Campervan hire Portugal
From crystal-blue seas in the Algarve down south, to granite peaks in Gêres up north, what was once the world’s most adventurous seafaring nation is now undisputed champion of road trips: Portugal, the next destination to win a special place in your heart.
The country that once discovered much of the world by sea, Portugal has forever been sitting in a corner of the Iberian peninsula, waiting to be noticed itself. Then one day, the whole world decided to wake up to the wonder that is Portugal. There it was, a country of open and friendly people; with a rich and powerful history full of drama; a large and wide coast with sandy beaches and peeling waves; some of the best food you’ll ever taste (just try Pastel de Nata, Porco Preto, or any of the 1,000 codfish dishes); and breathtaking landscapes, both natural and urban. And being amazingly open to campervans, providing motorhome parkings and camping spots wherever you go, the best way for you to get to know the country of Camões is an RV rental or campervan hire in Portugal. Just grab the wheel and explore all the wonders this small rectangle of land has to offer.
Getting around Portugal by campervan
A litre of fuel isn’t cheap when compared to other European countries. But still, fueling your rental motorhome in Portugal will not break your bank, as it is a fairly compact country. Also, your Indie campervan hire will always run on diesel, allowing you to save between 0,20€ and 0,30€ per litre compared to unleaded fuel.
Speeding limits for your motorhome or campervan ride on Portuguese freeways are 120km/h (75mph), 100km/h (62mph) on expressways, 90km/h (56mph) outside of inhabited places, and 50km/h (31mph) within inhabited places.
Highways in Portugal are well maintained and are the main transport network in the country. Regional roads are scenic, often taking you right along coasts and past quaint villages. These roads can, however, be less maintained and take much longer to traverse. Also, beware of (weary) truck drivers when taking regional roads.
Portugal has tolls on freeways and on both Lisbon’s bridges, where you need to follow a ticket system. You can pay by card or with cash. Indie campervans always pay class 2 tolls in Portugal.
Legally, wild camping is not allowed in Portugal, although it’s not controlled. But you have proper parking spots, paid or free to use, to spend a good night’s sleep inside your rental RV in Portugal.
Portugal is an accessible country when we talk about the cost of travelling, whether you are road tripping on a motorhome or enjoying a more traditional kind of holidays. A mid-range three-course meal for two costs about €35.
In Portugal, along the year, for each rainy day there are two days of sun. The hottest months are during summer, July and August, and the coldest are during winter times: November, December and January.
The Portuguese love to help. They love it so much that even if they don’t speak your language, they’ll try to communicate with you any way they can, just so you’re covered. Hand-shakes are regular between men, and one kiss on each cheek is a regular compliment with and among women.
Portuguese is the country’s official language, but you’ll find a lot of people who speak French and even more who speak or will make an effort to speak English.
Portugal is an oasis on this matter. Codfish, Iberian Pork (Porco Preto), bread, freshly-caught seafood, steak, you name it! And don’t miss any of the typical pastries: Pastéis de Nata, Arroz Doce, Doce de Ovos, Torta de Sintra, Travesseiros, and so on.
Portugal is a whole world in a compact-sized country. Small and big towns built in traditional fashion, modern cities with a nod to the past, ruins of former glory, snowy landscapes up high in the mountains, forests along hillsides, jagged cliffs and (lots of!) idyllic beaches: Portugal has it all––and it’s all accessible by campervan. Explore Portugal’s natural side in Gerês, one of Portugal’s most beautiful national parks; head to Porto, “the capital of the north” and eat a francesinha; visit Portugal’s Venice, Aveiro, navigate the river and taste the iconic pastries: Ovos Moles, Fios de Ovos and Tripa de Aveiro; discover the Portuguese academic city, Coimbra, and all its history and mysteries, like the story and legend of Pedro & Inês; set foot in the capital and fall in love with Lisbon and the neighbouring Sintra; take your motorhome hire to Alentejo’s landscapes and taste all its meaty dishes; Algarve’s beaches and nightlife… And that’s just the start of it!
What to discover
In and around the country
Peneda-Geres National Park
Simply known as “Gerês”, this is one of the most famous – and, of course, beautiful – national parks in Portugal.
Located in the north of the country and easily accessible by campervan, this natural wonder has a lot of wildlife – but also man-made Instagram-material like Vilarinho das Furnas, old granaries in Soajo village, and much more.
If there are mystery and magic in Lisbon, Sintra is where most of it’s found. Myths, rumours and a lot of history are the ingredients of this uncommonly-stunning place almost always covered by a comfortable kind of mist.
And talking about food, don’t miss the opportunity of tasting Travesseiros de Sintra while you’re sitting in your campervan and looking at the marvellous Palácio da Pena.
Forget about everything you know about towns and villages. Actually, that’s what’s going to happen either way if you visit Piódão, in the central/north part of Portugal. Hire a campervan and go there!
This little shale-made town completes a unique scenery and will make you dream of living there one day, in harmony with nature’s tenderness.
Hire a campervan in Algarve
Beaches, good food and an amazing night-life. Could there be anything better than a campervan hire in Algarve? Maybe, but we’re talking about something that actually exists. This is the favourite place of the Portuguese to spend their vacations during summer. And no wonder, right?
Take the morning to explore the region. Have breakfast in a typical café and finish the meal with a Dom Rodrigo––a region’s traditional pastry made of eggs, almonds and sugar. Discover the old municipality of Silves, its castle and old beer factory; get to know “Ponta de Sagres”, the most south you can get in Portugal; have lunch in any seafood restaurant and head to the beach for a dive. While you’re there, watch the sunset, get back to your campervan and get ready for another great meal. Then it’s all about bars, long and meaningful conversations, smiles, laughter and a lot of clubbing! What are you waiting for? Hire a campervan in Algarve, get tanned and have the time of your life all day and night long!
Travel to Alentejo
If you rent a campervan in Portugal to travel to Alentejo, you won’t regret it. Unless, of course, you hate big portions of amazing food at a fairly cheap price, great beaches and landscapes across Rota Vicentina, and nice people always ready to point out unknown places for you to discover with your campervan.
Visit the “Templo de Évora”, a landmark left behind by the Romans; get to know this region’s beloved tree, the “sobreiro”, where the cork comes from; taste the traditional “Pão Alentejano”, a bread with a bit of a bitter taste; have Iberian Pig for lunch, dinner, breakfast and as a snack (actually, don’t eat it thrice in a row); park your van in Zambujeira do Mar, next to a beach, and enjoy the soft breeze while the sun touches the horizon to end another day.
Road trip to Serra da Estrela
As you know, Portugal is a hot destination, there’s no way around it. But when the Portuguese want to have a break from the nice and hot weather, they come here to enjoy the only place in the country with snow. Ski a bit, build a snowman and have epic snowball battles –– but you’re not allowed to hide in your campervan!
When your hands are too frozen to make any more snow balls, have a snack. But not an ordinary one. Try the typical cheese from this region: Queijo da Serra! It’s so creamy you can (and should) use a spoon to spread it on a piece of bread from any local bakery. Visit Monsanto (one and a half hour drive away), an old small town where buildings sit on monstrous granite rocks. While options for a campervan hire in or near Serra da Estrela are scarce, rent your RV with Indie Campers in Lisbon or Porto and enjoy the 3h drive to this snowy wonderland.
Explore the West of Portugal
Portugal’s west is b-e-a-utiful! And it’s ok if you’re not a spelling expert because this area will cast a spell on you. Hire a campervan and head to Óbidos, to explore the old medieval town, host of the county’s biggest chocolate fair. Visit the Mosteiro de Alcobaça and drive until you reach Nazaré, to watch the world’s biggest waves––maybe, with a little bit of luck, you’ll find McNamara over there. If you’re going to travel in February, head to Torres Vedras to be part of the Portuguese Carnival celebrations.
And if all this isn’t enough for you, park your motorhome in the beautiful city of Peniche and explore the small-in-size, big-in-amazingness Berlengas: an island so unique it’s like heaven on earth.
Rent your RV in Douro
This region owes its name to its river, one of the biggest of the Iberian Peninsula. Besides having jaw-dropping landscapes, this region is mainly known for its vineyards and, of course, its internationally-awarded wine––there’s nothing like opening your campervan’s backdoors and enjoying the view with the company of a glass of Douro red wine, believe us!
Explore the region’s wine basements, historic fortresses and stone medieval buildings on the wheel of your rental motorhome, go to one or two wine tastings and enjoy the calm and fulfilling lifestyle of this Portuguese region.
Home of Braga and Viana do Castelo, this region is full of history, since it has a lot of Celtic influences and remains. It is also a Portuguese landmark, because this is where the most famous Portuguese soup was invented, Caldo Verde, and where a national type of wine was born: Vinho Verde.
Be sure you’re hungry. Then, have a full Francesinha during lunch or dinner in Braga (it’s from Porto, but some say it’s in Braga where you’ll find the best one); a royal sandwich with all kinds of meat stuffed inside, an egg on top, a lot of cheese in between, and covered with the most exquisite tomato sauce. Go to Guimarães, the birthplace of Portugal as we know it today, and also the European Capital of Culture in 2012. Viana do Castelo is also a must, especially Gerês National Park. With all this, what are you waiting for to hire your campervan in Portugal and explore this historic region?