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View Full Version : Heavy fine for parking up near Lagos de Sanabria



biggles 1311
28-05-2017, 08:23
Morning

Complete newcomer to this site but not to European travel.

We're proper respectable folk and were visiting the beautiful lake in northern Spain at the end of April.

Some Spanish motorhomes were parked up by the lake but we felt this a bit disrespectful considering hoards of visitors would probably be descending the following morning. so moved a few miles away to park on a disused car park which, from the number of cowpats on the ground, the local farmer uses to corral his cattle!

An early-morning wake up from the Guardia Civil was followed by them checking my documents.

Now, a couple of weeks later, I've had a fine for 500 Euros come through, reduced to 300 if I don't contest it and pay promptly.

I think my error was that it is a Parque Natural and that there were campsites in the area, but we arrived pretty late and weren't convinced that they were open.

I can't see the point of challenging it. They have you over a barrel really and my son's setting off to Spain in the same van in a couple of weeks and I don't want him to have any hassle.

Not expecting any sympathy but the fine does seem massively disproportionate and doesn't take account of the fact that we're constantly clearing up rubbish from places we visit in Spain!!

A salutary reminder to us all.

Cheers Al

Clunegapyears
29-05-2017, 06:42
Ouch. Especially when you tried to do the decent thing.

John Thompson
29-05-2017, 07:42
You can be fined for entering some car parks, in an Auto Caravan, in Spain. Even if they are otherwise totally empty, even in the dead of winter. However roadside parking and occupation is permitted under Spanish Highway Law. Also parking within a certain distance of a beach overnight can lead to a fine. Parking in an urbanisation and day beach parking is OK.

Get to know the law and local laws.

We have been moved from an otherwise empty car park by the local police, yet they were OK with us parking in the roadside layby outside. Local Mayors can make their own laws, but cannot override the national legislation relating to highways.

MidAgeTraveller
29-05-2017, 09:59
yet another bad story about Spain, is it worth going there. Never see anything good being posted here neither.

Pauljenny
29-05-2017, 10:13
yet another bad story about Spain, is it worth going there. Never see anything good being posted here neither.

We gave up on the crowded Costas ,a long time ago.
They're not designed to accommodate hoards of motorhomes and the locals have become increasingly hostile.. I don't blame them.
Spain and Portugal are much more interesting away from the tourist hotspots. And the odd van is usually made welcome .
Try it.
300... OUCH!

John Thompson
29-05-2017, 10:37
yet another bad story about Spain, is it worth going there. Never see anything good being posted here neither.

We have overwintered in Spain for the past 6 years. I love the regions of Valencia, Murcia and Almeria. If you get to know what is and isn't allowed you have no problems. There are more Police about. They are not out to get you but will act swiftly if you do something wrong in their eyes.

We extensively wild parked but played the game of moving regularly not spending the day at the spot you intend to overnight at. The Police get to recognise you and don't hassle you. If you overstay your welcome, park in large groups, they will move you on. We preferred to be on our own and parked away from the honeypot locations. We got to know the car parks and locations where auto caravans were not permitted or welcomed. We have not encountered a situation where the police issue a fine, before speaking to you and asking you to move on, That is probably due to the way were operated.

Travellers get a bad name in the UK for moving about and parking in large groups yet many motor caravanners tend to do the same when abroad, parking in places that cause concern or problems to the local communities. Some behave in ways they would frown on if they saw it in the UK but consider it OK over there.

There are facilities provided that we can only hope for in the UK with camper stops, and Aires as well as campsites for those who want to use them. There are no restrictions on occupying a parked vehicle unlike in the UK.

Driving is more relaxed with less hassle from other drivers. The drive from Dover to and including the M25 fill me with dread on return from a trip abroad. In Spain and France the majority of the roads, even local ones puts ours to shame.

Don't be put off by these odd tales, in the OP, but relax and enjoy.

witzend
29-05-2017, 12:57
You could change the vans reg number cheaper on dvla,s own site than paying the fine

witzend
29-05-2017, 14:48
Of course they dont as when you change your number on to another vehicle you get the original back. But op was concerned about his son being reconised in a van with out standing fine

shawbags
29-05-2017, 15:08
Morning

Complete newcomer to this site but not to European travel.

We're proper respectable folk and were visiting the beautiful lake in northern Spain at the end of April.

Some Spanish motorhomes were parked up by the lake but we felt this a bit disrespectful considering hoards of visitors would probably be descending the following morning. so moved a few miles away to park on a disused car park which, from the number of cowpats on the ground, the local farmer uses to corral his cattle!

An early-morning wake up from the Guardia Civil was followed by them checking my documents.

Now, a couple of weeks later, I've had a fine for 500 Euros come through, reduced to 300 if I don't contest it and pay promptly.

I think my error was that it is a Parque Natural and that there were campsites in the area, but we arrived pretty late and weren't convinced that they were open.

I can't see the point of challenging it. They have you over a barrel really and my son's setting off to Spain in the same van in a couple of weeks and I don't want him to have any hassle.

Not expecting any sympathy but the fine does seem massively disproportionate and doesn't take account of the fact that we're constantly clearing up rubbish from places we visit in Spain!!

A salutary reminder to us all.

Cheers Al
As you said over a barrel , your lucky they didn't drive you to a cash point and take the money from you cash that's what they used to do to lorry drivers at one time , 500 but the cows can **** all over it lmao !

iampatman
29-05-2017, 15:16
yet another bad story about Spain, is it worth going there. Never see anything good being posted here neither.

Yeah, stay away, it's horrible. You'll get gassed, mugged, burgled. The weather is lousy, the locals are horrible, everything is expensive. There's grey water everywhere, the food is horrible and the roads are a disgrace.
Best stop in England where it's so easy to find somewhere to overnight with full facilities for free. Plus you save the ferry costs. You know it makes sense.

Pat

Byronic
29-05-2017, 15:45
If I genuinely didn't know I was in a Parque Nacional (auto morality code!)
I wouldn't pay the penalty. But only if it were solely myself likely to be inconvenienced in the
event of being collared and checked out by Senor Plod.
I would just take the chance on not getting pulled over and compelled
to add significant funds to the Spanish economy. 500 they're trying it on!
This decision would be based on the fact that I've never been document interrogated
in 65 years off and on travelling in one manner or another in Spain, excellent odds.

However if I knew someone else would be driving the van, I wouldn't wish for them to have their
holiday possibly marred by being caught for something not of their making, so in that case
I'd reluctantly pay up, all the while hoping to subdue the burning inner rage!

biggles 1311
30-05-2017, 08:05
Yes I'm pretty seething but,having got a native Spanish speaker to check I've understood the letter correctly, have accepted that ignoring or challenging it won't get me anywhere.

I certainly wouldn't like anyone to be deterred from visiting a beautiful country where the people are, like most places, really decent and honest. It seems that the crooks ' in high places say their prayers out loud' (to paraphrase Leonard Cohen).

The Guardia are only doing their jobs, but where have we heard that before? My Spanish friend describes how some arms of the various police organisations are a throwback from Franco and are basically given a job to keep them occupied! Makes you appreciate our set up.

I just wanted to let others benefit from my unpleasant experience. Didn't spoil the trip however.

vwalan
30-05-2017, 09:38
the park naturals are well marked on most spanish maps and signs usually around letting you know as well.
i think many of us do smetimes stop in them and either get away with it or get told to move .
its not allowed and they dont like it .
was a heavy fine really.
very often if fines are paid quick it gets a 50%reduction in spain but not all.
there are that many breaking the rules in motorhomes that i believe it will be getting harder to get away with it .
specially in the wayout places that havnt been used to lots stopping . the busy areas need the income from what you buy , the quiet areas have never had any income from tourists so dont need it .

spigot
02-06-2017, 09:36
Crikey!, we have often stayed in Parques Naturales & Parques Nacionales.
We have never been moved on, I didn't realise it is Prohibido, we must have been lucky.

GWAYGWAY
02-06-2017, 12:43
How about writing back and pleading lack of awareness and that they said nothing about what they wanted at the time..
Seems a bit steep to fined for something you know nothing about. I certainly have no intention of going there ,as it seems to easy to fall foul of rules seemingly made up on the spot. It helps their economy to have visitors but a lot quicker to give swingeing fines.

Byronic
02-06-2017, 13:38
How about writing back and pleading lack of awareness and that they said nothing about what they wanted at the time..
Seems a bit steep to fined for something you know nothing about. I certainly have no intention of going there ,as it seems to easy to fall foul of rules seemingly made up on the spot. It helps their economy to have visitors but a lot quicker to give swingeing fines.

Actually if you base your assumptions on a few sporadic posts here and there then you are very likely to reach the wrong conclusion.
You'd be surprised at the numbers of foreigners that get away with various misdemeanors because of the general live and let live attitude of Spanish Police and the Guardia Civil. A friendly chat often gets you a long way. Not that
I'm suggesting the OP handled things wrongly I wasn't there, but he might just have met the wrong cop on his off day.

biggles 1311
03-06-2017, 18:51
The 'Agente' was quite civil.(HOHO...see what I did there?!)

I have met far worse on my travels abroad! No argument. He said we weren't allowed to overnight. I said sorry. He took my documents to his car, returned them and said 'Adios'. So the fine kind of came out of the blue.

Technically they are right. You are not allowed to overnight in that particular area. And a slap on the wrists might well be in order but it's the scale that grieves me.

It's the first problem I've had in many years of European travel and it certainly won't deter me, but I'll a. improve the fluency of my Spanish (which ain't too bad anyway) and b. attempt to ask locally if it's ok.

In fairness we wild camped in various spots in the mountains and on the coast, the local Gardia saw us, and didn't bat an eyelid.

Byronic
03-06-2017, 20:17
Sometimes the increased summer season risk of fire can make the plod a little
more diligent in their application of the laws and rules. There have been some
dryer than normal summers in recent years making for some disastrous fires.

terry111
04-06-2017, 13:02
This is worrying as it's exactly the sort of place I would have stopped at. In fact a couple of weeks ago I was at the Embalise de Valparaiso, only a few miles away. Were there really no signs saying it was forbidden to stay in the vehicle overnight?

John Thompson
04-06-2017, 18:26
This is worrying as it's exactly the sort of place I would have stopped at. In fact a couple of weeks ago I was at the Embalise de Valparaiso, only a few miles away. Were there really no signs saying it was forbidden to stay in the vehicle overnight?

My satnav shows the Spanish and other National Parks as does the CEPSA map. The lack of signs is of no importance, as we should all know that overnight parking in a National Park except in a built up area/village overnight is prohibited. 6 years full timing taught me that. Yes we have pushed our luck at times.

biggles 1311
04-06-2017, 22:15
No sign at all.

But as I now know (and it's easy to be wise after the event) that is the law.

As I said at the outset, I'm not after sympathy. I've paid the fine. Just giving others a heads up to check before you stop overnight.

So you can park overnight in a built up area?

Some clear guidelines from someone who knows would be really useful.


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