Are you interested in renting a van in Portugal and wondering what company you should go with? Here’s our honest review of a van rental company, Camperline Caravans.
Taylor and I recently explored Portugal for 5 days and decided to stay in a campervan instead of staying at hotels and exploring via rental car. We are considering buying a Mercedes Sprinter Van and convert it into a mobile home so we can start exploring North America. Our goal is to drive to Alaska for the summer of 2020, so we wanted to test out #vanlife to make sure we liked it.
Needless to say, van life exceeded our expectations (especially in Portugal) and we absolutely loved it. When we were looking for a van to rent, we struggled to find solid information on different companies as well as any solid reviews. It was difficult to truly know what you were getting when scrolling through different sources. We decided to create this review and video walkthrough of our campervan rental from Camperline in hopes to help others thinking about exploring Portugal by van.
Please note this is NOT a sponsored post and this is our honest opinion.
We rented our campervan from Camperline Portugal, which was a Fiat Weisenberg Carabus that sleeps 4 people. We originally wanted the carabus that sleeps only 2 people (it is the same size) but sold out during our travel dates.
This was our first van life experience and a shower was a must. While scanning the internet for other campervan companies that rented vehicles with showers they were often too big (RV size) or just really expensive. Camperline’s Class 0 and Class 1 vans were the exact size we were looking for (similar to a Mercedes Sprinter van) and it had a shower.
So based on the limited information, the reason we went with Camperline Portugal is due to their right size vans with showers, consumer-friendly prices (compared to others) and the additional amenities that came with the van.
We reserved the rental through www.motorhomerepublic.com, which had great customer service and good user experience online. We definitely recommend them.
Below is a video of the van we rented from Camperline Portugal. Again our van slept up to 4 people and was considered a class 1 van from Camperline Portugal. We originally wanted the class 0 van which is basically the same vehicle, but instead of having a second bed in the back, it only has 1.
Please note this van had a manual transmission. For those living in the United States who do not have prior experience driving a manual transmission vehicle, we do not recommend the van being your first attempt! Ask for an automatic transmission van or practice on a normal size vehicle beforehand.
The features of the van included:
We rented the campervan from Camperline Portugal for 5 days (4 nights). It costs 514.5 Euro or $574.44 for 5 days. The class 1 was roughly $100 more than the class 0 (which slept only 2 people) so it was unfortunate we paid more money for something we didn’t need. In addition to the van rental costs, we paid for rented amenities which included the following:
In total we paid roughly $644 for the 5 days prior to picking up the van. Once picked up we had to put a security deposit down for € 1,799 Euros in case of any damages which is refunded back to you once the van is returned (in the same condition as received).
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Some other thoughts to include in your budget are cleaning supplies, like dish soap, paper towels, and toilet paper, your typical necessities. Also, below are some items that came in handy for van life for us.
To our surprise, driving in Portugal is rather expensive unless your avoiding tolls. Unfortunately, avoiding tolls costs you time and since our time was limited we opted to take the toll roads to get to our locations faster.
In total we paid roughly €60 in tolls, we drove to Lisbon to Porto and back we definitely covered some ground during the trip. Our van used diesel fuel and luckily, diesel is cheaper than gasoline in Portugal. The amount you spend in gas will obviously depend on how far you drive, but assume a half tank of gas will cost a little less than €50 Euro.
We never had to pay for water or to drain our grey/black water tanks but there are some stations that charge fees (you can avoid them using the apps noted below).
Overall your operating costs are dependent on your utilization, obviously, the more you drive the higher your cost. Expect to pay about €45-50 for a half tank of diesel and DON’T forget about tolls (our credit cards didn’t work for the machines, so have cash available).
Camperline’s pickup and drop off service is nothing to rave about, but also nothing to complain about. We flew into Portugal by Lisbon (Lisboa) airport which is 25 minutes from Camperline’s depot. Unfortunately, they do not have a pickup/drop-off service at the airport and request that you uber or taxi from the airport to their location. It is my understanding that campervans are not allowed in the airport parking area so this makes sense that they do not offer a service.
However, the inconvenience lies within their hours of operation. Camperline’s hours of operation 10:00am-12:30 pm and then 2:00-5:00 pm due to an hour and a half lunch. We were fortunate enough to have our pickup/dropoff during their hours of operation since our flights aligned with their schedule.
If you’re planning on picking up or dropping off the vehicle outside of that timeframe you need to contact Camperline and ask them what to do, my guess is that they will ask you to wait until they open or get back from lunch before you can obtain your vehicle.
Overall, the process isn’t bad. We ubered from the airport, which is 20 Euros each way. My only negative comment about our pickup experience was the wait. We waited about 40 minutes due to another couple picking up a campervan a few minutes earlier than we arrived.
YES! We recommend Camperline to rent a van in Portugal! Overall our experience was fantastic, Portugal is a great place to travel to and explore (especially in a van) and we highly recommend it. There are a lot of free campervan service stations where you can drain your grey and black water tanks and refill your freshwater tanks.
In terms of places to spend the night, it is relatively easy to wild camp (camping for free) although it is “technically” illegal. Taylor and I did wild camped every night without any issues.
Disclosure, we stayed traveled around Lisbon and north of Lisbon the entire time. I did hear/read that traveling further south passed Lisbon is more difficult to wild camp, especially in the summer months.
Below are some helpful apps and websites for vanlife in Portugal that came in handy for us.
If you have any questions about the van or our experience living in a van in Portugal for 5 days, let us know with a comment below!