A website and app have been launched for motorhome owners coming to the Algarve and aims to eradicate the practice of ‘wild camping’ that has been blamed for many of the negative impacts this form of tourism can have on the region.
The website, launched by the Coordination and Regional Development Commission of the Algarve (CCDR-Algarve), aims to promote the region while making clear what the current laws mean for motorhome owners.
The website is a result of the long-running project established by the CCDR-Algarve, the mayors’ group AMAL and the region’s tourism bodies.
In December 2015, the Caravan Support Network of the Algarve Region (RAARA) was set up, which listed the region’s legal Camping and Caravan Parks, Rural Camping Parks and Service Areas for Motorhomes. Click HERE for the list
The creation of the new website and app, "is part of the strategy to support motor-caravanning by providing an informative and a dynamic platform for the dissemination of existing spaces in the Algarve region," says the CCDR-Algarve, adding that:
"The region is now a major tourist destination for motorhome travellers and is one one of the most visited regions in southern Europe, particularly during the winter and spring months.
"The Algarve has lacked modern facilities but motorhome travellers have come anyway, drawn by a low cost of living, pleasant climate, mild winters, friendly natives, beautiful landscapes, a rich cultural heritage and the food."
Long stay vacations started to become popular but staying in a caravan park, or travelling between caravan parks, dulls the sense of freedom and excitement sought by many in this sector who want to wake up by the sea with nobody else in sight.
The list of 30 camping and caravan sites and service areas, equipped with the necessary facilities, aims to provide security and a way of being legal, but not the thrill that wild camping brings.
Currently the new list is of legal sites that are properly licensed and are the only ones where motorhome travellers legally may park overnight.
The new site has some handy hints:
- Look for 'Algarve Motorhome Support Network' members to park overnight. The sites are identified with the network`s symbol
- Avoid remaining or staying overnight in illegal, unlicensed nor unidentified parking areas. These sites have been emerging in the Algarve and comply neither with the comfort nor with the safety standards required by the existing legislation
- Do not remain or stay overnight in unauthorised areas, such as parking places, roadways, parking places located near the beaches, cliffs, sand dunes, pinewoods, etc. These parking areas cannot provide the facilities and services you might need (water supply, electricity, waste disposal, WI-FI, etc.), neither the comfort nor the safety required. By staying in these illegal spaces you are breaking the law and the current regulations
- The stay or overnight stay in either one of the places mentioned, poses serious public health problems and have a negative impact over the delicate environmental balance of these areas, due to their particular environmental and landscape attributes. It also represents a potential risk to all motorhome users regarding safety as well as the unexpected occurrence of natural phenomena
- The stay and overnight stay in illegal, unauthorised spaces may be subject to local authorities’ intervention
The licensed Motorhome Support Network sites give an opportunity for legal behaviour but for as long as wintertime wild camping is condoned by Councils, Olhão being a prime example, and for as long as the authorities take no action, wild camping will be the preferred option for many of this cadre who, if issued with multiple fines for illegal parking, will move east to Spain and beyond.
Never heard of campsites?
I should have put that sentence in quotation marks as it was from the CCDR's new website
And, Ed, if they choose to head off to the east with their illegal practices, instead of remaining in Portugal, then it is our environment which will benefit.
And I would question your phrase "rich cultural heritage", since the Algarve was, and still is, one of the poorest regions of western Europe.