We were shocked at how camping-friendly Portugal is. Honestly. Whether you’re travelling by campervan, car and tent, or whatever, camping in Portugal is the bomb.
We travelled for two weeks by campervan around Portugal during the slow season and had the most amazing time. When you add sunny days, beautiful beaches, and good vibes together I guess it’s hard to not have a great time camping in a beautiful country like Portugal.
But how do you prepare for a trip like this?
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Things you should know before camping in Portugal
One of the main reasons why camping in Portugal is so attractive to so many people is how safe Portugal is. You don’t really have to worry about dangerous animals or natural disasters, and Portugal is rated one of the safest countries in the world according to the Global Peace Index.
The only thing you might have to worry about is a sunburn during the summer months! Honestly, we’ve never felt safer while camping than we did camping in Portugal. Even during the slower months, it felt like there were always other campers around us which made it nice and comfortable.
Down below we share everything we learnt camping in Portugal and also places to stay during your trip around this beautiful country!
Best time to go camping in Portugal
From our own experience, mixed in with what other travellers have told us, it seems like late September to early October is one of the best times to go camping around Portugal.
During late September and early October, it is still relatively warm around the whole country. The ocean isn’t that cold because it’s had all summer to get warmed up. And our favourite part about camping at this time of year is that all campsites (free as well as paid), and all the places to visit are just significantly less touristy this time of year.
We actually camped around the Silver Coast of Portugal for almost two weeks in early November and the days were still warm. The thing that got us was the nights were quite cold. We were in one of Portugal By Van’s Fiat Ducatos and were still quite cold during the night.
So if you’re camping or in a campervan, keep in mind that it can get quite cold at night from October until late Spring. That’s why we think if you can go in late September that would be perfect. Places will still be busy but not too busy. You’ll be able to enjoy all the hikes, viewpoints, and other beautiful stops without all the tourists that the summer months bring.
Things to bring while camping in Portugal
Yeah, it happens and we always forget stuff. This list isn’t a packing list but more of a list of things you wouldn’t think of packing or might forget. It’s always a pain when you have to drive out of the way and pick up some stuff you could have got before. So hopefully this list will come in handy!
- Sunscreen! Probably one of the things you could use 365 days a year in Portugal since it’s always so sunny here! We love Sun Bum because of its environmentally friendly and water friendly ingredients.
- A kindle! A part of camping and campervan life is just relaxing, hanging out, and reading a book somewhere beautiful right? We love our Kindle because it takes up almost no space.
- Propane tanks! If you’re close to a Decathlon then we’d recommend stocking up on a few because we haven’t found them anywhere else in Portugal.
- It never hurts to have a spare SD card for your camera. Almost everywhere you go you’ll feel like taking a million pictures and you might not have the time (or battery) to transfer them all over right away.
- Campervan levelers! We actually didn’t have these but definitely one thing we should have considered while road tripping through Portugal.
- The bugs can get bad so it’s nice to have a deet-free bug spray handy whenever the bugs get bad.
- This isn’t just for camping but almost everywhere in Portugal we use a reusable filter water bottle. We love Lifestraw bottles and have been using ours all around the world and it has been great!
- Last but not least is a trusty power bank! You may not have an electricity hookup or the campsite may not have electricity so it’s always good to have a power bank so your phone, camera, and anything else can get charged.
If you’re looking for a packing list for Portugal, drop your email below and get it sent straight to your inbox 🙂
Other things to consider while camping in Portugal
Now, there are three things we highly recommend you consider before embarking on your camping trip in Portugal, and those are:
- Make sure you have a valid driver’s licence for the entire duration of your trip. Depending on where you’re from, you might also need an international driver’s license. Check this before departure.
- Bring your passport. This might be a given, but we wanted to include it anyway. You will need this when you pick up your van and if anything were to happen to you. That brings us to point number 3:
- Travel insurance! Make sure you’re insured while you’re on your trip – and check if that insurance covers the vehicle as well. If not, you might want to consider getting a good insurance with your rental van or for the van you buy.
If you don’t have travel insurance and you’re already travelling, you can consider signing up for SafetyWing’s Nomad Insurance.
Our favourite campsites in Portugal
After travelling up the Silver Coast of Portugal for a few weeks we have some amazing free camping spots along with some paid ones that we absolutely love. All of these campsites we found using Park4Night or Google Maps.
It’s quite easy to find campsites as there’s so much out there in regards to camping in Portugal. It really made our trip super easy to plan.
So here’s a list of some of our favourites!
Free Camping at Cabo da Roca – Most western campsite in Europe
Yes, you can camp in the Cabo da Roca camping lot but it comes with a bit of a catch. It is very windy and there is no bathroom available for you until 9 am in the morning!
Since we were already going to see the amazing sunset at Cabo Da Roca and also hike to Praia da Ursa we decided why not give it a go. It ended up working out great and in the morning we woke up to a few other campers next to us. We camped at Cabo Da Roca in early November so most tourists were long gone.
The best part of camping at Cabo Da Roca was in the morning when we got up we had almost the whole viewpoint to ourselves. After we got up, we went on a coastal hike from the lighthouse, and we basically had the whole Praia Da Ursa Beach to ourselves. It was absolutely amazing!
Things to know when camping at Cabo da Roca:
- There is a public toilet you can use for €.5 that is open from 9am-6pm
- Camping at Cabo Da Roca might be very busy during the summer months
- You can park your campervan or RV in the car park overnight. There will likely be a few other campervans doing the same thing.
- It’s quite safe but there have been stories of broken windows before and shattered glass in the carpark. Don’t leave valuables where people can see them.
- You can see more information about camping at Cabo Da Roca here.
Ericeira Camping – Favourite campsite in Portugal
We absolutely love Ericeira and the fact that Ericeira Camping turned out to be as good as it was made out time in Ericeira that much better. It’s affordable, clean, and close to the city. Plus the coastlines and the beaches in Ericeira are absolutely magical.
We actually looked for free campsites in Ericeira and actually found a few but then we realized for €12.5/night for the two of us we could have electricity, water, and a safe place to say we couldn’t say no to that.
Ericeira Camping is definitely within walking distance to the city and a few of the best beaches. So if you want you can leave everything inside the gated campsite and head to the city or for a surf. We also went to Surf 58 quite a few times which is a nice little coffee shop right next to the campsite.
You may even find this guide helpful, it’s a list of 20 fun things to do in Ericeira. If you’re looking for some outdoor adventure fun or recommendations to coffee shop, restaurants, and bars it’s all on there!
Things to know when camping at Ericeira Camping:
- It’s a gated campsite that has 24/7 security! Portugal is safe to begin with but this is definitely the safest campsite we’ve ever stayed at.
- The prices are different depending on the season but in November we paid €4/person a night for our camper van. You can see all the different prices for camping in Ericeira here.
- You can also hookup electricity and water to your camper van for a small fee (€4.5 per night).
- There’s also different options like log cabins as well if you want to stay in one of those for a night or two.
- They have water stations for filling up water and also dropping off waste water.
- One of the nice things is you can checkout as late as 9pm the following night.
- You can see more information about camping at Ericeira camping here.
Obidos Castle – Carpark with amazing views
We gotta say Park4Night did us wonders! There are so many great campsites on the app with actual recent reviews that explain the current state of the campsite. We found this cheap campsite there and it couldn’t have been more perfect.
The campsite itself is just a small little dirt patch turned into a little camper van car park but the views surrounding it are what made it special.
On one side you have the famous arches that connect with the walls of Obidos Castle. Then in the back, you can see Obidos Castle and when you get a nice sunset it’s incredible.
Even though it’s not free it’s a cool and super cheap place to park your camper van for a night or two while exploring Portugal. There was only one other camper van the night we were there but during the summer it gets quite busy.
Things to know when camping in Obidos:
- There is no public bathroom at the campsite but there are free public bathrooms down by the bus station, and up by the castle you can use. It’s definitely easier if you have a self-sustainable campervan.
- There is a water station where you can fill up water and drain your old water.
- In Obidos there is a main car park for tourists and visitors and the Obidos Camping car park is a few hundred meters behind the main one.
There is a €6 “honesty fee” for staying the night in the car park. Usually, someone will come in the morning and drop a little envelope on your dashboard. You can put the money into the envelope and drop it off in the little box next to the hut.
Free camping in Nazare by the waves
Again, another campsite we probably would not have stumbled upon without the help of all these apps. Seriously, who knew that Portugal is such a haven for free campsites. We love it!
But basically, this campsite is way at the end of Nazare right by the famous Nazare lighthouse where you can catch the humongous waves. It’s a small little car park right at the edge of Nazare but near everything where cars and camper vans can park.
The fact that we got a spot was quite lucky because even during the slow season it gets crazy busy with cars and camper vans because of the big waves.
To get this free camping spot in Nazare it will take a little bit of patience and luck. It’s totally worth it though because the sunsets next to the “campsite” are incredible and you’re also close to all the cafes, restaurants, and viewpoints.
Things to know when camping in Nazare:
- The campsite is free but there is usually a guy who helps navigate you to your spot. He’s sort of like a parking attendee and makes sure the car park is safe. So if he guides you into a spot maybe just tip him €1-2 to be in his good books! 😉
- There are no toilets, water stations, or dump stations here. It’s just your standard car park where camper vans also are allowed to stay!
- You can use the restrooms in the restaurants and cafes nearby when you go for food or coffee. But there is also a free bathroom where the funicular runs from. You can always go there if you need to. Google maps for the funicular bathroom here.
- Once you get your camper van spot try not to drive or move it if you don’t have to as it can be quite difficult to get a spot later.
You may also like…
- Everything You Need to Know About Campervan Rental in Portugal
- 5 Epic Beaches in Ericeira You Need to Visit
- Camping Spots in Ericeira You’re Going to Love
- The Best Sunset in Portugal – Cabo Da Roca
- Hiking the Beautiful Praia da Ursa Trail (From Cabo Da Roca)
Summary of camping in Portugal
Wherever you go, we’re sure you’re going to have a great time exploring Portugal. Our campervan experience up the Silver Coast is one we’ll never forget.
In case you’re looking for a campervan rental near Lisbon we have a full blog post dedicated to our campervan rental in Portugal here. Besides that, with the Park4Night app and the Flush app, you should be set for an awesome adventure.
We’d love to know your favourite campsite in Portugal once you complete your trip – so drop the campsite in the comments below 🙂
Have a great road trip!
Dom & Jo
Red White Adventures