Camping is always a great time spent outdoors, whether it be a family trip or a short weekend with friends away from the relentlessness of the city. I and many others have a certain idea in mind when we think about a camping trip, but it’s quite different in Europe than other parts of the world. Mind you, there’s also rural camping, but it’s just not as popular.
Here are 4 things you should know about camping in Spain:
1. We aren’t talking wilderness adventures here
When you think of camping, what comes to mind? Well, in Spain, many campgrounds are like little resorts, equipped with swimming pools, water slides, tennis courts, restaurants, a doctor and usually entertainment like live music, karaoke or a DJ during the evenings. There is also electricity, Wi-Fi, equipment rentals, free nature walks or tours and fitness classes such as yoga available for campers.
Not what you pictured is it? This type of camping is well-known throughout Europe and many families from nearby Germany, France and the Netherlands drive down to Spain to spend the summer relaxing in their RVs on the beach. Kids absolutely love it!
2. Camps are rated with stars
Campgrounds have star ratings out of five just like hotels, a system borrowed from the French. All camps are expected to provide restrooms, showers and washing areas, but beyond this, there is a large range of amenities and services that may be available for campers. One star campgrounds are usually small and provide the basics, while a five star campground may have many plots of various sizes suitable for tents, large RVs, trailers or mobile homes along with an abundance of amenities.
I’ve always chosen to stay at smaller camps, which are more laid back, quiet and also cheaper, but families with children may benefit from all the extras found at a larger campground. For example, there are many other children to play with, lots of activities to keep them busy and services such as a laundromat for parents.
3. Camping isn’t cheap
During the peak summer season a four star campground on the beach in Costa Brava goes for €50 a night for a small tent plot including a car in addition to a fee of up to €9 per adult and €4 per child. There are extra fees for electricity, water or Wi-Fi connection. With that being said, there are many conveniences.
For a couple with one tent, this can get quite expensive, especially when you can find an apartment rental on Airbnb for about the same price but of course it won’t be right on the beach! It’s not a bad deal though if you are camping in a group or as a family with a few tents on a single plot. There are also weekly and monthly discounts and off season is always quite a bit cheaper than July and August.
4. Most campers don’t carry in their food and water
This is because many of the popular campgrounds in Spain are along the coastline, very close to charming beach towns, which offer great restaurants and the chance to try some famous local dishes and products from the area. You’ll never be far away from a store, just remember that most shops including grocery stores are closed on Sundays in Spain.
Those who wish to save money or have a kitchen in their RV can visit the grocery store at their campground. From my experience, they’re usually very well stocked (especially in peak season) with all the barbecue necessities like a variety of meats, pre-made burger patties, buns, condiments and cold drinks. The campground convenience stores also have an assortment of snacks, fresh baked bread and pastries, which are great for breakfast. In addition to the grocery store, almost all campgrounds have a cafe or restaurant serving hot sandwiches and coffee at the very least.
Las Dunas Camping & Bungalows in Sant Pere Pescador, Costa Brava. pc: Las Dunas
Where to stay:
I have done most of my camping in Costa Brava. Here are a few of my favorite picks!