The south coast of Portugal, Algarve, is a popular winter escape destination for northern and central Europeans. Many fly to Faro, the only airport of the province, but many visitors also drive their campervans and motorhomes to the south coast. There is a wide range of camping sites and motorhome parks in Algarve that are popular, but staying elsewhere is popular as well.
The fabulous south and west coast of Algarve is the number one reason for tourists and winter escapees to arrive in the region. There are beaches for every taste: rocky, sand dunes, and isolated coves (more details in the travel guide). The coast draws campervans and motorhomes like waves draw surfers.
This is something that the network of Algarve camping sites, RAARA, wants to change. Camping site and motorhome parks in Portugal are licensed. They have to fulfill a number of legal requirements concerning hygiene and services.
That’s fair enough, but my experience both in licensed sites and unofficial sites in Algarve has been good. Both are clean. Travelers behave responsibly. The biggest problem at unofficial sites tends to be local dogs that roam free and want to chase away pets brought by travelers.
Then, there are sites in Algarve that are not commercial but look like they are intended for overnight stays. An example is the large car park at Sagres. Trash bins and toilets are provided on the side of the area. The car park on a rocky peninsula is one of the most beautiful locations I have ever stayed a night. No wonder it attracts camper vans and motor homes.
For long stays, a commercial site with services is naturally the best choice in Algarve. If visitors don’t behave responsibly in unofficial sites, a simple sign that bans motorhomes should be enough. It is a pity, of course, for the 99% of happy campers who behave well, bu the environment and local neighborhood must be respected.