Camping is a fun way to experience the Portuguese great outdoors. The Algarve is an incredibly scenic place, with beautiful trees, plants, and wildlife, but a lot of that can be missed when you stay in an apartment or a hotel.
With more than 300 days of sunshine per year, the Algarve also has an excellent climate for camping. There is little to no rain between April and October, which means you’re unlikely to have to take down a wet tent.
During the peak summer months of July and August, it’s not uncommon for daytime temperatures to reach 40 ° Celsius. Although the temperature does drop in the evening, in the peak of summer it can still remain quite warm in the evening.
Camping Options:Tent VS Mobile Home VS Campervan
Camping doesn’t just mean pitching a tent, of course, and so there are a couple of different ways you can camp on the Algarve.
- Bring your own tent – For many people, the traditional way is the only way. Bring your own tent and camping equipment, and pitch up at one of the many campsites on the Algarve.
- Stay in a mobile home – The perfect compromise: all of the benefits of staying on a campsite, without having to put up or take down your tent. This is a popular option with families, as many mobile home-focused campsites also have communal facilities like swimming pools.
- Stay in a bungalow – An even more luxurious compromise, this is half-way between camping and staying in a house!
- Stay in a motorhome – Thousands of people visit the Algarve in motorhomes ever year, and many even spend many months living here. Some stay in campsites, but many stay in carparks and other secluded spots along the side of the road.
- Go glamping – Stay in a safari tent, yurt, or treehouse that someone else has put up for you and enjoy all of the luxurious of a boutique hotel while getting to enjoy the great outdoors.
Popular Campsites on the Algarve
Although camping isn’t as popular as it once was, the Algarve has a decent number of campsites for you to choose from. The following are a few of the most popular
- Parque de Campismo Orbitur, Sagres – Campsite on the Western Coast of the Algarve, just 3 km from the beach, with well-equipped bungalows and spaces for tents, caravans, and campervans. Facilities include Wi-Fi, pool tables, a supermarket, and a restaurant and bar.
- Yelloh! Village Turiscampo, Lagos – Large family-orientated campsite with 137 bungalows and mobile homes (some with Jacuzzis) and 202 pitches for tents (42 of which have water and drainage). Facilities include kids clubs, cabaret entertainment, swimming pools, and sporting activities like archery, water aerobics, yoga, and dance classes.
- Camping Ria Formosa, Tavira – Large family-orientated campsite with bungalows and mobile homes, as well as 350 pitches for caravans, campervans, and tents. Onsite facilities include free Wi-Fi, swimming pool, mini-gym, mini market, playground, a boules area, and an artificial lake.
- Camping Algarve, Moncarapacho – Year-round campsite situated 30 minutes drive from Faro, in the Eastern Algarve. As well as tents, it also welcomes caravans and campervans.
- Camping Albufeira, Albufeira – Large campsite with bungalows and residential caravans, as well as spaces for tents, caravans, and campervans. Facilities include 3 swimming pools, tennis courts, playground, pizzeria, restaurant, bike rental, and a supermarket.
- Calico Park, Vila Nova de Cacela – A year-round residential campsite that typically caters to medium and long-term living in the park’s mobile homes, but also has space for caravans and tents. Onsite facilities include a swimming pool, restaurant and bar, and a children’s playground.
Glamping, if you’re not already familiar with the term, is a portmanteau or slang abbreviation for ‘glamorous camping.’ It’s a catch-all term that covers staying in yurts, tepees, shepherds’ huts, and treehouses – basically anything where you don’t have to put the tent up yourself!
Some Algarve glamping options include:
- Algarve Safari Lodge, Messines – African-style safari tents in the rural Algarve countryside near Messines.
- Eco-Lodge Brejeira, Silves – Glamping site with a yurt, gypsy van, fire truck, and space for traditional tent pitches.
- The Walnut Tree Farm, Aljezur – Rural glamping retreat offering luxury stays in a treehouse or a yurt.
If you really fancy getting back to nature, there are at least two naturist-friendly campsites on the Algarve. There are other forms of accommodation, such as naturist guesthouses, if you’re more tied to the naturist rather than the camping aspect. Alternatively, if camping is your main priority, you could stay at one of the many non-naturist campsites and visit the Algarve naturist beaches during the day instead.
- Tara’s Tent, Moncarapacho – Large African safari-style tent with views of the beautiful Ria Formosa park. Naturists are welcome to stay, although this isn’t the camp’s main focus.
- Salema Eco Camp (Quinta Dos Carriços, Burdens) – Salema Eco Camp isn’t a fully naturist campsite: instead there’s a section of the campsite reserved for naturism which is allowed on the camp between October and May.
Wild Camping in Portugal
While you might have dreams of setting up camp by the beach in Portugal, it’s important to realise that wild camping (or free camping) is actually illegal in Portugal. The main reason for camping being illegal is the risk of fires: the summer months are incredibly dry, and fires can spread incredibly fast. If you are caught camping in the Algarve, it’s very likely that you’ll be asked to move on (and may be given a fine).
Wild camping in motorhomes tends to be a lot more tolerated, particularly during the winter months. You’ll find car parks filled with campervans all over the Algarve, and some people even stay the whole winter or longer.
The Park4Night community is a good place to start when looking for recommendations for wild camping spots for your campervan.
Many campsites, especially the larger ones, have a small supermarket that sells camping supplies like gas bottles, pegs, and everything else camping-related. There are also two Decathlon stores on the Algarve, one in Faro and the other in Portimão. Both of these sell camping equipment, including tents (if you don’t want to bring yours on the plane).
Have you been camping in the Algarve? Where did you stay, and how would you rate your experience? Let us, and other Portugalist readers know, by filling in the comments below.