Can I live in a caravan in Spain?

In today’s article, we will answer the following question: Can I live in a caravan in Spain? We will discuss the rules of travelling and living in a caravan in Spain. Also, give you a few basic tips to help you enjoy your travel!

Can I live in a caravan in Spain?

You can live in a caravan in Spain, but only for a limited time. You must also park in the designated areas, as wild camping is illegal in Spain. To register in a campsite the regulations will depend on each Autonomous Community, as there is no common law. 

The problem appears because the stay in the campsites is limited, that is, you cannot live all year round. 

In the Basque Country the limit is set at 11 months, while in Madrid, the maximum time you can spend in each of these venues is 180 days. If this period is exceeded, it is considered that your stay is residential and you will be committing an offence.

Traffic regulations for caravan in Spain

The basic rules of the Spanish highway code are largely similar to those we know in other European countries, including the rules governing priorities. You drive on the right side of the road, pass on the left, and right-of-way priority applies (unless you are in a roundabout). 

Most Spanish roads are free, but a toll is levied on some highways and autovías. An autovia is similar to a motorway, except that access to the autovia is also allowed for agricultural vehicles and bicycles if there is no alternative route. Spanish toll highways are indicated by the letters AP and free highways by the letter A.

Caravan overnight stays and parking in Spain

In Spain, it is forbidden to stop anywhere to sleep. Wild camping is allowed under certain conditions and the controls are not very strict everywhere, but in principle, you can only stop to sleep in the parking areas specially provided for motorhomes, in campsites or for example in certain wineries or farms. Wild camping is strictly prohibited in Spanish national parks.

You are allowed to park your motorhome wherever you want, provided that there is a suitable location and that no traffic sign prevents you from doing so. You can eat and drink (and cook) in your parked motorhome, but you are prohibited from converting the parking space into a “campsite”. This means that you cannot unfold your tables and chairs, open your parasol, or set up your satellite dish. Here too, we would like to point out that checks are not carried out so strictly in all Spanish regions.

The Spanish landscapes are very varied. From tourist beaches to wild mountains, Spain has a thousand faces. If you use your motorhome on mountain roads, please note that special regulations may apply. On slopes of at least 7%, ascending traffic always has priority over descending traffic (unless the ascending vehicle is in the immediate vicinity of a refuge). On mountain trails, it is also mandatory to honk your horn on bends if you lack visibility.

 Winter conditions can occur in some parts of the country, such as the Pyrenees or the Sierra Nevada. The use of snow tires is not compulsory in Spain, but this type of tire is highly recommended if you plan to travel to the above areas during the winter period. 

Chains should only be used on roads covered with snow or ice and their use is compulsory if required by road signs or the police (speed is limited to 50 km / h for vehicles fitted with chains). If you use studded tires, the studs cannot protrude more than 2mm.

At what speed should I drive my caravan in Spain?

In Spain, motorhomes (<3,500 kg) are considered class 1 (M1) vehicles. The maximum speeds authorized outside built-up areas are therefore not identical to those of normal vehicles. A motorhome can never drive more than 100 km / h on Spanish roads. The following speed limits apply in Spain:

Cars and motorcycles:

  • In built-up areas: 50 km / h
  • Outside built-up areas: 90 km / h
  • National with emergency lane: 100 km / h
  • Highways and autovías: 120 km / h
  • Motorhomes <3,500 kg:
  • In built-up areas: 50 km / h
  • Outside built-up areas: 80 km / h
  • National with emergency lane: 90 km / h
  • Highways and autovías: 100 km / h

Motorhomes> 3,500 kg:

  • In built-up areas: 50 km / h
  • Outside built-up areas: 80 km / h
  • National with emergency lane: 80 km / h
  • Highways and autovías: 90 km / h

Caravanning in Spain: Fasten your seatbelts

The seat belt is compulsory for all occupants of the car, driver and passengers. Children under 1.35 m cannot be seated in the front of the vehicle. They must be installed at the rear (in a suitable and approved seat). Children over 1.35 m can sit in the front and use the vehicle seat belt. 

In Spain, however, it is recommended to install children in a seat or on a suitable and approved booster seat up to a height of approximately 1.50 m. Pets must be attached using a special harness or transported in a transport cage (this must also be secured so as not to be thrown in the event of an impact). While the motorhome is in motion, it is forbidden for people or animals to roam freely inside it.

Some final tips for traveling with a caravan in Spain

Finally, here is some more useful information and advice for those wishing to travel to Spain:

  • Spain has introduced several ecological zones (among others in Madrid and Barcelona) in which only residents can drive. These areas are indicated by a sign mentioning the phrase “Area de prioridad residencial” and are only accessible to people with authorization and visitors with special dispensation (so never cross these areas with your motorhome! ).
  • In Spain, you will find service stations offering additional services for motorhomes, for example with a place where you can empty your toilet, fill up with water or receive technical assistance.
  • Most petrol stations offer diesel (gasóleo) and gasoline (gasolina). Stations offering LPG are less frequent (except in Madrid). Click here for a list of Spanish gas stations that offer LPG.
  • You must have a warning triangle, a set of spare bulbs and a reflective jacket (for each occupant) on board the vehicle. Make sure you are always in order!
  • Transporting a load (including bicycles) requires the installation of a warning sign.
  • Eyeglass wearers must have a spare pair of glasses on board the vehicle.
  • In Spain, filling foreign gas cylinders is prohibited. Before leaving, find out where to buy gas cylinders and be aware of the regulations in force in this area.

The conclusion is that it is not possible to establish a residence in a campsite and, therefore, to register there. This means that if you have a caravan, you will not be able to register in it.

If the established limit is exceeded, an infraction will be committed. That can have some consequences. Like everything, you have heard of the odd exception where it is approved, but it is really difficult to register at a campsite with this panorama.

What is your own experience with driving in Spain? Do you have any tips or suggestions to share with other campers? Let us know what you think. 

FAQ on Can I live in a caravan in Spain?

How long can you live in a caravan in Spain?

Each autonomous community has its different rules for living in a caravan in Spain, but normally they allow you to stay at the same campsite for an average of 6 to 11 months.

Can you live in a static caravan all year round in Spain?

If you move to a caravan, you will have to live in a campsite. These usually have very pleasant and familiar gardens and common areas. Life on a campsite can cost, according to fans, around $300 per month. Obviously, it would be much cheaper than a rent or mortgage payment

How much does it cost to live in a van?

In general, Millennials spend about 2,100 dollars per month living in a van. This includes insurance, investments, coffee, food, gym memberships.

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