The first time I visited Portugal, I fell in love with the amazing country and I always find myself going back there. From warm weather to sandy beaches, hiking trails, fishing villages, mountains and valleys, wine yards, great food, great culture, and more, it has everything you need for a perfect and memorable travel experience.
Over the years, I have found that there is only one true way to explore the several attractions the country has – by hiring a campervan. I came upon a particular campervan rental companies a while back, Siesta Campers (https://www.siestacampers.com), and I always use them when holidaying the country.
The reason I like Siesta is that not only do they have amazing campervans – that guarantee utmost comfort – they provide guidance for tourists and also offer maps and suggestions of places to visit. Some of these places are hidden gems, which are off the beaten track and/or yet to be discovered by most tourists. Therefore, you are guaranteed an amazing experience when exploring them, without the hassles of huge crowds. Below is a look at some of Portugal’s hidden treasures that I have discovered, thanks to Siesta Campers.
When most people visit Portugal, they will usually flock popular tourist places such as Algarve, Porto, Lisbon, and others. However, there are several hidden gems in the country, some that are located close to these tourist hot spots, but yet to be discovered by many. Comporta is one such location. Located just one hour away from Lisbon, it is easily accessible from the city but very low-key such that you can be sure you won’t encounter any crowds.
Comporta is a perfect spot to visit if you are looking to spend some time on a beach (https://www.forbes.com/sites/annabel/2017/06/05/the-next-great-beach-destination-comporta-in-portugal/#11077a9a4f26). However, the village is not overcrowded with tourists, resorts, night clubs, or other things you find in modern beach destinations. Instead, you will be greeted by an endless stretch of unspoiled beach line, paddy fields, and pine forest. This amazing environment not only guarantees that you will enjoy your beach holiday, but it also makes it perfect for camping in the world with your campervan.
- Serra da Estrela
If you are looking to get up close and intimate with nature, Serra da Estrela is the place to visit. Located in the middle of Portugal, the “star mountain” is a massive mountain range that spreads for about 100 kilometres. It is a great spot to check out if you are looking for an amazing hiking adventure. The mountain range also boasts of amazing landscapes, from breath-taking mountain drips, flocks of bird, a diverse variety of plants, river sources, and an abundance of nature trails.
The “star mountain” is also part of the Serra da Estrela Natural Park, which features expansive marked trails that are perfect for trekking, horse-riding, and mountain biking. There are also several other adventure activities you can find in the park, such as para-gliding. And, the tranquil atmosphere is perfect for your camping in the nature experience that you must experience when touring Portugal on a campervan.
- Bussaco National Park
Bussaco National Park is another one of Portugal’s hidden treasures. It is close to some of the popular destinations such as Luso and Coimbra, but it is still undiscovered by many. The national park features extensive coverage of trees and plants, and it is home over 250 different species of trees and shrubs. It is thus perfect if you are looking to enjoy hiking, trekking, or other activities such as cycling. You can even take a lazy walk in the forest, or camp in your caravan and enjoy a relaxing afternoon.
But Bussaco is more than just the trees and shrubs that grow in the forest. It is also home to the Bussaco palace hotel, which had been built as a hunting lodge for the Portuguese royal family. At one time, the forest was a monastery – and it even features a wall erected by monks. As a result, there are several monastic relics, and you will even come across the ruins of Carmelite convent, built in the 16th century. With all of these amazing attractions, Bussaco Forest is truly one of the few green jewels in Portugal (https://www.heartofeverywhere.com/bussaco-forest-portugal/?lang=en).
Nazare is a fishing town that is located in the middle region of Portugal, along its Atlantic coast. It consists of three areas, Praia – the beach line, Sitio – an old village located on top of a cliff, and Pederneira – another hilltop village. Nazare is famous among travellers for its wild Atlantic waves, and there are several surf camps located along the beach. It is thus one of the must-visit places during your holiday in Portugal if you are surf-crazed.
Aside from waves and surfing, Nazare also boasts of rich history. The Pederneira and Sitio areas are especially famous for offering refuge to residents during various conflicts throughout the history – from the Viking raids, and French, Dutch, and English pirates raids along the Atlantic. Nazare also boasts of rich cultural heritage, and it used to be famous for the unique clothes worn by its residents, particularly the colourful seven flannel skirts. While exploring the area, you can expect to find one or two women wearing these skirts.
- Geres National Park
If you are looking for adrenaline-pumping outdoor adventures, Geres National Park is a great destination to check out. It is another one of Portugal’s hidden treasures that are yet to be discovered by most tourists. The park is located on the far north-east region of the country; its remote location is thus perfect for a campervan road trip. It features an extensive 70,000 metric acres of land, which is full of lush-green wild vegetation, rapid small rivers, scenic waterfalls, and breath-taking sights. While at the park, you can enjoy several outdoor activities, from mild ones such as hiking and trekking to the more extreme ones such as canyoning, water rafting, and zip-lining.
The above are some of Portugal’s hidden treasures, but there are so many that you cannot visit them all at one go. However, by hiring a campervan in Portugal from Siesta and using their basic guide (https://www.siestacampers.com/campervan-in-portugal-this-is-your-best-guide/), ables you to explore as many of these hidden gems, and possibly even discover some of your own along the way. You also get to explore the country in style, and with the convenience of not having to worry about accommodation and transportation for the entire duration of your trip. Where have you been in Portugal, where do you hire your vehicle and how did you get on? Let us and our readers know, it may guide them on their own journey!
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