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Fantastic free camping in Portugal

With warm summers and mild winters, Portugal is a terrific destination year round. And with loads of free camping in Portugal at overnight parking spots all around the country you’ll save a fortune!

On average, campsites in Europe cost €25 per night. So if you spend 2 weeks camping in Portugal it’s going to add €350 to your budget.

Not an insignificant amount of money and it could buy you a whole lot of port and sardines! But fear not! There’s some fantastic free camping in Portugal available if you only know where to look.

We spent 2 weeks in Portugal and we didn’t pay for any accommodation or utilities. Not one penny! And here’s how we did it.

Free camping in Portugal

Most European countries provide official places for you to stay overnight. Motorhomers and van lifers refer to them as camper stops.

Each country may refer to them by their own name and signpost them accordingly. The Portuguese and Spanish signpost them as Area de servicio para autocaravanas.

Portugal is one of the best countries in western Europe for free camping. There are lots of places where it’s possible to free camp, either by the beach or further inland.

The Portuguese have officially banned free camping in the Algarve. Yet outside of summer the police do tolerate responsible free camping.

 For more info on how to camp for free across Europe, click here.

How to find overnight parking in Portugal

The chances are, you’ll drive past a few camper stops on your route. Even so, you may not want to rely on spotting a sign at the end of a busy day.

Hundreds of sites for free camping and overnight parking

VWFurgo is a website giving almost 4000 GPS co-ordinates for camper stops across Europe. The map includes a marker, photos, facilities and any local amenities at each.

It includes both official camper stops and ‘tolerated’ spaces. You can download files for free and they cover most major sat nav formats. It’s a heavyweight file so consider if this will affect the performance of your device.

You can always download it onto your laptop or tablet and refer to it as you go. This site is a godsend and relies on its community to submit details.

So you can help grow this resource by submitting new sites you find. They have strict criteria for accepting submissions to protect the integrity of the information.

They must be doing something right because its never failed us.

iOverlander is another terrific website with loads of overnight wild camping spots and parking locations. Read this post to see how we use it offline.

It’s maintained and updated by overlanders and terrific source of information globally, and not just for Europe.

Useful resources for camping in Portugal

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This book will become your accommodation bible as you travel around Europe in your camper van or motorhome. With almost 9000 free or very cheap aires listed, you’re sure to find a suitable place to sleep.

The Camperstop Europe guide include photos, GPS coordinates and information about facilities at each camperstop. Don’t tour Europe without this.

We love a paper map! Sure we have out Sat Nav and GPS but I think it’s hard to beat planning your route on a good paper map.

There’s loads of maps to choose from. You could get one dedicated to Spain and Portugal. If you plan on exploring more of Europe, then a European map book is ideal.

A handy guide book is your friend when visiting a new country. Carrying a guide book for each country is a tad unreasonable if you’re touring a large part of a continent.

There are a few good guidebooks that cover Europe. They don’t cover as much detail for each country but it’s enough to be of value.

Wild and free camping for us is not just about budget. In fact, saving money is not our primary reason for seeking out a wild camping location.

During late autumn and winter, fining an open campsite is quite a challenge in Europe. And anyway, have you ever found a spot where you’ve thought how wonderful it would be to stay the night?

Wild camping responsibly gives you the freedom to sleep almost wherever you want. Free camping in Portugal is not as easy as it is in Spain.

You can do it though and some camper stops offer great facilities. Often, you’ll need to pay for water top ups but free water is widely available at most fuel stations.

Read more: A guide to wild camping for motorhomes

Our free camping spots in Portugal

We spent 2 weeks in Portugal during the autumn and we didn’t pay for camping at all. To give you a flavour of the types of overnight parking spots and free camping opportunities in Portugal, take a look below at a few of the places we stayed.

Check out this guide for fantastic free camping in Portugal. Save your accommodation budget money for more port and sardines! #RoadTrip #MoneySaving #Camping #Portugal Click here for the full article: //mowgli-adventures.com/free-camping-in-portugal/

Bragança

GPS: 41° 48’ 15.14” N 6° 44’ 50.43” W
Free: yes
Wifi: no
Water: yes
WC: yes
Location: at the foot of the castle and a 15 minute walk from the centre of town. There is a nearby sewerage plant, and once in the 2 days we spent here, we knew about it!

Check out this guide for fantastic free camping in Portugal. Save your accommodation budget money for more port and sardines! #RoadTrip #MoneySaving #Camping #Portugal Click here for the full article: //mowgli-adventures.com/free-camping-in-portugal/

Vinhais

GPS: 41° 50’ 1.14” N 7° 00’ 14.24” W
Free: yes
Wifi: no
Water: no
WC: no (although there is a clean public toilet across the road)
Location: car park on the edge of town and perfect if you’re visiting the Chestnut Fiesta. When we visited, the car park was busy because of a fiesta. We did see at least another 2 camper stops in the town though.

Check out this guide for fantastic free camping in Portugal. Save your accommodation budget money for more port and sardines! #RoadTrip #MoneySaving #Camping #Portugal Click here for the full article: //mowgli-adventures.com/free-camping-in-portugal/

Do you love roast chestnuts? Read about our trip to the Vinhais Chestnut Fiesta in Portugal.

Peso Da Regua

GPS: 41° 09’ 49.41” N 7° 47’ 30.06” W
Free: yes
Wifi: no
Water: no
WC: no
Electric Hook Up: yes and free
Location: car park on the edge of the town beside the marina. Located along the banks of the River Douro in the heart of the Douro Valley. We’d have preferred to have stayed at Pinhão but we couldn’t get Mowgli under the bridge.

Check out this guide for fantastic free camping in Portugal. Save your accommodation budget money for more port and sardines! #RoadTrip #MoneySaving #Camping #Portugal Click here for the full article: //mowgli-adventures.com/free-camping-in-portugal/

Discover more: Portuguese Food & Drink

Matosinhos

 GPS: 41° 11’ 8.02” N 8° 41’ 11.31” W
Free: yes
Wifi: no
Water: no
WC: no
Location: small car park in town square, next to the church. Rain. Non-stop rain. So we didn’t see much of the area. We don’t think overnight parking is strictly allowed. Perhaps nobody dare venture out because of the horizontal rain!

Palmela

GPS: 38° 33’ 59.03” N 8° 54’ 2.49” W
Free: yes
Wifi: no
Water: no
WC: no
Location: small car park at the entrance to the castle. We didn’t feel it was strictly allowed although there are no signs, either way. Whilst we weren’t challenged, you probably won’t get away with this in the height of the season.

Check out this guide for fantastic free camping in Portugal. Save your accommodation budget money for more port and sardines! #RoadTrip #MoneySaving #Camping #Portugal Click here for the full article: //mowgli-adventures.com/free-camping-in-portugal/

Alcácer do Sal

GPS: 38° 22’ 12.87” N 8° 30’ 54.5” W
Free: yes
Wifi: no
Water: no
WC: yes
Location: large car park, next to the Sado River in town lovely and friendly town of Alcácer do Sal.

Check out this guide for fantastic free camping in Portugal. Save your accommodation budget money for more port and sardines! #RoadTrip #MoneySaving #Camping #Portugal Click here for the full article: //mowgli-adventures.com/free-camping-in-portugal/

Ferragudo

GPS: 37° 07’ 34.48” N 8° 31’ 21.68” W
Free: yes
Wifi: no
Water: no
WC: no
Location: large beach front area on unused land. Ferragudo town is on the doorstep with Portimão just across the bridge.

There’s a campsite at the top of the hill with the usual facilities. It’s a prefect example of how you don’t always get what you pay for. This location is far better than the campsite’s.

Check out this guide for fantastic free camping in Portugal. Save your accommodation budget money for more port and sardines! #RoadTrip #MoneySaving #Camping #Portugal Click here for the full article: //mowgli-adventures.com/free-camping-in-portugal/

Albufeira

GPS: 37° 05’ 26.56” N 8° 14’ 41.23” W
Free: yes
Wifi: no
Water: no
WC: no
Location: large car park next to the town hall. We don’t think this is permissible. Albufeira had just suffered serious flooding and we were helping out with the clean-up activities. So we figured we’d be ok. And so we were.

Check out this guide for fantastic free camping in Portugal. Save your accommodation budget money for more port and sardines! #RoadTrip #MoneySaving #Camping #Portugal Click here for the full article: //mowgli-adventures.com/free-camping-in-portugal/

Castro Marim

GPS: 37° 13’ 09.64” N 7° 26’ 37.98” W
Free: yes
Wifi: no
Water: yes (for a fee)
WC: yes
Location: large car park below the Castro Marim Castle. It was extremely busy whilst we were there, maybe because of the heavy rains.

Check out our 10 day Portugal road trip route for inspiration.

A simple request

Share the knowledge. If you know anyone visiting Portugal in their motorhome or camper van then share this post with them. They can spend less on accommodation and more on having a great time by free camping in Portugal!

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Check out this guide for fantastic free camping in Portugal. Save your accommodation budget money for more port and sardines! #RoadTrip #MoneySaving #Camping #Portugal Click here for the full article: //mowgli-adventures.com/free-camping-in-portugal/
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Undine Trömer

Thursday 11th of February 2021

Be aware of growing police attention. It is not easy to free camp at the south coast when you are unalert and you can get a Fee around 200 Euros. So, don't make it obvious. Camping in the bushes is saver than in obvious spots. That works.

Greetings

Angela and Graham

Friday 12th of February 2021

Yes it seems things have changed since we first wrote this article. We encourage everyone to camp responsibly and legally so it's always worth checking the latest rules first.

Grant Westfield

Saturday 20th of April 2019

Last years Ferragudo site is now closed and chained up. Private security company signs etc... Vans have spilled over to next beach along. So following might be useful information. 1st problem is sand very soft, but not obvious, so unless capable of Off Road avoid. Local feelings are running high expect 'move on action' with fines etc... soon. Noticable , two or three local vans that over winter, with local connections, have moved to official sites. As nearby properties open up after winter, with owners making their first visit of the year its become a focal point. I would guess the holiday weekend or next week likely. Keep safe - Grant

Alex

Thursday 8th of November 2018

As a portuguese living in the Algarve, I have to confess I feel annoyed by all the illegal campers. All they leave is trash and human feces especially around the dunes, its disgusting, especially when I walk my dogs they end up eating it. Thank god, several municipalities have voted in favor of claiming fines on the spot, when wildcampers are caught in the act.

hanns

Friday 4th of May 2018

Another easy one to find is in Olhao, right next to the Marina Hotel. No sanitary installations though. One would go across to Lidl for discharging, etc.

Parking, Aires, Stellplatz | A Campervan In Europe

Wednesday 18th of April 2018

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