Without a question, Portugal is one of our favorite destinations. Portugal never gets boring without ever losing its authenticity. People are warm-hearted, the small villages idyllic and the countryside calming. Then, days start with a self-made coffee from the camping gas stove, lying in the camper van. Couldn’t be any better! For us, renting a camper van in Portugal is the best way to explore its pretty beaches and picturesque corners.
We love to be flexible while on the road and that’s why a camper van in Portugal is pretty ideal. If you also feel good when traveling with a rolling home, the following article will shed light into the dark on what to keep in mind and which rules to follow.
Prior your trip: A bit of planning ahead
The following paragraph will help you to be ideally prepared! For a camper trip to Portugal, you actually don’t need a lot but a few things need to be organized prior to the trip.
Which kind of camper do I need?
As soon as you made the decision that you will explore Portugal by van, you will ask yourself the question which camper van is the right one for you. If you own one, you obviously don’t need to ask yourself the question but rather leave as soon as possible!
How big does the camper need to be? Is it ok for you to have a small camper van that just has a bed sufficient or would you rather prefer to have a shower and a toilet? That’s a not an easy-to-answer question as both options have pros and cons. Big cars can be an issue in the narrow Portuguese streets and also need to pay higher tolls as well as are more expensive to rent.
We decided in favor of a middle of the road solution and had a bit more comfort than in a Volkswagen camper van. Still, we didn’t have a shower.
A few things make your life a lot easier on the road and you should have an eye on not to forget them. But more on that later.
Companies that offer your new Camper van in Portugal
Prior to our final decision which camper van would be the right fit for us, we researched countless hours and here we wanted to share all our findings with you.
With over 120 campers Indie Campers seems to be the biggest provider for rolling homes in Portugal. Similar to our camper, these vans are all quite new and offer comparatively high comfort. On their website, you can decide which camper you want to drive and where to pick it up.
Camper-vans from the 80s – Pura Vida
Campers straight from the 80s. Pura Vida offers a few great travel buddies with nostalgic flair. We shortly considered to rent a T3 from their fleet but then decided in favor of a bit more comfort as we also approach the 30s :)
If you have a tooth for retro campers, definitely check them out! Pura Vida is based in Ericeira, by the way.
Vintage campers – Siesta Campers
Speaking of older campers! Siesta Campers offers beside a few new VW busses (T6) also some real historic cars. For 70€ you can travel back in time and rent a camper van from the 50s.
Our beloved van – Portugal by Van // advertisement
The small company literally made our trip and offered us a camper! The company offers a selection of new Fiat Ducato’s that are extremely comfortable and easy to drive. We loved every kilometer down the coast and enjoyed a relaxed time in our little home.
To make our van a bit more home, we bought a carpet, a plant, and a fruit net. With a few candles for the dark hours of the day, the camper van felt like home.
We decided in favor of Portugal by Van and can highly recommend the company. The conversations have been extremely easy-going and Sofia and her team made everything possible!
Camper Van Insurance
Almost all companies that offer camper vans in Portugal also offer insurances. Of course, ideally you never need to make use of them but that’s the deal with all other insurances in your life. We definitely find it more relaxed to know that a small crash wouldn’t end in a financial disaster.
Thus, we absolutely recommend paying the extra bucks for insurance. Often you also have to pay a certain amount in the unlucky event of a crash but insurances without this normally get crazy expensive.
Pick-Up and Drop-Off Location
The pick-up and drop-off location always depend on the provider you choose. If you decide in favor of Portugal by Van, you’ll need to pick the car up in Lisbon, Siesta Campers in Faro and Pura Vida in Ericeira. In the case you decide for a camper van from Indie Campers, you can decide where you want to pick it up as they offer various locations distributed in the country. With Indie you could, for example, pick it up in Lisbon and drop it off in Faro.
For us and our camper from our van from Portugal by Van, this wasn’t a big problem as we anyways wanted to start and end our trip in our favorite city and start with surfing in Peniche, which is basically around the corner.
During your trip: Things to keep in mind
To make sure that you can fully enjoy your trip and don’t face any unexpected issues, here a few tips on things you should keep in mind while on the road with your camper van in Portugal.
Tolls in Portugal
As in Spain and France, you’ll have to pay tolls when you use a highway. These tolls can be either paid in cash on toll stations on the highway or automatically with a chip in your car. Portugal by Van has these chips already installed in their cars, which makes payments a lot easier and faster.
As we haven’t been stressed we almost didn’t take any highways and saved a few bucks while on the road with our camper van in Portugal. On Google Maps you will find a very helpful setting that allows you to select only toll-free roads.
In case you are planning a route where you need to pay tolls, a calculator is helpful to get a ballpark figure on what you will pay. Here you will find the one for Portugal.
Rules to Follow in Portugal
While on the road with a camper van in Portugal you need to follow a few rules. As some tourists seem to forget all conduct and behave totally inappropriate, the reputation of campers partially suffered.
Respect areas where camping is prohibited
Portugal has a Million possibilities to camp. Many parking lots in the picturesque national park around Aljezur invite visitors to have a barbecue and hang out. At some spots though, camping is forbidden. That should be respected in any way!
This point should be self-explanatory but if you look around, you’ll recognize that it, unfortunately, isn’t. Be an example for all other campers and take the trash you produced with you.
You are a guest in Portugal! Behave exactly that way. Part of that is how you park and camp. Have an eye on if you are in the way of others or your car blocks other cars. If you have an eye on that, you will make sure that locals get a good impression of us, visitors.
Fuel Your Car Correctly
We’ve been pretty irritated by the names for Diesel and regular gas. If you drive a Diesel you will need to fuel your car with „Gasóleo”. If your car needs regular gas, go for „Gasolina“! Not the other way around!
Wild Camping in Portugal
Contrary to many statements, wild camping is prohibited in Portugal. Having said that, it’s also accepted in many areas, so many people do it. The goodwill from the Portuguese authorities shouldn’t be misused. In case you decide in favor for a night in the wild ensure that you do not damage the nature and that you do not leave any trash behind.
The irresponsible behavior from campers has provoked a lot of frustration and anger with locals. So make sure to behave well if you decide to do wild camping in Portugal. Pick up every trash you have produced and don’t park where you could damage nature.
You will also find many camping sites spread across the country (such as this one in Sagres*) offering all the facilities you might miss while wild camping.
We hope you enjoyed our article about renting a Camper Van in Portugal. Have a safe trip along the Portuguese coastline, catch a wave and enjoy a Pastel de Nata with an Espresso!
Looking for more Wanderlust?
➳ You are eager to find the best surf down in Portugal? Surfing at the Algarve, here you go!
➳ Supertubos & Co.? You’ll find more on surfing in Peniche just here!
➳ Do you plan a short trip to Lisbon? Explore Portugal’s beautiful capital from a special angle.
➳ Portugal is not enough? Off to some waves in North Spain!
// *Affiliate-Link | When booking, we receive a small commission, without any extra costs for you!