Camping in Spain: Is it legal?

The best way to camp in Spain is at designated camping sites. Image - Pixabay

Camping doesn’t just mean a standard family tent, makeshift constructions made out of sticks and plastic sheeting and one-person bivouacs are also considered camping. There is a subtle legal difference for caravans and campervans between parking and camping – if the awning is erected or there is the presence of equipment such as chairs or stoves then this is considered to be camping.

National and natural parks in Spain do have refugios or mountain shelters, usually consisting of basic accommodation with limited cooking and washing facilities. You can also find free camping in national and natural parks, however, these are closed from June to September due to fire hazards.

While it’s appealing to camp on the beach, and though many of the campsites are located along the coast, camping on the beach itself is not allowed. It is also not allowed in Spain to just pitch up and wild camp and, in general, campfires are also not allowed – particularly in the summer months.

Camping (not parking) on public roads is not legal and, although car parks on the seafront or in other locations will have their own local council rules, camping is generally not permitted. Sleeping in a car on the roadside is legal if you are parked in an area where cars are allowed, such as a public car park. However, be sure to not set up any chairs or camping equipment outside of the vehicle.

Camping on private land is tolerated in Spain, however, Article 46.1 says that, even on private land, no more than three tents or caravans and no more than ten people can camp in the same place for more than three days. This national law also states it is prohibited to wild camp within 200 metres of the high tide mark of the beach, within a few kilometres of military installations, within a few kilometres of an official campsite, in protected areas like national parks, natural parks and at national monuments.

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Written by

Laura Kemp

Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]