Campsites, Aires or Freedom camping, to Aire or not to P-Aire that is the question.

Where you park your motorhome for the night is all part of life on the road, essentially there are three choices

  • A campsite where you will have toilet and shower facilities and electric power available, plus the all-important fresh water and waste disposal. Approx cost per night so far. €24
  • An Aire these are provided by some towns and offer a place to park usually free and also will offer waste disposal and fresh water. They also limit the amount of time you can stay, normally 48 hours. Cost per night Free
  • Also there are some Aires that charge, we call them P-Aire’s but these are much cheaper than campsites and usually offer electricity, toilets, showers and Wi-Fi and you can stay longer. We have to say we have found these to be great and usually well located. Approx. cost per night on average so far. €11
  • Freedom camp, here you park your motorhome where you feel safe and go to sleep, there are no facilities of any kind available so you must bring what you need with you, and what you create away. Free

We are on a trip of a life time one year exploring Spain so for the most part we want to have our comforts. In our first month, while we were at school we needed a base close to the school so we booked a campsite for the whole month and used it as a base and at weekends and the last week we explored the area and got used to the van.

So once the trip started with a vengeance in Feb the mix changed, so we have used a mix of stopping points depending on what we wanted to do.

One of the most valuable books we used in planning our trip was ‘Go Motorhoming and Campervanning’ by Chris Doree and Meli George, they feel that staying on a campsite makes you a ‘Camper’ while using Aires gives you freedom unhitch from life and be a ‘Motorhomer’. We as you might guess feel differently, it is what suits your journey that is the right way.

So what have we done for the past four weeks once school was out. There has been a fairly even split between campsites and Aires and P-Aires.

Campsites are more than double the price of a P-Aire but you get more space for your van. And usually have better facilities, but not always. On balance we are fond of as we call them P-Aires, great value. We have used Campsites a lot but we have not gone fully freedom camping so far as we like the security of Campsites and P-Aires. We have found some Aires to be wonderful Cabra in particular we loved. And Freedom camping in San Jose Cabo de Gata was lovely safe and close to town.

So it is a mix safety first, then where you like the feel of. So take to the road and let it take you to your new favourite spot.

To find where to stay we use a number of resources,

Make sure to check the reviews of sites on the apps use Google translate to translate foreign reviews. Be sensible one bad review out of 6 probably is rogue. Leave your own reviews to help others.  Note the ASCI information is virtually the same for every site so no that good. Also we would appreciate someone telling us the difference between the different categories of campsites.

Picking your site

Three words her

  • Security           If you don’t feel secure don’t stay. Best to have a number of other motorhomes around.
  • Location       Think of what you want to see in the area and make sure you can get there, bringing a motorhome into big cities is really not a plan. So make sure you can cycle or near transport links.
  • Facilities       What facilities do you require?  Waste disposal and water are probably the minimum.

There you have it our view of where to stay, we welcome yours!

Here is the sequence of all the places we have stayed since we arrived in Spain. We forgot to take any at Salamanca, Palma Del Rio (Thanks to Camper Contact for them) and Estepona from their website.

We hope this helps you on your tour, any questions ask us.

David and Karen

15 Comments

  1. Thank you for the reviews of your stays hopefully useful for us next year.
    Sorry to hear about your bike.
    Look forward to seeing your blogs.

    • Thanks Geoff as we are here until next year we hope they do too. If you have questions please ask. It is fun for us and we want to help. We have had a lot of helpful advice and the community is a great one.

  2. Brilliant thank you. We have just bought our Motorhome and plan to drive down to our apartment in Southern Spain mid May, would love to hook up with you sometime. Love your blogs, so sorry to hear about the bike.
    Thank you for all the information as novice Motorhomers all your advice is welcome
    Maggie 🙂

  3. We’re not long home from a couple of months touring in southern Spain and see that we stayed at a few places where you’ve been too. We didn’t think quite as badly about the Estepona campsite as you did (but then our only requirements for that night were to get some mains electricity, do some washing and for it to be as cheap as possible), but its location (particularly for walking anywhere) and showers did leave a little to be desired*…

    (*When I say ‘little to be desired’ in respect of the showers, I mean they were some of the worst designed showers I’ve ever come across on a campsite! Where did they think you were going to put your clothes?!)

    • Well the walking only was mildly life threatening. We are now in San Javier. We are visiting my aunt and uncle who kindly acted as a postal service. For the replacement bank cards etc. But there is a New paid Aire here that sets the standard. €10 a night really lovely.

  4. Great review and glad to see you making use of the aires network as they are often much better placed than the campsites. Just realised we’ve been out nearly two months and not been on a campsite yet. Keep up the great posts and loving the food updates too – cooked chorizo and rice the other night after your post!
    Ju x

  5. Hi David absolutely love reading about your journey through Spain. We are attempting to reach the costa Brava, entering Spain just below Biarritz. We where hoping to spend a few nights at campsite Ezcaba near Pamplona.but have been told it’s expensive and just ok. Perhaps you could suggest an alternative. We leave for Our adventure on Saturday 21/1/2017 so sorry for the rush.
    ELEANOR

    • We used an Aire outside Pamplona stop 99 This is a perfectly adequate stop point in Pamplona Grey and Black waste is free, but if you require water you need to head down 300 metres to the municipal pool and get a token. As we did not need water we did not. At GPS is the bus stop where the 17 bust will take you to town. There is a number of bars and shops nearby as well. Not perfect but OK. GPS 42°50’25.1″N 1°39’54.4″W

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