The Great Outdoors – Camping in Spain

Camping in Spain - My Typical Camp

Camping in Spain – My Typical Camp

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By Regina Winkle-Bryan

I’ve mentioned before on The Spain Scoop that I grew up in Oregon, in the Western U.S.A. Part of being from the Northwest is having a love of nature. This means you own a pair of hiking boots and use them frequently, you have considered buying a ‘Bear Bell’, you can spot at least a few native trees and plants, you have an REI membership card, and you go camping several times a year (which means you inevitably have camped in the rain – it’s the Northwest after all!).

Camping in Spain - Montseny's Green

Camping in Spain – Montseny’s Green

When I moved to Spain I was excited by all the campgrounds lining the coast and dotting the interior of Catalonia, not far from Barcelona, where I live. But after a couple trips ‘camping’, I realized that my concept of a campground as a woman from the Northwest was very different from the Spanish version. In most cases, campgrounds here are more like staying in a KAO than on a patch of land deep in the woods. Usually, there’s a swimming pool, a store, bungalows or cabins, a cafe, a mini-market and a restaurant.

Camp in Tarragona, Catalonia

Camp in Tarragona, Catalonia

I can see how this deluxe set-up would be ideal for many families looking for camping holidays in Spain, as camping is generally less expensive than booking a hotel. Many times, Northern Europeans will come for several weeks or months to Spanish campgrounds to take in the sun, sand and cerveza while their kids have a blast in the pool.

Camp in Tarragona, Catalonia

Pool at Campground in Catalonia – Montseny

Camping in Spain -  Campers and RVs

Camping in Spain – Campers and RVs

That said, I want nature and hiking when I go camping more than pools and bar service. This may be because I don’t have children. In any case, I recommend the southern area of Catalonia near Tarragona for excellent camping, hiking, and climbing. Siurana is one of the best areas for these activities. The Costa Brava is ideal for beach camping and Montseny, just an hour from Barcelona by car, is also an excellent camping option for those who want to be in (small) mountains. On my last trip to Montseny I camped right next to a creek and listened to it bubble and babble all night – which is heaven for a Oregonian (I dare you to find me an Oregonian who dislikes the sounds of nature! Doesn’t exist).

Around Siurana

Around Siurana

Camping in Spain - typical bathroom and shower zone

Camping in Spain – typical bathroom and shower zone

A few things to keep in mind if you’re going to be camping in Catalonia:

-Generally, bonfires are not allowed (Bummer! No S’mores…).

-Many campgrounds do not allow dogs (Bummer for the Blog Dog).

Hiking with the Blog Dog

Hiking with the Blog Dog

-You are usually charged by the person, dog and car. More cars equal more money. A night can run you €15 to €20 or more depending on the place.

-Many campgrounds have RV hookups as well as cabins and tent space.

-I’ve never seen a campground here without hot showers, a kitchen area and BBQ area.

-August is the peak time for camping in Spain, and you’ll pay more. July is also more expensive.

-While bears are not an issue in Catalonia or most of Spain, you should keep a clean camp because wild boars are common.

Camping on Cies Islands - Spain

Camping on Cies Islands – Spain


A few camp grounds we’ve tried and tested:

4 Responses

  1. Kirsten Carpentier says:

    Enjoyed your article! Maybe yurts will be introduced to camping in Spain and become as popular as they are in the Northwest.
    Do you need a “boar bell” for hiking the trails? I’ve heard that boars have a nasty bite!

  2. Rachel says:

    There are quite a few yurts around Andalucia Kirsten.

    I´ve not come across a wild boar alive yet, seen a couple of dead ones and that´s enough for me!

  3. You might like to read about my non-encounter with a wid boar at

    The ‘bear bell’ reminded me of a mountaineer friend, just back from walking the Pacific Crest Trail. While he was leading a party in the English Lake District hills, someone in the party asked the purpose of the bell, still attached to his rucksack.

    ‘That’s to keep the bears away’ he explained.

    ‘But, there are no bears in England’

    ‘Works rather well, then, doesn’t it?’

  4. admin says:

    That’s great. Too funny!

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