We had no idea that camping in Spain could be so luxurious.
After visiting numerous campsites in Spain we definitely learned a few things that can help you make your trip to Spain’s campgrounds more comfortable and economical.
We have camped quite a bit during our travels around the world and Spain is definitely one of our favorite camping destinations.
Camping Tips for Spain and France
Some have swimming pools and hot tubs, restaurants and grocery stores. Camping in Europe can be just as comfortable as staying in a hotel if you are armed with the proper information and if you follow the tips and advice that we have listed below.
Camping in Europe is a little different than camping at home in Canada. Our campsites may be a more rustic and not quite as luxurious in Canada but then again, we provide the camper with a few things to make their life easier.
For instance, every campground in Canada will offer picnic tables.
Even in the middle of the Great Canadian Wilderness in Algonquin Park we were provided with some logs to sit on while we ate our meals.
This is not the case while camping in France or Spain.
We have learned a lot in our short time camping our way through France and Spain.
Through trial and error, we have come up with a comprehensive list of what you should arm yourself with to make your camping vacation a success.
Below you will find a list of what we should have brought and what we wish we knew about camping in Europe.
What to pack for tent camping in Europe
- Bring Chairs – Your campsite will not have a place for you to sit. If you don’t want to be stuck sitting in your tent all night or sitting cross legged on the ground, bring some fold out chairs.
- Bring a Table – This was a surprise. You will have no place to eat at your campsite if you are packing a tent. Most people caravan in Europe and they have everything that they need. This is not the case with tent camping. We didn’t bring a table and we have resorted to eating on the ground. Some campsites won’t even let you eat your picnic lunch at the restaurant or around the pool. (We asked!) You must eat at your campsite.
- Get an adapter – You may think that you have a European adapter already and that you will be fine, but you need a special adapter for some campsites to have power. A normal 3 prong plug won’t work. You need a campers 220 Volt/6 Amp adapter which of course we don’t have that either.
- Bring Ear Plugs – You may think that you will be all alone in the campsite, but camping in Europe is popular and people are up all night talking and kids are up early yelling and screaming.
- No Camp Fires Allowed – In the campsites that we visited there were no fires allowed. Not bar-b-ques either. Camp stoves are allowed. Note about the camp stove though (thank you Janice for reminding us about that) It is difficult to find fuel other than propane/butane at the campsites. With the airline rules today it is also difficult to take a camp stove on board and impossible to take a fuel canister (even when empty) You are better off to buy your camp stove when you arrive.
- Use AlanRogers.com – He has excellent advice on where to stay in both France and Spain. SoulTravelers3 has been traveling for 4 years and many of those have been caravaning through Europe, check out their site for more information on camping in Europe.
What to Pack for your Camping Trip
- Tent – of course
- Sleeping bags
- Cooler – collapsible cooler is lightweight and doesn’t take up a lot of space
- Wine opener – Hey you’re in France. Wine is a must every night.
- Cutlery – Knives are a must for bread and cheese.
- Warm hats – It can get cold in a tent.
- Thick socks – ditto
- Plastic glasses – preferably durable heavy plastic to reuse
- Collapsible cutting board – bread and cheese every day. A flimsy cutting board isn’t heavy and doesn’t take up any space.
- Laundry line – to dry your shower towels
- Flipflops – for the shower
- Tarp – if you are car camping a tarp and rope is good for rain to sit under instead of being stuck in your tent.
- Thermarest – thin air mattress is lightweight, it folds down to be very small and keeps you warm when filled. It is quite comfortable too!
- Silk liner – for warmer nights
- Laundry detergent – you can do laundry at campsites, have detergent with you.
- Dish soap – to clean your food.
- Plastic containers and zip locks to store food.
- Camp towels – Quick dry and lightweight
- Bathing suits – Most campsites have swimming pools
- Headlamps – Although they are well lit, it is still a good idea to have a headlamp for in your tent.
Read More Camping Tips
- 25 Camping Tips – Our Top Hacks for Happy Nights Outdoors
- The Ultimate Camping Gear List
- The Ultimate Travel Packing List (By Professional Travellers)
- Best Cycling Gear and Accessories for Weekend Warriors
We know that there are some expert campers out there that have been all over Europe, What advice do you have?
While camping advice can be the same for all over the world, there are a few things different for each country and Europe is definitely quite different from Canada. But we have enjoyed every minute of it.
Going to Spain? Read more about these Spanish Cities
- Toledo, Beautiful Spanish History Awaits
- Cuenca and the Casas Colgadas
- 15 Free Things to do in Seville, Spain
- Andalusia Travel – 5 Reasons to Visit the South of Spain
- Camping in Spain: Everything You Need to Know
- Via Ferrata, Spain – Take your adventure to New Heights
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27 thoughts on “Camping in Spain: Everything You Need to Know”
Fully agree with your recommendations. On a motorcycle trip, I camped in France and Spain for six weeks last year and used every items you mention.
Include a spare toilet roll, just in case. There was a couple of occasions where the campsite had run out.
Excellent advice – I hadn’t realised the plug thing would be an issue, but I’m off to check what we’ve got now. Thanks for all the useful tips!
I went glamping with Stoke Travel in Ibiza and it was simply the best experience, highly recommend!! Can’t wait to camp with them again in Oktoberfest. If anyone is in need of a travel buddy, give me a shout!
Camping in Spain in great fun although unless you are at a paied campsite you can have trouble and wild camping is technically illigal. However the country side is so big that who is ever going to find you!
I cannot say I enjoy roughing it as we do here in Canada, too scared sometimes to go to the washroom at night for fear of the odd bear roaming about- for us ladies, a bit challenging. But this European style camping sounds very appealing! (If of course I can get my husband to tag along). He is not for the European scene as he is not one who likes cramped quarters and lots of crowds, in wide open Canada nobody will cramp your style except the bruins perhaps. However I may convince him yet with these insights of yours!Thanks!!
Great post, loved reading through it. It seems camping in Europe is very different to that in Australia! Camping in comfort comes down to having the right equipment and knowing how to use it properly, and you save a tonne of money whilst doing it.
Keep up the great blog 😀
Thanks Aaron. You are absolutely correct about having the right equipment and it did save us a lot of money. We loved camping in Europe and will probably do it again.
I love your site, I just found it.
Wine opener is definitely a survival necessity! 🙂
I always like to make sure I bring my binoculars too!
.-= James´s last blog ..DRY PAK Waterproof Large Duffel Bag =-.
Thanks for the checklist of of necessities for tent camping. Don’ want to forget that wine opener!!
.-= Altea Spain´s last blog ..Choosing an Outdoor Sconce and Driveway Lighting Ideas =-.
My Goodness, did we not include a wine opener in that list!? Yes, yes, yes, you must have a wine opener. Funny, it was the first thing we packed:)
Thanks for sharing such a valuable information…
.-= Julian @ CornerParadise´s last blog ..DISCOVERING THE PASSION FOR TURKISH CUISINE =-.
I’ve camped in france a few times. was noisy , but lots of fun
Wish I’d seen a post this useful a couple months back! We just did some camping around Andalusia in April and also realized these campgrounds are more for RVs than tent campers. We ended up mostly eating in restaurants since there were no BBQ pits and, although we found (and bought) a fuel canister for our backpacking stove, the European Camping Gaz is not compatible with a typical North American screw-mounting stove. It was certainly awkward at the campsite with nowhere to sit, and we usually ended up either at the campsite bars or playing cards in the tent after dinner.
I did find the campgrounds in Spain to be inexpensive, clean and well-priced. We will still try to camp around Europe in the future, but more as a cheap hotel alternative than a fun camping experience… it just isn’t camping without a campfire!
.-= Laura´s last blog ..Beautiful Sevilla =-.
Hi Laura, so true about the camping stoves. Dave read about the incompatibility just before leaving. We had our stove packed and were just going to buy a canister and then we read that they aren’t the same and saw that they were propane and butane (which of course won’t work with our screw top) and then after reading how our stove might not make it on the flight we just decided to not bring it at all. we were on a tighter budget than you and ended up eating a lot of cured meats, cheese and bread. In Spain and France we found that we could find a lot of prepared meals at the supermarket though.
I agree about the campfire, we lived in cottage country in Ontario for a couple of years and we could even have campfires in our back yard in our subdivision. I just love a campfire.(I know, I know it is not exactly environmentally friendly, but I am Canadian, we grew up with roasting marshallows and smores over the campfire:-)
A great cheap hotel we found was the Hotel Etaps they were normally only 39 Euro! So when we needed a break from camping, we stayed there.
Dave and Deb: Wonderful post full of valuable information, and it generated a lot of chat with even more info. Thanks so much for this!
.-= Barbara Weibel´s last blog ..Speed is the Enemy of Cultural Travel =-.
Thanks Barbara. We are loving all the information that everyone has shared as well. It will make our next camping trip through Europe much easier.
A great list of camping tips. Thanks for sharing your valuable advice.
Great tips. I am not much of a camper but your article sure did make a convert out for me. Would like to try it really soon. If you are planning to strike camp at United Kingdom, I would really suggest camping at UK’s Lake District. Great views and great camp sites, I tell you. There are also lots of hotels in Keswick if you decide to check in instead. You can check out some great Keswick hotels here: http://hotels-fairy.com/spain-hotel-deals/
.-= James Carsel´s last blog ..The Keswick Hotel Bacton =-.
Hey James. Camping certainly isn’t for everyone, but if you are going to camp for the first time, Europe is definitely the place to give it a try. The campgrounds are more like resorts in some places. When you can go to the pool for a swim, sit in the sauna and then head to the onsite restaurant or shop at their supermarket…it doesn’t get any better than that!
These are great tips. We will be camping through europe in a couple of months. We won’t have much with us and we’re not bringing the full camping set up so we’ll have to see how it pans out. Hopefully it will work out ok! That is strange about the picnic tables though. I would’ve thought that was a standard aroudnt he world.
.-= Bethany´s last blog ..Interview with Bernard & Danielle from BorderJumpers.org =-.
Hey Bethany. Yep no picnic tables. You should buy a little fold up table and chairs. I think that it is best to buy the stove there as well as the gas is different. They use the pressurized propane and butane. You can get prepared meals at the supermarket and many campgrounds have restaurants so you should be fine.
Thanks for this great review about camping in Europe! It sounds a lot different from camping in the U.S. It’s good to know about the earplugs. It sounds like a different style from camping stateside, but enjoyable in it’s own way if you know what you’re getting into. This will be useful info for my next trip.
You’ve written a very valuable post – if only I’d read it in 1995 when we were traveling and camping in France as a family – 3 kids with us.
A little trip down memory lane…
I contacted Coleman before leaving to make sure that we could get fuel for the stove (white gas, not propane) and was assured that we could. But, no. That took three days to sort out and we finally ended up buying it at pharmacies. Yes, that was logical. 🙂
Then, as you say, there was the table situation. We bought a table and two chairs, had two kids sitting on the bumper of our rental van and one on the cooler.
Oh, and ask my kids about bathing suits. We had to buy them all speedos as the campgrounds only allowed them to be worn in the pool. They really loved that! (That has likely changed by now.)
As experienced campers in Canada, camping in France was an exercise in being adaptable. It also took us into the French culture as the kids played with French kids and we chatted the evenings away talking politics in our limited French.
It was fantastic.
Great packing list!
.-= Janice´s last blog ..Podcast: Janice talks about Solo Travel =-.
Thanks for reminding us about the stoves Janice. I can’t believe I forgot to write about it. I am going to add it to the body of the text just in case people don’t read the comments (with a big thank you to you for reminding us) Yes, it is better to buy your stove here as the campsites only sell propane or butane. Plus with today’s rules on Airplanes, you most likely won’t get your stove on board unless it is brand new. We read quite a few posts before leaving where people were not allowed to take their camp stoves on the plane. If anyone has had a different experience it would be great to let us know. we didn’t bring our stove because we didn’t want to have it confiscated. So it has been bread and cheese.
We didn’t see too many campsites with Bar-b-ques and many had signs saying that they are not allowed, but SoulTravelers has had different experiences according to her comment.
Dave also informed me about the spedos. Yes, some places did have signs posted saying no bermuda shorts etc. Speedo’s only. That is a good point considering Speedo’s are not as popular in our Canadian and American culture as in Europe.
Thanks for all the points!
Thanks for the shout out! Yes, it is a little different camping in Europe, more luxury for budget travelers, less wilderness campsites ( although there are some of those too). We see mostly backpackers in little tents & some have got it to an art form. One should definitely read up on camping in Europe before coming even if you are a seasoned camper as each country is a little different. Many countries have free camping..often WITH tables. 😉 It’s a great way to see Europe & easy to learn as you go.
One good thing about the campsites for tent folks is many have lounges with TV’s and eating/cooking areas with refrigerators/freezers for tenters and almost all have rental cottages, some better than many apartments. Most also allow bar-b-ques as we do that a lot. We’ve seen many Europeans that don’t even use tents in the warm weather, just sleep on the ground, even families dashing about Europe in little cars.
Have you seen the Dutch with their HUGE tents ( bigger than RV’s) & set up? They drive all over and camp in style with the whole family. It’s good to know European school vacation times as well as suddenly you will see a whole slew of one nationality when they have school holidays. 😉
We haven’t run into too much noise yet, except on weekends in the high season…usually it is the disco music if one is too near to it…, so have not ever used ear plugs yet. Usually campsites are really quiet during the day and most have silent rules after 10pm or midnight. I’m surprised that you have run into so much noise so early in the season.
Alan Rogers is pretty good & we have used it some, but not my favorite book as I think it is more geared to UK/European campers. I prefer the ones written by Americans & think Church’s book is the best by far. (I have a list of them on my site that I have reviewed. ) It gives you a LOT of info about each campsite, so that really helps in deciding. Most of the American books explain about bringing tables & chairs because that is different than north America. We had cheapo ones when we began that came with our RV, but now we have REALLY nice Italian ones that we bought in Verona a few years back..ahhhh, what luxury! I could sleep in my comfy lounger! 😉
Like most things, there is a learning curve to camping in Europe and one learns most by doing. We love some of the big luxe resorts, but also have fave little tiny places. There are pros & cons to every each choice from tenting, cottage, RV, caravan or train, car, cargo ship or using rentals/pensions & we have tried them all. Following the weather makes it MUCH easier because camping or touring in cold and rain is not much fun or in crowds & excruciating heat.
It’s been great watching you guys explore & enjoy the adventure! I hope you inspire more to try the camping Europe route! France and Spain are two great countries to do it in.
.-= soultravelers3´s last blog ..Travel = Organic Garden Homeschool? =-.
Wow! That is an amazing amount of information! Thank you so much. Yes, camping Europe is a learning curve, but it is also quite easy. the campsites here are incredible. We just wanted to share a few of the points that are different from North America. Thanks for letting us know about Church’s book. We will get it before cycling through the continent which is now high on our list. We have enjoyed ourselves immensely in the campsites of France and Spain. You are the experts and it is wonderful to have soultravelers3 give us the scoop on camping in Europe. You have it down to a science after 4 years!
AND YES, we have seen the Dutch. They are the ultimate campers. Their Tents are so luxurious after our little two man tent that we used in Africa. RVing is also a great way to go. It is odd that we encountered so much noise. Maybe it is the tent as opposed to having a camper to mute the sound a bit. Whatever it is…some people have been up quite late at night and kids have been quite loud in the morning. But it is nothing serious. Hey, even in hotels there is noise:)