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Free camping with tent, is it possible? Also a question about nudist beaches

MatteJa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
09/2015: Camino Francés (from Ponferrada to Finisterre)

06/2016: planning to finish the Camino Francés (from SJPDP to Ponferrada)
Hello fellow pilgrims, next summer I will walk the "Camino del Norte", i have two questions for you, any information would be awesome, as I tried to search on Google but there are some misleading information:

1) Is it possible to "free camp with a tent", i mean, set up the tent late afternoon, cook/sleep and then leave when the sun sets? I read there isn't a general rule In Spain, every municipality makes his own rule I think, anyone ever tried on the Camino del Norte and had problems with the rangers?

2) I don't like labels, but most people would call me "a naturist or a nudist" as I love relaxing on a nudist beach on my free day. I have heard there are some nudist beaches while recurring the Camino del Norte; Someone knows a nice nudist beach to recommend (nearby the camino path), I prefer them to be as savage as possible, unspoilt and with the less affluence of people as possible (I don't want to sound picky, I just like to hear the nature and the sea as the best sound for my ears, it clear my mind from all negative thoughts).

Thank you very much! :)
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
Hello fellow pilgrims, next summer I will walk the "Camino del Norte", i have two questions for you, any information would be awesome, as I tried to search on Google but there are some misleading information:

1) Is it possible to "free camp with a tent", i mean, set up the tent late afternoon, cook/sleep and then leave when the sun sets? I read there isn't a general rule In Spain, every municipality makes his own rule I think, anyone ever tried on the Camino del Norte and had problems with the rangers?

2) I don't like labels, but most people would call me "a naturist or a nudist" as I love relaxing on a nudist beach on my free day. I have heard there are some nudist beaches while recurring the Camino del Norte; Someone knows a nice nudist beach to recommend (nearby the camino path), I prefer them to be as savage as possible, unspoilt and with the less affluence of people as possible (I don't want to sound picky, I just like to hear the nature and the sea as the best sound for my ears, it clear my mind from all negative thoughts).

Thank you very much! :)
Google Nudist Beaches in Spain ,
And be very careful of local rules
 

martyseville

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
a/a
You could possibly do that at some of the A'bergs.
I tent, hammock, camped in some places n the Camino. Most of the time was at a A'berg. Paid my fee. Set up outside. Good nights sleep.

Why set up and then depart at sunset?
You going to walk all night in the dark?? Not a good idea.

If stealth camping I would not advise cooking.

When I did stealth camp I set up late and got up early. No cooking, smoking, music or lights. Left the area better than I found it.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
'Wild camping' is illegal in Asturias and much of the Norte therefore. You might get permission to camp in some places from the owner, or at an albergue. The latter, at least, would probably expect some fee to cover other services (water/toilet etc). Outside fires/cooking of any sort was banned in much of Spain this year because of fire risk. (Local public barbecues were covered and out of use).
Did you mean sunrise and not sunset - you cannot see the signs in the dark!
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via de la Plata (2013/2014)
Via Podiensis, Camino Francés (2015)
Camino del Norte (2017)
Playa de Torimbia is a very beautiful nudist beach. It is in between Llanes and Ribadesella, I think about 1,5 km from the Camino.When you arrive at the car park, you still have to walk down on a dirt path for about 20 minutes (and up afterwards...).
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
As has been explained on this forum, though in another context, nudity in public is lawful in Spain (within certain set boundaries). Hence any beach in Spain is a 'nudist/naturist' beach. Some beaches, Like the platja des Balmins in Sitges, are famous. Others are just a space beside the sea where few will take any notice.

Wild camping, fires: there are endless threads on that topic on this forum. You, of course, can do whatever you want. You could even try naked wild camping if you like ( though I'd be wary of the mosquitoes and the tics). Just, please don't do what bears do without a bit of discretion, and please don't piss off the locals who put up with enough grief from peregrinos and their ways.

Buen Caminos
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
While Tincatinker's beach comments are accurate, I would add the advice of a Spanish peregrina, who suggests that naturists go as far as possible along the beach away from the village or populated area (e.g., the playa at Zarautz, where apparently the 500m or so at the east end is considered acceptable use locally). She said that Spaniards were sensible on such matters, but each side needed to extend courtesy to the other. I believe that Ballota playa, between Soto de Luina and Cadavedo, is also generally recognized.

Given the strength of undertow in the Bay of Biscay, all beach users will be extremely careful (as in, reluctant) about going into the water. A Guardia in the Basque country told me that every season, the Guardia Civil's divers recover the bodies of over-ambitious swimmers.
 

MatteJa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
09/2015: Camino Francés (from Ponferrada to Finisterre)

06/2016: planning to finish the Camino Francés (from SJPDP to Ponferrada)
Thank you all for the messages, sorry for my english, but maybe I wrote wrong, I wasn't asking "permission" to camp, I will camp. I was asking if someone did this kind of camino with a tent. I also walked 2 times the frances and once Via de la Plata and stayed in albergues. It was an awesome experience, I had so much fun and met so many amazing people and sure I will miss this part of the camino. However when I went to sleep I was feeling nauseated, it wasn't a pilgrimage after all, hell I was staying in albergues, some really nice and was eating good food, some times even "the pilgrim's menu", but I wasn't a pilgrim, I was just a tourist.

In conclusion, if you have some info about wild camping, good places with beautiful views or any advice for me, send me a pm please. Thank you very much :)

Thank you very much to: and others

@Tia Valeria Yes I meant sunrise sorry!
@Luka Thank you so much for the info :)
@Tincatinker wow I didn't know that! This is awesome, so I will definitely walk the Norte and just look for hidden beaches to chill. Thank you!
@oursonpolaire Thatk you very much!
@martyseville Thank you very much. :=)
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
@MatteJa we did the Norte with a tent. Carried it all the way, and only used it six times. I would not bother again. There is plenty of accommodation along the Norte, of all kinds. Much of the Norte is in tourist/resort areas, with not many places suitable for wild camping. In the areas of natural beauty, apart from a few designated places, wild camping is strictly illegal and the prohibition is enforced by rangers.
 

MatteJa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
09/2015: Camino Francés (from Ponferrada to Finisterre)

06/2016: planning to finish the Camino Francés (from SJPDP to Ponferrada)
Thank you @Kanga =). When I looked at the pictures I was thrilled to walk the C. del Norte, however by what I am reading here I am starting to think it is very far away from my needs, so I think I will have to plan another route with less tourism involved, that maybe parallels the Camino de Santiago, as it is too touristy nowadays for me. Thank you :)
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
Well @MatteJa we did not use the tent much, but we loved the Norte! It is very beautiful.
 

MatteJa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
09/2015: Camino Francés (from Ponferrada to Finisterre)

06/2016: planning to finish the Camino Francés (from SJPDP to Ponferrada)
@Kanga I am sure it is beautiful, just looking at the pictures got me goosebumps, however I am not looking for a walk - albergue experience, I did it in the past already. I was thinking about my past camino experiences and at the end of the day I must say it is not very different from rural tourism. This year I am looking for a more "true" experience, setting up a tent whenever I find a good spot and listen to Nature.

I will do more research, some people already wrote me useful info and this is why I am writing here hehe.

Thank you =)
 

CaminoJoy123

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017
I have met people who did wild camping on the Norte and on the Frances. It's called wild camping not free camping. Sometimes, when you get permission, it's just called sleeping in a tent.

Everyone's approach was different. Some camped on albergue grounds with permission. I think it's more normal to camp on the albergue grounds on the Norte than it is on the Frances. I think on the Norte the camper gets a big discount or is donativo, I don't recall. Note that some Norte albergues already have tents set up because they get full.

Anyway, some campers told me they asked a landowner for permission. Hmm, wonder if that's true.

Some said they camped on church property. They told me it's always legal to sleep under a church eave. Hmm wonder if that's true.

I think in a small town, some used the plaza mejor? Hmm wonder if that's true, or legal.

Some said they simply walked off the trail a short way. Here I should mention that some of the guys had hammocks, not tents. If you don't pitch a tent it's legal? Hmm, wonder if that's true.

Some did it for a while and then stopped. So they're telling me of a previous camino. Some did it becaus they wanted to be alone with a woman. Some did it to save money. Some liked nature. Some liked independence. Some didn't like albergue dorms or snoring or bedbugs. Some did it for a challenge. Some said it was ok. Some complained of dogs and even wild pigs.

I think it helps to be European in the first place. And to have very good Spanish communication skills.

I don't know how they worked out cooking, dishwashing, showering, laundering, pooping. Although if you eat at restaurants some of this is addressed. And the Norte has public bathrooms and outdoor showers, particularly near beaches.

Regarding the beaches, as others have said, all Spanish beaches are basically nude beaches. But yes be snsible.

You'll notice beaches don't always have changing rooms. So people are changing clothes right on the beach. They do this discreetly, warappong a towel around themselves and dropping the wet trunks or bottoms, then pulling up the dry shorts.

The truth is, from what I recall, women naturally take off their tops. But it's really not common for men to go bottomless.
 
Camino(s) past & future
I live next to the Grand Châtenet section
Thank you @Kanga =). When I looked at the pictures I was thrilled to walk the C. del Norte, however by what I am reading here I am starting to think it is very far away from my needs, so I think I will have to plan another route with less tourism involved, that maybe parallels the Camino de Santiago, as it is too touristy nowadays for me. Thank you :)
Come to France, I live just off the Tours route and see few 'pilgrims ' some tent some B&B. Here also in France you can be naked as there is no law to stop you but also no law which says you can so it's pick the right spot.
 

long trails

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2012
Don't be put off by comments such as wild camping being strictly illegal, lots of rangers hunting you down etc. I have wild camped in countries way more stricter than Spain and never had an issue.

Just leave no trace and setup late, rise early. This is the best advice.

Camping at albergues is also a good option. I did that on the CF a few times. Best of both worlds.
 

AriJoaquin

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Santiago, Frances. From Saint Jean Pier de Port to Finisterra. Year 2015
I have met people who did wild camping on the Norte and on the Frances. It's called wild camping not free camping. Sometimes, when you get permission, it's just called sleeping in a tent.

Everyone's approach was different. Some camped on albergue grounds with permission. I think it's more normal to camp on the albergue grounds on the Norte than it is on the Frances. I think on the Norte the camper gets a big discount or is donativo, I don't recall. Note that some Norte albergues already have tents set up because they get full.

Anyway, some campers told me they asked a landowner for permission. Hmm, wonder if that's true.

Some said they camped on church property. They told me it's always legal to sleep under a church eave. Hmm wonder if that's true.

I think in a small town, some used the plaza mejor? Hmm wonder if that's true, or legal.

Some said they simply walked off the trail a short way. Here I should mention that some of the guys had hammocks, not tents. If you don't pitch a tent it's legal? Hmm, wonder if that's true.

Some did it for a while and then stopped. So they're telling me of a previous camino. Some did it becaus they wanted to be alone with a woman. Some did it to save money. Some liked nature. Some liked independence. Some didn't like albergue dorms or snoring or bedbugs. Some did it for a challenge. Some said it was ok. Some complained of dogs and even wild pigs.

I think it helps to be European in the first place. And to have very good Spanish communication skills.

I don't know how they worked out cooking, dishwashing, showering, laundering, pooping. Although if you eat at restaurants some of this is addressed. And the Norte has public bathrooms and outdoor showers, particularly near beaches.

Regarding the beaches, as others have said, all Spanish beaches are basically nude beaches. But yes be snsible.

You'll notice beaches don't always have changing rooms. So people are changing clothes right on the beach. They do this discreetly, warappong a towel around themselves and dropping the wet trunks or bottoms, then pulling up the dry shorts.

The truth is, from what I recall, women naturally take off their tops. But it's really not common for men to go bottomless.
Hi! I walked it 12 years ago. I did not camp but I have a yoga mat and a sleeping bag. I did because sometimes you can find the hostels all full, specially because many people rush their day to get early and get a bed of their choice. It is very boring that way and you miss a lot! I walked 600 miles and slept outside like three times. It is safe and you will be fine. Camping is not something that is encouraged but I found people that did just little off the path. Keep it simple, no fires and you should be fine.
 

long trails

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2012
Yes camping is rarely encouraged because many people seem to have a problem with others getting something for nothing e.g. if they pay for albergues every night then so should everyone else.

Freedom or wild camping in New Zealand is legal in many places but it doesn't stop locals calling young tourists 'freeloaders', despite the fact they do it too!

It's a shame that more people don't go by the 'live and let live' mantra.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
Yes camping is rarely encouraged because many people seem to have a problem with others getting something for nothing e.g. if they pay for albergues every night then so should everyone else.

Freedom or wild camping in New Zealand is legal in many places but it doesn't stop locals calling young tourists 'freeloaders', despite the fact they do it too!

It's a shame that more people don't go by the 'live and let live' mantra.
IMO this has nothing to do with 'something for nothing' but is a matter of respect for local laws, especially those relating to fire risk etc. IMO we should not encourage pilgrims to knowingly break the local laws. Apart from the illegality if we are not careful to comply with the laws it can also makes all pilgrims unpopular.
Other countries allow wild camping so that is good for those who prefer that style of hike. However (again IMO) when on pilgrimage, or a hike, we should try our best to conform to the laws of the country we are in.
 

MatteJa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
09/2015: Camino Francés (from Ponferrada to Finisterre)

06/2016: planning to finish the Camino Francés (from SJPDP to Ponferrada)
Thank you all very much for your messages and sorry if I reply only now but I don't use the computer so often.
@CaminoJoy123 Thank you very much! I called it "free camping" as english is not my L1, but yes mean camping in nature, so "wild camping", ok. :) now I know. I have already decided to wild camp, still haven't decided which path to follow, but el Camino del Norte is really tempting :). I am italian and I have studied spanish at the university, my spanish language skills are far from being perfect, but I can communicate with no problems with locals. However I am convinced that non verbal communication is the best, a smile > a thousand words. I will just be respectful of the people and places as always and always ask permission, also to make fire, if they say yes, it's yes, i dont care about the law, only about the landowner permit.
Thank you very much for your advices, they are sooo important for me!!

@Tuesday Wildchild I was actually thinking about walking from Turin (Italy) to Lourdes, recurring the via Domizia and the rue d'Arles and rue de Toulouse, then from Lourdes to Biarritz and then Irun and start the Norte. But I don't know if I have the time.

@long trails Thank you man, my thoughts exactly. Some people live in constant fear nowadays and they think there is only one way to do things, which is the easiest and most confortable for sure, but not authentic (my personal opinion)...boh

@AriJoaquin Yes you miss a lot indeed, last time I did the frances like 90% of people were booking the albergue, I mean...what the...

@Al the optimist Thank you Al, will def go there!! ALso Bilbao looks amazing!

@Tia Valeria No one encourages me to break local laws, as at the end of the day, I am the only one that can decide how to do things. I think IF I ask the local landowner if I could set up a small fire (in a canister stove, so in a restricted area), and they say YES, I would do it. Sometimes the law is too strict, you know. Personal opinion
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
" I am the only one who can decide how to do things"

Splendid. Then please decide to act like a responsible person. Which means only camping in designated areas and not lighting fires, even, yes, a little canister stove. You may wish to reconsider your viewpoint. "sometimes the law is to strict" - sometimes the law is totally bloody ridiculous but the place to contest the law is in the courts and parliaments of your peers not in some poor bloody peasants crops.
 

MatteJa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
09/2015: Camino Francés (from Ponferrada to Finisterre)

06/2016: planning to finish the Camino Francés (from SJPDP to Ponferrada)
@Tincatinker I get your point but imagine this situation: You get to the destination of the day but you don't like it for whatever reason, so you decide to continue even though is getting late (when I walked the Camino Francés I never walked less then 33-38km a day, except for the first day, because I like to walk during the late afternoon too), you then get to the next town, but the albergue is full, so you continue and ask some local if you could set up the tent and cook your dinner in their land. If they say YES, why would it be a problem? I don't get it.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
@MatteJa I like your scenario - permission from a land -owner to do what you need to meet your needs. And with permission and understanding from both sides there is no problem. The problem will frequently be in encountering the land-owner or finding any-one who can tell you who the land-owner is or where they might be found. And then what do you do? Camp anyway - if the land-owner turns up you can always apologise and if they object you can move on. Or maybe the land-owner will remain blissfully unaware of your presence. You can light your little fire and dig your little cat-hole and move on in the morning leaving hardly a scar.

The reality on the Camino Frances, and increasingly on other routes as well, is a failure by the peregrino throngs to understand a few basic concepts. People light camp fires in woodland, they shit behind haystacks, they hang their balsas of empty boccadilo wraps, drink cans and plastic water bottles in the hedgerows, they trample un-mown grass and 'take' just a few grapes / figs / apples / beans or whatever else takes their fancy. They even shit close to water sources and then declare that they will only drink bottled water 'cos the stuff in the fuentes might be contaminated.

I have every respect for the likes of you and @long trails. People who know how to live on the land. I was raised in copse and lay-by. Tinker isn't just a soubriquet. But in a public forum. Read by the innocent, the unworldly and the uninformed I feel obliged to put the contrarian view. Wild camping is not a good idea, especially not in Spain and even more especially along the popular camino routes. The Camino Frances is a linear city with a 250,000 population all facing in the same direction and shuffling west. And: despite the best efforts of Berking.com; we've-got-your -camino. org, and all the rest of them few find themselves without a bed for the night or at least a roof or a church porch.

I wish you well on all your roads
 

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