Do you want to explore Portugal only with a tent or your camper van? We think that’s a great idea! You will be fully independent and that’s a great thing while in one of the countless beautiful places in Portugal. Everything you need to know for camping in Portugal will be bundled in this article.
Things you need to know prior to leaving
Traveling in Portugal is extremely uncomplicated, which is one of the reasons why we like it so much. Despite this, there are a couple of things handy to know prior to leaving.
Where to stay while camping in Portugal
While we explored Portugal with a camper van, we noticed that there aren’t that many camping options. Camping sites are spread across the country but won’t be found in every little town. That’s why our recommendation would be to roughly plan your route prior to your trip so that you have a rough plan on where to stay already beforehand.
In Sagres area and around Lisbon you will find many options to sleep for a night but in Aljezur, for example, options have been kind of limited. That’s not a big issue, you just need to know!
Wild Camping in Portugal
A question that quickly arises when speaking about camping in Portugal is if it is easy to go wild camping in Portugal. The answer to these questions has two parts. First, it indeed is possible to do wild camping in Portugal and it’s comparatively easy to do.
The second thing to keep in mind while considering wild camping in Portugal that it is officially prohibited, like in most European countries.
The Portuguese authorities aren’t very strict with penalizing wild camping but during the last years, locals became annoyed by tourists that camp outside of campsites.
And that’s understandable! Campers often leave trash behind, behave inappropriately and don’t seem to care about the footprint they leave.
Our opinion here is: If you decide in favor of wild camping in Portugal, make sure not to leave anything behind and pay respect to nature as well as locals. At all times!
It can be a beautiful thing to wake up in pristine nature and grab your surfboard immediately after waking up but even if you are on vacation, be aware that it is actually not legal!
How to get around in Portugal
The easiest way to get around in Portugal certainly is a car. Luckily rental cars are affordable and thus make a lot of sense.
If you are traveling for a longer time or you are on a tight budget, there are also buses and trains that can bring you to your destination. These just need a bit more time and planning before.
➳ If you want to explore Portugal with a camper van, have a look at our designated article on exactly this topic.
Campsites in Portugal we can recommend
We slept in a good amount of campsites in Portugal and have to say that all were good and we felt comfortable. However, some have been better than others, which we want to highlight in the following map.
Almost all of these can easily be found here*! Have fun choosing your favorite campsite.
Camping at the Algarve
On the entire west coast, you’ll find impressive cliffs, world-class surf spots, and laid back campsites. If you are traveling on the coast, have a look at our map as here you’ll find countless options to camp. The great upside of that is that you never need to plan in advance, you can plan on the road and stay where you like it.
Do something good for Mother Nature: On every spot, we picked up some trash. We wanted to leave every spot cleaner than we it was when we arrived. Everywhere.
Camping in Portugal – Our favorite spot in the inland
After a few days on the coast, we had the crazy idea to visit Portugal’s inland. It was worth it, that’s for certain. After Lisbon, we left the coastal road and drove in the direction of Odivelas – accompanied by blazing heat. In the 70s a dam was built to water the region, as rain here is more than rare.
After a few kilometers along with beautiful olive trees, we arrived in Odivelas. The camping site, that already looked great on Google was also in real life a sheer beauty.
After paying at the entrance fee we found a place with some shade. We liked it so much, that we passed two entire days at the Atlantic.
Just beside our spot – the dam.
The dam does not only make the campsite a lot more appealing but also refreshed us multiple times during our stay. Camping in Portugal at its best.
Tips for Camping in Portugal
Let’s jump to a few handy tips and things we were happy to have! In case you forgot something or you want to save space in your baggage we can also recommend Decathlon. The store has a couple of branches in Portugal and sells everything you need for a good camping trip.
When camping you need to carry your stuff around, that’s part of the game. To have all your belongings on your back can feel great and is for us pretty much defines being free. However, if you packed too much and too heavy it certainly is extremely annoying while on the road. Think twice when you pack and question every single item you pack!
It’s handy to be fast when setting up your tent. So practice exactly that at home! When it suddenly starts to rain and you just arrived at a new campsite, you will be very happy not struggling while setting it up.
A second thing you can get prepared for: Food at the campsite. At home, you can already think about a few fairly easy meals you can prepare on a camping stove. Already practice them will help you!
Bring good coffee (in case you are a coffee person)
For us, there is nothing better than enjoying a fresh coffee in your tent or camper! Invest a few bucks more in a good coffee, get a nice coffee machine and enjoy the freshly brewed treat in your cozy home.
Arrive during the week
When leaving for a new destination, consider picking a date during the week, not the weekend. As campsites tend to be a lot less crowded on weekdays, you can choose the ideal spot for you!
Pack the essentials
The essentials for us are:
A sleeping bag | tent | inflatable bed | lighter | pocket knife | rain jacket | duct tape | camping stove | a pan and pot | re-useable water bottle | camping light
When you think of all these essentials you will already have a blast while camping in Portugal, at the Algarve or in a different beautiful area in our favorite country.
Do you have any more tips about camping? Did we forget something you would consider as essential while on the road with the tent? If so, please share with us in the comments.
// *Affiliate-Link | When booking, we receive a small commission, without any extra costs for you!
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!
A word of warning, the Algarve authorities are clamping down on wild camping.
Over 90 fines were issued recently to unofficial campers in the western Algarve.
Due to the Corona-Virus it defo makes a lot of sense to limit the number of people at one spot. Camping being part of that. Let’s see where these regulations will head in the future. A future, hopefully corona-free.
Thanks for letting us know.
Ani from wnb 🙂