van trip in portugal best places to visit

Van trip in Portugal: our roadmap of the 11 best places

Planning your van trip in Portugal 🚐 ?

Check out our roadmap with our top 11 must-see destinations during your trip (& our tips)! 🗺️

If you need to rent a van in Portugal, many platforms offer rental deals like Indie Campers.

⚠️ Don’t forget to download vanlifers’ favorite app Park4night.  The essential app for finding night spots, showers, laundries, places to fill your water bottles etc.

Ready to go? Come on board with us for a complete tour of our favorite spots from the north to the south of Portugal! 😎

Table of contents

For hiking lovers, first stop: Penada-Gerês Park.

The park lies in northern Portugal between the Spanish border and Porto. The park offers a wide range of hiking trails. On the sites you’ll find, verdant nature, animals, natural pools and waterfalls, enough to refresh yourself after several hours of walking 😌

💡 Our tip: park your van in a parking lot in the small village of Gerês and set off on the trail of your choice. For our part, we followed the tracks of the GR50.

Find out before you set off on one of the hikes, as some can be a little more complicated than others.

After Penada-Gerês Park, Porto is a must!

The Ribeira district is Porto’s authentic must-see area. Porto is a very colorful city, with azulejos (hand-painted earthenware squares) on every street corner.

💡 Our tip: if you don’t have a lot of time, one day is enough to visit Porto.

The Douro is the famous river that winds its way through Portugal. The region is famous for its vineyards, natural landscapes and charming villages. Pinhao is the emblematic village of the Douro Valley.

Are you a wine lover? Then the Douro is The Place To Be for you! You’ll be able to taste wines at the many estates that surround the valley. 🍷

💡 Our tip: if you’re sporty, a slightly more unusual way to visit the Douro Valley is to take part in the Douro Valley Half-Marathon 🏃🏻 held during the month of May.

portugal's douro valley van tour itinerary

Who hasn’t heard of the world’s biggest waves at Nazaré ? 🌊

Nazaré is a very (very) touristy village, but still a must-see. In half a day you can stroll along the main avenue, have lunch in a typical Portuguese restaurant and visit Nazaré’s fort; Forte de São Miguel Arcanjo

Spoiler alert: don’t expect to see huge waves in Nazaré in summer.

Big waves are a natural phenomenon and are only present for a few weeks a year during the winter season. If you want to see these huge waves, find out before you go to Nazaré.

Th next spot of the road The next stop on your road trip along the coast of Portugal is Peniche: the surfing capital!

This place is a paradise for outdoor sports & nature lovers! Surfing, kitesurfing, wingfoil, mountain biking… there’s plenty of fun to be had.

Peniche & Baleal (next door) is the place to be for surfers. 🏄🏻‍♂️

You can take surfing lessons with Surf It Easy orHappy Days

best activities in portugal

Obidos is a really (too) cute little village 🥰, which is known for producing the famous Ginja d’Obidos (cherry-based liqueur). 🍒

Just 15 minutes from the village of Obidos is the Obidos Lagoon. This wild lagoon is the ideal place to learn kitesurfing. You can take lessons with Passaro Kitesurf School.

On the north coast, there are many wild spots for vans with ocean views (Pico da Mota, Almagreira, and many others).

If you’d like to know where to go, we’ve written an article dedicated to this region.

On the way to Lisbon, the 6th stop is Ericeira 🌺

With its flowery, colorful streets, Ericeira is a cute, trendy little surf town.

Good addresses in Ericeira:

🥑 Bruncher à Green is Good
🍴 Lunch at Dear Rose Café
🛍️ Surfstyle shopping at Surf58
🍦Eat ice cream at Nutwood
🍕 Have a pizza at Pepe Verde
🍷 Dine at Mar das Latas Wine & Food

It’s impossible not to talk about Lisbon on a blog dedicated to van trip in Portugal! You can drop off your van for a night and enjoy all that Lisbon has to offer.

Because there’s so much to say about Lisbon, all the tips and good addresses are in this article 100% dedicated to Lisbon. 🌈

Weekend in Lisbon: best things to do

Arrábida Natural Park is located on the Setubal peninsula. The park abounds in land and water activities. Hikes and walks are available to all. The most famous is the walk to the wild Ribeira do Cavalo beach. 🏖️

On the ocean side, you can rent a kayak or motorboat.

👉🏻 Vertente Natural offers a huge range of activities in the Park.

💡 Our tip: it’s hard to find a place to park your van in the park. We advise you to take the road towards the coast, further south of the Park. On the coast, you’ll find wilder spots to spend the night.

must-see places in portugal

Aljezur is a small town in the Algarve region. ☀️

A must for surfers. Praia Arrifana is the main beach for surfing or learning to surf. 🤙🏼 There are a few surf schools on the beach where you can take lessons or rent a board.

A little lower down than Arrifana, the ” Praia do Amado ” is a very popular beach with vanlifers. In winter, surfing conditions on this coast can be incredible.

At the southern tip of Portugal, the town of Sagres, is packed with surf vibes 🏄🏻‍♀️. Sagres is a van-friendly place.

Sagres lives to the rhythm of surfing and is home to a roadtripers community, which is cool for meeting people. 😎

💡 Our tip: check out the Laundry Lounge for lunch, work, a machine 🫧, or just a fun time.

😴 To sleep, on the Park4night  app you’ll easily find parking on the coast just a few minutes from Sagres.

The last stop of our van trip in Portugal is Olhao.

Our favorite ❤️ of southern Portugal. Olhao is a picturesque little town in the Algarve where you can ;

– stroll through its cute little streets ;
– eat in one of the many restaurants ;
– stroll through the Portuguese-scented covered market;
– taste the country’s best ice cream at Sao Gelados. 🤤🍨

Olhao’s flagship activity is exploring the surrounding islands. You have to take the ferry to get to the islands. It’s possible to visit the island of Farol, Culatra and Armona.

💡 Our tip: to sleep in the south of Portugal in a van, opt for campsites 🏕️. If, however, you want to sleep in the wilderness, you’ll have to move away from the coast and go a little further inland to find a nice spot.

Enjoy your van trip in Portugal 🤙🏼