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Is wild camping allowed in Portugal?

No, in Portugal, wild camping is officially not allowed. Since the beginning of 2021, according to the Highway Code, it is no longer allowed to stay in your motorhome or campervan between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. if it is not on an official pitch.

Last researched: Summer 2021

Especially in the high season, and in the popular tourist areas, wild camping and standing free is forbidden in Portugal. Although the law is strict, it is not always enforced. If you are caught, a place ban might be imposed. Furthermore, penalties of up to 600 € can be incurred.

If you follow the general rules of conduct for wild camping, authorities and residents will tolerate your stay. Also, you should consider the following things:

  • Wild camping is more tolerated in the low season.
  • Inland, you will usually find a private landowner who allows camping for one night.
  • Stay away from popular tourist beaches.

You should especially avoid nature reserves and nature parks, as the penalties are higher than in other areas. Sometimes, up to 2000 € is due.

Pitch in Portugal
Pitch in Portugal
Wild camping by the sea
Wild camping by the sea

Tips and tricks for wild camping in Portugal

Portugal is becoming more and more a popular tourist destination, especially among campers. The idea of being woken up by the sound of the sea and the sun's rays is attracting more and more people every year. But the increased number of campers also has disadvantages. Especially on beaches, wild campers are being treated harder, as there are often large groups and the residents feel disturbed. If you pay attention to a few things, however, wild camping will continue to be tolerated by the authorities and residents.

Toll
If you are on the motorway in Portugal with your camper or motorhome, you have to pay tolls. A distinction is made between a normal toll or an electronic toll. In areas where you have to pay an electronic toll, you will see a blue sign with an "electronic toll only." There are three ways to pay tolls.

  1. In most areas, you can pay the toll at a normal cashier.
  2. With an electronic toll, you can borrow a tolling device that you have to carry in your car. It will report the toll costs to the toll station. You can borrow a prepaid box, deposit your credit card which will be charged automatically, or pay in a Pay-Shop within five days.
  3. Another option is to buy prepaid cards like EASYtoll, TollService, and TollCard. These have different validity periods, from three days up to one year. They must be carried in the vehicle so you can show them during police checks. These cards are bound to the number plate of the vehicle.

Behave inconspicuously
Portuguese are very friendly towards campers. If you behave inconspicuously and don't bother the residents, they will turn a blind eye. It is important to keep your camp as small as possible. If you spend the night in a tent or your campervan, it is usually not a problem. However, if you give the impression that you want to camp for a longer period, you might be visited by the authorities.

Choose the right region
In tourist areas, such as Lisbon or the Algarve in the south of the country, wild camping is strictly controlled. In the north, however, there are extensive areas that are almost uninhabited. In these areas, law enforcement officers tend to look the other way. Especially in the mountains and wine regions, you will find almost untouched nature and have hardly anything to fear. There are also beaches where you can camp.

10 interesting, bizarre and funny facts about Portugal

The most western country in Europe is not only known for its beautiful beaches and idyllic villages. Port wine from Portugal is also popular all over the world. And of course, everyone knows that Portugal is the national sport, even if they have only been able to celebrate one international success so far. But did you know that Portugal is also home to the oldest bookshop in the world? Or that this is the longest bridge in Europe? We have picked out a few facts about Portugal to give you a better overview of the country.

Fact #1 - Capital of South America
Today, the Portuguese capital is Lisbon. From 1808 to 1821, however, the Brazilian city Rio de Janeiro was the official capital of Portugal. The reason for this was the flight of the then king to the colony Brazil.

Fact #2 - The British Tea-Time comes from Portugal
The English owe their national drink to the Portuguese. Catherine of Braganza brought her favorite drink to the island with her after her wedding with the English King Charles II.

Fact #3 - Bookshop
The oldest still operating bookstore in the world can be found in Lisbon. The Livraria Bertrand was opened in 1732 in the Chiado district and has been on the same site ever since.

Fact #4 - The oldest alliance
Portugal has the oldest diplomatic alliance in Europe. In 1373 Portugal allied with England, the Treaty of Windsor. In it, the countries assured themselves of eternal economic and military cooperation.

Fact #5 - Construction times
The Igreja de Santa Engrácia is the church with the longest construction period in the world. How long? 285 years. The first stone laying in 1681 and was completed in 1966.

Fact #6 - Monsanto
We mean the village in Portugal and not the company from the United States. Monsanto was elected "Portugal's most Portuguese village" in 1938.

Fact #7 - Earthquake
In 1755 Lisbon was hit by a severe earthquake. It reached 9 on the Richter scale and is one of the worst earthquakes in Europe. Almost 85 percent of the buildings were destroyed.

Fact #8 - Bridge length
The longest bridge in the world is in Portugal and measures 17.2 km. The Ponte Vasco da Gama was completed in 1998 after three years of construction and was built for the Expo '98 World Exposition.

Fact #9 - The perfect wave
The biggest wave ever surfed was off the coast of Nazaré. It had a height of 23.77 m and was conquered by Garrett McNamara.

Fact #10 - Slavery
Portugal was the first European country to participate in the transatlantic slave trade. It was also the first colonial power to abolish slavery.

Everything you need to know for your trip

Equipment

  • Warning triangle Yes
  • Safety vest Yes
  • First aid kit No
  • Replacement lamp set No
  • Spare tyre / repair set No
  • Fire extinguisher No
  • Tow rope No
  • Tear rope for all trailers No

Driving

  • Do I need a vignette, or are there tolls? Yes
  • Right hand trafficTo avoid dazzling other road users, you need to readjust or mask your headlights if they have asymmetrical light and are right-hand drive
  • Is it compulsory to drive with lights on during the day? No

Information

  • Is the tap water potable? Yes
  • Socket type: C+F
  • Energency numbers: 112
  • Currency: Euro (EUR)
  • Official Languages: Portuguese
  • Country licence plate code: P

Average prices, in €

  • Price coffee rounded: 1.00
  • Price beer rounded: 2.00

Entry conditions for animals

  • You need a valid EU pet passport in which your animal is clearly identified (microchip or tattoo), as well as a rabies vaccination valid on entry. The rabies vaccination must be at least 21 days old, but not older than 6 months. Yes
  • If your entry is from a non-EU country with a reduced rabies status, you must have a rabies antibody test carried out approximately four weeks before you enter the country and have it entered on your EU pet passport. No
  • Your dog must be treated for tapeworms 24 to 120 hours before entry. No
  • In addition to a valid EU pet passport with all the required entries, you also need an official veterinary health certificate (max. 10 days old). No
  • The import of fighting dogs or breeds classified as dangerous is not permitted. No
  • Special features: In public, there is a linen duty and in some areas a muzzle duty.

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