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 Aires We use All the Aires of Spain and Portugal Vol 4 from Vicarious books. Plus, we use two smartphone apps, Park4night and Camper Contact produced by the Dutch Camper Club.
- 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.
We hope this helps you on your tour, any questions ask us.
David and Karen