A law passed by Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa on Aug. 6 makes #vanlife in Portugal far less easy.
For one, the new law — which you can read, in Portuguese, here, — limits overnight parking for caravans and motorhomes to 48 hours in the same municipality. So after two nights, vanlifers could in some cases face a very long drive indeed, as you can see from this map of Portugal’s municipalities.
Those found in violation of the law can be fined from €60 to €300.
Perhaps the most significant impact of the new law, however, is the part about no overnight parking in the Natura 2000 network, set up by the European Union to designate protected areas.
As you can see in the map below, such protected areas in Portugal include what motorhome travelers have come to value most in the country, i.e., its coastline. The Natura 2000 network includes pretty much the entire gorgeous Atlantic stretch of Costa Vicentina in the south of the country, but also the most dramatic coastal areas near Lisbon, including Arrábida and the coast north of Cascais:
There’s also no parking in protected areas or those covered by the Coastal Waterfront Planning initiative.
Fines for parking motorhomes in the protected areas and the Natura 2000 network are from €120 to €600.
And the authorities appear to have started cracking down already: on Tuesday, 15 unfortunate souls got an unpleasant surprise to their coastal stay.