When you are planning your next road trip, there is one place that is the perfect contender, and that's Spain.
Spain is a country that has it all. Beautiful sunshine and hot weather, culture, architecture and a fascinating history too. Even if you are looking for a little winter sun to drive away those winter blues, Spain is the place to go.
A trip to Spain isn't all about the weather either, you've got beautiful food and wine, exciting places and incredible culture and architecture to explore while there.
A good old fashioned road trip is the best way to get the most out of any holiday somewhere new. It is the only way you can pack in as much as possible into one holiday whilst also giving yourself plenty of relaxing time too. It also isn't as challenging to plan as you would think. As long as your motorhome or caravan is ready and your paperwork is in order, the rest is easy. There are lots of fantastic campsites across Spain from which to choose.
Choosing when to go on a Spanish road trip holiday
When planning a road trip in any country, the first thing to consider is when you want to go. This isn't quite as simple as it may seem at first. Firstly, choosing when is convenient can be tricky. If you need to plan around school term times, a lot of this decision-making is already done for you. The downside to this is that it also limits you to only travelling during peak seasons.
One of the first things to consider is what season you would like to travel in. For some, the hot summer months are the only time to travel. But, for many others, the heat is too much to bear. Many parts of Spain have lovely weather all year round. So, you can travel in low season to avoid the crowds and still catch a few sun rays on your travels.
You do need to be aware of the camping and caravanning seasons in Spain before you start to plan your holiday. For most areas of Spain, campsites and caravan parks open in April and remain open till around October. There may be some with longer seasons, and some will be open all year round. But, if you plan to travel out of season, always make sure you check that your chosen campsites are open.
Driving in Spain
When driving in any country, it is essential to make sure you understand the rules of the road and make sure you take any paperwork into account required for driving. Spain isn't a difficult country to drive in, but you need to make sure that you understand the rules before starting.
Speed limits As in the UK, Spain has speed limits to which you need to adhere to. They also have speed cameras, so make sure you don't get caught out! As a motorhome driver, you also have some additional restrictions which you need to consider.
There are two sets of speed limits that apply to motorhomes. These are dependent on how big your motorhome is.
For motorhomes under 3500kgs:
On a road with no pavements and pedestrians need to share the same space as vehicles, the speed limit is usually 20 kilometres per hour.
In urban areas with pavements, the speed is 30 kilometres per hour.
Roads that are outside of urban areas have a speed limit of 80 kilometres an hour.
On roads that could be considered main roads, the speed is 90 kilometres per hour.
If you are travelling on an Autopista or motorway, the speed limit is 100 kilometres per hour.
For motorhomes over 3500kgs:
If the road has no pavement for pedestrians, the speed limit is 20 kilometres per hour.
In towns and cities where there is a pavement, the speed limit is 30 kilometres per hour.
In areas outside of urban towns, cities and villages, you should drive at 80 kilometres per hour or less.
For main roads, the speed limit is 80 kilometres per hour.
On motorways, the speed limit is 90 kilometres per hour.
This is for general guidance only, so make sure you check the rules are the same when you want to travel. Check the Spanish citizen's advice for further information on up to date speed limits.
Compulsory safety equipment
In many countries in Europe and around the world, there are rules on the type of equipment you should carry in your vehicle. For Spain, there are a few.
Two warning triangles, although this is changing to a V16 flashing emergency light instead.
A spare wheel and the equipment needed to change it, including a tyre repair kit.
A reflective jacket for each person in the vehicle.
For those who wear glasses, you should carry a spare pair in case you need them.
For motorhomes over 12 metres in length, you need two yellow reflectors on the back of the motorhome.
If you are carrying bikes or a load on the back of the vehicle that is larger than 10% of the total length of the vehicle, you need a red and white striped panel to indicate this.
In some regions of Spain, you are required to have winter tyres on the vehicle in winter.
If you can't adjust your headlight beam, you will need a converter.
Driving regulations and rules
Spain has similar regulations to the rest of Europe, but there are some things to be aware of.
If you use a device with a screen in your vehicle, it needs to be angled in a way as to not distract you. This doesn't apply to satnavs, but you should be aware that you can only touch the satnav if you are parked safely.
You can only use a phone if it is entirely hands-free and you do not need to touch the screen at all. You are also not allowed to use headphones or Bluetooth earpieces whilst driving.
All occupants of the vehicle should use seatbelts. Children need to be over 1.35 metres tall to use an adult seatbelt. Any children under this need an appropriate booster, car seat or seatbelt adapter.
Drinking and driving is not allowed.
Be aware that these may change, and you should always check the latest rules. Check Spain's citizen's advice for further information or the AA for up to date information on driving in Spain and other European countries.
Get your documents in order
Getting the documentation you need in order isn't quite as tricky as it might seem. For the most part, you already have exactly what you need. It is worth checking to make sure, though, so here are a few of the basics you might need to have.
Your driving licence is an obvious place to start. In order to drive in Spain, you need to be over 18 and hold a full driving licence that covers the vehicle type you are driving. Your UK-issued licence should be enough but check before you travel as rules are subject to change whilst we get used to the new rules and regulations in place after Brexit.
You need vehicle insurance. A third party cover at a minimum that covers driving in Europe. It is also worth considering ensuring you have as much cover as possible. You do not need a green card to drive in Spain or the rest of the EU.
Planning your itinerary - places to go and how to get there
Once you have planned out the documentation and worked out the rules of the road, then it's time to start planning the fun stuff! A road trip is all about the places you go and the journey to get there.
The first thing to consider is how you plan to get your motorhome there. If you own your own, then there are several routes you can consider that take you there. You can either book a ferry and sail to Spain, or you can drive from the UK, extending your trip with a few stops in France along the way. The choice is yours!
Once you are in Spain, then you can get down to planning your route. A great way to start this is to work out the really important things for you to see. Is there a particular attraction or region you want to visit? Write a list and then plan your route to take you from place to place. Then you can add in a few extra stops along the way and meander through Spain, experiencing the road trip to its full potential.
Booking your campsites
The itinerary may be the fun part, but so is booking your campsites. There are many wonderful campsites to choose from; you are spoilt for choice wherever you go in Spain. Luckily, we have a fantastic campsite finder that makes this process easy. Take a look at your itinerary and the stops you want to take. Then, use the easy-to-use tools to filter the location and any facilities you want included in your stay.
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As of 2021, there are 43 UNESCO sites in Spain, four of which are located in the Canary Islands, one in Ibiza and one in Mallorca (we've only included mainland sites). Spain joined the 8th Session in 1984 and inscribed five sites; Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, Córdoba, The Alhambra and the Generalife, Granada, Burgos Cathedral, Monastery and Site of the Escorial, Madrid and Park Güell, Palau Güell and Casa Milà, Barcelona.