Here's a little list of tips we've compiled for living on the road in Spain.
Spains's official national language is Spanish. Other regional languages such as Basque and Catalan are also spoken.
Spain's official currency is the Euro. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted. Be prepared to use cash in smaller towns and some petrol stations.
Almost every town, beach, park and walking path has a tap which is usually drinking water and fairly often is straight from the source. Check out our map of water points here.
You can get post delivered to any post office in Spain by addressing it as "Lista de Correos". There doesn't appear to be a charge for this service. ID is required. The package should be addressed as follows:
Lista de Correos
Street name, number
Addresses of all the post offices in Spain can be found at www.correos.es
In larger post offices you will have to press a button to get a ticket with your place in the queue written on it. Some have two queues; one for Envios (sending) and one for Recogidas (recieving) but this is rarely the case.
Diesel: Gasoleo. Gasoleo B is heating oil only.
Petrol: 95, 98 Gasolina
You can check local fuel prices using El Pais, an independant website which is updated regularly with current fuel prices.
Bottled gas is available at all fuel stations. 220g camping gas canisters are fairly expensive; Chinese shops are often the cheapest places for these.
Rubbish bins and recycling facilities are found everywhere on the streets.
· Built-up areas 31 mph (50 km/h)
· 2nd category roads outside built-up areas 55 mph (90 km/h)
· 1st category roads outside built-up areas 62 mph (100 km/h)
· Motorways 74 mph (120 km/h)
· Motorways and dual carriage ways in built-up areas 49 mph (80km/h)
All roads beginning with AP are toll roads, which stands for Auto Peaje. About 20% of roads in Spain are toll roads. Fortunately there is nearly always a National N route running parallel.
Compulsory items to carry in your vehicle always.
· Spare wheel – and the tools to change a wheel, or a tyre repair kit.
· Warning triangle
· Reflective jacket
The official police stance on wild camping in vehicles is as follows:
· You must be parked and not camping - anything outside the van denotes camping, including steps and side windows.
· You must NOT be parked within 100m of a road, river or from a designated paid camping site.
· You must not sleep within the borders of a national park or reserve.
· You must be parked to sleep at least 200m from the shoreline.
Wild camping in Spain - as in many countries - is a legal grey area. As a general rule if you are out of the way, not on private property or in densely populated tourist areas you will be okay to stay in your van overnight. Just look out for signs and restrictions. Police tend to look differently at the situation if you have chairs out and awning up etc., so just keep it discreet and move on regularly and you should be fine.
Spain is a vast and varied country, with the North being green and mountainous and the South having a more desert-like landscape, with an enormous 4964km coastline scattered with wild beaches that are perfect for camping. While we Brits tend to think of sunny Spain as a winter holiday destination, the North can get pretty chilly and even prone to snow. The people are warm and friendly and eager to share a beer and a plate of tapas with you, just beware of garages who might try to rip you off.
We spent two months exploring the North of Spain and we only covered less than a quarter of the country's entire mass. Asturias and Basque were our particular favourite regions for many reasons, not least the mountains bordering France around Hondaribia, the secret beaches such as Playa de San Julian and the coastal drive between Geteria and Zarautz. Above all, make sure you visit the Picos de Europa, the most breathtaking mountains South of the Pyrenees. It is easy to find a nice spot to wild camp in too, whether you're in the mountains or on the coast.
We didn't have any bad experiences in Spain to speak of (aside from the aforementioned enormous garage bill). The cost of living is cheap, the weather is mild and there's loads to explore. What more could you want?
When you're in Spain make sure you stock up on Pimento, a smokey, spicy type of paprika used in paella but which is great in all sorts of dishes (we found the best place to buy it from was a chain of shops called Dia). If you fancy something sweet aside from the obvious Tapas and paella, the Spanish also do a type of croissant which is filled with delicious vanilla cream. And if you fancy a hot drink try a Bonbón, a shot of espresso served with condensed milk, or a hot chocolate which comes as a thick, sweet drink which the Spanish usually dunk their churros into (if you want to make it at home the powder is available in most supermarkets such as Eroski).