Camping & mobile home holidays in Portugal
Campsites we feature in Portugal:
The 3* Camping Guincho has a woodland setting in Cascais near Lisbon & is just 1 km from a wide sandy beach which is ideal for surfing in the high season when the waves are high. A full range os facilities are on site and there is a lake about 15 kms away.
Portugal, well you know where it is but I'll tell you anyway; it is a southern European country which has a border with Spain - and the Atlantic Ocean. The country as a whole has some architecture dating back to the 1500 to 1800's when Portugal was a serious maritime force to be reckoned with.
Portugal is also a major tourist location, with the weather to match I may add, has great beaches and lots of golf courses. It is also very popular with the camping and mobile home holiday fraternity.
Portugal has a temperate maritime climate with hot summers and wet winters, all this affected by the Atlantic, Continental and Mediterranean influences. The climate also varies according to the altitude and proximity to the ocean.
Portugal is not only one of the oldest countries in Europe, it is in fact the oldest Nation State and, like just England it had its own Empire back in the day. This of course was entirely because of its huge maritime presence and it is the reason that Portuguese is still one of the most spoken languages in the world e.g. Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe, as well as Goa in India and Macau.
The country, the capital of which is Lisbon, has a total mainland population of circa 10,000,000 with a few more souls dotted about in Madeira and the Azores which are Portuguese held territories. The city of Lisbon has become an increasingly popular place to visit in recent years, with a warm Mediterranean climate in spite of its place facing the Atlantic Ocean.
The mix of traditional architecture and contemporary culture here makes it an ideal place for family holidays, and with the beaches nearby it combines more of less everything needed for an extended break, but for holidaymakers we must remember that Lisbon is primarily a cultural city which may attract history buffs and those looking for intellectual stimulation as well as sun lovers aching to get out of the British weather by getting a tan on the gorgeous beaches here.
Now we have to give a good mention to one of the most exhilarating sports in the world – surfing. It matters not whether you are an expert or a complete novice as there is a beach to suit you. If you haven’t surfed properly before then why not try a body board? You may be able to hire one of these but there are masses of beach shops which sell them for peanuts - €10 – 15 Euros, and if it is still in decent condition at the end of your holiday then you can always donate it to another novice before you leave.
Because of its geographical position Portugal picks up north, west and south swells which makes surf conditions very consistent. In wintertime the swell size is around the 6ft mark but can get to 15ft or more, making it a spot for those looking for challenging surf. There is surf throughout the summer months and you can expect waves of 3-5ft.
A note to novice surfers: a wave of 5 ft sounds easy peasy but when you are waiting for it on a body board it comes at you very fast and looks like a house side! A five footer should give you a good run in to shore but when you have a 15 foot wave approaching you like an express train you may query why you didn’t just stay on your sun bed and watch the other guys being trashed.
Portugal has no shortage of golf courses, a fact which is soley due to some British wine exporters visiting the country in the 19th century and forming the Oporto Niblicks Club in 1901. And it spread from there to the situation we have today; are there too many golf courses in the Algarve?
Going through the country, previously unspoilt, it seems that far too much land is taken up by opportunists opening golf clubs which have had the unfortunate effect of marring the countryside.
That viewpoint has been oft mooted but still we Brits and other nationalities swarm to Portugal and the Algarve in particular in droves.
We aren't touching the subject of accommodation in Portugal as we naturally assume that our clients will be taking camping or mobile home holidays, probably from Lisbon down and more probably in the Algarve region, so with that in mind we will turn our attention to the countryside.
I'm sure you're aware that there is far more to this topic than can be written about here, but some places stand out like a beacon and we recommend that you take a look at them if time permits.
Evora in the Alentejo region is a beautiful medieval town with ancient walls and narrow streets which transport you to ages well past, and particularly so when you see the Aqueduct of Silver Water or Aqueduto da Agua de Prata which was built by Roman engineers.
Dos Almendres: The Megalithic sites, Menhirs or Dolmens to be found west of Evora in remote unspoiled countryside are similar to the better-known ones in Carnac, Brittany and several venues in the UK. Best of all here is Dos Almendres where there are 92 stones spread over a sloping hillside and nearby are caves that were lived in 50,000 years ago, complete with rock art and a large dolmen, or burial chamber.
Yes, the Romans left their mark here as well and we certainly think that taking a look at the Roman Temple would have you talking about it when thinking about Portugal in years to come.
We think it is true to say that most of the "action" in Portugal so far as holidaymakers are concerned is in the Algarve region, but by the same token we know that you don't have to wander far to escape the crowds, most of whom are either on the golf course, the beach or just milling around the shops on the lookout for bargains (You'll be lucky!).
Visit Guia for instance and you can potter down the ancient, narrow streets, and this is just one of a great many small but beautiful villages in this part of the world. Whilst they are wonderful for us to visit we must hope that they never become commercialised as that would spoil them for all time.
There are hills in this area too which you can walk up and take in the fresh air, and you don't really appreciate what fresh air is until you can experience it for yourself at the top of a long hill walk. The Monchique hills are a case in point and in this region you will experience many such opportunities to appreciate nature at its best.
When you head back down to the coastal strip to stunning Cape St Vincent you are then at the furthest point south-west before you fall off the end of Europe. Remote barren cliffs, crashing waves, an ancient fort, and a lighthouse that shines 60 miles out into the Atlantic are just some of the magic of the Algarve.
Torres Vedras, just 50 KMs north of Lisbon, is but a small town of major historical importance in the Peninsular War of 1808 to 1811, and it was here that the Duke of Wellington based his armies which prevented Napoleon overrunning Portugal. Only the ruins of what were once 150 hilltop fortresses which stretched for 25 miles have survived. On a nicer note we can tell you that there is a small cemetery there for British officers who fell in the war, and the graves are still tended by locals.
Food & Drink
Fish is the dish of the day in many parts of the country, so if you ever wondered where our fish stocks have disappeared to we can say that the Portuguese ate them all (joke). But like most countries, what they eat depends to a great extent on where they live.
They love sea bass, sardines, octopus and stuffed squid dishes with a side plate of salad. Some pork dishes served widely throughout Portugal include roasted suckling pig and a stew dish called cozido a Portuguesa, which features a variety of Portuguese pork sausages, beef, potatoes, vegetables and rice.
Some restaurants specialise in dishes where the natural essence is allowed to shine through though quite how they do that baffles me and I believe they tell us rubbish like this so they can increase their prices. Some dishes shine through by themselves and don't require such extravagant wording. Try these when you go there:-
Piri (chicken piri piri)
Sardinhas grelhadas (grilled sardines)
Bacalhau (Salted Cod Fish)
Arroz de Tamboril (Monkfish and Rice)
Cozida which appears to be a mixed up dish of fried potatoes, sausages, boiled cabbage, kale, carrots, kale and layers of pork and beef. Mega meal then!
As for alcoholic drinks, well a trip to Portugal would be wasted if you don't sample their most famous export - Port. Sherry and a variety of wines are well up the list of Portuguese drinks but Porto, the home of this world famous drink, can offer quite a selection of port from the lightest to the heaviest after dinner tipple.
Wine is the tipple of the locals, and red wine is the king of all, but Portugal does have white wines too and these are increasing in popularity. They have one white wine which actually green (Vinho Verde) which is a very crisp wine best accompanying many of the fish dishes.
In conclusion we really believe that Portugal and the Algarve in particular will draw you back time and time again. Just hop on the plane!
Last update: 07.08.2017
Download The Essential Guide to Camping in France, now!
Your Free, 32 page ebook, written with over sixty years of experience built in, covers everything from legal facts about driving in France, local knowledge of the areas, differences between UK and French camping holiday companies and many other things, such as essential language.
All designed to help prepare you and make your trip easy and enjoyable!