Fines can be applied to anyone caught by the authorities camping in forbidden areas, especially in natural or protected areas.
Usually, the areas are signed, advising the campers not to use the area for wild camping. A reader of The Portugal News shared a situation where the signs might be misunderstood. In Praia do Trafal the campers are being fined for pitching their tents in the forest area. The signs mention that “motorhomes and similar” cannot stay in the area.
Praia do Trafal is a beach in Loulé with a protected area, where campers have historically pitched their tents. However, the authorities are fining those campers for illegally staying in the place overnight.
When contacted, Loulé authorities said that they cannot advance information to the press regarding the situation, they also mentioned that it is possible for the fined person to exercise their right of defence. GNR patrols the area of Praia do Trafal to make sure nothing illegal is happening. When GNR is not in the area the Maritime Police will be on the ground doing the same work.
The reader of The Portugal News said that fines are being unfairly applied since the signs do not specify that tents are not allowed in the area. Loulé municipality said that the “realisation of occasional camps in a place that is not designed to camp requires obtaining a license from the city council.” Those who do not require this license and camp in the area can be fined by police or the city council itself.
In regard to caravanning, the “Regulation for the Occupation of Public Space, Advertising and Propaganda in the Municipality of Loulé” determine the prohibition of occupation of public space for vehicles used in the practice of caravanning and similar.
The Decree-Law no. 159/2012, of 24 July, “stipulates the definition or prohibition of other aspects related to specific public uses is included in beach notices.” The same source adds that due to the Covid-19 pandemic “the procedures have been defined for the use of beaches and rules for the use of beaches and rules for circulation in accessing the beach.”
Motorhomes or similar are prohibited in the area and the non-compliance is punishable by fines provided according to the Decree-Law no. 24/2020, of 25 May.
The city council had been working with GNR to avoid wild camping and caravanning, applying fines to those who are not complying with the law.
In case of someone being fined by the authorities, it is possible to send a document to the authorities in an attempt to defend their case and not have the obligation to pay the fine that was applied, if the complaint is accepted by the authorities.