Motorcaravan tourists continue to be harassed by Algarve police

motorhomesilvesfinedIn the absence of the promised provision of sites, rules and regulations for tourists visiting the Algarve in motorhomes the GNR have been busy inspecting and fining dozens of campers in Silves and Armação de Pêra.

In police moves that already are sweeping across social media and dedicated motorcaravanning websites, around 50 mortorhome owners have been fined for illegal camping or irregular parking.

The GNR also spotted the unlawful operation of a car park next to Armação de Pêra beach operated by the local football club which was charging for using space.  

In Silves the two car parks often used by motorcaravan owners, one next to the municipal swimming pools and one by the cemetery, were also inspected and tourists fined.

A French 75-year-old was fined €30 because the GNR said his vehicle was occupying four parking spaces.

After the GNR had finished fining and warning tourists, most of them moved off for destinations unknown.

Last year motorcaravanners in Silves were moved on by police but then were enticed back by the local council whose retailers had complained that these off season tourists are good for trade.

At long last came the decision by regional bodies including the mayors’ talking shop AMAL that there should be a grand strategy to encourage this important off season trade.

A protocol was signed on January 21st, 2015 by representatives from the Commission for Coordination and Regional Development of the Algarve, the Intermunicipal Community of Algarve (AMAL), the Algarve Tourism Board and the Algarve Tourism Association.

This has led to zero change, improvement or information and motorcaranvanners can rightly claim bemusement as to what the rules are and where they are allowed to park when visiting the region.

Everyone had hoped that the earlier 2008 law (1320/2008 17 November) would regulate while encouraging this trade as it aimed to 'enable the creation of conditions for the establishment of a regional network of sites to host motorcaravanners.'

Over six years later this aim remains unfulfilled and in the intervening years the Algarve’s powers-that-be have fiddled around doing even less than their normal ‘as little as possible.’ Great at devising and announcing schemes, the suits as ever have failed when it comes to actually doing something positive and intelligent.

The 2015 protocol described ‘a new network spanning the region and providing spaces, encouraging onward travel across the region to be promoted within Portugal and abroad and compliant with territorial management, promoting respect for the environment and the safety and comfort of motorcaravanners and the image of the region’ but this has yet to be turned into any sort of activity, action or provision fo services.

Many locals rejoice in the punishment of these tourists, seeing them as scroungers and cheapskates but as many again do recognise that tourists come in different shapes and sizes and if properly regulated and catered for can boost off season tourism dramatically in a region dogged by the seasonal nature of the tourist trade.

The regional effort to do something has come to nothing and the police, in the absence of anything better to do, will continue to harass these tourists, many of whom will never return.

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+1 #26 Sue Gaukroger 2016-09-07 01:56
We have been to Portugal and used camperstops Porto mio, Lego's, Quarteira, however, we did stop overnight in an area near Sages's, we where woken at 7am by the GNR, and told we were not allowed to stay there. There was a motorhome sign, so we thought it was OK. The GNR took all our details, said he was not going to fine us - moved house, don't know of we have been fined. The GNR said we are not alowwedto park between 8pm - 8am. I took photos of the signage and no where did it state that. This parking was in the middle of nowhere, can't believe they had the time on their hands. We would not have parked there had it not been for the motorhome sign. Also we had met people first hand who had been fined, so we where aware of the police's attitude. We are not like the Dutch, French and German referred to above, (could agree with comment) we do spend money in bars, local shops, markets. But we will not be going back to Portugal again. Because of the GNR's action. Signage is not clear and we don't appreciate been knocked up at 7am. I have all my camping receipts ect. Be very aware if you go to Portugal they need money just like other south EU Countries, but they are going about it the wrong way. The mayors want people in the towns, but, they have no authority over the GNR. So Beware,
+2 #25 Mick 2016-02-16 13:54
My wife and I are both ex moterhomers who enjoyed happy times for with our fellow travellers, (no mater what nationality) wildcamping in Spain and the Algarve for almost 15 years, however we decided to stop coming in our moterhome two years ago because of the vast amount of moterhomes that now descend on these shores for the winter and the problems they bring.
Many years ago wild camping was generally accepted within reason as so few vans were here and most moterhomers respected the portugese people aand their way of life. Now there are big problems with so many and what we have witnessed is beyond belief. They are constatnty fighting with each other for any free spaces to park in the public car parks, streets, waste ground or any other place where they do not have to pay. Every moterhome needs water, which most want for free and will steal, every moterhome needs to empty their cassette chemical toilet on average every two days which many will just dump in the sea, rivers, by the side of the road or any waste ground that might be on hand.
I can catergorically say that 95% of moterhomers that come to Portugal for the winter do NOT spend any money giving to local bars, resturants or shops other than Lidl ,Aldi and the gas station who are the main benificiarys, and the biggest culprit's are the French, Dutch and Germans. The normal routine for the 95% is to shop at Lidl & Aldi the to cook and eat in their campers washed down witnsome cheap wine and beer.

Best of Luck to all
-3 #24 Alf 2015-04-06 12:59
Update on Boca do Rio. Was down there this week end. The protected wildlife area covered with camper vans parked illegally on area where wild flowers grow. The no parking sign has been vandalized and the rubbish bins are overflowing and rubbish is stacked high around making it a health hazard for those who wish to park properly and enjoy the beach. These people are parasites who only use proper sites when they have to. Being a 'Tourist' does not mean that you can flaunt regulations just because you are on holiday!
-4 #23 Beatriz Santos 2015-04-06 11:08
Quoting Richard D:
:cry: we were going to try Portugal in our Motorhome this year because we had heard the Portuguese were nice people but didn't know about dodgy cops so will give it a miss now . We also let fellow Brits know about this before they risk going there !!!!

What a pity! You don't know what you are missing. we have montlhy protocols from 85 Euros. Try and contact us for more information on
-3 #22 Beatriz Santos 2015-04-06 11:05
Quoting Nellie:
It might help if some of the caravans actually used camping sites designated for their use instead of parking in car parks and other places not designated for them. It's a cheap holiday if you don't ever have to pay site fees isn't it? If the proper sites were used then presumably the GNR wouldn't have any reason to impose fines...

-3 #21 Ilona Halliday 2015-04-03 16:52
Recently spent a few days in the Algarve and noticed that many RV tourists refuse to use the designated spots, opting to park illegally to save a few euros. Shame shame on these people, driving vehicles that cost more than some homes but too mean to show appreciation of local efforts to accommodate them and to help the local economy by using the sites provided. Fines for parking illegally next to a designated site should be really severe.
-3 #20 Alf 2015-03-30 12:15
Mobile home users don't help their cause.
At Boca do Rio, near Sagres, the Council built a metalled parking area to prevent caravans parking on land at the top of the beach as it is a wildlife protected area. There is a 'No Parking' sign and stone blocks to prevent entry. So what happens? The campervan owners move the blocks and are all parked on the restricted area. There is also a 'No overnight parking' sign which they also ignore. Serves them right if they get fined, it is their own fault. There is a purpose built site just around the corner at Figueira.
-4 #19 leol 2015-03-29 20:09
a lot of you where never sitting next to the caravan parking and have a coffee. What you would see is that these poor camper people( campers up from 60.000 euros) come and fill the bottles water from the kindergarden next door. What you would see that a lot off them empty the chemo toillets into the gutter. Leaving there trasch into the boxes somewhere along the streets.I call that steel and cheat, because everybody who lives here has to pay for everything, o problem, and they do not pay a penny.
Leaving money here, did you ask the bussiness people around the site ?? Not one penny is spend in Silves except in the Lidl and other big stores. It is a good thing that these who does not want to be on the official sites, go home or even don not come here, nobody will miss you. I totally agree with Eduard 1
-2 #18 colin burgess 2015-03-29 14:16
seems like an awful lot of mean-spirited comments here.
someone going on an RV holiday probably has a weekly budget. seeing that parking is free in Portugal and costs in Spain, where are they going to pick? they just spend the budget on other things. the money still comes into the country
i've been here for a long time and i'm delighted that people can enjoy this lovely place. i have met a few RVers, and was very good friends with one couple. there is no reason to suppose that they will dump waste all over the place any more than anyone else
-2 #17 Eduard1 2015-03-29 12:05
Sorry to see so many negative comments about a just police action. Why is it that everybody finds it completely normal that 300 motorhomes use a car park as a campsite? With a dedicated motorhome parking 500m away, ad several more in the area? Suggestions that every camara should make a proper site for motorhomers? Please not, politicians running a commercial business do not have a good track record here. With full hookup and everything? That is called a campsite, has nothing to do with a motorhome parking. GNR should have done this years ago, but they have waited until proper alternatives were available. And yes, a certain part of these wildcampers are cheapskates that do not want to pay for anything. So if they threaten to go somewhere else, please do so! You´ll find that in your own country it´s illegal too, so why should it be acceptable over here? Nothing to do with a police state. The Algarve can do without visitors with this kind of mentality.

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