Portugal's west coast: van life adventures
This is not just a blog about Portugal. This is a blog that is fully about the van life experience on the Portuguese coastline. The Flying Fox arrived in the North West and left in the South East and now it's time to share the coastal highlights with you!
As there are so many, we decided to divide the country in two parts: the urban north and the natural south. Both characterized by its friendly locals, yummy food, good surfable waves and pretty beaches. Let's dive deeper into this.
Portugal is the country where toilets doors are many times unlockable, where are thousands of roundabouts, the light goes on and off with a sensor and all of their people would fit within all their warehouses. Starting in the summer of 2017, I (ahum, mainly my daddy) finally finished patching up the crappy old Volkswagen T3 from 1984, into a super a yellow hippie van. Almost everything was new. The color, the engine, the gearbox, the bed and everything in and around it. Even a converter for my smoothies: you shouldn’t forget about these important things when you go on the road for an undetermined time! My end destination was Portugal, where I had been twice before. Both times I fell in love with their beautiful cities (Lisbon and Porto), their coastline and surf, their very sexy language (rrrrr) and friendly (not always unattractive) locals.
So there I went, for a longer adventure this time. Most parts by myself, sometimes with a lover, sister or friends but I can assure you that Portugal is an amazing country to travel alone in your campervan. It’s very safe and you will make anywhere you are new campervan-friend. Many times I liked it even more alone, as you are more open to meet new people and most of the ones you meet while camping are very likeminded!
Continuing about the fact that there are many new friends to find everywhere: Portugal’s Vanlife is getting overcrowded and a problem for the locals. They don’t have a spot in the water to surf anymore, no place to park their cars at the beach and ‘we’ travelers leave a lot of trash. Don’t think that trash is only the packaging you used or banana peel, it’s also your toilet paper! Please keep in mind: leave nothing but footsteps. And of course, a memory to your continuous smile! :D
Portuguese people are usually very peaceful and friendly and are not as temperamental as most other Latin countries. They are really proud of their food which is mainly based on fish and meat, but no problem for vegetarians: they have also beautiful other vegetarian Portuguese dishes! The Portuguese speak overall pretty well English as they don't synchronize all the Hollywood movies, like they do in almost every other country in Europe. The other thing I want to tell you about the Portuguese, is that their wage is really low. Waiters get around €4 an hour and here an income of €1000 a month is quite a lot. Which is not a lot when you consider that the prices in the supermarket are similar to the ones in Germany and Holland where we earn way more money. Also, petrol is not really cheap (around €1,50 per litre) and also the house rent is easily about €500 a month for a two-room apartment.
The last thing before I get to the real Portuguese van life experience: can you just camp everywhere? To be honest, it’s pretty vague to me how this is arranged. It is tolerated at most places. I've never heard about anyone getting a fine, except for the campervans that stayed on big parking lots (like Amado and Porto de Mos in the Algarve) with a big amount for a longer time so that it seems more like an open campsite. I also wrote an article about how to live the best Van Life , check it out for a full do-it-yourself campervan info pack!