Portugal campervan holidays are enjoying a real moment in the sun these days, cashing in on its reputation for safe, affordable and convenient travel. And with camping, hiking, kayaking and MTB in Peneda-Geres NP, you can take advantage of one of the lesser known but most beautiful parts of this incredible country.
The Peneda-Geres national park is located on Portugal’s northern border with Spain, about an hour’s drive from Porto. Which means that although it feels remote and unspoiled, it’s actually very easy to get to. There are also some cheap campsites in beautiful locations.
The rugged hills and rocky peaks create stunning landscapes, made even more enticing by the presence of wolves, deer and golden eagles. The area was inhabited by the Romans, and various ruin sites still lie waiting to be discovered in the forests.
Explore the traditional granite villages and medieval castles. Swim in crystal clear waterfall pools, hike or bike the stunning wilderness or enjoy a relaxing spa in the town of Geres itself all while on Portugal campervan holidays.
Of course, as well as natural beauty, there is another side to the Peneda-Geres national park. It is criss-crossed with well signed and exciting MTB trails. You can enjoy customised MTB tours on official routes or simply head out to explore under your own steam.
Check out both the Laboreiro mountains and Peneda mountain range for some of the best MTB terrain. Follow centuries old shepherds’ trails or traverse the cobbles of ancient Roman roads, all the time surrounded by majestic scenery.
While you MTB in Peneda-Geres NP be sure to visit some of the picturesque stone villages. Here you can enjoy some hearty Portuguese home cooking to replenish your energy supplies.
As well as trails and beautiful scenery, the other thing you’ll notice in Peneda-Geres is water. Whether it’s cascading down cliff faces, or tumbling down steep ravines, this is a landscape visibly shaped by water. Which means there is also some excellent opportunities for kayaking.
All of the water comes down from the steep mountain sides in torrents, eventually settling in one of several large lakes, including the Encoro de Lindoso. These lakes feed substantial waterways such as the Rio Homem.
There are some top spots for kayaking in Peneda-Geres. Make your way into the river network and stop off along the route at one of the river beaches that line most waterways in Portugal. Grab an ice-cold beer and a bifana (pork sandwich) and hit the paddles again.
Wild camping in Portugal is prohibited across most of the country and in national parks there are large fines. But many people do it up and down the country without getting ‘caught’. That said within the Peneda-Geres National Park there are some very good and very cheap campsites so it is just not worth the risk.
Outside of national parks if there are no visible signs forbidding wild camping then most of the time you’ll be ok. As long as you are discreet and leave everything how you found it you can save a bit of money during Portugal campervan holidays by roughing it for the a few nights here or there.
People in Portugal are relaxed and unflustered, so as long as you’re not making a mess or being a nuisance, you’ll generally be fine to park up in most places. Just be aware that it is illegal so you could be asked to move on or even get a fine.
If you are going to risk it during your Portugal campervan holidays the best practice is always to leave the place exactly as you found it. And follow the general wild camping guidelines that apply anyway.
So, recycle everything, only use designated toilet areas or dispose of waste responsibly, don’t litter and only dump water at appropriate places. Follow these guidelines and you are more likely to get away without any problems while wild camping in Portugal.
You also need to be particularly aware that many parts of Portugal are no fire zones in the summer months. So, BBQs and campfires are strictly prohibited owing to the risk of forest fires.
Camping in Portugal, hiking, kayaking or MTB in Peneda-Geres NP would make a fine holiday. But why not maximise your time in this beautiful part of the world by hiring a campervan?
Fly in to the charming city of Porto, perhaps taking a day or two to explore its UNESCO-listed waterfront and port houses. Then pick up your campervan and bikes before setting off north towards Peneda-Geres. It’s only around an hour away from the city but there are also plenty of other fun opportunities nearby too.
Maybe take a surf or kitesurfing lesson on Portugal’s wild and windy Atlantic coastline. Or head for the spectacular Douro valley, one of the oldest wine making regions on the planet. And then make your way up to the Geres park, via the ancient city of Braga, for some fun on the bikes.
There are plenty of places to rent kayaks or enjoy day trips on the river, before jumping back in the van to find the next beautiful camping spot.
There are different kinds of vans to choose from, with state of the art modern VW campers available from Porto or Lisbon. Modern vans make it easier if you’re planning on taking bikes or getting to more remote places. They are more practical and you’ll find it a more powerful van very useful.
Campers also make wild camping in Portugal much easier and more discreet. And at the end of your trip, rather than head back to Porto, make the three hour drive south to Lisbon.
Lisbon is Europe’s oldest capital city and is buzzing these days. With hip craft beer bars, waterfront clubs and stunning food it’s a city you have to visit. Plus there are excellent surfing beaches within a stone’s throw of the city.
Portugal campervan holidays, including hiking, kayaking and MTB in Peneda-Geres NP will really give you the chance to explore more of Portugal and find out what all the fuss is about.
Fancy a spot of camping, hiking, kayaking and MTB in Peneda-Geres NP? Then book a campervan with: www.siestacampers.com