So What’s The Difference Between The Siesta Campervans for Hire in Portugal ?
So you’ve decided a VW is an ideal choice for your campervan in Portugal. Whether you start your camper hire from Lisbon, Faro or Porto, it is more than likely you’ve been weighing up the pros and cons of either the VW California, the VW Siesta Atlantic campervan or the VW Siesta Beach Campervan. Choosing your campervan in Portugal can be a daunting process. We know you’re not alone in this, so let’s see if we can help with this little guide.
Well, let’s start by saying that all of our Siesta Beach and Atlantic models are built by us and are based on the same engine gearbox configuration; the VW Transporter T6 Blue Motion, with 114 BHP and a 5-speed manual gearbox. We chose this configuration because it gives ample power for a fully laden camper. It drives and accelerates like a modern car, the driving position is comfortable with the gear shift coming out of the dashboard. We also had the VW factory add some cool extras, especially for us, giving more comfortable individual front seats, front and rear parking sensors for a clear representation of obstructions on the full-colour stereo screen and the VW Auxiliary battery.
The VW Siesta Beach Campervan
So let’s start with the Beach our most economical campervan in Portugal.
The pop-top roofs on the Beach and the Atlantic are identical. However, the Beach does not have a bed in the upper tent area making it ideal for 2 people. There is also a front hammock option available with both vans for 1 child. This should only be considered for kids up to 9 years old and 1.5m height. The cab areas are identical, so no difference there. The cupboards are aluminium modular units made for us by a top specialist in the UK. There is a small amount of storage space in the back cupboards making it ideal for those travelling light.
The Beach has the same cooker and sinks as the Atlantic and an equal amount of water storage: 50-litre tank. They both feature a pull-out power shower from the rear which is amazing for rinsing off after the beach. The fridge in the Beach is a cooler it doesn’t have a compressor like the Atlantic and California this essentially means it will only keep things cooler than ambient temperature by 20c. It will still keep the beers cool. Just not as ice cool as the Atlantic or California.
There is a lot less storage area in the Beach but if you’re just living out of your bags for a week, then hey no problem and you do have more space to move inside the camper because of this. There is a big open space under the bed where many people keep luggage or surfboards that can slide through under the bed. You can fit an 8’ board under this bed.
This is what we really want to know about! Well, it’s the same bed but it doesn’t slide on rails like the Atlantic or California.This means it doesn’t slide toward the front of the cab allowing the rear passengers to be closer to the front like in a normal car, which is preferable if you want to keep the kids in check.
The VW Siesta Atlantic Campervan
The comfy choice
The Siesta Atlantic campervan is an excellent choice for your campervan in Portugal. It makes excellent use of the space available with plenty of cleverly designed storage. Backlit cupboards make it easy to find things. The construction of the units are solid and feels like a proper well-constructed motorhome, which is what it essentially is. There are LED-lit under worktop lights giving a modern ambience to the space. Big bedding cupboards at the back provide ample space for bedding for a family of four. Please remember though these vans are still not ideal for big hard suitcases. The living area is only 3m by 2.20m so be practical about what you bring. If you’re arriving anywhere from June up until September you will not be needing coats, just a sweatshirt for the cooler nights on the west coast.
Top bed area
The Atlantic has a roof bed in the pop-top area, a great space that the kids will love. The top bed is also suitable for adults. The top bed area pushes up out of the way during the day so you can have a spacious area perfect for cooking. Younger children or babies are maybe better suited to the lower bed or the hammock that goes across the front.
Low power eco fridge
The Atlantic fridge is a Dometic 50L compressor fridge. It is very efficient and doesn’t consume lots of power from the auxiliary battery. If you were to not charge the battery at all on any campsites the fridge would last around 2 days depending on the outside temperature, as this would affect the amount of work the compressor has to do.
Many people put the fridge up to maximum whilst connected to mains power on the campsite and then turn it down when disconnected. This keeps things fresher a lot longer when your out for the day.
We’ve taken the option this year to fit solar panels to all of our VW Siesta Atlantic models, There’s so much sunshine in Portugal it was the logical thing to do. So whilst you’re on the beach, the battery is getting charged keeping the fridge nicely chilled. Beachfront view with chilled drinks! What more could you ask for?
Glaring hot sun! We’ve got that covered with the quality awnings fitted onto our VW Siesta Atlantic models and VW Californias. This is easily retracted with a handle that fits into the awning and then cranked out. It reaches out to around 2.5m giving you plenty of shade. It really is an ideal place to put your tables and chairs and chill during a hot summer day.
The VW California Campervan
For the ultimate luxury campervan experience in Portugal. The VW California is your best choice. The VW California has become an icon of the open road since 1988 and has reached cult-like status with a massive following in Europe.
Pull onto the campsite with a California and note the admiring glances from other fellow VW aficionado. It’s an expensive piece of machinery with entry prices at €50,000. The VW California is made entirely by VW, from the curtains to the chairs, it’s all put together in their factory in Hanover. It’s VW through and through.
The Swiss army knife of campervans
You can imagine the research and development that’s gone into this van. There’s not a scrap of wasted space. It really is the Swiss army knife of campers. The table neatly stores inside the door panel, the deck chairs are stored in a tidy pocket in the rear tailgate.
An LCD control panel in the cab area tells you how cold the fridge is, how much charge is left in the battery. How full the waste and the freshwater water tank is. It comes from the factory with a roll-out sunshade. The interior fabrics are finished in a very light fabric and you sense you are sitting in something very modern and spacious. The Interior blinds are concealed behind the trim and can be pulled into position very quickly, making the van cosy at night.
We have coined our own expression for this van in the workshop and have declared it ”engineered light” This essentially means that we find the fixtures and fittings a bit weak, things break quite easily and the plastics cost a lot of money. If you think your kids may be a bit wild for it, then we would recommend the Siesta Atlantic it’s much more resilient and can take a good hard living.
Two auxiliary batteries
The VW California comes with a 40L fridge and it keeps it chugging away via 2 auxiliary batteries, this is one more battery than our Atlantic.
We order our VW Californias from the factory with parking sensors on the front and rear, these give a clear representation on the Medio stereo. It also has the neat “CAR PLAY” system meaning you can run your apps such as “Google maps” and “Spotify” on the full-colour stereo screen (no need for GPS TomTom.)
150 BHP of Power and available in auto
We also order these vans with 150BHP and 6 speed, to give you the full luxurious driving experience. They come with manual or DSG auto, which makes driving this van seamlessly easy to drive and shift gears. The VW DSG is unlike any other auto box in the way that it has already predicted your next gear and is already selected. This makes acceleration silky smooth, couple this with the Cruise control and you can really see why this is the ultimate van if you want to see the whole of Portugal in complete comfort and style.
Does this answer all of your questions? If not and you’re still left bewildered about your choice of a campervan in Portugal, then be sure to drop us a line or catch us on the chat and I’m sure one of our experienced team can help steer you to the ultimate camper choice for that epic road trip in Portugal.