Sun, sea, and long clean sandy beaches. Spain provides the backdrop for the ideal camping holiday with its subtropical climate, rich history and ancient city streets with a magical atmosphere. Then there are the fresh seafood markets, great food and wine, sangria, paella and more - all this is offered in the one country. In addition to the great seaside options, you can discover many beautiful nooks and crannies in the mountains and national parks, and the architectural gems of Christian and Moorish culture too.
Spain is one of the most popular destinations in Europe and with good reason! If you’re going to Spain on a camping holiday, we have a heap of tips and practical information for you.
We’ll advise you on how to rent a campervan, what’s appropriate to take with you if you’re travelling for the first time, and also the costs and fees when travelling by camper to Spain. You’ll also find out about wild camping in Spain, tips on good Spanish campsites, and the most beautiful beaches. This relaxed country and its friendly inhabitants will pleasantly surprise you, that much we can guarantee.
Don't forget to taste the regional delicacies while you're in Spain!
Entry conditions for Spain
Before travelling to Spain, make sure you’re aware of the most recent entry rules that apply for the country you’re coming from AND the countries you’ll pass through (especially if you plan on a road trip through Europe! Different countries have different requirements).
What documents do I need to drive a campervan in Spain?
It might sound obvious, but be sure to pack your ID and passport for your trip. If you have an older passport, make sure it has at least 6 months validity from the time you’ll return.
And of course, make sure you bring your driving licence. Motorhomes up to 3,500 kilograms, which are the kind we offer on our website, are subject to the same regulations as ordinary passenger cars. As a result, you’ll only need a European group B driving licence or equivalent (this will likely be the standard car licence for your country). Lastly, don’t forget travel insurance.
When driving from another country, you may be asked the question "where are you going and what’s the purpose of your travel today?” by border security. You’ll need a reservation at a campsite or similar to help prove that you’re a tourist. They are entitled to ask for this proof, so it’s not worth the risk; try to have your confirmation of accommodation printed before you get there. You can always cancel or change your booking once you’re in the country.
A road trip to Spain
As with most European countries, Spain is readily accessible by land. If you drive from the Campiri HQ in Prague, for example, the journey to Barcelona is about 1700 - 1800 kilometres long and takes 16 - 17 hours. But of course, there are infinite routes you could take across Europe. Perhaps Italy, then France, continuing to Sevilla. Or maybe Germany, then Belgium, France, stopping at Barcelona… you have a wealth of options when it comes to building a great road trip!
And the long journey is worth it. In fact, it’s part of the fun. Spain has thousands of kilometres of beautiful sandy beaches and in the south, sunny weather and warm sea are pretty much guaranteed.
Keep in mind though, that roads in many places of Spain are much narrower, especially in small villages. You’ll find that spaces between houses can be very… cosy! Generally, you’re allowed to drive at a maximum of 50 km/h in urban environments, or on motorways up to 120 km/h. On normal roads, the speed for cars with trailers or caravans is limited to 80 km/h.
What are the tolls like?
On your holiday with a campervan, expect to pay tolls and fees in most of the individual countries in Europe and Spain. There are usually fees for motorways and tunnels, so be prepared for this.
The current overview of motorway tolls by country and region, as well as payment options on the way to Spain, is clearly listed on this website. You’ll also find the current fuel prices on that website too, which should be handy.
Crossing Germany - There is no charge for crossing German motorways for vehicles weighing up to 7.5 tonnes.
Crossing France - In France, most motorways are paid. A rough number to go by is 15 euros per 100 kilometres of motorway. It’s usually paid at toll gates when crossing motorways, tunnels or bridges, in cash, or by card. The price categories are given by the height, number of axles and weight of the vehicle so generally speaking, the more wheels on the road, the higher the cost. The exact toll price can be calculated on the French motorway website here. You can find prices for tunnels and bridges here.
Crossing Switzerland - In Switzerland, motorways are tolled for cars and campervans. The only sticker you can get is the 40 franc annual one. It can be bought at petrol stations and other similar shops, so it’s relatively easy to find. You also pay when crossing a few other specific places, namely the St. Grosser tunnels, Bernhard and Munt la Schera.
Donana National Park
Crossing Spain and tolls
Motorways in Spain are tolled, which is either paid at the toll gates in cash or by card. However, only part of the motorways are tolled… the part where the tourists usually are! These are mostly at the borders with France, the south of Spain, and around Madrid. Each 100 km will cost you around 19 euros. You can of course avoid many of these roads, saving some cash. You can calculate the price of the fees in the route planner at autopistas.com.
Current prices (March 2022) of petrol and diesel in Europe are available at tolls.eu, but here are a few numbers below:
Wild camping in Spain
Camping in the wild in Spain is usually pretty simple. That’s why it’s such a paradise for vanlifers and campers who want to enjoy freedom, privacy and a unique holiday. In Spain you’ll find many remote places and open spaces where you can connect with nature, relax, recharge your batteries, and experience peace. Especially in the low season, it’s common to find yourself alone on the beaches. And of course, wild camping means saving a lot on campsites and accommodation.
Wild camping is actually officially banned in Spain, but in practice it really depends on the area you’re in and how you intend to behave. In general, it’s quite well tolerated. If you’re inconspicuous, polite, quiet, and don’t do anything to draw attention like take your furniture outside, start fires or leave rubbish, then you can take your camper to a surprisingly broad number of places.
In the off-season parking isn’t a problem, even in car parks right next to beaches, parking places, at petrol stations or in ports.
You’ve also got a rich network of camping sites for caravans and trailers, and various parking lots where you can sleep comfortably. You can cook and eat in the parked caravan, so even if the weather isn’t stellar, you’ll be fine.
Where can I camp in Spain?
Already decided to go to Spain by campervan? Then some tips for Spanish campsites will come in handy. You can find inspiration on various websites such as Motorhomefacts.com, camping-spain.net, eurocampings.co.uk, Tripadvisor or pitchup.com. In this southern European country you’ll find over a thousand official campsites, and most are of a high level of quality with a rich array of services. You can choose by category and amenities, from luxury to cheap, and everything in between. You can also find the best rated campsites on Booking.com, so that’s worth a look too.
A rich network of campsites, right by the sea
Camping outside the designated areas and in the open air is prohibited in many places… an example is national parks, which are strictly banned to campervans. However information on free camping options can always be obtained from the local tourist information offices (oficinas de turismo). Also check out canalcamping.com, campings.net, and infocamping.com.
There are a number of amazing national parks in Spain.
The most beautiful Spanish beaches
Spain is endowed with a long sea border, similar to Italy. You can spend a month or more here driving around and still find something to discover! We’ve got some tips on the most beautiful places, national parks, cities and cultural monuments. Details can be found on the official website spain.info. Now, you might want to take notes for this next bit…
- Resorts with beaches - Costa Brava around Barcelona, Costa Blanca, Costa Calida (250 km south of Alicante), Costa Dorada, Costa del Azahar north of Valencia, and more.
- Beaches - Spain offers beautiful world-class sandy beaches on the shores of the Mediterranean or the Atlantic Ocean, and about 600 beaches with the blue flag of quality. Busy or quiet, sandy or surrounded by rocks, natural or with quality services - Costa Brava, San Sebastian, El Sandinero (in Santander), Cantabria, Bolonia beach (in Tarifa, Andalusia), Rosado beach (in Vigo, Galicia).
According to Lonely Planet, the most beautiful beaches are Playa Oyambre, Playa de Torimbia, Playa de la Concha, Praia As Catedrais, Playa de Monsul.
Finally, according to Traveltriangle, you’ve got Playa De Gulpiyuri, Playa De Ses Illetes, Playa De Las Canteras, Playa De Alcudia, Playa De Bolonia, Cala Comte, Playa De Los Genoveses, Playa Del Cristo and others.
That’s a lot of beaches to visit!
- Spain's national parks - Breathtaking nature, high mountains, deep forests, lakes, incredible marine ecosystems and much more - you won't know where to go first. Picos de Europa, Pyrenees, Doñana with its flamingos, Sierra Nevada, Aigüestortes and Estany de Sant Maurici and others.
- Cities and monuments - Barcelona, the ancient Moorish city of Malaga, the bustling capital Madrid, and Valencia with some of the most beautiful beaches. Then there is the centre of Andalusia and the home of Flamenco, Seville, Toledo, Salamanca, Granada in the Sierra Nevada.
So, ready to start? At Campiri you can choose from a wide range of caravans and motorhomes for rent. Whether you’re travelling with a partner, family or friends, you’ll find your perfect camper with us!