If you have ever driven in Spain then it’s likely you will have noticed the abundance of campervans and motorhomes on the road, particularly in rural and coastal locations. Motorhomes are having something of a boom in Spain right now, and according to the Spanish Association of Caravan Insustry and Commerce (ASEICAR) sales of both motorhomes and campervans increased by 20% during the pandemic. At any given time you will find 70,000 motorhomes and campervans on the roads of Spain, and an incredible 230,000 caravans. Despite these high numbers, there are only 1,000 service areas specifically designed for motorhomes in the country, making wild camping an incredibly popular choice. But is this legal, and what are the rules? The short answer is, it depends on where you are staying. Here’s everything you need to know about the rules for taking a campervan or motorhome holiday in Spain:
Wild Camping in Spain
Officially, wild camping is not allowed in Spain and campers most find an appropriate campsite for the night. However, there are exceptions to this broad rule, the main one being that You are allowed to park your campervan anywhere where parking is permitted and sleep in it for the night, providing that you are not showing that you’re camping there. In essence this means that you can park, eat, and sleep anywhere you wish but you cannot extend your camping area outside of your van or motorhome. From the outside, it must look as if your van is simply parked: no camp chairs or tables, no awning, no barbeques, and no electric generator use.
Sometimes you can find specific camping areas in National and Natural Parks, but wild camping is usually prohibited in these parks so that is worth researching before you start your journey. And if you’re hoping to wild camp with some sand between your toes then you need to know that General Traffic Regulations state that they “prohibit parking and circulation, as well as camping and camping sites, 20 meters from the beach in an urban area or 100 meters in a rurual area, counted from the shore of the sea”.
These rather formal, national rules don’t give us the bigger picture on wild camping in Spain, however, because each region is given the freedom to set their own rules about whether campers are allowed, and how long you can park your campervan on the same spot. In the regions mentioned below there are specific limits on how long you can park your campervan: if the region you are interested in is not mentioned then no limit is in place, but you should still remember that wild camping is officially prohibited in the country and respect these rules by parking, rather than camping,
To make things more confusing however, each region, and sometimes each municipality has slightly different rules when it comes to how long you can park your campervan in one spot.
The regions mentioned below have specific campervan rules or limits on the number of hours you can park one. If a region is not mentioned, it doesn’t have specific limits on the number of hours you can stay, but wild camping is still prohibited, so make sure you are parked and not camping.
In Catalonia a private campervan or motorhome can only be parked in one spot for a maximum of 48 hours. This rule does not apply to registered campsites.
In Valencia, motorhomes have been specifically added to the law that declares all forms of wild camping are prohibited. However, provided you are not camping, you are still permitted to park and stay in your private campervan or motorhome overnight.
Wild camping is also prohibited in Andalusia, but campervans and motorhomes are considered a grey area in the region. This is because the regional decree considers wild camping to be “the installation of mobile shelters, caravans, tents or other similar elements easily transportable or removable outside campsites”. Obviously, campervans are mobile and removable, therefore it’s unclear in this region what is allowed and what is not allowed. To ensure you are within the right side of the law, park in designated campervan parking areas and stick to the rules outlined above.
In Galicia, motorhomes and campervans are considered as vehicles and, as such, they can spend the night in parking areas, as long as they do not display items outside the vehicle and they do not occupy more than one space. There are however different rules on how long you can stay in each place depending on which municipality you are in. For example, in the municipality of Porto do Son, southwest of Santiago de Compostela, you can only spend a maximum of one night.
The Navarra Tourism Board state that campervan stays should be “short and limited”, however they don’t define the exact number of nights or hours.
In Castilla-la Mancha, campervans and motorhomes are only permitted to remain in a single parking spot for up to 48 hours.
In Murcia, campervans and motorhomes are only permitted to remain in a single parking spot for up to 72 hours.
In Asturia, campervans and motorhomes are only permitted to remain in a single parking spot for up to 48 hours. Specific parking spots have been designated for motorhomes, and only they can park in the areas that have been specifically reserved for them, making it easy to find somewhere to park.
Are you thinking of hiring a campervan and exploring Spain? Or perhaps you’re looking for a Spanish bolthole in the sun? Then why not get in touch with our local property experts, who are perfectly placed to help you find the Spanish home of your dreams. We’re excited to help you make your next move your best move!