Motorhoming & Campervanning in Portugal- Final Information (2023 replace)

Planning a motorhome or campervan journey to Portugal? Wish to see a number of the most breathtaking locations in Europe? Right here’s all the things you have to know to go campervanning or motorhoming in Portugal, together with routes and locations to go to.

Don’t overlook to obtain your FREE Europe motorhome journey guidelines beneath that can assist you plan your Portugal highway journey.

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Table of Contents

Motorhoming in Portugal- why it is best to go!

Portugal has a bit of little bit of everything- dramatic shoreline with sandy seashores, caves, mountains, implausible delicacies and historical past. Oh, and wine. Heaps and many beautiful wine. It’s splendidly conventional and lots of elements of it nonetheless really feel totally untouched by the fashionable world.

Among the best issues about with the ability to discover Portugal on a motorhoming vacation is you could see the variations between the areas, attempt the native delicacies (and wine!) and actually get a really feel for the nation in a brief house of time.

It’s additionally one of many most cost-effective nations in western Europe, so you may journey on a small finances with out a lot problem.

On this information, we’re going to share with you all the things you have to know to go motorhoming or campervanning in Portugal, together with attending to Portugal and planning your route, the place to remain (motorhome campsites, aires or wild tenting together with your camper), some highway journey concepts and locations to go to, driving suggestions and different sensible recommendation that can assist you have an incredible Portuguese highway journey.

We’re additionally going to share some issues NOT to do- like use your dash-cam! (Do you know dash-cams are unlawful in Portugal?!)

If that is your first campervanning journey to Portugal (or Europe!), don’t overlook to seize your free motorhome journey guidelines which can make it easier to plan and organise all the things you want.

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Campervanning in Portugal- The place to go

When planning a motorhome journey to Portugal, the very first thing you have to do is determine the place you’re going (and the way lengthy you might have in your journey!)

How lengthy to go for?

In the event you’re driving from the UK to Portugal (we’ll cowl that shortly), you have to permit a minimum of 2 days from arriving in France (by both ferry or Eurotunnel) to get to Portugal. And that’s 2 days of just about stable driving (it’s about 15 and a half hours (1013 miles) from Calais to the north-eastern Portuguese border)

We don’t advocate visiting Portugal in the event you solely have per week in your highway journey. It’s too far and all you’ll do is drive there and again. In fact, in the event you’re going to lease a motorhome and fly in, that’s completely doable in per week (extra on that shortly).

In case you have a few weeks, you may actually discover a great chunk of Portugal, however you’ll be doing plenty of driving except you stick to simply the North of the nation.

Portugal isn’t an enormous country- it solely takes about 7 hours (470miles) to drive from North to South, so when you’re there it’s simple to see so much in a brief house of time.

Motorhoming and campervanning in Portugal- complete guide
Campervanning in Portugal

Highlights of a Portugal Motorhoming Vacation

A few of the greatest locations to go to when campervanning in Portugal embrace:

  • The Algarve – the seashores there are a number of the greatest in Europe
  • Lisbon – one in every of Europe’s most historic cities
  • Sintra- it actually does appear like one thing from a fairytale
  • Alentejo Nationwide Park- the biggest protected coastal Pure Park in Europe
  • Porto- one of many oldest ports on this planet
  • Cape St Vincent- Europe’s most south-westerly level
  • Serra Da Estrela- Portugal’s highest mountain vary
  • Duoro Valley- in the event you like wine, right here’s the place to go
  • Megaliths close to Évora- these are wonderful!

In the event you get pleasure from studying books earlier than a visit, listed here are some we advocate:

See extra enjoyable and sensible motorhoming books we advocate studying

When to go motorhome touring in Portugal 

Portugal has one of many warmest climates in Europe. As such, it’s a magnet for northern Europeans- particularly in winter.

Campervanning in Portugal in winter

Portugal is nice in winter. It’s one of many warmest locations in Europe in February with common temperatures of over 16°C.

The good factor about campervanning in Portugal in the course of the winter is that the majority issues stay open, as so many vacationers nonetheless go to, so it doesn’t all shut down like many different nations in Europe. (In fact, some campsites do select to shut, however there are nonetheless a lot open all 12 months.)

Nonetheless, not in all places in Portugal is heat in winter. Anticipate snow and snowboarding within the mountains- particularly in Serra Da Estrela (the best mountain vary).

Touring Portugal in summer time

For us, summer time in Portugal is simply too sizzling. Common temperature within the Algarve in August is 29°C- that’s the AVERAGE. As we don’t have air-con in our motorhome, and since we journey with a canine, we attempt to keep away from sizzling locations like this and go motorhoming in Norway or different locations with mountains and cooler air.

Additionally, it will get crowded in summer time. Loopy loopy crowded. Seashores are packed and queues for vacationer points of interest are lengthy. Being crammed in, particularly in sizzling climate, doesn’t attraction to us in any respect.

Get extra suggestions for summer time van life and maintain your camper cool

Motorhoming in Portugal in Spring and Autumn

As with most of Europe, Spring and Autumn are good occasions to discover Portugal. The climate continues to be heat (common of 19.8°C in April and 22°C in October), however the crowds from summer time have gone and also you may even get stretches of seashore all to your self.

If you wish to go hiking in Portugal, this can be a nice time to go to, particularly in Spring when the flowers are blooming.

TOP TIP: In case you are travelling exterior of peak season, positively get an ACSI CampingCard– you’ll save a fortune on campsites throughout Europe, together with Portugal

Driving from the UK to Portugal

Do you know that Portugal and England have the oldest alliance on this planet, courting all the way in which again to 1373?! (Simply one in every of many fun facts about Portugal.)

In the event you’re planning a campervanning journey to Portugal, there are a few choices from the UK, assuming you’re bringing your personal automobile (in the event you’re flying in and hiring, we’ll cope with that shortly.)

There are two methods individuals get their motorhomes to Portugal- drive by France and Spain or take the ferry to Spain after which drive into Portugal. There are execs and cons to every.

Typically, taking a ferry from the UK is rather more costly than driving by France (relying on the time of 12 months and kind of cabin).

Ferry from the UK to Portugal

There are not any direct ferries from the UK to Portugal. You may journey with Brittany Ferries from Portsmouth or Plymouth and go to both Santander or Bilbao (each on the north coast of Spain)- these are the closest ports to Portugal. (Bilbao is a few 5-hour drive from the Portuguese border- 480km)

A one-way journey on both ferry from the UK takes about 24 hours and reserving a cabin is really helpful. Additionally they have canine kennels onboard however you CANNOT maintain your canine within the ferry cabin with you (like you may from Portsmouth to Caen).

The largest consideration to this ferry (aside from the associated fee), is the climate. You’ll be crossing the infamous Bay of Biscay- and it will possibly get ROUGH. Even in the course of summer time.

As somebody who will get seasick (hilarious contemplating I’m ex-Navy and lived on boats for 15 years), I keep away from this crossing and like to drive from the UK by France to Spain after which Portugal, however it’s completely as much as you.

Driving routes by France to Portugal

In the event you determine that you just need to drive your motorhome or camper by France right down to Portugal, you first have to determine in the event you’re going to take the ferry or Eurotunnel from UK to France (there are execs and cons to each).

The quickest route from Calais is through Le Mans and Bordeaux, crossing into Spain at San Sebastian. Then head in the direction of Valladolid and also you’re almost in Portugal. It takes about 18 hours from Calais and you’ll be a part of this route simply in the event you determine to come back over on a ferry to Caen, Le Havre, Dieppe or Cherbourg.

That is our favorite route for a France highway journey as you cross some unbelievable locations (together with a number of the most historic locations in France!)

Can I drive to Portugal within the Winter?

Yep. I do know there are a number of large mountain ranges (particularly the Pyrenees), however usually the routes are all open, except you occur to be actually unfortunate and hit it in the course of a snowstorm (do verify the climate forecast earlier than travelling.)

If this occurs, then we advocate stopping for the night time someplace secure (the great thing about travelling in a motorhome) after which persevering with on when the snow has stopped and the roads have been cleared. Don’t overlook you have to snow chains and be sure you have fitted all-weather tyres- extra on that beneath.

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Borders / Customs in Portugal

There isn’t any border management in the event you’re driving between Spain and Portugal. Nonetheless, there are restrictions on how a lot tobacco and alcohol you may carry and it should all be for private use.

Additionally, now that the UK is a 3rd nation, you’re solely allowed to hold:

  • Wine/ Spirits: 2 litres
  • Perfumes: 50 grams of fragrance/ 250 ml EDT
  • Espresso: 500 grams/ Espresso extracts and low essences – 200 grams
  • Tea:100 grams/ Tea extracts and tea essences – 40 grams

You will discover a full checklist of all present allowances here

Hiring a motorhome or campervan to tour Portugal 

In the event you don’t have your personal automobile, or don’t have time to drive all the way in which to Portugal, you may simply fly in and rent one. Simply be sure that to ask learn how to get from the airport to the rental agency- not all of them are on the airport itself and also you may have to ebook a taxi.

To lease a automobile in Portugal it’s essential to:

  • be over 21 or 25 years outdated, relying on the corporate’s rental coverage;
  • present identification (identification card for EU residents or a sound passport for different nationalities) 
  • have had a driving licence for multiple 12 months

Ensure you have proof you could take the automobile throughout a border into one other nation if that’s what you’re planning on doing. Learn the article beneath for different issues to verify as effectively earlier than you agree to rent.

Don’t overlook, it’s YOUR duty to ensure the automobile has the required security tools. The on-the-spot fines apply to you as the motive force, not the corporate. Examine upfront with the corporate what package they are going to present with the automobile and what you have to to carry.

Take an inventory of what’s legally required with you and verify it off one after the other as you’re given the handover. Don’t drive till you’re comfortable you adjust to the native legal guidelines.

You may count on to pay round £70/ day- make sure you ask the best questions so you already know what to anticipate out of your motorhome or campervan rental

Motorhoming in Portugal- what gear do you have to carry?

Similar to motorhoming in Spain, there are specific stuff you MUST carry with you in your motorhome or campervan while touring in Portugal.

Additionally, make sure you learn the secton beneath about dash-cams!

Don’t overlook, if you’re driving by France and/ or Spain to get to Portugal, you want all of the package required by these nations, in addition to the package wanted in Portugal. (Fortunately, in the event you’re used to motorhoming in France, you’ll have just about all the things you want already)

Issues you have to drive in Portugal- security gear

These are the stuff you MUST have with you while you’re motorhome or campervan touring in Portugal.

  • Hi-vis reflective jackets – not as strict as in France, however it’s essential to put on them on the facet of the highway or exhausting shoulder or danger being fined.
  • Warning triangle
  • Headlight beam converters– when you have a UK automobile. These have to be fitted earlier than you drive in Europe. (In case you have a automobile which lets you regulate the beam routinely for European driving, you received’t want these.)
  • Car sticker connected to the again of car or on reg plates. (NOT the EU sticker anymore!)
  • A spare wheel (and instruments to alter it!), or a tyre restore package.
  • In the event you put on glasses you MUST carry a spare pair

TOP TIP: Purchase these necessities for driving in Portugal upfront. In the event you wait till you’re on the ferry/ tunnel, you possibly can spend THREE occasions as a lot! See the latest deals and best prices here

Utilizing a Sprint-cam in Portugal

This warrants its personal part, as a result of so many individuals don’t realise the legislation. Utilizing a dash-cam in Portugal is prohibited. Not simply that, however OWNING a dash-cam is prohibited in Portugal.

Now, I don’t assume for one second that the police are going to cease and search you in search of a dash-cam, however I recommend you place it away safely earlier than you get to the border- simply in case.

Highway journey equipment you MIGHT want when campervanning in Portugal

The next package are stuff you may want to hold in your automotive, motorhome, caravan or campervan, relying on if you find yourself planning your highway journey in Portugal.

You’ll in all probability need an computerized toll tag- as most of the motorways insist on them earlier than you need to use the highway. You may keep away from these, however it’s plenty of additional driving. Extra on that within the ‘toll’ part.

  • Winter tyres are usually not obligatory however snow chains are obligatory the place signage signifies.
  • Red/ white warning board sign – for bike racks or something overhanging the tip of the motorhome or campervan. Traces should level into the center of the highway. Once more, this can be a authorized requirement in Spain, however value having in Portugal
  • First aid kit – not obligatory in Portugal (in contrast to many nations in Europe) however value carrying. Discover out what we stock in our European first assist package right here
  • Spare bulbs for all lights within the automobile
  • Torch
  • Fireplace extinguisher
  • Highway Journey snacks and water- simply in case!

Motorhomes or campers with a complete practice size of over 12m

In the event you’re travelling in/ by Spain and your outfit exceeds 12m, you have to have marker boards fitted to the again of your automobile. You may both have two small boards or one giant board however they have to be positioned in the back of the outfit between 50cm and 150cm off the bottom.

Your marker board should:

  • be yellow within the centre with a pink define
  • be made out of aluminium
  • be manufactured to ECE70 customary

This isn’t legislation in Portugal, however I overlook the way you’re going to get your 12m automobile practice to Portugal with out driving by Spain…

Planning to take your motorhome to Europe?

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What paperwork do you have to highway journey in Portugal?

In the event you’re driving in Portugal, you have to carry the next paperwork:

  • Passport (or identification card)
  • Driving licence (verify it’s in date!)
  • Motorhome Insurance coverage documents- verify you’re lined for driving in Europe
  • Breakdown cowl
  • Car V5 logbook (which should present your right handle)
  • Car have to be legally taxed and MOT’d
  • Trailer certification (may want a doc out of your insurer)
  • Worldwide Driving Allow if required
  • Private journey insurance coverage

Do I would like a inexperienced card to drive in Portugal?

Most UK license holders don’t want a inexperienced card to drive in Portugal. You could want one when you have a trailer- please verify together with your insurer.

Do I would like a global driving allow to drive in Portugal?

Most UK residents don’t want an IDP to drive in Portugal, so long as you might have a card driving licence issued within the UK (in date, in fact!)

You may want one when you have:

  • a paper driving licence solely
  • a licence issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man

(In the event you do want an IDP, right here’s an in-depth information on learn how to get an Worldwide Driving Allow and which one(s) you want from a UK put up workplace.

Touring Portugal in a campervan- Different helpful stuff you may want

We’ve been touring Europe in our motorhome for a number of years. We’ve tried all kinds of kit- some helpful, some not a lot.

Here’s a checklist of issues we extremely advocate when motorhoming in Portugal, however that are NOT important:

road trip journal logbook

Motorhome stopovers & in a single day parking in Portugal

In Portugal, there are a number of kinds of motorhome and campervan stopovers you need to use.

  • Campsites
  • Aires
  • Free/ permitted motorhome parking schemes
  • Wild tenting in Portugal for vans

Portugal Tenting websites for motorhomes, campervans and caravans

It’s simple to search out motorhome campsites in Portugal and so they’re very like campsites anyplace else in Europe. Some are rustic and have very fundamental amenities, whereas others are designed for long-term guests and have leisure, golf equipment, swimming pools and bars!

Campsites in Portugal are sometimes so much cheaper than you may count on, particularly in the event you’re used to different nations in western Europe. Some are as little as 2€/pp/ night- however they’re very fundamental.

Many campsites have both long-term residents who dwell of their motorhomes in Portugal, or have everlasting statics or caravans which the house owners go to once they can.

There may be typically one ‘principal’ or municipal campsite in every city, which is signposted utilizing blue and white indicators that can assist you discover it. Anticipate to indicate your passport or identification on arrival and lots of locations require you to depart one passport behind the reception.

In the event you’re travelling out of excessive season and are planning to make use of campsites, we extremely advocate shopping for an ACSI CampingCard membership, however remember that some campsites both shut in the course of the winter or are booked up completely months upfront, so it’s possible you’ll want to ebook one too.

Additionally, many campsites put ACSI customers on ‘lesser’ pitches (both dangerous view or no electrical or drainage). You may ask for a distinct pitch, however will normally have to pay a complement which wipes out the ACSI {discount}! That is particularly frequent on the coast within the Algarve.

At some campsites, you have to to pay additional for bathe or electrical utilization. Be warned- the recent water within the bathe is on a timer- normally between 3-5 minutes per token.

In the event you’re campervanning within the Algarve, this is a superb useful resource that can assist you discover locations.

TOP TIP: In the event you’re planning to remain in a single space for a very long time (30+ days), negotiate a particular price with the campsite straight. Most of them have some form of discount- some are as little as £10/ day, together with electrical.

Aires in Portugal

Aires are simply permitted motorhome in a single day parking places- typically supplied and maintained by the native commune. In contrast to in the event you go motorhoming in Italy, aires in Portugal are normally simply referred to as aires, like in France or Spain (they’re referred to as Sostas in Italy)

There aren’t fairly as many aires in Portugal as in France and so they’re typically a bit of extra out of the way in which, however the community continues to be very helpful and straightforward to make use of.

READ MORE: Learn the way we discover and use aires and permitted free in a single day motorhome stopovers throughout Europe

There are a mix of personal and municipal motorhome aires in Portugal. Personal aires are similar to a campsite, and sometimes you may keep for so long as you want (in contrast to in the event you go motorhoming in Germany, the place 48h is mostly the max).

Municipal aires are generally referred to as ASAs and are permitted in a single day motorhome stopovers, supplied by the native council. At these, there’s a restriction of 2-3 nights most in a single place.

You can not ebook motorhome aires in advance- it’s first-come, first-served, so in the event you’re visiting at peak occasions you may really feel happier reserving a campsite so that you’re assured of someplace to remain.

A very good tip is to attempt to arrive AT your vacation spot simply earlier than lunchtime. Many individuals transfer on after. a lazy morning, and cease en-route, so you might have the perfect likelihood of discovering a spot round this time, however that’s when the day is at its hottest, so watch out.

There are only a few amenities at an aire. It is best to have the ability to get water and empty waste, however don’t count on eating places, swimming pools or leisure areas. Additionally, don’t hang around washing, get your awning out or put chairs out- that is tenting and isn’t allowed- the police will cease and ask you to maneuver.

It’s at all times value investing in a ebook of aires, in addition to an internet app- simply in case you end up with out web in your motorhome (or with no wifi sign). In fact, the draw back with any ebook is that it goes old-fashioned, however don’t fear if it’s solely a 12 months or two out- most details about aires received’t change an excessive amount of.

Listed below are some we advocate:

Different permitted motorhome stopovers and parking in Portugal

Portugal EasyCamp is a scheme which connects native enterprise house owners to motorhomers and campervanners in search of secure locations to remain in a single day. In the event you’d wish to keep away from busy campsites and aires, however don’t need to danger wild tenting, this could be the choice for you.

It really works very equally to France Ardour, with one huge difference- you must go surfing and purchase the product or expertise BEFORE you go to the placement. You may then head there and keep for as much as 24 hours.

READ MORE: How one can take advantage of Portugal EasyCamp

Motorhome camping in Portugal
Motorhome tenting in Portugal

Wild tenting in Portugal for motorhomes and campervans

Often, I’m the primary particular person to advertise and encourage accountable motorhome wild tenting. We get pleasure from it immensely and have performed it throughout most of Europe with any problem.

Portugal has lengthy been the vacation spot for campervanners and motorhomers trying to keep off-grid, although wild tenting in Portugal has ALWAYS been unlawful.

Nonetheless, the nation has been overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of vans in recent times (very like wild tenting with a motorhome in Scotland) and so they have needed to cope with years of abuse and mistreatment.

The issue with most of the campervans who go to Portugal is that they don’t have their very own amenities onboard- and other people have been leaving waste (of the human form) in all places. 🙁

On prime of that, many wild tenting spots don’t have any amenities, so individuals have been leaving piles of garbage and even emptying their chemical bogs into bushes or over the countryside. Occasions this by hundreds upon hundreds of vanlifers and it’s no marvel the Portuguese authorities are attempting to guard their nation.

In January 2021, the Portuguese authorities handed a legislation which modified the freeway code so campervans, motorhomes and caravans needed to keep on an official website. It was prohibited to park and keep by seashores and locations marked as unauthorised and additionally it is prohibited to remain in a single day in any automotive park not expressly designated for caravans, motorhomes or campervans.

Wild tenting was at all times unlawful in Portugal, however was tolerated or missed if individuals have been discreet though the principles have been modified in Could 2020 to ban campervan parking close to seashores in Portugal.

Sadly, Portugal has been abused in recent times by vans wild parking. In early 2021, Portugal banned motorhomes and campervans from staying anyplace aside from campsites or aires. Wild tenting was by no means authorized to start with, and was already banned utterly close to the coast, however they purchased in fines.

I’ll be trustworthy, I’ve been appalled by the images of waste and vandalism left behind by so many inconsiderate and egocentric idiots and I can’t blame the Portuguese for attempting to cease it.

On the identical time, I’m unhappy that a couple of idiots have ruined it for the numerous accountable and conscientious campervanners – we’re not all soiled horrible vandals.

Fortunately, in summer time 2021, they amended the legislation BACK to permit “in a single day stays in motorhomes permitted by the Institute of Mobility and Transport for a most interval of 48 hours”.

What this principally means is that motorhome/ campers with their very own amenities like a fitted bathroom are allowed to wild camp. In fact, PLEASE don’t go away waste (of any form!) behind- we don’t need them to alter again once more!!

Wild tenting continues to be banned close to the coast, in Nationwide parks and close to protected areas. Violations can lead to a wonderful between 120 to 600€. 

Additionally, there in all probability aren’t sufficient campsites or Aires to cope with the quantity of people that go to in vans annually. There’ll should be new amenities, extra waste and repair factors and a brand new infrastructure and I’m unsure who, when or the way it’s going to occur.

Motorhome and campervan service factors in Portugal

There are motorhome service areas unfold across the nation. Many are on municipal aires and amenities embrace consuming water provide factors and locations to dump soiled water(gray waste) and chemical bathroom (black) waste. These areas might even have electrical energy energy factors for charging the batteries of camper vans and motorhomes.

We discover them utilizing Park4night, however you too can use this website (though it’s in Portuguese!)

Driving suggestions for Portugal

Portuguese drivers have a luke-warm reputation- primarily as a result of the nation has one of many highest accident charges in Europe, however actually they’re in all probability higher than the Italians. Having stated that, they not often use indicators and can commonly lower wildly throughout a number of lanes to achieve an exit. So count on the surprising and also you’ll be wonderful.

Okay, let’s cope with the fundamental guidelines and a few suggestions for motorhoming and highway tripping in Portugal:

  • Portugal drives on the best
  • Automobiles coming FROM the best have precedence at junctions
  • On roundabouts, autos already on the roundabout have proper of means.
  • Seatbelts are obligatory
  • Speeds are in km/h, not mph (you may need to change the setting in your motorhome sat-nav)
  • You do not want to have driving lights on in the course of the day
  • Handsfree kits are allowed
  • It’s forbidden to make use of a dashcam or radar detector for velocity cameras
  • Highway surfaces are usually fairly good in cities and cities, however will be dangerous within the countryside.
  • Keep away from cities in the event you’re driving in a motorhome- lots of them are too crowded and the streets are simply not lower out for big autos. Park exterior and use public transport to get in.
  • Trams at all times have precedence everywhere- maintain eyes at the back of your head in the event you’re driving close to a tram community.
  • Emergency autos and army autos have precedence over different highway customers.
  • You could carry a load, akin to bikes on a rack, extending by as much as 10% of the size of the automobile to the rear. The load have to be indicated by a board/ panel with diagonal red and white stripes– that is authorized for Spain, however value having in Portugal.
  • Bikes or a load being carried should NOT be wider than the automobile
  • Helmets are obligatory if you’re motorcycling in Portugal
  • Winter tyres are usually not obligatory however snow chains are obligatory the place signage signifies.
  • There isn’t any border management between Spain and Portugal – you may simply drive proper in

Roads in Portugal

There was some huge cash spent in recent times to construct new roads (therefore all of the tolls!) Many of the main roads have been resurfaced and are fairly good, however there are various older roads in additional rural areas that are in poorer situation. You’ll be wonderful to drive them with a motorhome or camper, however gradual your velocity and drive with care.

Site visitors Lights in Portugal

Site visitors lights use the three color system. There isn’t any amber sign after the pink, and a flashing amber mild signifies “warning”. A flashing or fixed pink mild signifies “cease” and is used close to stage crossings and to provide warning of an impediment.

Velocity Limits in Portugal (except in any other case signed!)

Breaking the velocity restrict might lead to both an on-the-spot or an computerized wonderful being despatched to you.

Vehicles and autos underneath 3.5 tonnes:

  • 120 km/h (74mph) on motorways and a few twin carriageways
  • 100km/h (62mph) on main roads
  • 90 km/h (55 mph) on minor roads (out of city)
  • 50 km/h (31 mph) in built-up areas

Motorhomes and Campervans weighing over 3.5 tonnes:

  • motorways 100km/h (62mph)
  • main roads 90 km/h (55 mph)
  • minor out-of-town roads 80 km/h (50 mph)
  • city areas- 50 km/h (31 mph)

Motorhomes with trailers or caravans

  • motorways 100km/h (62mph)
  • main out-of-town roads 80 km/h (50 mph)
  • minor out-of-town roads 70 km/h (44 mph)
  • built-up areas- 50 km/h (31 mph)

Velocity Cameras in Portugal

Many roads have computerized velocity cameras on in Portugal and so they’re fairly comfortable to ship vacationers a wonderful by the mail.

You may also discover random visitors lights, which flip to pink in the course of nowhere in the event you’re dashing and make you await a few minutes earlier than turning to inexperienced so you may transfer off once more. These are surprisingly efficient!

Drink Drive legislation in Portugal

Alcohol legal guidelines are stricter in Portugal than the UK. The authorized restrict is 0.05% blood alcohol (the UK is 0.08%) and applies to the motive force of any motorised automobile. In the event you’ve had your license for underneath 3 years, the restrict is 0.02%

– A blood alcohol stage between 0,5 g/l and 0,8 g/l is taken into account a critical offence, and it’s sanctioned with a driving inhibition between 1 month and a 1 12 months and a price cost of an quantity from 250 as much as 1.250 euros. 
– A blood alcohol stage between 0,8g/l and 1,2g/l is a really critical offence, sanctioned with a interval of driving inhibition between 2 months and a couple of years and a price cost of an quantity from 1.250 as much as 2.500 euros.  
– A blood alcohol stage of 1,2g/l or extra is taken into account against the law, that may be punished with imprisonment as much as 1 12 months or price penalty as much as 120 days, and driving inhibition between 3 months and three years.

Low Emission zones in Portugal

Portugal has a low emission zone (LEZ) in Lisbon. It’s break up into 2 zones – Zone 1 and a couple of. About 33% of the town is inside it, so watch out in the event you drive in. Discover out extra in regards to the Lisbon Inexperienced air zone here.

Click here for more detailed information about learn how to discover zones throughout Europe.

Free motorhome parking and overnight stopovers in Europe for motorhomes and campervans

Tolls in Portugal

There are two kinds of toll in Portugal- each on motorways:

– conventional motorways with toll cubicles, the place cost is made by money, financial institution card or digital tolls.

– Purely digital toll motorways. With a view to use these roads, you MUST have an digital gadget in your automobile.

Straightforward Toll

Straightforward Toll makes use of your financial institution card and quantity plate to take funds. You enter your card particulars at a enroll location on the border and get a photograph of your registration plates taken. The system will then deduct toll cost out of your financial institution card each time your automobile passes a toll gate.

Signing up prices 0.74 euros, plus a 0.32 euro administrative price. 

This technique is legitimate for 30 days, and the tickets issued on the toll have to be stored as proof in case of an issue. You will discover out extra on the Portugal tolls website

Through Verde

In the event you commonly use toll roads, it could be value signing as much as the Through Verde scheme which takes you thru the quick lane with out having to cease and pay.

Via Verde is the one system which works on ALL the Portuguese motorways. It additionally covers an honest part of Spanish toll roads too. You purchase a transponder after which get charged or what you utilize. The good factor about them is that upon getting one, it doesn’t expire, so it’s legitimate for everytime you return to Portugal.


Personally, we use e-Movis for tolls throughout Europe and we’ve by no means had an issue. These let you use the VIA-T lanes in Portugal

It’s value noting that you just want a DIFFERENT e-Movis tag for Spain and Portugal (one does each nations), than you do for France. So in the event you’re driving from the UK to Portugal, you have to a minimum of 2 e-Movis toll tags in your motorhome and also you’ll want to recollect to modify them over.

Pre-paid Toll Card

This method is comparatively easy and useful directions are written on every card.

You purchase a pre-loaded card with both 5, 10, 20 or 40 euros. You then activate the cardboard with an SMS message, utilizing the code printed on the cardboard and the licence plate of the automobile. 

There’s a service price of 0.74 euros for every card bought. 

In the event you head dwelling with credit score nonetheless in your toll card you may get this refunded – simply return it to the primary put up workplace in Portugal, the CTT.

There may be additionally a Toll Service, which is a pre-loaded card with limitless use for 3 days or beforehand outlined journeys.

You should buy these on the CTT put up workplace, on-line at or at varied service areas.

This website additionally exhibits how a lot every toll highway will price, so could be value a glance while you’re planning your route by Portugal.

Planning to take your motorhome to Europe?

Europe Motorhome travel checklist- FREE

Driving in Portugal- what to do within the occasion of a highway visitors accident

It is best to have a European Declare Type supplied by your insurer earlier than you permit. Within the occasion of an accident, all events full and signal the shape on the scene after which ship a duplicate to your insurer for evaluation.

What to do on the scene:

  • Cease your automobile instantly however safely- out of the movement of visitors if attainable.
  • If a automobile is obstructing the highway, use hazard lights and put the pink warning triangle 30 metres from the scene to warn approaching visitors
  • Alternate your particulars with the opposite concerned events. Make sure you get:
    • Title and handle of all of the individuals concerned within the accident
    • Car registration numbers of all events
    • Insurance coverage firm particulars of all events
    • Take images of injury utilizing a digital camera, GoPro or telephone

For extra particulars, learn our step-by-step information on coping with a highway visitors accident in Europe

Different important suggestions for campervanning in Portugal

Petrol and Diesel

Petrol and diesel are extensively obtainable. Many gas stations are 24h on the primary roads and are self-service with card machines.

Petrol is Sem chumbo (95 / 98) – Inexperienced handles on pump

Diesel is Gasóleo or Diesel. Black or yellow handles on pump

Carrying gas in cans is NOT allowed, even in small quantities, so watch out when you have a motorhome generator.

Some locations are 24h pay on the pump, however could require you to enter the store and pay the cashier both upfront or after you’ve crammed up- there will probably be an indication to let you know what to do. (Go away your automotive in entrance of the pump and make a remark of the pump quantity.)

You may pay utilizing money or a bank card. Many locations do NOT take American Categorical. You may normally use your UK playing cards with no downside.

NOTE: It’s unlawful to expire of petrol when crossing Lisbon’s mile-long 25 de Abril bridge.

LPG Gasoline

LPG (GPL) will be discovered at many petrol stations. There are literally extra locations than in Spain. If shopping for from a petroleum station, it’s possible you’ll want to attend for an attendant to show the system on for you.

You will discover locations which promote LPG utilizing

Keep in mind, in the event you don’t have refillable fuel bottles, you’ll be unable to purchase a fuel bottle which inserts straight onto a UK system- you want a brand new pigtail. Portugal primarily makes use of the euro connector.

READ MORE: How we discover motorhome LPG or bottles whereas touring Europe

Campervanning in Portugal- safety

Portugal has a decrease crime price than many different nations in Europe, however automobile break-ins do occur, as does petty theft and pickpocketing.

We extremely advocate paying additional consideration to your motorhome safety when travelling in Portugal. You may even want to match an additional camper habitation door lock and by no means go away your automobile unattended in an unsecure space.

READ MORE: Important suggestions for shielding your van at dwelling and on the highway

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Extra helpful issues to find out about vanlife in Portugal

Some extra suggestions that can assist you get pleasure from your time in Portugal.

Emergency Numbers: 112 will get you all the things

Language– The Portuguese are fairly good at languages. Portuguese is spoken, together with Spanish. Lots of the youthful technology converse English effectively.

Foreign money– Euro

Playing cards– most main credit score and debit playing cards are accepted. American Categorical is barely taken in giant shops (not at tolls and sometimes not at gas stations)

Timezone– GMT (identical as UK- sure, Spain is in a distinct time zone!)

Cellular Cellphone and Web – It’s normally attainable to make use of your UK telephone and information in Portugal, however there’ll doubtless be a cost to make use of your UK telephone information overseas. Please verify together with your UK community supplier.

Tipping- Tipping isn’t anticipated however appreciated. 5% – 10% in eating places is customary if you’re pleased with the service.

Outlets– Meals costs are fairly cheap. Historically, retailers are open from Monday to Friday, from 9 or 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Some shut for lunch from 1 to three p.m. On Saturdays, retailers usually shut at 1 p.m. although in metropolis centres some are open within the afternoon. Many retailers shut on Sundays. Greater supermarkets could also be open, however will shut at lunchtime.

Don’t confuse Portugal with Spain- the Portuguese are very pleased with their tradition and heritage. They get pleasure from life at a slower tempo and there are many queues.

Motorhome and campervan touring holiday in Portugal
Motorhome touring vacation in Portugal

Meals and Drink in Portugal

Markets are the hub of life in Portugal. You’ll discover one in each village, city and metropolis, with a spread of native produce on the market. Many individuals in Portugal solely ever eat seasonally, so native dishes will change relying on time of 12 months.

Ensure you have money (together with small change) and produce your personal baggage. Be warned- the markets are sometimes held within the greatest automotive park in town- which is usually the place the motorhome parking is. Take note of the indicators in these automotive parks- they are going to say when the market is and if you’re unable to park on sure days.

Native dishes in Portugal to attempt embrace:

  • pastel de Belém/ pastel de nata- DELICIOUS custard tart
  • Francesinha – ham and cheese sandwich
  • Caldeirada de Peixe -stewed fish
  • Salt cod or bacalhau

Touring Portugal with a canine

Portugal is slowly turning into extra dog-friendly. Canines are actually welcome in cafes and eating places and are allowed on trains- be sure you have a muzzle and their paperwork.

Learn extra: adjustments affecting travelling to Europe with a canine after BREXIT

They don’t seem to be allowed on many seashores in summer time and are usually not allowed into public locations like museums. Small canine in crates are allowed on buses and trams; giant canine are unwelcome on most of them.

Don’t overlook how sizzling it will get in summer time and to ensure your canine is comfy. Do NOT go away them in your motorhome or camper on a sunny day- vans warmth up identical to vehicles do. Listed below are some tricks to maintain your canine cool on a highway journey.

To return into the UK you’ll want a vet on the continent to manage a worming remedy after which permit between 24 hours and 5 days earlier than re-entering the UK.

Be warned, there are MANY stray canine (and cats) in Portugal- greater than I’ve seen anyplace else in Europe. Feeding them is a bit like feeding seagulls…

Utilizing a drone in Portugal

You might be allowed to take and fly your drone in Portugal, however they’re VERY sizzling on privateness legal guidelines and recording individuals with out their permission- particularly in the event you then add the footage to Youtube or one thing.

READ MORE: What’s the perfect journey drone (and the way to decide on)

Drones and related remote-controlled flying gadgets have to be stored a minimum of a minimal 150m from individuals, autos and buildings that aren’t related with the drone operator. Flying should occur in daylight solely and as much as a most top of 120m. By no means fly nearer than 5km to airports. The drone should at all times stay throughout the sight of the operator.

Please verify for native laws and army or different particular restricted areas the place all of the aforementioned actions are forbidden by legislation. Here are current rules.

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