The Beautiful Portugal

Our beautiful Portugal... what a dream.

 If you have a van, there is not much more to say… GO! Go to Portugal, visit this amazing country and everything it has to offer. We loved every second of our trip there, and if you are into surfing, well, I don’t know why you’re still reading this really!

But since you are still reading, we will tell you about the places we loved and can’t wait to go back to.

North of Portugal

The North of Portugal is probably not the postcard picture that comes to mind when you think of this country. No, the North is so much more. It is wild, nature surrounds you, and it is a treat to the eyes. Home to their only National Park, you will be absolutely surprised by the waterfalls, mountain ranges and vegetation.

Where to go by van in North Portugal

A list of the places to go by van in the North of Portugal; Some we have not yet discovered but heard much about!

  • Porto – Not as famous as Lisbon, but very much worth the visit. Known for it’s Port Wine, Porto is a vibrant picturesque city full of life and culture. Lovely restaurants with great local food. You must try the “Francesinha“, a local favourite not for the faint of heart. 
  • Peneda – Geres National Park–  Portugals only National Park, and if you are thinking if its worth the visit, the answer is yes, without a doubt. It’s like crossing into a fairytale, so green and full of life, with hidden waterfalls just waiting for your visit. 
  • Coimbra – Another place we really enjoyed, although we only saw the outskirts. It has lots of lakes surrounding were you can camp freely and spend a super relaxed evening and mingle with local fishermen and families.
  • Figueria da Foz – Surfers, this is for you. One of Europe’s best kept secrets, but even in the summer you can find perfect waves for all levels.

Center of Portugal

The Center of Portugal is home to the Capitol, Lisbon. We loved this place so much, it is diverse and has loads of things to offer. Lisbon is an amazing city, full of life, amazing restaurants, culture and friendly people. A part from this, surrounding Lisbon are some world famous places like the surf capitol Ericeira, or the most western point of Europe, Cabo de Roca. Find out more bellow.

Where to go by van in Center Portugal

A list of the places to go by van in the Center of Portugal; Our favourite places are listed here

  • Lisbon – What a city, we have been here twice now and it doesn’t disappoint. Best thing to do is park close to the Bridge, (free parking), then discover the city at you own pace. What we did was rent some electric scooters to see the flatter parts of the city. One new and upcoming place is the Alcantara Neighbourhood, an industrial area turned in to nice bars, restaurants and cool stores, like the LXFactory. Worth a visit. Then Lisbon can get quite steep at parts, its better if you hop in to a tuc-tuc or get on a tram which work wonderfully. Head up to the top of Alfama and see the real old neighbourhood with some amazing views. I could go on and on about it, so if you would like to hear more, just ask! I’ll be happy to tell you more about it.
  • Ericeira –  The capital of Surf. This charming little fishing town is one of our favourites in Portugal, it is full of cool little cafes and surf shops, lots of friendly people, and great waves all year round! if you are looking for a fun happening place, Ericeira is the place to go. You will find people camp at most carparks, but some locals don’t like that too much, so I would suggest doing it only if there is plenty of space.
  • Cabo da Roca / Sintra – The Sintra hills is a beautiful area with some amazing viewpoints over the ocean, specially from Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of Europe. Hidden beaches along the coast-road waiting to be explored. From Ericeira drive down, and enjoy the amazing scenery. At the end of this road you will find Cascais.
  • Cascais – A traditional coastal Portuguese fishing town, with its cobblestone streets, this vacation town will show you an insight to the real Portuguese heritage. And the beaches are glorious, surrounded by the wild Serra de Sintra.

South of Portugal

The South of Portugal is exactly what comes to mind when you think of heavenly beaches. The postcards don’t even do it justice. We absolutely loved roadtripping around this wild area and would recommend it in a heartbeat. We drove all the way from Lisbon to Sagres, and have seen almost every corner of this coast.

Where to go by van in South Portugal

A list of the places to go by van in the South of Portugal; An amazing roadtrip that anyone with a campervan should do!

  • Alentejo & Costa Vicentina – Now, this is what it’s all about. The magic coast of Portugal. We drove from Lisbon to Sagres, and basically stopped as many times as we wanted on the way down. Our first stop was Praia da Gale, Fontainhas. A beautiful beach with impressive cliffs and views. We slept on the car park right on the beach, together with many other vans and campers with a lovely atmosphere. Second stop was in Vilanova da Milfontes, were we stayed in a campsite that was good price and nice facilities. It’ not always easy to find places to spend the night as officially you are not allowed to camp anywhere in the natural park. You can get away with it if you are discreet, leave absolutely no rubbish behind (no toilet paper!!) Then the GNR, if they see you, may only inform you if it is not permitted to stay the night. Anyway, another place we loved and stayed a few days was Arrifana, beautiful dream like beaches all to yourself, bliss!! Then finally, our last destination on this coast was Sagres. This town has such dramatic landscapes its breathtaking. You can stand on the most extreme western tip of the Algarve, looking out at nothing but ocean. I also can’t help mention a restaurant we treated ourselves to, Vila Velha, with delicious traditional Portuguese food. 
  • Algarve –  Known for it’s amazing beaches and picturesque towns, which sadly, we decided to turn back as it felt too crowded for us, specially in covid times, we much preferred the solitary places. But on our list for the future, and not in summer time are: Algar de Benagil; Faro, Serra de Monchique…

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