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,
For campsites we use the ACSI app for our smartphone.
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.
Camping Cáceres, Cáceres Spain. Municipal Campsite accepts ACSI cards individual toilet and showers on each pitch. Nice. GPS 39°29'21.4"N 6°24'41.7"W
Free Aire in Moraleja, Spain, good location but the water and waste machine broken when we were there. GPS 40°02'53.8"N 6°40'23.3"W
Free Aire in Torre de Don Miguel, Spain. Amazing location overlooking the valley, free water and waste disposal and free to stay. Be very careful coming up the road as it is very easy to ground the vehicle as we did. GPS 40°13'19.1"N 6°34'16.6"W
Camping Monfragüe, Plasencia, Spain is the campsite for the park and is homely, but the facilities are excellent and the staff amazing. could do with a little smoothing of the edges but that said great value with ACSI cards accepted. GPS 39°56'41.2"N 6°05'01.0"W
Camping Yuste, Aldeanueva de la Vera, Spain, Idyllic location, very narrow services could have been a little more up to date. Owners were very lovely, taps very good! GPS 40°07'32.8"N 5°41'37.5"W
Camping Jaranda, Jarandilla de la Vera, Spain, Lovely location beside river wit rapids, All very pleasant indeed the services were very good. Narrow to get motorhome in. GPS GPS 40°08'14.8"N 5°40'01.4"W
Free Aire at Monesterio, Spain. This was a more than adequate site close to the town, not in the aires book but camper contact had it. with free water and waste disposal. GPS 38°05'34.9"N 6°16'36.2"W
Free Aire at Monsaraz, Portugal, If you have never stayed at an Aire this one might just convert you. The location is stunning on the one of the ramparts of the village, overlooking the largest man made lake in Europe. A truly stunning spot. Waste and water are not available but 2kms down the road these facilities are available. They were free when were there. Amazing. GPS 38°26'33.1N 7°22'47.4W
Lorry Park at Jerez Los Caballeros, Spain, We were visiting the 27th Jamon fair here and there is nowhere to stay and it was pouring with rain. We were able to stay at the lorry park €12 a night. OK except there noise form the fair went on late like all things in Spain! The town is lovel and the Iberico was worth it! GPS 38°19'44.5"N 6°45'43.5"W
Free Aire at Zafra, Spain, again a safe place to stop for the night with free water and waste disposal. on a main road so some noise. The the town is lovely worth a night or two. GPS 38°25'31.2"N 6°24'39.6"W
Free Aire at Fregenal de la Sierra, Spain, at a bus station and now they allow lorries to park so a lot of toing and froing sleep not good. But again free water and waste, and the town is lovely worth a night. GPS 38°10'11.0"N 6°38'58.5"W
Camping Merida, Merida,The ACSI reviews for this site are appalling and we understand why. There is no one around they seem to turn up when they feel like. the site is expensive at €18 and there are no seats on the loos. But it is clean and there is a restaurant on site open all day. Merida is a must see place and they have closed the aire so there you are, one night to see the most fantastic Roman ruins in Spain GPS 38°56'06.0"N 6°18'16.1"W
Camping Alentejo, Evormonte, Portugal, After Merida we decided to treat ourselves to what was said to us in Albarracin something special, a big thank you the unknown caravaner and this site is special we crossed the border to Portugal and for €12 we have a site that is possibly the best we have been on so far on the journey. Pool, spotless, large pitches, slight downside is a little road noise. If you are going through this area stop for a couple of nights run by a Dutch family, it is stupendous.
Camping Mirador de Cabaneros, Horcajo de los Montes,Yet another 'Camping Red' site, which have to date all be marvelous, Could otbe happier GPS 39°19'23.5"N 4°38'57.0"W It is right beside the Cabañeros National Park with beautiful scenery, walks and wildlife. The 'Spanish Serengeti' it is called in the guide books.
Free Aire, Puerto Lapice this is a lovely free Aire well situated and free water and waste. GPS 39°19'35.3"N 3°29'00.3"W. The village has all the Don Quixote and Cervantes you need. Good food too.
Free Aire, Luciana This was a strange one but met our requirements to be near one of the best Manchego cheese producers in Spain 'Villadiego' that David wished to visit. Cheese was great mind you! GPS 38°58'57.7"N 4°17'32.0"W
Camping Bonterra Park, Benicàssim, a slightly industrial Campsite with excellent facilities but too big for us. GPS 40°03'31.4"N 0°04'19.9"E
Free Aire, Morella, Excellent facilities fresh water and waste, with a view of the most lovely towns in Spain before you. The town is lit up at night at the weekends. another MUST see GPS 40°37'26.8"N 0°05'28.0"W
037 Free Aire, Jalance A pleasant stop when in transit, town lovely but we could not find a restaurant open but such is life. Water and waste disposal available free. GPS 39°11'15.0"N 1°04'34.0"W A side not Spain's largest nuclear site is 3 k's away. An an amazing sight at 1000m altitude. It has it's own dam for cooling water.
Camping Didota, Oropesa del Mar a simple campsite great facilities narrow access to pitches. GPS 40°07'16.1"N 0°09'30.9"E Has a great value restaurant and is right beside the beach.
Camping Ciudad de Albarracin, Albarracin, a lovely location with great walks nearby, Good site GPS 40°24'42.2"N 1°25'37.1"W. But the town is stunning a MUST see.
Camping Ribamar, Alcossebre, This is a stunning campsite 5* luxury in an amazing location 40°16'12.7"N 0°18'23.0"E We really recommend this site and the location. Alcossebre is what you would hope that Spain could be low rise well presented and geat beaches.
Area Camping Car La Marina, El Saler A paid Aire €11 no electric and not worth the money. GPS 39°23'12.1"N 0°19'58.0"W
Freedom Camp, Puerto Deportivo, Denia. The rain Poured and we parked on the harbour road with spectacular sea views. GPS 38°50'15.8"N 0°07'16.9"E38°50'15.8"N 0°07'16.9"E
Camping Altomira, Navajas. A Stunning Campsite great value with our ASCI discount card. On the longest Via Verde in Spain. Really recommend this site. GPS 39°52'25.2"N 0°30'35.4"W
Valencia Camper Park, Valencia 39°34'46.8"N 0°26'43.7"W Another paid Aire very near a Metro station for access to Valencia. Very clean. €15 per night including electricity.
Camping La Serradora, Peralejos de las Truchas 40°35'37.7"N 1°55'42.1"W, Another great find not in any books, €20 a night including electricity. Fantastic cycling, walking, hiking. Right by a river. Lovely owners very helpful. will be heading back.
Playa Municipal - Cuneca Freedom Camp 40°05'11.6"N 2°07'46.0"W Parked beside a river, no services other than a dustbin. Close to town and cycle routes. Free
Camping El Greco - Toledo 39°51'54.0"N 4°02'48.0"W expensive at €30 per night including electricity. But located really close to the city with lovely views.
Camping Los Batanes, Lagunas de Ruidera 38°56'14.7"N 2°50'51.9"W Stunning campsite in natural park €21 including electricity
Los Alcázares Narejos Paid Aire 37°45'47.4"N 0°49'52.3"W Back again! Very pleasant spot, how paid Aires should be done. €11 per night €3 for electricity
Mula Village Free Aire 38°02'22.6"N 1°28'53.7"W free, water and waste disposal. The smell of orange Blossom was amazing.
Los Alcázares Narejos Paid Aire 37°45'47.4"N 0°49'52.3"W, Very pleasant spot, how paid Aires should be done. €11 per night €3 for electricity
Puntas de Calnegre Paid Aire 37°30'44.4"N 1°24'43.2"W A lovely spot €6.50 no electricity
San Jose Cabo de Gata Freedom Camp, a carpark but safe and secure near the beach lovely.
Guejar Sierra Camping Los Lomas, high in the Sierra Nevada
Motril Camping Playa de Poniente a surreal town did not rally like.
Malaga Paid Aire (Rincon La Vctoria), this was a lovely site the owner could not be more helpful. recommend.
Antequera Aire, a lovely town, the aire is beside the football ground. Fine for a night. The town is beautiful and the aire is close.
Cabra Aire, our favorite aire, a most beautiful town lots to do, only two spaces, but lots to do here. There is a Via Verde right beside the aire a 68km cycle track on a disused railway track. You can cycle for miles without killing yourself!
Montilla our first Freedom Camp, Literally out side a Bodega as the aire promised in the town by Espana Discovery could not be found!
La Guijarrosa, Camping La Campina, this was a lovely campsite south of Cordoba recommend.
Palma Del Rio Aire, OK a car park where we could get rid of waste and sleep, seemed safe but busy.
El Rocio Camping La Aldea, very good quality campsite.
Seville Aire Puerto Gelves, a wonderful paid aire, 10 km outside Seville bus to town outside, easy to cycle.
Estepona Camping Parque Tropical, less said the better.
Tarifa Camping Rio Jara a lovely campsite on the beach.
Cadiz Parking Santa Catalina, very expensive just to park.
Vejer Camping Vejer our first campsite,well laid out and clean. lovely owners recommend.