away)

Campervan Nissan Vanette For hire in Leiria

Batalha (60 km away)

With your family

You can book a motorhome for your family holidays in Portugal. Luxurious or modest, discover our vehicles with 4, 6 berth or more. Travelling with your family, your children in a motorhome will be a unique experience, an unforgettable memory:

Motorhome Low profile Blucamp  For hire in Leiria

For couples

For a couples holiday in Portugal, hire a small motorhome. Discover our selection of 2 berth vehicles for a romantic getaway:

Campervan Volkswagen Volkswagen T4 For hire in Leiria

Leiria (64 km away)

Pets allowed

Discover our motorhomes with pets allowed in Portugal. Hard to leave those little monsters behind! Motorhomes are an ideal solution to travel with pets, they'll feel right at home. Book a motorhome that allows cats and dogs:

Motorhome Low profile Roller Team 255 P For hire in Entroncamento

Entroncamento (23 km away)

Motorhome Coachbuilt Challenger 43 For hire in Leiria

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Our Two Week Spain + Portugal Itinerary in a Campervan

It was our dream for years since we first visited Portugal back in December 2017 to one day get there with our own van. We saw so many campervans headed there for a little bit of winter sun and although it seemed like it was so far away, we knew we’d get there one day. Well, last year we finally made it there for 2 weeks over Christmas.

You might think that it’s a little bit too far for a 2 week trip, but when we head to Europe, all we usually have is 2 weeks due to Annual Leave from work. We made the most of it with the bank holidays over Christmas and New Year so it didn’t actually use too much leave from work.

Now, there’s 2 ways to get to Spain from the UK – get the ferry from the UK to France and drive there and back, or get the ferry to/from Northern Spain at Bilbao/Santander. Based on the dates we had available, and price, we decided to get the ferry to Spain and then drive back through France. You can read our blog post about the Spain crossing here . So, here’s our itinerary for how we managed to spend 2 weeks exploring Spain and Portugal from the UK!

Brittany Ferries Spain to Portugal Ferry Review

Day 1 + 2 – Ferry to Spain

We took the ferry from Portsmouth to Santander which takes 26hrs to cross. We had a terrible crossing as we literally crossed during a storm, so we had insane winds across the Bay of Biscay (which is already a really bad area to cross), so we spent 90% of the time on the boat in bed or throwing up. If you don’t go when there’s a storm, it sounds like it can be an alright crossing, as our boat had a swimming pool on the top deck – so it can’t be that bad.

We left at 12pm on the Friday and arrived in Spain at 1pm on Saturday. It took a while to get off the boat (we were literally the last ones off) and so we spend the rest of the afternoon driving towards Portugal. We parked up at a little car park we found on Park4Night, cooked dinner and then slept off the rest of the sea-sickness we were left with.

Bom Jesus do Monte Portugal

Day 3 – Bom Jesus do Monte

We woke up nice and early and continued the drive from our parkup to Bom Jesus do Monte, which was about a 4hr drive. It’s a religious sanctuary located in the north of Portugal at Braga, and is most famous for the huge staircase that climbs 116m (381ft). We parked at the bottom to save ourselves a €10 (I think) parking charge, as it’s free at the bottom car park, though you do have to walk up millions of stairs to get to the top.

We wandered around the top area, which had a hotel, gift shop and park, and then headed back to the van to beat the rain that we’d already been caught out in on the way up. Then we drove a few hours south to Costa Nova and found a parkup right by the beach for the night.

Costa Nova Portugal

Day 4 – Costa Nova + Aveiro

We woke up to the sound of the waves over the dunes the next morning. The weather was a little cold and dreary, so we took a quick walk along the beach and then drove to the famous colourful buildings of Costa Nova, and then on to the lighthouse – April loves a good lighthouse.

We then popped over to the nearby town of Aveiro after stocking up on groceries and plenty of Portuguese pastries to last us a few days. It was nice, but we didn’t stay long as the weather wasn’t very good and it felt more like a regular town than a tourist place, so we continued our drive south that afternoon for a few hours racking up huge toll fees! We’re planning on doing a blog post all about toll roads in Portugal.

Sines Sunrise

Day 5 – Sines + Vila Nova de Milfontes

We arrived at our parkup at Sines really late at night so it was pitch black. We had no idea what we’d be waking up to, other than we were on top of a cliff. I was terrified as Shane was parking the van incase we ended up off the edge of the cliff, but we were fine. I set the alarm for sunrise, and we woke up to the most amazing hazy views out of the window.

We had a slow morning cooking some breakfast, then headed a little further south along the coastal road to Vila Nova de Milfontes – a little beachside town along the estuary. As it was Christmas Eve, most places were shut and it was super quiet. Though, one thing to note is that parking for Campervans/Motorhomes is pretty much forbidden at most parking areas, so we struggled to park until we found a small field with a few cars parked and took a chance. We were fine there for an hour or so as we wandered the streets.

We then headed a little further south again, near to Sagres for our parkup ready for Christmas Day.

Christmas in a Campervan

Day 6 – Christmas at Sagres

As it was our dream to spend Christmas at Sagres in the van, the previous few days did involve a lot of driving to get there. If we had more time, we’d have taken it a lot slower, but we made it. We parked up at the top of a cliff and had another lovely sunrise. We chilled in the van in the morning before heading a little further down the coast, stopping at Praia do Amado for a while, and then finally onto Sagres itself.

We parked up in the famous carpark in time to cook ourselves a huge Christmas Dinner in the van! With pretty much all of it brought over from the UK! It took us a while, and it was a little hard to do in the van with the oven only having one shelf and 3 hobs, but we got there eventually with only one small disaster of dropping the Cauliflower Cheese on the floor!

Carvoeiro Boardwalk Caves

Day 7 + 8 – Carvoeiro + Driving to Gibraltar

The next morning we headed to my favourite place at Sagres – St Vincent Lighthouse. We then stopped at a pottery shop which I’ve wanted to visit each time we’ve been before, but not being able to carry anything home in our hand luggage while flying, resisted each time. This time, I made Shane pull in so we could visit, and luckily, it was open on Boxing Day! We spent a good hour wandering the shop and came home with some house number tiles, 2 plates, some magnets and an oven glove for the van. I wish I bought more haha!

Afterwards, Shane picked out a stop at Carvoeiro boardwalk which was amazing! We walked along the boardwalk and found loads of little caves to explore along the way, and then we had a quick stop in Carvoeiro itself. We were hoping to get food there, but being boxing day, most places were closed or had set menus, so we walked back to the van and headed off to an aire for the night.

After a lovely long shower, we left Portugal and crossed back into Spain. The plan was to visit Seville, but none of the parking areas sounded too great – loads of break-ins or waaay out of the city centre with dodgy walks, so we drove past and headed for Gibraltar instead. We arrived around 6pm and parked up at the Marina in La Linea de la Concepcion, just across the boarder.

Gibraltar at the Top

Day 9 – Gibraltar

We woke up early to walk across the border to Gibraltar. We read that the queues could be really long to cross in a vehicle so it’s usually quicker to just walk across instead, so we did. We then hopped on a bus to The Rock of Gibraltar Cable Car Station – we went for the ticket that gives you access to the Nature Reserve too. We followed the recommended route which literally took us the entire afternoon. And there’s SO many hills! We were dead by the end of it.

The only thing I didn’t like about it though, was that when you get to the end of the route for the Nature Reserve, you’re kind of dumped at a random area of the city, nowhere near the tourist busses so we got a bit lost trying to make our way back. We’d already walked for miles, had no food all day, and were both suffering from a horrendous chest infection and needed food + a drink. I also really wanted to head to the botanical gardens, which is at the entrance to the cable car, so if you’re planning on walking down the nature reserve, visit the botanical gardens first. There’s also a lighthouse at the tip that I wanted to see, but we were too far away from so missed out on that too. But we finally found our way back to the border – which involves crossing the runway! That was weird!

Juzcar Smurf Village Spain

Day 10 – Juzcar and Ronda

The next day we headed up into the mountains of Andalucia to visit a famous real life ‘Smurf Village’. They painted the town blue back when the first Smurfs movie was released, and planned to paint it back to it’s original whitewashed look 6 months later, but due to the increase in tourism to the village, the residents had a vote and decided to keep it blue! It’s a tiny village so we didn’t stay too long, but I can imagine in summer it’d be amazing for kids, as there were quite a few activities for them to do around the town, like climbing walls and zip-lines!

We then drove to nearby Ronda to see the famous bridge. We wanted to hike down to the viewpoint, but by this point we were so ill and tired from all the walking we did the day before that we just couldn’t bear it, so saw it from the town viewpoints instead. The gorge that the bridge sits over was insane though!

Sunset in Spain

Day 11 – Granada (+ Our Gas Broke)

This was the day that we were supposed to be exploring the famous Alhambra in Granada, but our LPG gas (for our heater and cooker) broke on our final night in Gibraltar. We thought we’d just ran out of LPG and managed to find a gas station with the correct converter, so topped it up before heading to Juzcar, but when we parked up that night, it cut out again. So we had a freezing cold night with no hot food!

So we headed to Granada instead to visit a huge DIY store so Shane could get some tools to try figure out the problem. We were hoping we’d be done in an hour or so and could then visit the Alhambra, but instead we ended up on a tour of Granada’s LPG stations and DIY stores and found that the issue was that the hose seal had disintegrated inside the hose causing a blockage. So we had to buy a camping stove instead and continue up to Madrid on our journey towards home for our parkup that night.

Bardenas Reales

Day 12 – Bardenas Reales

We woke up super early the next morning with a frozen windscreen as it was getting so much colder the more northern we headed. We then drove a few hours to visit the Bardenas Reales – a mini desert in Northern Spain. It was such a strange area and was a lot bigger than we expected after we tried to drive around the entire perimeter on the crazy gravel/sand road. We gave up about 1/4 of the way around and headed to the shops to buy some food to last us New Years eve and New Years Day!

As it was getting colder the more north we headed, and also at the peak of our chest infections, our enthusiasm sort of frazzled with us, so the next few days were a little less active while we tried to recover!

Spain Mountain Road Cloud Inversion

Day 13 – Driving to France

We tried to visit a few places, but I just wasn’t feeling very well at all, and it was so cold that I had no motivation to do anything. We tried to visit a Natural Park that Shane had found that morning, but as the visitor centre was closed we had no luck finding what it was that we were trying to find (a river with clear blue water). We did come across an amazing cloud inversion though on the way up to the park which was so cool that we had to stop for some photos!

We crossed into France and continued our way north for as long as we could manage before finding a parkup for the night.

Dune du Pilat France

Day 14 – Dune du Pilat

The next day we were both starting to feel a little bit better again, and we finally made it to Dune du Pilat – the tallest sand dune in Europe! It measures 500m width, 2.7km in length and 106m tall! It was insanely huge and the photos just don’t do it justice how big it was! The dune is very slowly moving inwards towards the land as you can see when you visit that the sand is slowly taking over the trees at the base.

I can imagine how crazy busy it must be during the summer months, with everyone heading down to the beach at the base of the dune. After this, we continued our drive further north through France towards Caen for our ferry home.

Omaha Beach France

Day 15 + 16 – Omaha Beach + Home

The next day, we planned to visit Mont St Michel which I’ve wanted to visit for years. Sadly though, the weather wasn’t very nice – it was cold, rainy and quite windy, so we decided to just find a beach near to our ferry port in Caen for the afternoon before heading to our parkup for the night as we had a super early morning departure of 7am.

We ended up at Omaha beach, one of the locations of the WW2 D-Day landings. There’s a lot of memorials to all the soldiers who fought and lost their lives there that day so we had a little wander around those before just chilling in our van for the rest of the afternoon. Later that night, we arrived at our parkup and prepared the van ready for the ferry crossing home the next morning.

We had an amazing trip and we were so lucky with the warm weather we got in the south of Portugal and Spain, as apparently they’d had continuous rain for months and loads of flooding. It’s just a shame that we were both so ill towards the end of the trip and couldn’t enjoy it as much as we’d have liked. It was a lot of driving though to get back to the UK and I wish we took the ferry from Spain back home so that we had more time in the warmth of southern Spain. I don’t think it would be as bad during the summer, but for winter it was nice to be in the warmth for a change!

Watch Our Vlogs From the Trip

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RV rental Portugal

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Hire a motorhome, campervan or converted van in Portugal and travel across Europe !

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RV Low profile Joint joint For rent in Ponte De Sor

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Ponte De Sor (25 km away)

RV Coachbuilt Chausson Chausson Welcome 28 For rent in Tomar

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Tomar (28 km away)

RV Coachbuilt Sunlight Ducato 2,2 l JTD 130 ch. For rent in Fátima

Fátima (48 km away)

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Sertã (46 km away)

RV Coachbuilt Hymer Hymer For rent in Sertã

Sertã (47 km away)

RV Coachbuilt C.I. Mizar For rent in Abrantes

Abrantes (7 km away)

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RV rentals in Portugal: explore freely

campervan travel portugal

Hire a camper or an RV in Portugal

Travel with total freedom and security! Discover the best things to do in Portugal this summer. To visit Portugal, the ideal solution is to rent a camper.

From North to South, Portugal is a country that offers countless opportunities, perfect for a camper rental. The west coast offers a succession of beautiful beaches, some are ideal for surfing and others perfect for relaxing. The interior of Portugal is very varied and you can go from a dense green vegetation to a desert of red earth dotted with olive trees in a few hours of route. Take the road on a colourful RV trip to the land of fado.

Our team can advise you how to rent a camper in Portugal. Yescapa makes hiring an RV in Portugal a very easy experience. The platform offers low cost camper rental in Portugal and across Europe. Traveling by RV is a perfect solution to move around Portugal and discover its riches. Lisbon, Porto, Faro... whatever your destination, you will find the perfect camper rental to travel Portugal with Yescapa.

Meet Yescapa's Best Owners located in Portugal


Can I provide my own rental insurance for my RV? A-class or coachbuilt, this sturdy and comfortable vehicle will win your heart:

RV Coachbuilt Swift Ducato 2.8 JTD For rent in Almeirim

Almeirim (40 km away)

RV Coachbuilt Mclouis 1 S-Line For rent in Fátima

Fátima (46 km away)

RV Coachbuilt P.L.A. 415 For rent in Leiria

Leiria (60 km away)

RV ‘A’ class Pilote Reference G 692 For rent in Leiria

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Leiria (61 km away)

RV Low profile Pilote Fiat Ducato Multijet 2.3 130CV For rent in Tomar

Torres Novas (29 km away)

Converted vans

Book a converted van in Portugal! Discover these vans for the whole family. Our converted vans have a bed, a kitchen and (often) a bathroom.

Converted van Peugeot Boxer 2,0 l 130 ch For rent in Fátima

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Fátima (47 km away)

Converted van Ducato  For rent in Fátima

Fátima (45 km away)

Converted van Fiat Ducato 3,0 l 180 ch For rent in Colmeias

Colmeias (60 km away)

Converted van Fiat Jumper For rent in Torres Novas

Leiria (66 km away)

Converted van Mercedes Mercedes  For rent in Alcobaça

Alcobaça (65 km away)

Réalisez la location d'un van à Portugal ! Start your van life with our selection of vehicles:

Camper Renault Renault Trafic For rent in Ourém

Ourém (51 km away)

Camper Ford Transit For rent in Fátima

Fátima (44 km away)

Camper Volkswagen Volkswagen transporte For rent in Moleanos

Moleanos (61 km away)

Camper Mercedes 315 For rent in Leiria

Leiria (62 km away)

Camper Nissan Vanette For rent in Leiria

Batalha (60 km away)

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You can book a motorhome for your family holidays in Portugal. Luxurious or modest, discover our vehicles with 4, 6 berth or more. Travelling with your family, your children in an RV will be a unique experience, an unforgettable memory:

RV Low profile Blucamp  For rent in Leiria

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For a couples holiday in Portugal, hire a small RV. Discover our selection of 2 berth vehicles for a romantic getaway:

Camper Volkswagen Volkswagen T4 For rent in Leiria

Leiria (64 km away)

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Discover our RVs with pets allowed in Portugal. Hard to leave those little monsters behind! RVs are an ideal solution to travel with pets, they'll feel right at home. Book a RV that allows cats and dogs:

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Entroncamento (23 km away)

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Leiria (63 km away)

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16 Best Campervan Journeys In Europe

  • Campervan journeys in Europe offer a low-cost way to explore scenic destinations and beautiful landscapes, away from the city streets.
  • Routes like Slovenia & Croatia, Transfăgărășan Highway in Romania, and the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland are worth adding to your European itinerary.
  • From the French Riviera to the North Coast 500 in Scotland, there are plenty of options for campervan road trips that provide flexibility, affordability, and unforgettable experiences.

While the “Vanlife” craze is taking off in North America, campervan journeys around Europe have been a popular way to see the continent at a low cost for years. Spend 1-2 weeks or a couple of months roaming Europe in a cozy campervan while taking in the beautiful landscapes travelers often miss when sticking to the city streets.


Best Routes For A European Campervan Journey

Europe is home to numerous scenic destinations worth checking out, and campervan journeys present an exciting option to explore them without breaking the bank. In this updated list, find out more road trips worth adding to an adventurer's to-do list during a European itinerary.

Related: Road Trip Enthusiasts: Here Are The 10 Countries With The Best Road Trips In The World

Slovenia & Croatia

Slovenia is overlooked by many travelers in Europe in favor of nearby Croatia or Austria. However, Slovenia and Croatia together are the perfect route for a European road trip with beautiful historic cities and beaches on the Adriatic Sea. For a 10-14 campervan journey, pick up a vehicle in Dubrovnik and spend three days on the coast , appreciating the scenery and exploring filming locations for Game of Thrones . Then, drive north to Split and Zadar before continuing to the scenic Plitvice Lakes National Park.

Cross the border into Slovenia and explore the Julian Alps and scenic Lake Bled. Rent a canoe in the early morning and paddle out to the center of the lake for the best views. Finally, explore the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana.

Transfăgărășan Highway, Romania

Romania doesn’t get much attention from international travelers, but it should. This vast Eastern European country has a beautiful capital city but also expansive, lush green landscapes and highways that are easy to travel to. Rent a campervan for pickup at the Bucharest airport before embarking on the epic Transfăgărășan highway drive. This road takes travelers through the Carpathian Mountains. The road is nearly 100 km long and is one of the most iconic in Europe, twisting and turning through the rolling terrain of Romania. Plan to make stops at Balea Lake, Capra Tunnel, Vidraru Dam, and Poenari Citadel along the way.

Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland

The Wild Atlantic Way is Ireland’s most famous driving route and can easily be driven in 5 days to 1 week, starting from Dublin. However, for travelers who want to take their time and spend more than one night at a destination along the way, turning this into a 2-week adventure is a more relaxing choice. The route is 2500 km from County Donegal to County Cork and takes travelers along the best sights of Ireland’s West Coast, including the Cliffs of Moher, Kylemore Abbey, and Slea Head.

Related: 10 Places You Should See In Ireland During A 7-Day Trip

The Fairy Tale Road, Germany

Germany is one of the largest countries by area in Western Europe, so exploring it in a campervan is a great way to see the natural beauty usually missed when sticking to cities like Berlin or Munich. Rent a campervan and drive the Fairy Tale Road in Germany, which starts in Frankfurt. The quiet road runs through the countryside and charming German towns like Steinau, Marburg, Kassel, Gottingen, Hamelin, and Bremen. From Bremen, travelers can easily continue onto Hamburg and venture north to Denmark.

The Ring Road, Iceland

Iceland’s Ring Road is the best drive in the country, taking travelers around the island’s perimeter in just 7-10 days. While it’s possible to do this trip in a rental car and book Airbnbs or hotels, choosing to do the journey in a campervan offers the flexibility to stop at any campsite and stay immersed in the otherworldly landscapes of the Land of Fire and Ice. Top sights to see along the way include Skogafoss, Jökulsárlón Lagoon , and Diamond Beach.

Related: The 10 Most Beautiful Stops Along Iceland's Ring Road

The French Riviera, France

Get away from the busyness of Paris and embark on a romantic campervan journey through the South of France on the French Riviera. In just one week, travelers can easily stop at beautiful cities like Nice, Eze, Cannes, Cote d'Azur, Monaco, and Antibes while spending the night in their campervans to save money on accommodation. This is a fantastic way to see the South of France on a budget and with the freedom to wake up in a new spot every morning.

The North Coast 500, Scotland

The North Coast 500 is named for the 516-mile route around the Northern coast of Scotland. It’s possible to drive this route in just five days but lengthening the trip permits travelers to make more stops and appreciate the scenery in various parts of the country. Some top spots to pause along the way are Falls of Shin, Coldbackie Sands, Smoo Cave, and Handa Island. The route is so popular it has attracted more than 29,000 visitors since its inception, but there’s still plenty of room for everyone on the road.

Algarve Coast, Portugal

Travelers looking for a budget-friendly campervan trip in Western Europe can skip Italy’s coast and head to the South of Portugal instead. Most international travelers will arrive in Lisbon, where it’s easy to pick up a rental van from the airport. Then, drive south on the E1 to Lagos, which takes between 2.5 and 3 hours . From Lagos, travelers can choose to spend time camping and swimming along the Algarve Coast for a few days before continuing the drive to Faro. If time permits, cross into Spain and spend a few days in Seville before returning to the campervan and heading home.

La Route Des Grande Alpes, Switzerland

This route takes travelers through the French Alps between the French Riviera and Lake Geneva. Visitors will drive their campervan through the Alps from North to South or South to North, depending on which side they start the route from. The road has 16 passes, some of the highest in the Alps and spans 684 km from Thonon-Les-Bains to Menton. The journey takes at least 2-3 days by car, but travelers can spend much longer exploring the historical monuments and Alpine villages along the way.

Whitehaven To Silloth, The Lake District, United Kingdom

There are plenty of scenic road trip routes through The Lake District in the UK, but travelers who want to drive their campervan along the coast will love the journey from Whitehaven to Silloth. The drive is 26.7 miles long and follows the A595 and A596 along the Solway Coast from Whitehaven. Travelers will pass through the quaint town of Maryport and can stop off at the picturesque Allonby's Beach before arriving in Silloth.

Finland Up To Nordkapp

One of Europe's most scenic caravan journeys is arguably traveling up through Finland to Norway. This route takes one through the boreal forests of Northern Europe and even through Santa's North Pole Village in Lapland . Along the way, visitors see sprawling forests where the roadsides are populated by reindeer as one penetrates north into Lapland. Mountains don't appear until one approaches the northern border with Norway, and from there, one can keep on going to Nordkapp - the northernmost point of Europe .

Travel Down The Coast Of Norway

Norway is arguably the most stunning road trip possible in Europe. Travel down Norway's pristine and stunning coastline and explore many of the world's most picturesque and dramatic fjords. Keep in mind that Norway is expensive, but it is also legal to camp almost wherever one likes (if one would like to save on camping fees). Be sure to detour to see Troll's Tongue while traveling in Norway .

Andorra & The Pyrenees

The Pyrenees are one of the great mountain ranges of Europe, and they form the border between Spain and France. One of the fun things to discover while exploring the Pyrenees is the tiny alpine country of Andorra (it is basically a country that is a collection of ski resorts). The Pyrenees are not as dramatic as the Alps of Switzerland, France, Italy, and Austria, but they are stunning and should be on anyone's bucket list.

Turkey is sometimes counted in Europe, and it is a top destination to go for a campervan journey. The country is just bursting with attractions to see and explore (think about endless Roman ruins, ancient Greek ruins, Pamukkale, crusader castles, some of the Mediterranean's best beaches, and some of the oldest manmade settlements known. Turkey has a great highway network and is a very rewarding place to explore.

Switzerland & Northern Italy

Starting in the mountains and ending at sea, this lovely European campervan journey takes travelers through exciting destinations. From Switzerland's biggest city, Zurich, drive through the country to the towns of Lucerne and later Bern before crossing to the Italian city of Turin. Admire the impressive architecture in the city and sample its eclectic cuisine, then continue with the journey to the fashion capital of Milan . Find something cute to buy and drive off to Bologna's historic town before wrapping up the trip in Venice, where so many attractions await .

Related: 10 London To Rome Road Trip Stops That Reveal Ancient History And Breathtaking Scenery

Italy Roundtrip

Italy's is among Europe's top destinations, and going around the country explores campers to beautiful cities with a rich history, unique culture, and exotic destinations. Starting in Milan, this exciting road trip will last 2 to 3 weeks, depending on how much there is to see and do along the way. Drive the van to Genoa, check out the beautiful harbors, then head to Pisa through Cinque Terre. Continue towards Florence to admire its majestic art pieces, continuing to Siena and Rome. Afterward, he's to Naples and cap off the Italian itinerary on the Almafi Coast.

16 Best Campervan Journeys In Europe

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Seven, 10 and 14 days: the best Portugal road trips

campervan travel portugal

If you live in the US you’re not exactly short of epic road trip choices. The sheer scale of the country can make that intimidating though. Europe offers something different – smaller countries, less driving and more rewards. One of my favorites is a Portugal road trip.

Blessed with wonderful weather, long history and gorgeous coastlines, Portugal is a fascinating and fabulous country to explore. Its variety means there’s something for everyone, from history buffs to oenophiles, surfers to sun worshippers. And as it’s only 135 miles wide and 349 miles long, nothing is ever that far away. From when and where to go to what car to rent , here’s how to do your Portugal road trip right.

In this post

How do I get to Portugal from the US?

What sort of vehicle should i rent for a portugal road trip, when is the best time to take a portugal road trip, how much does a portugal road trip cost, inland spas: a portugal road trip in 7 days, head to the coast: a portugal road trip in 10 days.

A vintage tram passing through a narrow lane surrounded by historic buildings.

The two main airports in Portugal are in its two biggest cities, Lisbon . Both sit on the Atlantic coast, Porto to the north and Lisbon to the south. Their respective locations make great access points from which to start your road trip, depending on where you’re going.

You can fly direct to Lisbon and to Porto from major US airports, where you’ll also find plenty of car rental options. If you’re focussing your trip in the Algarve to the far south, connecting flights to Faro are cheap, quick and regular.

A couple enjoying each other's company inside a car shares a moment of togetherness while travelling.

Portugal’s freeways and minor roads are generally in good condition. You can base your car choice on who you’re traveling with, be it family or friends , and the type of trip you’re taking. If you’re staying at hotels, a standard car or SUV will be fine. If you’re planning on using the country’s many campgrounds, you can rent an RV from dedicated companies. And as much of Portugal is sun-soaked for much of the year, a convertible is seldom a bad idea.

A woman sitting on the bed with her luggage, using her tablet computer.

Portugal’s southern location treats it to more sun than most European countries . Average temperatures in Lisbon sit above 60°F from April till the end of October, peaking in the mid-70s in August (data sourced from ). It’s usually accompanied by clear blue skies. Thanks to its relatively long and narrow geography, the weather is significantly hotter and drier in the south than it is in the north. On my week-long trip through the Algarve last August, there wasn’t a single day where the thermometer dropped below 100°F!

That also makes it drier than most. Rain is all but an afterthought in the high summer months, averaging just 6mm in July and August. But with December, the wettest month, seeing only 122mm of rain on average, the weather is never bad enough to make a road trip untenable.

Unsurprisingly, late spring and early summer are the most popular tourist months. Lisbon is the most popular destination in Portugal, at its busiest in April and May. Although the summer months see similarly high numbers for flight searches. Porto’s popularity peaks in the summer months July and August. Faro remains popular into September and October, the warmer southern weather lasting longer into fall.

I love road tripping most in late spring and early fall , when the daytime temperatures don’t make driving a sweaty chore. It gives you the best of all worlds. It’s warm enough to still enjoy the beaches and the surf is more reliable than summer months. There are enough tourists to mean sleepier bars and restaurants are open for business, but not enough to fill them. Roads and attractions aren’t too busy – though that’s seldom the case outside of the cities at any time in Portugal.


Before you start booking, it’s handy to get an idea of how much a road trip in Portugal will cost you. Here are some data for guidance, calculated by comparing hundreds of travel providers.

  • Average price for a round trip flight from New York to Lisbon: $911
  • Average price for one night in a double hotel room in Lisbon: 135 euros (approx. $143)
  • Average price for one night in a hostel in Lisbon: 64 euros (approx. $68)
  • Average daily rate for a rental car in Lisbon: 42 euros (approx. $44)
  • Cost of 1 gallon of gas in Portugal: 6,91 euros (according to in March 2024)

The global cost for a seven-day road trip in Portugal, covering 274 miles, staying in hotels, and using 13 gallons of gas, would be approximately 1,300 euros (around $1,400) for two travelers (660 euros or around $700 per person).

Staying at campgrounds would also significantly reduce your accommodation costs, although the higher cost of renting an RV over a car may wipe out that saving. And of course, if you’re traveling with more people you may be able to share some of the costs.

This is a fun road trip into inland Portugal, perfect if you’re flying into Porto. You’ll encounter a mix of stunning spa towns, gorgeous wild spaces and historic cities along the way. It may not cover a huge distance but there’s a lot to see and do – and you can go any time of year.

Day 1: Porto

Woman in an orange dress gazing at old decorative traditional azulejo tiles in a city

Portugal’s namesake city is a wonderful starting point. It offers lots of car rental options and all the facilities you need to prepare and stock up for your trip. Welcoming and convenient, historic and captivating, it’s a lovely introductory taste to Portugal.

Where to stay in Porto: The Rebello has the highest KAYAK ratings and best riverside views in the city

Day 2: Guimarães

A water fountain in a church square surrounded by historic architecture.

Distance from Porto: 34 miles

Inland to the north lies the city of Guimarães with its eye-popping World Heritage city center. Climb to the hilltop 10th century Guimarães Castle for awesome views over the landscape you’re road tripping through.

Where to stay near Guimarães: The five-star Pousada Mosteiro de Guimarães is simply incredible

Day 3: Curia

A boat sailing in the middle of a canal lined with docked boats bordered by colourful buildings.

Distance from Guimarães: 90 miles

Curia is a spa town famed for its Belle Epoque-era mansions. Many are now beautiful hotels housing thermal spas once loved by the Romans for their therapeutic properties. Float, recuperate and revel in them like the Romans did.

Expert tip: On route, consider a detour to Aveiro on the coast. Explore its historic art nouveau center and float down its canals on one of the colorful barcos moliceiros.

Where to stay in Curia: The Curia Palace Hotel & Spa is blow-your-socks-off beautiful

Day 4: Luso

View of elaborate ancient palace surrounded by a large garden on a sunny day

Distance from Curia: 10 miles

The spa town of Luso is perhaps Portugal’s most famous water source. Thermal baths proliferate and healing waters pour freely from fountains. Nearby, my favorite part of inland Portugal – Buçaco forest. Cultivated by solitude-seeking Carmelite monks since the sixth century, it’s one of the richest and most exotic spaces in Europe. Spend the day hiking here to revitalize your senses before calming them again in a Luso spa.

Where to stay near Luso: The Palace Hotel do Bussaco in the heart of the forest is my favorite hotel in Portugal

Day 5: Coimbra

Historic architecture with colourful facades along a steep roadway.

Distance from Luso: 20 miles

The riverfront city of Coimbra is an atmospheric ascent (literally – it’s hilly!) into the Portugal of old. Its beautifully preserved medieval old town is home to the historic University of Coimbra, renowned for its Baroque library and bell tower. It’s a lovely place to watch the sunset from.

Where to stay in Coimbra: The República Guest House by the university has the best KAYAK ratings in the city

Day 6: Caramulo

Viewing point of mountains with windmills

Distance from Coimbra: 50 miles

Heading back north, a stop at Caramulo takes you into the mountains where the air is so clean it has long drawn visitors seeking cures for breathing ailments. Its center is crisscrossed by Art Deco buildings and abandoned sanatoriums; its outskirts are crisscrossed by magical mountain trails delivering breathtaking views. Aptly for a road trip, it’s also home to the Museo do Caramulo , a truly unique car museum housing some of the world’s most extraordinary supercars.

Where to stay in Caramulo: The Beecaramulo Apitourismo farm stay has gorgeous mountain views, especially from the Jacuzzi

Day 7: Porto

Charming traditional colourful houses line a quaint street.

Distance from Caramulo: 70 miles

Finish your trip back in beautiful Porto. Drop off your car and spend your last day or days sipping its famed port wine in chic and rustic bars overlooking the Douro River. Historic Ribeira is the riverside district where narrow cobbled streets look pulled from an ancient painting.

This Portugal road trip itinerary takes in the best of the country’s 513-mile coast. Heading south from the capital, it snakes into the Algarve taking in coastlines on the Atlantic and Gulf of Cadiz. Spectacular and sun-soaked, it’s a road trip best suited to the summer months.

Day 1: Lisbon

Tourists pass through the cobbled road with outdoor dining between buildings towards an archway.

Portugal’s capital is a buzzing modern metropolis dressed in the grandeur of old. Steep, tilting streets connect grungy atmospheric barrios with splendid esplanades that spill onto a sleekly developed waterfront. Unwind for a night from a long flight before hitting the road south.

Where to stay in Lisbon: Gaspar House is a fantastic blend of value, style and quality

Day 2: Cascais

A beach with gentle waves that lap against the shore, a bustling village nearby, and a charming promenade inviting leisurely strolls

Distance from Lisbon: 19 miles

Before staring south in earnest, a quick side trip west to charming, seaside Cascais . Stroll its lovely promenade, stop off for a dip in the Atlantic at Praia da Rainha with views up to the stunning Palacete Seixtas. End your day at the Boca do Inferno cliff formation, aptly translated as Hell’s Mouth.

Where to stay in Cascais: Go all out at The Albatroz , a stunning five-star clifftop mansion

Day 3: Setúbal

A person skillfully captures the beauty of the sloped coastline with their smartphone.

Distance from Cascais: 56 miles

Setúbal is one of the best seafood towns in Portugal, which is saying something. Spend a day boating out into the crystal clear waters of Arrábida Natural Park and swim at Praia do Portinho da Arrábida, one of Portugal’s most stunning beaches. Stop off at a local winery on the way back to taste the famed Moscatel de Setúbal fortified wine. Soak up the alcohol over a dinner of dried cuttlefish, the town’s most famous dish (it’s salty and delicious.)

Where to stay in Setúbal: In the heart of the city, Pêpa Guesthouse is the best KAYAK rated stay under $80

Day 4: Sagres

A sandy shore stretches alongside the tranquil blue sea, encompassed by expansive cliffs under the clear blue sky.

Distance from Setúbal: 182 miles

Drive three hours south and you’ll arrive in the sizzling Algarve on Portugal’s south coast. Sandy and dry with spectacular beaches and dramatic cliffs, it’s a different world from the Atlantic coast. Make straight for Sagres and Praia da Cordoama, a sprawling rock and sand beach that’s a favorite with surfers.

Where to stay in Sagres: Memmo Baleeira is my pick in Sagres for its grand views over the surf

Day 5: Albufeira

A sandy beach lined with white houses and buildings against a clear blue sky.

Distance from Sagres: 53 miles

It may only take an hour to get to Albufeira east along the coast, but my advice is not to rush it. Take some of those dead end coastal roads you pass on the road – you’ll likely end up in some sleepy fishing village with a world-class beach and fresh-as-it-gets seafood. Then, of course there are the waterparks – whether you have kids or not Slide & Splash is a hilarious way to wash off the dust of the road.

Where to stay in Albufeira: The W Algarve is the funnest, funkiest hotel on the entire coast

Day 6: Faro

A young tourist stands confidently in front of an ancient church nestled within a city.

Distance from Albufeira: 28 miles

Faro may be old but it’s also a major tourist town. Its historic center buzzes with al fresco cafés, loud bars and mixed quality restaurants. Take a boat trip to Rio Formosa Natural Park to swap tourists for wildlife or rent a kayak at nearby Benagil to explore the extraordinary caves pockmarking the coast.

Where to stay in Faro: Chic À da Avó is a gorgeous guesthouse in the heart of Faro for under $80

Day 7: Figueira da Foz

A girl strolls alone on Cabedelo Beach in the morning, enjoying the gentle sound of waves as they lap against the shore.

Distance from Faro: 280 miles

The longest drive takes you back north of Lisbon to Figueira da Foz. The archetypal seaside town, it’s all grand esplanades, vast groomed beaches and wonderful seafood restaurants. Just south of town is Praia do Cabedelo is one of the area’s best surfing beaches.

Where to stay in Figueira da Foz: Bachareis Charming House is the best rated KAYAK stay and costs just $80 a night

Day 8: Nazaré

A red lighthouse overlooking the ocean with surfers riding the waves.

Distance from Figueira da Foz: 57 miles

A short scenic drive south takes you to the now infamous town of Nazaré. If you’re lucky, you may get to see one of nature’s greatest shows – the world’s biggest waves breaking just offshore and the surfers daring enough to ride them. They’re best viewed from the historic cliff top lighthouse, Farol da Nazaré.

Where to stay in Nazaré: Batata is an oceanfront gem with great views at budget prices

Day 9: Sintra

Pena Palace is a vibrant and colourful hilltop castle in yellow and red hues with domed towers surrounded by crenellated structures and a clock tower with turrets.

Distance from Nazaré: 81 miles

The penultimate leg takes you into the fairytale town of Sintra with its elaborate Pena and Monserrate palaces. Explore the lush gardens and underground tunnels of Quinta da Regaleira and refuel on classic local travesseiro pastries.

Where to stay near Sintra: Budget friendly, highly rated Galo Preto has views up to Pena Palace

Day 10: Lisbon

Four friends smile as they took a group photo using a smartphone in a public square with an arch monument in the background.

Distance from Sintra: 18 miles

It’s a short hop back into Lisbon to drop off the car and spend another day (or more) soaking up all that Portugal’s capital has to offer.

Top to bottom: the ultimate 2 week road trip in Portugal

Three friends unloading their surfboards from a car's trunk in a grassy beach.

A two-week trip means you can tackle the spine of Portugal and take in every aspect of the country. There’s a single road perfect for just such a trip – Portugal’s longest and once the country’s main thoroughfare: the Estrada Nacional 2.

Better known simply as the N2, it runs 459 miles from Chaves at its northern border to Faro in the Algarve. Perfectly dissecting the country east to west from top to toe, it has become the country’s most popular road trip. It’s known as the Portuguese Route 66.

The N2 passes through Portugal’s rural heartland, starting in the mountainous Douro region and running through every landscape to the olive fields of the Alentejo. Along the way, ancient cities and towns, easy diversions to the coast, wild landscapes and an endless staple of delicious regional foods. This is an end-to-end road trip where you’ll fly into Porto and out of Faro.

Expert tip: The N2 comes with its own passport from the tourist offices in Chaves and Faro, which you can get stamped at more than 35 stops en route. It makes for a lovely memento.

How does KAYAK know what to put in this guide?

My oldest friend has lived in Portugal for 20 years. Together we’ve road tripped most of this amazing country in search of empty surf breaks, amazing hiking and fine wines. This guide mixes those experiences and itineraries with many of the classic Portugal attractions. It should have a little something for everyone no matter your tastes – just like the country itself.

The hotel recommendations included in this article are based on customer ratings and the author's personal choices, so please feel free to use our hotel search tool to find the accommodation best suited to your needs.

About the author

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