WHEN TO VISIT PORTUGAL
You’ll find many ‘festas populares e religiosas’ across Portugal most of them based upon religious activities – Easter being the largest and Assumption Day (15 August) an important Catholic holiday. You’ll also find pilgrimages to Fátima and the Festivity of the Crosses in Montano, both during May.
Portugal also has its fair share of big events, including the International Chocolate Festival in Óbidos from March to April, the Portugal Rally (a part of the FIA World Rally Championship) in May, the Lisbon Festival in June and the National Gastronomy Festival, held in Santarém, during October and November.
The Algarve is the warmest place in western Europe during winter, and a great place to visit or stay during that time.
Portugal has some of the best surfing in Europe, and the ideal place to spend a winter surfing.
MORE THAN 140 OVERSTOPS’S, GREAT!
Portugal are blessed with a network of great Área de Serviço Autocaravanas (ASA) or MSP (Motorhome Service Point’s, normally with overnight possibility), specific motorhome stopovers that are either free to use or involve a small charge (typically between €2 and €8 for 24 hours).
Most provide essential facilities for emptying waste water and cassette toilets, filling up with fresh water and dumping rubbish; some of the facilities are operated using a token (Jetons, but is a small part!), available from a nearby shop or tourist office.
Most sites are safe and secure! (Portugal is a relatively crime free country). It is always worth having a back-up option if you arrive and don’t like the look – or feel – of the MSP.
It’s very good to have our Autocaravanismo.pt (Eurostops) DATABASE ON YOUR GPS (click here) or APP EUROSTOPS! We know Portugal better than anyone else, AUTOCARAVANISMO.PT is made by portuguese Motorhome/Camper travellers and daily updated.
MOTORHOME ACCESS AND INFORMATIONS
Motorways in Portugal tend to run north to south with the capital Lisbon as a hub. The main routes across the country, and around the major urban areas are of a good standard. Some are tolls roads, and are of reasonable value (your category is normally 2), the tolls must be paid for in advance or the vehicle fitted with a Temporary Electronic Toll Device (DEM).
For more information about pre-payment or purchase of an electronic collection system, and to find out which roads are affected, check online. On many of the Portuguese motorways there are no toll booths, so you cannot pay as you travel.
As with all countries in Europe, it’s necessary to have the correct documents and equipment in your Motorhome. Citizen Card, driving licence, vehicle registration, inspection and insurance documents
Other rules of the road include the payment of on-the-spot fines in Euros immediately (or you may find your vehicle confiscated).
Check your speed carefully, 30km/h – 50km/h (Urban), 90km/h (National Roads) and 120 km/h (Highways if your Motorhome is under 3.5t).
HOW TO GET PORTUGAL
If you’re on an extended motorhome tour and time is no object, of course pottering south along the west coast of France and crossing the Pyrenees is a wonderful introduction to Spain. The quickest motorway routes from France are the E70 to northern Spain (the route continues to A Coruña in the northwest) and the E15 to south-east Spain.
Other ways that we recommend is from San Sebastian (Spain) » Burgos » Valladolid » Salamanca (Highway free of toll) than you get 3 options:
- Salamanca > Badajoz > Elvas (Alentejo, Portugal ca.185 km to Lisbon)
- Salamanca > Sierra Degredos > Termas Monfortinho (Portugal, without Strees road, ca.300 km to Lisbon)
- Salamanca > Ciudad Rodrigo > Vilar Formoso (Main border between Portugal and Spain, ca.320 km to Lisbon)
If you came from the south the best direction is over Seville to Ayamonte