RVing in Portugal will exceed your expectations! Portugal has so much to offer; it will be special for everyone in your family. How about stunning beaches, lovely people, charming hiking trails, and delicious food? Also, there are beautiful campsites and RV campgrounds with good WiFi and facilities. For the more adventurous boondocking families: free camping in Portugal is FANTASTIC!
Algarve and Alentejo
Most popular in Portugal is the Algarve. It’s the southern province and has beautiful beaches hidden between cliffs from which you have a stunning view. If you are lucky, you will find a deserted beach just for you and your family. Besides beaches, the Algarve offers you small fishing towns, (rebuilt) forts and castles, lots of water parks, a zoo, and surf spots.
Climbing on cliffs at Praia Coelha in the Algarve, this was in December 2017
North of the Algarve is the province of Alentejo. Here you will find nature, hills, and cork oaks. In this part of Portugal, it rains more as well. We stayed near Ourique for two weeks at the end of November, and we had some very cold days. From other visitors, we heard that it could be very sunny and warm here during winter time, but it is not guaranteed.
Winter destination: Algarve
In the Algarve, the weather is sunny almost all year. Although it can rain in winter time as well, mostly the sun is shining during the afternoon, making it a pleasant 15 to 20 degrees.
But, in the summertime, the temperature rises. Locals stay indoors during the afternoon, just to avoid the sun and its blistering heat. There are a lot of tourists who don’t care and go to the beach all day, but I advise you not to do so. Especially with children, just stay inside. Or, better yet, if you want to see more of Portugal, visit the Algarve during spring or fall. You will have beautiful weather, but not the extremely high temperature that forces you to stay inside.
RV driving in Portugal
Portugal has the most so-called autoestradas along the coast. Most of these highways require a toll fee and they are easily accessible with a large vehicle.
There are also lots of Estradas Nacionais de Portugal, for short N-roads. These are also accessible with a large RV. But, if your RV is more than 8 meters, or if you’re hauling a trailer, you might find it more comfortable to stay on the highways when possible.
Our RV is 6 meters and we only use the N-roads. However, before we started traveling with this smaller RV, we had a trailer RV of over 8 meters. There was a lot of constructions going on making the roads smaller and more crowded. It was not pleasant driving there, so we switched to the A-22 highway as soon as possible.
The smaller roads are called Estradas Regionais de Portugal, for short R-roads. You should avoid these with a big RV. Of course, to get to most campsites, you’ll need to get off the bigger roads. Make sure you check in advance if a campsite is accessible for large vehicles (bigger than 6 meters and/or with a double axle). With our 6-meter RV, we didn’t experience any troubles using these roads.
Boondocking in Portugal
If your RV is self-sufficient, you can easily stay on RV grounds or even go boondocking in Portugal. Check for example the All the Aires and Camperstop for guidebooks and apps with RV grounds in Portugal. We use the app Park4Night almost every day, so I highly recommend this app if you want to free camp.
Our favorite places in Portugal for free camping are:
- Praia do Zavial
- Praia da Fateixa
- Praia do Amado
- Praia do Castelo
Related: Beginners guide to free camping in Europe.
Campsites in Portugal
We also use Great Little Campsites and CampingCard for finding campsites. This works out great! If your RV is over 8 meters, I recommend that you contact campsites beforehand to ask if their pitches are accessible for a big RV. There are some brilliant campsites in Portugal with proper facilities, that are child-friendly, have (free) WiFi with a good connection, for only a small fee.
For example, we especially liked these campsites:
As we are constantly on the road, and also traveling in Portugal in 2017-2018, I will continue to add our approved campsites ad boondocking places to this list.
Internet in Portugal
For location independent families, the number one question is: how’s the WiFi?
There are numerous ways of getting internet into your RV when traveling Europe. You can read about this here:
Click on the image to read more about how to get internet when RVing in Europe
And if you have any questions about RVing with kids in Portugal or about a particular campsite or free camping spot, don’t hesitate and ask your question! I’m happy to help you 🙂
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