Sun, sea, sand and Sangria – what more could you wish for on a camping holiday in Spain. As a camping destination, it really is an excellent choice for single, couples and families.
Spain is truly diverse in terms of its geographical features, from sea to mountainous regions, small whitewashed villages and large cosmopolitan cities. Full of history and culture, it is the perfect place to enjoy outdoor life, excellent well-priced food and some classic Spanish architecture.
There are three main climatic zones in Spain with milder weather (but still warm) in the North, to hot and dry in the South on the Mediterranean coast. The middle area, known as the Meseta has a slightly varied climate from hot and arid, to some rainy times depending on your exact locations. The most picturesque and dramatic region is around the Sierra Nevada Mountains, where wonderful skiing can be enjoyed as well as eye-popping scenery with gorges, waterfalls, and glacial lakes – a far cry from the miles of sandy beaches in the south.
Temperatures frequently reach well into the 30s and even 40s Centigrade in the hot summer months, so if you don’t enjoy the heat, you are better not to visit in peak season, from June to September. A popular tourist destination for most Europeans, it can be very crowded at this time of the year.
Can you camp anywhere in Spain?
Like most countries, the rules and regulations are very ‘woolly’, and can be confusing, but as a rule, you can camp in most public places, just not on private land. A great deal of Spanish land is privately owned, so be careful where you choose to pitch up. The last thing you need on a camping holidays, is the Guardia Civil (our equivalent of the official police force) turning up and moving you on – perhaps with a fine.
The most important thing to remember is that camping wild on a beach is strictly prohibited, so if you see a deserted beach on the coast, there will be a reason for it. In the summer months (peak) it is also illegal to park campervans in car parks and laybys for an overnight stay. During off season, most authorities will turn a blind eye to vehicles or wild campers, as they wish to encourage business in the quieter areas who suffer when tourists are thin on the ground.
Inland, it is easier to find smaller and less busy campsites. However, the Spanish love to camp in the areas around mountainous regions, such as Extremadura, Castilla la Mancha and Castilla y Leon, which circle Madrid and are perfect for weekend getaways for the busy Spanish. The motto in this area is ‘get there on Sunday night, and leave by Thursday night!’
There is free camping in Spain, even in national parks or nature parks, but once again, the rules are set by the local authorities, who are autonomous in their own region. The Spanish Tourist Board has a map of such sites, but unfortunately it is all in Spanish and with no details of contact numbers or other information – just where they are!
Bigger sites will have contact information, but it is not always necessary to book in advance, if you avoid the weekends.
Not much of Spain is ‘undiscovered’, but if you are adventurous, you can still find glorious spots with hardly any other campers around, particularly inland. The inland regions are perfect for hiking and cycling but can be challenging in the stifling temperatures of the summer months.
For an unforgettable experience, our tip would be to head to the Sierra Nevada area for spectacular scenery and the best flora and fauna to be seen in Spain. Pop into one of the local bars or restaurants in the small villages and towns around the foothills and the locals will be more than happy to impart their knowledge and tell you if there are any guides around!
Generally, the Spanish people are friendly and hospitable, so do make use of the locals who know their own terrain.
Do campsites have good facilities?
The larger campsites do generally have good facilities, but the smaller ones and the areas where you can wild camp are frequently devoid of any mod cons, and even though there will be a water supply, it is not necessarily drinking water – you must be careful here. So, if you are heading into the wild, make sure you have water with you, or some way of purifying it.
Smaller campsites will also not carry camping supplies or have even a small shop for food, so you would need to locate one of the chain stores nearest to where your adventure is taking you if you have forgotten or run out of something.
Finding true North
With its medieval villages, wine regions and, mile upon mile of stunning coastline, Northern Spain is Heaven on Earth for campers. We are delighted to be able to introduce you to our two favourite campsites in Northern Spain:
Bilbao, £18.00 per night
With 120 touring pitches and 120 all year pitches, this beachside site is a great choice for camping in the North of Spain. The site offers water sports, hiking and a secluded sandy beach and is just 100 metres from a bus stop offering regular bus routes into Bilbao which is just 35km away. Facilities are limited (no Wi-Fi or shop) but it does have a newly refurbished shower and toilet block.
Bonar, £26.00 per night for 2 adults
For the environmentally conscious, this off grid eco site in the mountain region of Leon ticks a lot of boxes. Despite the feeling of seclusion, the site is only a kilometre from the quaint market town of Bonar and, the site offers some great facilities including yoga and Pilates classes and vegetarian and vegan catering.
Great sites, low Costa
Costa Brava, £23.00 per night
Ideal for families, this safe and friendly site is perched on the beautiful Costa Brava coast in the centre of the Aiguamolls de l’Emporda natural park. As well as sunbathing, water sports and some pretty walking trails, the site features full facilities including a bar serving food and drinks day and night.
Costa Del Sol, £18.00 per night for 2 adults
Pretty as a picture, this site sits in a stunning wooded area on the banks of the Conde del Guadalhorce reservoir with a nearby lake and beach which permits swimming. As well as swimming and boat hire, the site is a short walk from the Caminito del Ray hiking trail. Facilities include toilets, showers and picnic tables for use by guests.
Almeria, £21.00 per night for 2 adults
Great for couples, this site on the Andalusian coast is surrounded by a 100-year-old eucalyptus grove and offers easy access to the Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park and the ski resorts of Sierra Nevada. The site is well equipped with modern toilet and shower facilities and a handy bar restaurant with a scenic terrace.
Whether you decide to head North or South, Spain’s sunny climate, abundance of stunning scenery and affordable fresh food and wine makes it a camper’s paradise.
The campsites featured here offer the best of all worlds in serving up the seclusion and peace of nature combined with security and great facilities. Happy camping!
Please note that rates are approximate and converted from the current Euro rate as of May 5th, 2020.