This website uses cookies to improve your navigation experience. By continuing to browse you are accepting the use of cookies: OK READ MORE

The rule of law

In recent years Portugal had a growing media exposure and notoriety as a tourist destination, but also as a place where people and companies come searching for adventure on off-road and overland trips. Well, if you’re thinking about coming this way for your next trip, you’ll be most welcome but first here’s a few things you should know to ensure you don’t incur in situations of illegality, and have a safe, trouble-free and memorable experience in this wonderful country of ours.

 

Adventure, Overland and off-road trips

Like in other parts of the world, the organisation of adventure and off-road trips in Portugal is regulated and subject to permits and permissions. According to the Portuguese legislation only individuals or companies (national or foreign), registered with the Tourism Authority, can legally run these trips in the country.

Adventure, overland, off-road, rally or any other word you can think of to define these tours fall into this category and as such are covered by the Portuguese legislation.

So, the next time a company announcing this type of activity in Portugal is not able to provide you with their official registration and license, just refuse the offer and wave them goodbye.

If done illegally, these activities are subject to legal actions from the authorities ranging from the immediate interruption of the trip to heavy fines for participants and organisers, not to mention the bad reputation. There’s a few well-known and fully registered companies over here providing this service, so next time you book one of these trips, make sure they’re fully legal.

 

Protected Areas

Inside the Protected Areas under the jurisdiction of the ICNF – Institute of Nature Conservation and Forests (www.icnf.pt), these activities are called “nature tourism activities”, and must comply with the respective regulations  in place in each Protected Area (nature parks, reserves, etc.)

In these areas, off-road and adventure trips may only be done where permitted by companies who have obtained the official recognition of “nature tourism” operators, confirmed by the authorisation granted by ICNF to use their logo.

The organisation of these activities inside protected areas is subject to a written permission from the entities responsible for each Area.

 

Wild camping

Who hasn’t dreamed of sleeping in a remote place or waking up on a deserted beach? Well, in this respect the Portuguese legislation is very clear and determines that overnight stays and camping outside authorised camping and caravanning sites is not allowed and is subject to a legal permit from the authorities.

Portugal has an extensive network of good quality campsites, many of them located in places of rare beauty where you can feel at one with nature. So, if you don’t want to risk being awakened by the authorities in the middle of the night and go home with a much lighter wallet, we recommend that you plan your trip in advance, stay only in legal campsites and choose the ones that best fit your itinerary. Stay legal and sweet dreams…

 

Forest Fires

During the summer season, Portugal is historically affected by forest fires. During the critical period that normally goes from June to late September, the authorities will limit or even prohibit certain activities such as the circulation of vehicles, barbecues and picnics in rural and forest areas, depending on the level of risk. In this case, the right thing to do is simply to avoid the forest areas, follow the indications from the authorities and take the preventive measures that are in your reach, such as not smoking or making fire. If during a trip to Portugal you feel like having a barbecue outside the authorised places (campsites or picnic areas identified as such), be aware that this is subject to permission from the local authorities.

In a nutshell…

Portugal is a wonderful country to be discovered through tracks and remote paths that go across mountains and valleys and take us to magical places. To appreciate it in a safe, legal and environmentally responsible way and to extract its full potential, make sure you follow the local regulations and use only authorised operators like us for the organisation of your next trip.

By doing this, you will be helping all nature and adventure trip lovers to continue to enjoy our magnificent landscapes and to be able to legally drive our paths and offroad trails for many years to come.

Come with us to discover a surprising Portugal!