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View Full Version : Wild camping in Spain and Portugal



paintman
03-02-2016, 22:20
Recently I have read about motorhomers being moved on for unsanitary behaviour!! Others for no apparent reason, some have been fined 200E for wild camping in Portugal. As some one approaching retirement who hopes to motorhome in these areas in the winter it's a bit concerning. I read that there are more m/h's than ever before wintering in the region so I presume the authorities are taking action ? So is it more congested than usual? Do you feel uneasy wild camping ? Has the time come to consider spending more time in campsites? Just gathering information folks and would appreciate comments from those who do winter in the warmer climates.

Asterix
04-02-2016, 07:33
I'm in southern Portugal currently,I've been very surprised at the amount of MHs here,its my first time here but it a lot busier than I expected. I followed the coast down from north Portugal and it was much better for wilding with just a few others about,of course the trade off being the cooler weather,but the coast south of Lisbon was fantastic and the weather was OK. The Aires are cheap so there's always alternatives if you're not comfortable wilding in busy areas the cops were handing out fines in Sagres last week but only to people who were "camping" they never bothered me and I was parked across three spaces. I think it's down to common sense,just don't put furniture out if you're wilding in some of the hot spots,or head inland to quieter areas away from the coast.

John Thompson
04-02-2016, 08:00
Recently I have read about motorhomers being moved on for unsanitary behaviour!! Others for no apparent reason, some have been fined 200E for wild camping in Portugal. As some one approaching retirement who hopes to motorhome in these areas in the winter it's a bit concerning. I read that there are more m/h's than ever before wintering in the region so I presume the authorities are taking action ? So is it more congested than usual? Do you feel uneasy wild camping ? Has the time come to consider spending more time in campsites? Just gathering information folks and would appreciate comments from those who do winter in the warmer climates.

There are ever more Aires and Camper stops springing up in Spain. These charge between 6 and 10 euro per night some charge extra for toilet dump and metered water. Some Garages and Campsites will allow you to empty water and black waste and get fresh water for a fee. Many garages/service areas on the main routes have toilet dump facilities unlike the UK.

We have been spending winters down in Spain for 6 years and have noticed an increase in French vans this year, probably because of the problems in North Africa where they used to go for 3 months. Numbers from all nations have gone up I would say quadrupled in the time we have been doing it.

Parking a motor caravan is legal in Spain, provided it complies with the traffic regulations. Unless there are specific restrictions most places treat cars and Motor Caravans the same. There is not an issue with occupying a parked vehicle. Where the problems arise is when a large number of vehicles gather together and crowd out car parks or parking sideways over marked bays rather than in one. This reduces the available parking for residents and other visitors. Some park for months on end and camp with generators going, washing hanging out, chairs and tables left out taking up space. The biggest issue on non motorhomers minds is what do they do with the toilet waste? Some will lift manhole covers and dump into them. These may not be sewers and others dig holes in the sand. People have been seen walking into the sea with cassettes. This is the issue that gets up most peoples noses not the lone van parking for the night.

We find we only need to use a service point once per week and do not object to a night on an Aire or Camper Stop. We can also charge up the batteries on most.

Spain has a Coastal Law (ley de Costa) that prohibits development within a distance of the coastal boundary. Parking on beaches is not allowed but many come to Spain just to do that. That is why they get moved on from time to time. Parking in an urbanisation overnight is not usually a problem however in some places even parking overnight on a car park on the first line from the beach is not allowed. No urbanisation however can cope with large numbers of vans parked end to end in residential streets. There are many unfinished developments with roads laid out, but building not started or not completed. It is possible to park on these sometimes without causing a problem.

Have respect and consideration and you should have no problems. If you are asked to move on, do so graciously.

Don't think of Spain as one country. It is made up of 16 autonomous regions divided also into sub regions each with their own laws. In fact each town has its own Local Police under the control of the Mayor and he can also make laws for his own community. The Guardia Civil are an all embracing organisation and there is also a National Police force to deal with major crimes.

Pebs
04-02-2016, 08:22
There are ever more Aires and Camper stops springing up in Spain. These charge between 6 and 10 euro per night some charge extra for toilet dump and metered water. Some Garages and Campsites will allow you to empty water and black waste and get fresh water for a fee. Many garages/service areas on the main routes have toilet dump facilities unlike the UK.

We have been spending winters down in Spain for 6 years and have noticed an increase in French vans this year, probably because of the problems in North Africa where they used to go for 3 months. Numbers from all nations have gone up I would say quadrupled in the time we have been doing it.

Parking a motor caravan is legal in Spain, provided it complies with the traffic regulations. Unless there are specific restrictions most places treat cars and Motor Caravans the same. There is not an issue with occupying a parked vehicle. Where the problems arise is when a large number of vehicles gather together and crowd out car parks or parking sideways over marked bays rather than in one. This reduces the available parking for residents and other visitors. Some park for months on end and camp with generators going, washing hanging out, chairs and tables left out taking up space. The biggest issue on non motorhomers minds is what do they do with the toilet waste? Some will lift manhole covers and dump into them. These may not be sewers and others dig holes in the sand. People have been seen walking into the sea with cassettes. This is the issue that gets up most peoples noses not the lone van parking for the night.

We find we only need to use a service point once per week and do not object to a night on an Aire or Camper Stop. We can also charge up the batteries on most.

Spain has a Coastal Law (ley de Costa) that prohibits development within a distance of the coastal boundary. Parking on beaches is not allowed but many come to Spain just to do that. That is why they get moved on from time to time. Parking in an urbanisation overnight is not usually a problem however in some places even parking overnight on a car park on the first line from the beach is not allowed. No urbanisation however can cope with large numbers of vans parked end to end in residential streets. There are many unfinished developments with roads laid out, but building not started or not completed. It is possible to park on these sometimes without causing a problem.

Have respect and consideration and you should have no problems. If you are asked to move on, do so graciously.

Don't think of Spain as one country. It is made up of 16 autonomous regions divided also into sub regions each with their own laws. In fact each town has its own Local Police under the control of the Mayor and he can also make laws for his own community. The Guardia Civil are an all embracing organisation and there is also a National Police force to deal with major crimes.


John ...thank you for this extremely useful info. ...and advice.

paintman
04-02-2016, 08:47
There are ever more Aires and Camper stops springing up in Spain. These charge between 6 and 10 euro per night some charge extra for toilet dump and metered water. Some Garages and Campsites will allow you to empty water and black waste and get fresh water for a fee. Many garages/service areas on the main routes have toilet dump facilities unlike the UK.

We have been spending winters down in Spain for 6 years and have noticed an increase in French vans this year, probably because of the problems in North Africa where they used to go for 3 months. Numbers from all nations have gone up I would say quadrupled in the time we have been doing it.

Parking a motor caravan is legal in Spain, provided it complies with the traffic regulations. Unless there are specific restrictions most places treat cars and Motor Caravans the same. There is not an issue with occupying a parked vehicle. Where the problems arise is when a large number of vehicles gather together and crowd out car parks or parking sideways over marked bays rather than in one. This reduces the available parking for residents and other visitors. Some park for months on end and camp with generators going, washing hanging out, chairs and tables left out taking up space. The biggest issue on non motorhomers minds is what do they do with the toilet waste? Some will lift manhole covers and dump into them. These may not be sewers and others dig holes in the sand. People have been seen walking into the sea with cassettes. This is the issue that gets up most peoples noses not the lone van parking for the night.

We find we only need to use a service point once per week and do not object to a night on an Aire or Camper Stop. We can also charge up the batteries on most.

Spain has a Coastal Law (ley de Costa) that prohibits development within a distance of the coastal boundary. Parking on beaches is not allowed but many come to Spain just to do that. That is why they get moved on from time to time. Parking in an urbanisation overnight is not usually a problem however in some places even parking overnight on a car park on the first line from the beach is not allowed. No urbanisation however can cope with large numbers of vans parked end to end in residential streets. There are many unfinished developments with roads laid out, but building not started or not completed. It is possible to park on these sometimes without causing a problem.

Have respect and consideration and you should have no problems. If you are asked to move on, do so graciously.

Don't think of Spain as one country. It is made up of 16 autonomous regions divided also into sub regions each with their own laws. In fact each town has its own Local Police under the control of the Mayor and he can also make laws for his own community. The Guardia Civil are an all embracing organisation and there is also a National Police force to deal with major crimes.

That's a comprehensive reply, thank you. It's not my intention to wild camp all the time, I like my creature comforts too much, but the occasional night in the hills or on the beach does appeal.

pughed2
04-02-2016, 08:51
theres no real problem paintman, as long as you can overnight ready to travel, and avoid crowds of mhs......steve bristol

loulou
04-02-2016, 08:55
There are ever more Aires and Camper stops springing up in Spain. These charge between 6 and 10 euro per night some charge extra for toilet dump and metered water. Some Garages and Campsites will allow you to empty water and black waste and get fresh water for a fee. Many garages/service areas on the main routes have toilet dump facilities unlike the UK.

We have been spending winters down in Spain for 6 years and have noticed an increase in French vans this year, probably because of the problems in North Africa where they used to go for 3 months. Numbers from all nations have gone up I would say quadrupled in the time we have been doing it.

Parking a motor caravan is legal in Spain, provided it complies with the traffic regulations. Unless there are specific restrictions most places treat cars and Motor Caravans the same. There is not an issue with occupying a parked vehicle. Where the problems arise is when a large number of vehicles gather together and crowd out car parks or parking sideways over marked bays rather than in one. This reduces the available parking for residents and other visitors. Some park for months on end and camp with generators going, washing hanging out, chairs and tables left out taking up space. The biggest issue on non motorhomers minds is what do they do with the toilet waste? Some will lift manhole covers and dump into them. These may not be sewers and others dig holes in the sand. People have been seen walking into the sea with cassettes. This is the issue that gets up most peoples noses not the lone van parking for the night.

We find we only need to use a service point once per week and do not object to a night on an Aire or Camper Stop. We can also charge up the batteries on most.

Spain has a Coastal Law (ley de Costa) that prohibits development within a distance of the coastal boundary. Parking on beaches is not allowed but many come to Spain just to do that. That is why they get moved on from time to time. Parking in an urbanisation overnight is not usually a problem however in some places even parking overnight on a car park on the first line from the beach is not allowed. No urbanisation however can cope with large numbers of vans parked end to end in residential streets. There are many unfinished developments with roads laid out, but building not started or not completed. It is possible to park on these sometimes without causing a problem.

Have respect and consideration and you should have no problems. If you are asked to move on, do so graciously.

Don't think of Spain as one country. It is made up of 16 autonomous regions divided also into sub regions each with their own laws. In fact each town has its own Local Police under the control of the Mayor and he can also make laws for his own community. The Guardia Civil are an all embracing organisation and there is also a National Police force to deal with major crimes.

Hi John, comprehesive info, thanks, totally agree with you.

Cheers Lou

Daniel575
11-05-2016, 12:36
Just got back from a week and a half in Spain. I was a bit wary of Spain's doubtful attitude to wild camping, so what I did was mostly use safe sites:

1. Barcelona - City Stop. Costs 30 euros but it's safe and quiet with facilities, very close to metro.
2. Vera - as my companion (my niece who lives with me) is named Vera, we had to visit the place named Vera! Unfortunately the "Oasis Al Mar" place was closed on 30 April (despite the owner having confirmed to me previously that they would be open until 1 May...) so we found a place at the Cuevas de Almanzera MH stop which was also good, 9 euros.
3. Went to see Granada, didn't know where it would be ok to sleep there, so we drove towards Cordoba in the evening and figured to wild it for that night. Guess what - Spanish roads, even non-motorways, do NOT have stopping places. Surprisingly difficult, very challenging, to find somewhere appropriate to stop! Much more challenging than in France, Britain, Germany, or *any* other country. Eventually I found a solution: fill up at a quiet filling station with parking area and ask to use their parking for the night. That was fine - problem solved!
4+5. Used the excellent (amazing!) MH site at Rhincon de la Victoria, just east of Malaga. Excellent! 10 euros per night. Very neat site.
6. On the way back north - as before, stayed at a very quiet filling station car park with their permission.
7. First flat area I could find just across the border into France at the Med coast (between Cerbere and Portbou). We did that on the last night before crossing into Spain as well, same place.

Was a pretty crazy trip for a week and a half but it was fun! I may post a more detailed overview with some pictures too.

John Thompson
12-05-2016, 07:37
Just got back from a week and a half in Spain. I was a bit wary of Spain's doubtful attitude to wild camping, so what I did was mostly use safe sites:

1. Barcelona - City Stop. Costs 30 euros but it's safe and quiet with facilities, very close to metro.
2. Vera - as my companion (my niece who lives with me) is named Vera, we had to visit the place named Vera! Unfortunately the "Oasis Al Mar" place was closed on 30 April (despite the owner having confirmed to me previously that they would be open until 1 May...) so we found a place at the Cuevas de Almanzera MH stop which was also good, 9 euros.
3. Went to see Granada, didn't know where it would be ok to sleep there, so we drove towards Cordoba in the evening and figured to wild it for that night. Guess what - Spanish roads, even non-motorways, do NOT have stopping places. Surprisingly difficult, very challenging, to find somewhere appropriate to stop! Much more challenging than in France, Britain, Germany, or *any* other country. Eventually I found a solution: fill up at a quiet filling station with parking area and ask to use their parking for the night. That was fine - problem solved!
4+5. Used the excellent (amazing!) MH site at Rhincon de la Victoria, just east of Malaga. Excellent! 10 euros per night. Very neat site.
6. On the way back north - as before, stayed at a very quiet filling station car park with their permission.
7. First flat area I could find just across the border into France at the Med coast (between Cerbere and Portbou). We did that on the last night before crossing into Spain as well, same place.

Was a pretty crazy trip for a week and a half but it was fun! I may post a more detailed overview with some pictures too.

You are more likely to find places to stop on Spanish Motorways and Dual Carriageways as Picnic sites are located between Full service areas. There is a lot of scaremongering about stopping in these locations. We have stayed on many of these areas without problem.The problem areas are around big cities. I was advised to avoid areas within about 35km of any city.
It is possible to stop by the roadside in most urbanisations and small villages. This is legal provided the vehicle is just parked (not camped with stuff outside) and you are parked with the flow of the traffic and not causing an obstruction. Staying in a parked vehicle is also legal in Spain. There are many quiet locations, not outside someone's door.

I have parked overnight in many non urban areas without problems, however when large groups invade preventing local from parking or using an area, (often happens unfortunately in winter) then they justifiably get upset. A solo outfit does not create such a problem even in winter. Parking on or near the beaches on the Costas is illegal, inland a small way (over half a kilometre) and there is no problem.
There are many laybys and car parks in urbanisations that can be used.
Most roadside filling stations have parking areas specifically set aside specifically to allow drivers to rest. These are not reserved for HGVs, any driver can use them. Some of these areas also have (Eurorealis style) Borns. Tokens available at the shop.

Daniel575
12-05-2016, 10:45
Thanks for that great reply, John. I was in fact parked by the beach at sunset and then a national park ranger showed up, luckily I was able to show from my phone that I had already called the Rincon de la Victoria MH site to go there. Otherwise she would have been convinced I was planning to stay the night there.

That said, the beach I was at is absolutely worth it. Between Motril and Nerja.

Google Maps (https://www.google.com/maps/@36.7485568,-3.8041633,755m/data=!3m1!1e3)

Absolutely the best beach I could have dreamt of finding.

Fletch6
12-05-2016, 11:46
http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o151/fleck_bucket/IMAG2271.jpg (http://s119.photobucket.com/user/fleck_bucket/media/IMAG2271.jpg.html)

This is the best free stop we've had between Benidorm and Marbella. We're on the upper bit but you can see the lower park on the left.
I can find out the exact location later if anybody is interested.

POI Admin
12-05-2016, 13:35
http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o151/fleck_bucket/IMAG2271.jpg (http://s119.photobucket.com/user/fleck_bucket/media/IMAG2271.jpg.html)

This is the best free stop we've had between Benidorm and Marbella. We're on the upper bit but you can see the lower park on the left.
I can find out the exact location later if anybody is interested.

Yes please ...

Fletch6
12-05-2016, 16:48
http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o151/fleck_bucket/Mobile%20Uploads/Screenshot_20160512-184202.png (http://s119.photobucket.com/user/fleck_bucket/media/Mobile%20Uploads/Screenshot_20160512-184202.png.html)


In case the pic doesn't work-
N36.81670 W2.05146

Enjoy :-)

Fletch6
12-05-2016, 17:11
http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o151/fleck_bucket/IMAG2233.jpg (http://s119.photobucket.com/user/fleck_bucket/media/IMAG2233.jpg.html)

Fletch6
12-05-2016, 17:15
Another good seaside one in France.

http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o151/fleck_bucket/Mobile%20Uploads/Screenshot_20160512-190202.png (http://s119.photobucket.com/user/fleck_bucket/media/Mobile%20Uploads/Screenshot_20160512-190202.png.html)
http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o151/fleck_bucket/IMAG2402.jpg (http://s119.photobucket.com/user/fleck_bucket/media/IMAG2402.jpg.html)

POI Admin
12-05-2016, 17:25
Another good seaside one in France.

http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o151/fleck_bucket/Mobile%20Uploads/Screenshot_20160512-190202.png (http://s119.photobucket.com/user/fleck_bucket/media/Mobile%20Uploads/Screenshot_20160512-190202.png.html)
http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o151/fleck_bucket/IMAG2402.jpg (http://s119.photobucket.com/user/fleck_bucket/media/IMAG2402.jpg.html)

This place is already in the France POIs ...

POI Admin
12-05-2016, 17:33
http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o151/fleck_bucket/Mobile%20Uploads/Screenshot_20160512-184202.png (http://s119.photobucket.com/user/fleck_bucket/media/Mobile%20Uploads/Screenshot_20160512-184202.png.html)


In case the pic doesn't work-
N36.81670 W2.05146

Enjoy :-)

Many thanks - I'll ensure this gets added to the Iberian POIs which will be released for the first time at the beginning of June ...

peagreen
23-08-2016, 08:42
We bought a copy of All the Aires from Vicarious Shop is Vicarious Media and Vicarious Books shop for Aires and camping guides (https://www.vicarious-shop.com). You can buy books for Spain and France and we use them all the time. Many Aires are free and there are usually dumping facilities and water available. We came down all the way thro France on these Aires and it never cost us a penny (or euro, haha). So we do a mixture of campsites and Aires - it keeps the cost down and allows us to top up when we need. Hope that's helpful!
Ps, does anyone know how I can change my avatar? I've got a new van so my pic is out of date!

n brown
23-08-2016, 08:52
click on 'settings' on the top of page
find 'edit avatar ' on the left

witzend
23-08-2016, 10:14
Spent last 4 winters in Portugal last winter was the only time we where visited by police and moved on and it happened 3 times and talking to others several had it happen to them. And its not just coastal locations also at Chicken Maria's woken in night with others and offered the choice go to campsite down the road or pay a fine in the confusion of arguments. shouting and vans moving I managed to slip away.

rebbyvid
23-08-2016, 19:36
Another good seaside one in France.

http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o151/fleck_bucket/Mobile%20Uploads/Screenshot_20160512-190202.png (http://s119.photobucket.com/user/fleck_bucket/media/Mobile%20Uploads/Screenshot_20160512-190202.png.html)
http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o151/fleck_bucket/IMAG2402.jpg (http://s119.photobucket.com/user/fleck_bucket/media/IMAG2402.jpg.html)

Called there last month , Didn't stop ---not impressed ,absolutely chocker ,gennys running , just a piece of rough ground full of campers all jammed in together.

vindiboy
28-08-2016, 12:22
Called there last month , Didn't stop ---not impressed ,absolutely chocker ,gennys running , just a piece of rough ground full of campers all jammed in together.



http://www.wildcamping.co.uk/forums/wild-camping-motorhome-chat/55448-criel-sur-mer-french-aire.html?highlight= We had a good stopover here ?


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