Spain is the perfect destination for those who wish to camp and sleep the night under the stars.
In 2019, prior to the pandemic, more than 8 million tourists elected to camp at a campsite in Spain and grab a taste of the wild outdoors.
Without a doubt, Spain has some of the best beaches in the world. With 579 beaches rated as Blue Flag, many will want to take advantage and pitch up their tents for the night.
However, the question is whether camping on Spain's beaches is allowed.
In short, the answer is no, camping with a tent or ‘wild camping’ is not permitted on Spain’s beaches.
There may be rare occasions where the local authorities may grant permission, however, these are few and far between. If the request is so that you can carry out some kind of environmental studies then your request may be approved, however, if it is for tourism, it will be denied.
Why is camping on Spanish beaches not allowed?
In truth, there are many reasons why camping on Spain’s beaches is not allowed. This can range from health and safety to security and protecting the environment.
Health and safety are major concerns. Those sleeping on the beach could have their belongings stolen or they could be hit by a tractor that may be doing its morning sweep to clean the beach.
The potential for Spain to register even more drowning deaths would also be a reality.
More than 400 people each year drown in Spain, many of them at the beach. Allowing campers to pitch up on the beach could be a recipe for disaster, especially with no lifeguards present and almost zero visibility.
As for just sleeping on the beach without a tent, this is also forbidden. If you are caught doing this you could be fined or at best moved on by the police.
Those flouting the laws can be fined heavily. For example, in the Valencia region, you can be fined up to €1,500 for pitching up on one of the beaches.
But it’s not just camping. Spain’s beaches are cherished by the locals and the regional governments will impose stiff penalties for those who decide to break the rules.
For example, just a few of the things that are not permitted include nudism, lighting a barbecue, and washing your hair at the beach showers. Dropping cigarette butts and drinking alcohol is also forbidden by many town councils. Even certain sports are banned unless they are practiced in designated areas.
You can see a more comprehensive list at our other article, Fines And Penalties On Spanish Beaches.
What about Caravans and Campervans?
Touring Spain in a campervan or caravan is very popular, unfortunately, there are specific rules for owners also.
You are not allowed to park on a beach although parking in a designated parking space is permitted if you are able to demonstrate that you are not camping.
You won’t be able to put up awnings, tables and chairs or other camping equipment on the beach. You have to be parked in a designated space next to the beach and be sleeping in the campervan/caravan. If not, you will need to find a campsite.
So where can I camp in Spain?
Well, although the beach is out of the question, there are still hundreds of campsites you can stay at while in Spain. With cost a major consideration at the moment, camping is a popular choice for many wishing to visit the country.
In 2020, there were 527 campsites registered in Spain meaning that you shouldn’t be hard pushed to find one. Many will be located close to the beach. So although you may not be able to pitch up on the beach, you could still wake in the morning and take a short stroll to take in the amazing views.
March 21, 2023
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Updated: March 21, 2023 CET