We spent almost 5 months travelling along the Southern Coast of Spain, from October 2021 to March 2022. We knew that the southern coast of Spain is popular amongst motorhome travellers and full-time van lifers for good reason. However, even knowing this, did not quite prepare us for just how beautiful and camper friendly Spain really is!
The first question that everyone wants to know...
Is "Wild Camping" legal in Spain?
The answer to this question is – no, it is not legal. Wild camping is not allowed in Spain. However, you must understand the difference between parking and camping...
Parking vs Camping in Spain
Perhaps the most important thing to understand is the distinction between PARKING versus CAMPING, as the rules that apply to each of these are different. In Spain, a camper is generally allowed to park in a similar manner to a car. It is however important to note that as soon as any other part of the vehicle (such as stabilizers, awnings etc) is in contact with the ground, then this is considered camping and may not be allowed in 'parking only' areas. For more detailed information read our full article:
How to find Camper Parking in Spain
The Park4Night App is very useful for identifying suitable camper parking spots throughout Spain and the rest of Europe. Make sure to read a few RECENT reviews, as the availability and regulations of some locations can change over time. Also, make sure to look around for any prohibition signs when you arrive at a site and take heed of these signs above all reviews if you do not want to receive an unwelcome (and often hefty) fine!
If you prefer to frequent Camp Sites, then it can be well worth your while to purchase an ACSI CAMPING CARD which gives you discounted camping rates at MANY campsites throughout Europe. The only challenge with this is that you currently still need a physical card, which can be purchased in select stores or ordered online. They now also include motorhome stops which makes the App very useful!
Southern Spain By Campervan
The maps below show our 2021 and 2022 routes along the Southern Coast of Spain. The blue "P" locations are where we overnighted at designated Camper Parking Areas (some free and others paid), the yellow tents are where we stayed at official Camp Sites and the green tree is a free wild camp location that we overnighted at for a few nights - legally of course!
What does it cost to travel by Camper in Spain?
In 2021, when we entered Spain for the first time, our average cost per night was €9.26 over the months of October and November. During this time, we stayed at campsites for 50% of the time, at official serviced camper parking areas 31% of the time, in ordinary parking areas without any services 13% of the time and 'wild camped' only 6% of the time. Electricity was included in these costs for 31% of the nights. Due to the fact that, in addition to wild camping, many official camper parking areas and even serviced camper parking areas are provided for free in Spain, 31% of our nights during 2021 were in fact for FREE! Our most expensive camping cost was €17 per night including electricity.
In 2022, after we installed additional solar panels to our Camper and made a few other changes to improve our ability to live 'off grid' for longer, our average cost per night dropped to just €4.50 over the months of February and March. During this time, we stayed at campsites for only 10% of the time, at official serviced camper parking areas 10% of the time, in ordinary parking areas without any services 18% of the time and 'wild camped' for the vast majority of 62% of the time. For the first time, we never really required electricity, even though it was included in the overnight rate for 19% of the nights. Being able to live 'off grid' allowed us to enjoy 62% of our nights for FREE spent 'wild camping' along the Southern Coast of Spain during 2022! Our most expensive camping cost was €14 per night including electricity.
Northern Spain by Campervan
Our intention was to explore the northern coast of Spain in April 2022. However, an unexpected week-long cold front resulted in us changing our plans and travelling inland, making our way rather quickly through the north of Spain. There was something special to see within walking distance from each of the FREE motorhome areas of Porto Quintela, Valencia de Don Juan and Burgos, but the highlight of this short trip was undoubtedly the 3 days we spent in San Sebastian. Even though this was a paid motorhome parking area, it cost only €3.30 per 24 hours!
There is no shortage of FREE and cheap official motorhome parking areas in the North of Spain and we will definitely return to explore this area further in the near future.
FREE Camping Spain
You could easily save even more by sticking to FREE camping and PARKING spots only or you could choose to spend a whole lot more at the many luxurious campsites across the country (particularly along the coast). Camping costs during peak season are of course also considerably more expensive than over the winter months! If you are planning on 'Wild Camping' through Spain, be sure to read our full article: Is "Wild Camping" legal in Spain? so as to avoid any unwanted and often hefty fines!