I first wild camped along the Algarve coast in 2003 when the number and size of motorhomes were much smaller. Since then an ever-increasing tide of new campervanners have been pitching up. For many years Portuguese authorities have been trying in vain to discourage the large encampments of long-term off-site campers. Portugal has about 125 campsites. All the Aires Spain and Portugal lists over 200 motorhome Aires. These facilities have insufficient pitches for the number of motorhome visitors leaving the Portuguese government with little choice but to enforce control with sanctions and fines.
Law 66/2021 came into effect across Portugal on August 24th 2021. In summary this law ‘Changes the regime for motorhome parking both day and night. The new amendments have been recorded in the Highway Code and the Traffic Signalling Regulation.
The law is available in Portuguese with English translation here: https://data.dre.pt/eli/lei/66/2021/08/24/p/dre
The country wide parking law affects all motorhomes, campervans and other vehicles of this type travelling in Portugal. This law details what motorhome parking is, where it can be done, for how long and what fines can be given.
All motorhomes must now comply with the ‘provisions of the municipal parking and traffic regulations.’
Article 50A has been modified and ‘overnight’ parking has been clarified and refers to the period 10pm-7am. In addition, paragraph 2 states anywhere without municipal regulation, motorhomes are only allowed for a maximum of 48 hours in the same municipality, except in places authorised for motorhomes.
The following are prohibited countrywide:
a) Camping; on the road and in public space
b) Waste and water disposal anywhere outside of an official disposal/service point
c) Occupation of the road and public space beyond the perimeter of the motorhome
In addition, paragraph 6 details motorhomes are now prohibited to park outside of authorised parking places in areas of Natura 2000 network, areas of protected landscape and areas covered by the Coastal Waterfront Planning Plans. Motorhomers need to be aware that the protected areas are located across Portugal, not just on the south coast. A map and information on protected areas can be found here:
Portuguese parking fines for motorhomes in violation of paragraph 6 are €60-€300
Portuguese parking fines for campervans in for violation of a-c are €30-€300
Failure to move on after 48hrs could result in a fine of €60-€300. Motorhome parking fines are much higher, €120-€600, in areas of the Natura 2000 network, areas of protected landscape and areas covered by the Coastal Waterfront Planning.
In all cases, ‘voluntary payment at the time of verification of the infringement corresponds to the payment of the fine at the minimum, and can be carried out by all means legally accepted as a form of payment’. Preferably electronic.
Stay in authorized places: either campsites, private Aires or municipal Aires that are clearly marked with the motorhome or campsite symbol.
Motorhomes can use municipal car parks but it is vital check the local regulations and restrictions on the signs provided.
When offsite parking check you are not in a restricted zone and stay no longer than 48 hours.
Do not obstruct the road, park outside of marked bays, empty waste anywhere other than an official Motorhome Service Point and do not camp in any way.
If you do get fined, pay immediately.
Motorhomers and campervanners visiting Portugal should expect official Motorhome Aires and campsites to be busier than usual. Vicarious recommends that Aire users get off the beaten track and visit more remote Aires.