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Portugal

For years, Portugal stood in Spain's shadow for me. I saw the country as its little sister and thought the siblings were all too similar. Wrongly, as it turned out! Because Portugal has a beautiful face of its own: the language is not only different, it also sounds different. The coasts are much more striking and the Portuguese houses more stylish. The country's textile industry is also stylish. Portugal also has its own food and wine culture, led by port wine and pastel de nata. But see Portugal's charm for yourself.

Destinations in Portugal:

Overview


Capital

Portugal's capital is Lisbon.


Language

The national language is Portuguese, although some people speak and understand English, especially in the tourist regions.


 
 

Currency

In Portugal, payments are made in euros.


Entry & Visas

Portugal is a member of the EU, which is why EU citizens do not require a visa. In addition, there are generally no border controls within the EU. You only need to carry your identity card with you.


 

Time

There are two time zones in Portugal. Greenwich Mean Time (UTC+0) applies on the mainland and Madeira, while Azores Standard Time (UTC-1) applies in the Azores.


Credit card & ATMs

There are ATMs everywhere in the cities. We were also able to pay by card everywhere. In more rural areas, however, you should always have enough cash with you as a precaution.


 

Best time to visit

It depends on what you have in mind. If you want to go to the beach, May to September are ideal. You can go on a city trip all year round. If you want to see the waves of Nazaré, you should arrive between November and February.


Driving

A national driving license is sufficient for EU citizens. The road network is well developed and the roads are in good condition. Traffic signs and rules are generally uniform throughout Europe.

The speed limits are 100 to 120 km/h on expressways and freeways, 90 to 100 km/h outside built-up areas and 50 km/h within built-up areas. The blood alcohol limit is 0.5 per mille.

You can find more information here.


Phone

If you have a phone contract from the EU or the Schengen area, you do not pay any roaming charges. You can use your phone at the same rate as at home.


Through Portugal in a van

We traveled through Portugal by van, just like probably a hundred others. You'll probably have noticed this on Instagram, YouTube and the like. After all, Portugal is one of the favorite destinations of campers who set up their vans in the most beautiful, untouched spots.

However, this could lead to the assumption that wild camping is allowed in Portugal. But this is wrong! In fact, wild camping has never been allowed in Portugal, but it has been tolerated. In 2021, new, stricter road traffic regulations came into force. Since then, wild camping has been punished with severe penalties.

Yet, there are some alternatives for van and motorhome travelers. For example, there are designated camper pitches, most of which are free of charge. Some of them are even on the beach! Camping is also permitted on private land. Lidl, for example, has designated parking spaces for campers at some locations where they can stay overnight. A nicer way to camp is on pitches on wineries - wine tour included. For example, we had a wonderful overnight stay in the Douro Valley.

I have marked all of our campsites in my Google Maps list for our road trip. You can find the list here. Otherwise, I can recommend the Park4Night app for finding a parking space!