Camping Orbitur Caminha April 2009
This campsite is beautifully situated on the coast at the estuary of the Minho river, which forms
the border with Spain. There are two beaches, a sheltered one on the estuary and a lovely, but more exposed, one on the Atlantic. There are plenty of quaint and historic towns to visit in the area, both in Portugal and across the river in Spain (there is a
small car ferry from Caminha.)
The campsite itself has a lot of bungalows and permanent caravans and even in low season can get quite crowded and noisy on fine weekends. Facilities are limited - no swimming pool, no shop, a very small snack bar and rather basic toilet and shower facilities. There is only one washing machine. However, wifi is free, there is a children's playground, the grounds are well maintained and the pleasant location more than makes up for the deficiencies
Camping Orbitur April 2009
This site is a member of the large Portuguese Orbitur group. Their campsites are generally good but not quite up to the standards of Spanish campsites - for example, the toilets, though clean, have no seats and paper is not supplied. It's a medium-sized site with, unusually, no statics. The hedge-marked pitches are not very large so we chose to stay on a large open grassy area near the toilet block and tennis court. Reception staff were friendly and security was good. As it was low season the pool and snackbar were closed, but there was a small 'sala do convivio' for free wifi use. The washing machines and driers were very efficient and cost 4 euros. However the hand-washing laundry sinks had no hot water, nor did some of the washing-up sinks. There was no shop on site but 2 large supermarkets a 5 minute drive away. Evora is a very interesting city but many streets are cobbled so wear sensible shoes! The 'bone chapel' in the church of St Francis is wonderfully macabre. There are many dolmens in the surrounding countryside, the most impressive being Almendres. However the weather in April was still rather cool and unsettled so it might be better to go in summer.
Camping Orbitur Gala April 2009
This is a large site set in a pine forest behind the dunes. About 50% of the site is taken up by bungalows
and statics. This still leaves a large area for tourers but because of the trees, pitches suitable for larger outfits are limited.
There is a well-run reception and small shop, with bread to order for breakfast. The bar has free wifi access, and wifi is also available in the small TV/common room. There is a swimming pool but it was too early in the season for it to be open. The whole site is being refurbished and the toilet blocks are the best we have come across in an Orbitur site - spotless, modern and with toilet seats and paper - by no means common in Portuguese campsites!
A 5 minute walk along a sandy footpath leads to the dunes and beach, a huge stretch of clean white sand completely free of development. For a beach with the usual seaside facilities the resort of Figueira da Foz is only a couple of miles away. It's well worth a trip to the old town of Coimbra which has Europe's second-oldest university, older even than Oxford or Cambridge.
Another historic site within easy reach is Conimbriga, once a thriving Roman town, with extensive ruins including some beautiful mosaics and a good museum. This whole area is very interesting and the Atlantic coastal scenery is spectacular.
Parque Municipal de Campismo de Monsanto April 2009
This is a very large, busy site with lots of mature trees. The pitches consist
of a concrete base surrounded by a low log wall, so it's almost impossible to put an awning up. Each pitch has its own water tap, electric connection and waste bin.
The reception staff are efficient and there are computers in the reception area for internet access, as there is no wifi on the site. There is a shop and a self-service restaurant, both open in low season, and a swimming pool in high season.
There are plenty of toilet blocks but they are quite basic. A bus to the city centre stops 200m away and costs 1 euro 40. The site is a good base for seeing Lisbon but not particularly comfortable for a long stay
NB now Lisboa Camping & Bungalows
Camping Orbitur Madalena April 2009
This site, another in the Orbitur group, is convenient for visiting Porto and the Douro
valley, but is rather run-down and depressing. It's a large site with many bungalows and permanent caravans. The touring area is also large but not divided up into pitches at all so parking was fairly random.
There are a lot of tall eucalyptus trees which also limit one's choice of location. The noise of a eualyptus nut landing on the caravan roof from 80 feet up is rather frightening. The toilet block is basic and in need of refurbishment. The washing-up and laundry sinks have cold water only. There is a washing machine but it was out of order when we were there. The bar, snack bar, shop and swimming pool were all closed as it was low season (and yet the site was fairly busy as Porto is a popular tourist destination).
There is a pleasant beach nearby, and the bus to Porto stops close to the campsite. It's a lovely old town, full of character, not to mention port houses, many of which are open for tours, complete with tastings! A trip up the Douro valley also makes a pleasant excursion. A pity the campsite is so grim
Camping Orbitur Quartiera April 2009
This is a large site which is part of the Orbitur chain. As well as plenty of pitches for tourers there are numerous statics and bungalows, and will probably be very lively in high season. Even in low season it's fairly busy as it's popular with over-wintering British and German campers. The pitches are of varying sizes, on sandy soil and hedge-marked. They have curbs but not so high as to be a problem. There's a large bar and shop, but we didn't try the restaurant as it was only just opening up, as was the swimming pool. There is free wifi in and around the bar. The toilet blocks are fairly basic, though some are better than others. The washing machines and driers are good and cost 4 euros. There's a beautiful, quiet beach 5 minutes walk from the site. The main beach of Quarteira with more facilities is a little further. The rest of the Algarve coast is easily accessible by car and well worth exploring - the resorts are not particularly attractive but the beaches and rock formations are stunning.