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Camping along the Camino Frances


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I recently made the pilgrimage from St. Jean de Pied to Finnesterre.
I would like to do this again, with better preparation.
I have sleep apnea and the loud snoring that comes with it. This was a problem for others in the refugios, who were kept awake by it.
Can anyone tell me whether there are enough camping places to walk the entire way, not staying in refugios, but camping only? If there is a guide to camp sites, or places where camping is allowed, I would appreciate knowing about it. My overall experience was magical and transformational, but I would not want to subject other pilgrims to my snoring again and so I would need to camp alone. I will welcome any suggestions very much.
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I'm starting from Le Puy in late june and intend taking a very small tent mainly because I get the impression that this time of year will be fairly busy and gites in France could well be full but that threre are plenty of camping sites. This could also be an option in Spain-although when I walked the VDLP last year I did not see any camping sites but I believe the French way is a lot more geared up to the camino.
So if anyone with experience of camping on the camino could pass on their knowledge I/we would be grateful
The CSJ guide lists camp sites at each place if available.
Based on that you could work out distances each day to a destination that is listed as having camping facilities. I would allow a contingency for camp site being closed for whatever reason – they might just be seasonal.
Am I right in assuming that Refuges also have camping space?
I can think of nothing better than lying out under the stars much better than being inside.
Given the right moon and a clear night would it be possible to walk during part of the night say across the flatter more open parts?
Anyone attempted this?

Camping on the camino

In 2004 I drew up an excel list of camp sites along the camino based on the book "Guia oficial de Hoteles Y Campings del Camino de Santiago." You can get this book free charge from TourSpain - contact:
If you would like a copy of the list, please mail at:

sillydoll (at) gmail . com

There is very little 'wild' camping in Spain. Many refuges are in villages or towns and don't have land for tents.
Most camp sites are only open in the summer months - some from June or July.
There are many little inns (fondas) hostales, hotels along the way that you could stay in if you can't camp - usually about 18E a night.

Good luck with your plans!
Re: Camping on the camino

hola again miss silly doll! ive a feeling i will meet you many times over the next few weeks while doing my research :D after reading so many things about bed bugs im very tempted to also bring a tent for the 3 of us to sleep in. i dont mind if i meet snakes or spiders or anything like that i just have a fear of things walking into my hair a night time. its long! and my daughters too. so could you send me the list of campsites? please? we will probably walk between astorga and santiago or and santiago to finisterre.
sillydoll said:
In 2004 I drew up an excel list of camp sites along the camino based on the book "Guia oficial de Hoteles Y Campings del Camino de Santiago." You can get this book free charge from TourSpain - contact:
If you would like a copy of the list, please mail at:

sillydoll (at) gmail . com

There is very little 'wild' camping in Spain. Many refuges are in villages or towns and don't have land for tents.
Most camp sites are only open in the summer months - some from June or July.
There are many little inns (fondas) hostales, hotels along the way that you could stay in if you can't camp - usually about 18E a night.

Good luck with your plans!
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
Official campsites from Astorga to Santiago:

Villafranca del Bierzo
Palas de Rei
Monte do Gozo (Bando)

Many albergues will sell camping in available lawn.
Many towns and villages along the Camino in Spain have designated rest areas just before entering or just as you leave the settlements. They are usually provided with picnic tables, running water which is not always potable(!) shade, and a trash disposal area. Usually plenty of room to stretch out in a sleeping bag, put up a small tent, and no farmer will enraged because you pitched in his newly planted wheat field. With rain, it is possible to spread a plastic sheet or taurpalin on the table, pitch over the table tying down on the benches and sleep high and dry in the peak of your tent.
thanks for that people! sounds great! seeing as i will be traveling with a seven year old child and her daddy i think ill stay off the table on the wet nights and go to an albergue :D :D but i have such a fear of those bed bugs that i will definitely bring the tent just incase. can anyone suggest what type of tent would be suitable? may/june walking. a big heavy family tent is what i use here in ireland and will not be coming to spain! i presume there is a seperate forum for camping it possible also to camp between santiago and finisterre? im giving ourselves 5 nights to do it. very easy pace. i think my daughters legs might be tired by then.
My post about Camping on the Camino might need to be up-dated - but the links are still relevant and they work! ... ances.html

I have walked to Santiago 6 times - in May/June/July/August/September - and have never been bitten by bed-bugs.
How about camping outside of designated camp areas? I know in Australia this is frowned upon so I'm curious if you would get into trouble doing it in Spain. I met a Spaniard whilst hiking who only camped out, we crossed each others paths for weeks but my broken spanish and his non-existent english meant that whilst we had very entertaining 'chats' and enjoyed many a beer together I could never question in detail about his camping. He certainly wasnt sticking to designated areas. One morning I hiked past him packing up just outside of Ruitelan, he had the most beautiful location overlooking a river.

So, if camping isnt restricted to certain areas this would open up a lot more opportunities for you (and some really amazing places to wake up in!)
Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.
There are rules. They don't seem to be enforced. Few pilgrims camp, so ignoring the rules may work now. If there is a large influx of campers, it could trigger enforcement. I am a guest in Spain. I am always leery about ignoring my hosts instructions. Others are less rule-oriented! Do the right thing as you see it.
Unlike other countries in Europe and the UK, camping outside of established campgrounds is illegal in Spain. However, in low density population areas, it can be done as long as one keeps in mind some rules of common sense: Out of sight is out of mind, move well away from the Camino or sende, stay well clear of any water (200 feet minimum), don't build fires as they are destructive anyway; clean up after yourself and stay low key as in not having huge numbers of people partying and getting loud in your camp. It is always polite to ask landowners to camp in pastures and the like. This is more easily done in some areas than others. Galicia would be a great place to do some camping especially on some of the scenic alternate routes. Have fun...
My Daughter and I camped many times on our Camino; this way we could enjoy the company at the Alberues if we wished, but also , we were able to enjoy the peace of our own company when we felt the need.
We always were considerate, and left no trace of our stay; and in return were never chalenged or moved on.
There are a number of Albergues that happily let us camp in their grounds....which was a nice mix occasionaly. Naturaly you would pay the full rate as you would if you were using a bed.
I think you could find it difficult to guarantee to camp every night, unless you were prepared to do extra, or less distance some days to keep you discreetly away from places that you just know and feel that you should't be pitching at......I'm sure we all have a sense that tells us that.
I would be very interested as to how you get on with your venture.
All the Best,
In Spain it is legal to wild camp if you are further than 1 km from a campsite. We had no problems camping on a 4 month trip thru Portugal, Spain, France and the UK. As long as you don't camp on crops - use the zillions of bits of rough ground or picnic areas and don't leave any rubbish! If in doubt - ask! Most people we met were more worried about us getting cold/wet/windblown, quite often we were directed to a better place to camp. Campsites can be great when you need a shower etc - but they tend to be expensive, especially in France. Also most facilities seem unavailable outside august!
You can be proactive too - my husband strimmed around a horse field in exchange for a nights camp - saving the owners bad back. We have weeded borders at pubs before too. If you see something that needs doing - it can make a good exchange - most things can be explained with sign language!!!
As cyclists we were ready to be chucked out of albergues if more walkers came - most were quite happy for us to camp in the grounds and still use the showers/kitchen etc. Although as a disabled cyclist i was often given the disabled room if they had one!
Some of our most magical moments were spent camping - my favourite of all was after a monumental day climbing up Mont Jezkibel (Camino del Norte) we camped at the summit with a 360 degree panorama of the Pyrenees, coastline and Les Landes, watching the dusk fall, and all the tiny lights twinkle on from homes far away, eating freshly podded peas with scrambled egg, accompanied by cheap, hearty red wine........
Wild camping is legal in Spain but with some restrictions. You are not allowed to camp in "urban" areas, these areas are prohibited for military or touristic reasons, or within a 1km of an official campsite. Basically this means you cannot camp on tourist beaches, but if you are sensible and "wild camp" nearby, having some sensitivity to the rules, you can camp almost anywhere in the countryside. Avoid places called "Parques Naturales" because it is forbidden to place a tent there.

There are few ‘wild’ camping places on the Camino Frances as the route passes through many private and state owned farms and vineyards but you can always set up camp out-of-sight somewhere in the countryside - just don't light any fires and clear up after you.

For a map of all the camping sites in Spain:
Zoom in to about 400% on the map on page one and look at the green tent icons. You can also look at page two ‘per autonomia’ for camping locales.

For a list of ‘Aires’ in Spain go to on the left side of the page you will see Rechercher une aire,click on that and scroll down the page until you see Espagne.
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
Local law generally governs camping in Spain. Here is a portion of the law in Aragon:
Article 2 - Free camping is prohibited in all the territory of the Autonomous Community of Aragon. It may exercise modalities camping or outdoor housing governed by this Regulation.

Article 7. - Prohibitions.

In no case may fall campsites, campgrounds or camping in the following fields:

1. - In areas in which the General Land Use Plan or Planning Subsidiary Rules to the prohibition.
2. - In land in beds or dry beds of rivers or streams, and the power that can be flooded, and in those areas that are dangerous for any reason.
The appreciation of such extremes will be based on technical reports of the competent authority.
3. - At less than 150 meters from footage catchment population for consumption. This distance should be at least 300 meters to the point of waste water disposal camping. If the discharge takes place upstream channel this distance is 1 km. minimum.
4. - In the vicinity of industries annoying, unhealthy, harmful or dangerous, according to Decree 2414/61 of 30 November.
5. - In land located within 500 meters of monuments or historic-artistic, legally declared or they have been initiated in the declaration file date of application and archaeological sites.
6. - In land surrounding the perimeter of the maximum level of the reservoirs and the defining line the banks of lakes and ponds in a distance of 50 meters.
7. - In fields that pass by overhead power lines, except if the following conditions are met simultaneously:
a) that the line voltage is lower than 30 KV.
b) The height of the line is greater than 7 meters in the worst conditions.
c) That the line characteristics comply with the provisions of crosses reinforced, as Article 35 of the Rules of High Voltage Overhead Lines.
d) There should be an area of ​​prohibition of use under the projection of the line, 5 feet on each side of the wire ends, setting a beacon through fence, landmarks or any procedure that effectively prevent vehicle access to the area prohibition of use, which will also be assembling tents, caravans or other forms of accommodation. Permission interior roads that cross movement of people and vehicles.
If the airline stranded outside the closed area isolated may be reduced to 2 meters on each side.

e) That the supports located inside the enclosure have ground ring with ohmic resistance corresponding to traffic areas and are surrounded with fence 2 meters high situated 2 meters or outside support.
f) In the case of high voltage lines must camp into two zones exclusively by one or more vials under the line. The heights and characteristics of crosses shall be consistent in the regulation of high voltage overhead lines.
There will be a closing fence on both sides of the line height of 2 meters, located at least 10 meters of conductors measured in horizontal projection ends and the sides of roads crossing the form to ensure inaccessibility of people and vehicles to the area under the line.

8. - The situated at a distance less than 500 meters radius of those lands dedicated to storage of waste and solid waste and wastewater treatment facilities or industrial others.
9. - The sited more than 50 meters on either side of the railway counted from the outside edges of the excavation. Regarding roads are subject to the provisions in each case by the competent body, in any case prohibited the installation within 10 meters from the outer edge of excavation.
10. - In those lands or places, at the demand of military, industrial, commercial, tourism or protection of natural or other interests or public easements expressly established by law or regulation.
Other than the general prohibition, the restrictions are safety related, and rather common sense. Camping in a dump? In a flood plain? Under power lines? Other sections of the regulations address requirements for campgrounds. They are extensive and expensive, so I can see why official campgrounds want camping prohibited within a kilometer. They have to have water, toilets, waste disposal, etc., all requirements of law. The shoulder of the Camino has no such facilities or requirements, so does not incur the expense of providing for the care and safety of campers.

Willing albergues, on the other hand, have the facilities, if not the camping permit. They may not permit camping for reasons similar to those that limit pilgrims to the number of authorized beds -- fire and occupancy codes have a purpose! Accommodating pilgrims that arrive at a full albergue has its appeal, but it can be quite dangerous -- blocked hallways and fire escapes come to mind. About the time pilgrims die in an albergue fire, or hundreds of acres are burned by the campfire of a wild camper, regulations will take on new meaning (and force).

I still have not heard why pilgrims would not abide by the wishes of their host (except for "I want to," which is Lindsay Lohan's favorite justification). I am ready to be educated!

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