Search over 55.000 Camino Questions

A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it


Advertisement
Camino Masks
12 different designs, shipped world wide from Santiago.
2021 Camino Guides
Most all Camino authors have decided to use 2020 guides for 2021, with free PDF files with updates coming in the spring. Get yours today.

Wild camping on Camino + New painting

weiho

Wei Ho
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances , September/October 2018
I wonder how practical it is to wild camping on the Camino. I can get an ultralight tent (weigh about 1.5 kg). So the weight is not a problem. But I remember I read it somewhere it said the official camping sites are usually quite far from Camino trail and it is prohibited to wild camping in Spain. Don’t know if this is true. I have three routes in mind, Portugues, Norte and Via da la Plate. The facilities on these routes are not as good as Frances. I think a tent is necessary in case I can’t get a bed in albergue.
2B0B00B3-503D-4728-A1A8-D69A5297EEA9.jpeg
 
Camino Magnets
A collection of Camino Fridge Magnets
Camino Cups
Browse our selection of Camino Cups on the forum store

Kimtom

Wannawalk
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances on bike (2014)
Frances on foot (2019)
Frances on foot (2020)
Your painting is beautiful!
I wild camped the Frances and the Portuguese to Porto from Santiago on a bicycle in Oct/Nov several years ago and walked the Frances this last March staying in albergues. On a future walk the only thing that would keep me from occasional wild camping would be the extra weight of a tent or bivy sack.
 
D

Deleted member 43780

Guest
I have wild camped (stealth camping) on all of my caminos.
Used hammock, light weight tent and bivy.
Found bivy is best used with a tarp.
Each has their own good and bads.

Most of the time I stopped in a a’burg. Paid. Shower, did clothes, went to eat and then went to my wild camping spot.
Normally found before sunset. Then went to store, a’burg, etc.
Coming back to spot / area at sunset.
No fires, no smoking, no cooking etc.
Never climb over fence or enter gate.
Left spot better than found it when I got up at sunrise.
I like to wild camp so don’t hear snoring, toilet flushing all night, talk, giggling , etc

Few times I went straight to stealth camping spot without stopping at a’burg.
I have body wipes to wipe down some before sleeping.
I have light weight sleeping bag.
Always have wool night cap and emerging blanket.

I have also stayed in private places, B&B, pensions, hotels etc.

Also slept with in garden area (with permission) of a A’burg.

Slept on porches, balcony, etc

I do not take cooking gear.

You will be surprised at how many spots there are to wild camp! All over the place.

Many on here frown on people who want to sleep outside.
 
Casa Ivar Pin
Custom hard enamel pin badge with silver coloured locking pin. Size: 30 mm.
Camino Socks
Browse the Camino Socks collection on the forum shop

weiho

Wei Ho
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances , September/October 2018
I have wild camped (stealth camping) on all of my caminos.
Used hammock, light weight tent and bivy.
Found bivy is best used with a tarp.
Each has their own good and bads.

Most of the time I stopped in a a’burg. Paid. Shower, did clothes, went to eat and then went to my wild camping spot.
Normally found before sunset. Then went to store, a’burg, etc.
Coming back to spot / area at sunset.
No fires, no smoking, no cooking etc.
Never climb over fence or enter gate.
Left spot better than found it when I got up at sunrise.
I like to wild camp so don’t hear snoring, toilet flushing all night, talk, giggling , etc

Few times I went straight to stealth camping spot without stopping at a’burg.
I have body wipes to wipe down some before sleeping.
I have light weight sleeping bag.
Always have wool night cap and emerging blanket.

I have also stayed in private places, B&B, pensions, hotels etc.

Also slept with in garden area (with permission) of a A’burg.

Slept on porches, balcony, etc

I do not take cooking gear.

You will be surprised at how many spots there are to wild camp! All over the place.

Many on here frown on people who want to sleep outside.
that is a very good piece of advice and very encouraging . thank you so much!
 

weiho

Wei Ho
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances , September/October 2018
Your painting is beautiful!
I wild camped the Frances and the Portuguese to Porto from Santiago on a bicycle in Oct/Nov several years ago and walked the Frances this last March staying in albergues. On a future walk the only thing that would keep me from occasional wild camping would be the extra weight of a tent or bivy sack.
thank you! i will also only do camping occasionally.
 

Yoyo

✿ Se hace el camino al andar. ✿
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I wonder how practical it is to wild camping on the Camino. I can get an ultralight tent (weigh about 1.5 kg). So the weight is not a problem. But I remember I read it somewhere it said the official camping sites are usually quite far from Camino trail and it is prohibited to wild camping in Spain. Don’t know if this is true. I have three routes in mind, Portugues, Norte and Via da la Plate. The facilities on these routes are not as good as Frances. I think a tent is necessary in case I can’t get a bed in albergue.
View attachment 57747
Love your painting and just walked out of Villar de Mazarife this morning.
 

journeycakes

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
September 2-October 7 (2013)
May 5-28 (2015)
In September 2013 I enjoyed an encounter with a young woman from Australia who was tent camping her way along the Camino Frances. Several of us pilgrims visited with her over food and drink at an outdoor table beside a small town albergue that also had a cafe. At one point she excused herself and went inside the albergue and took a shower. Later when the rest of us went indoors to dine on the pilgrim meal, she said her goodbyes and gathered up her backpack and the provisions she’d bought at a nearby store and headed out the albergue gate to set up her camp at a nearby site she’d scouted out earlier. Somehow I knew she’d be just fine overnight whether she camped on the quiet brush-covered and treed landscape outside of the town or if she’d chosen a walled yard with an abandoned and crumbling home inside the town as a place to set up her tent.
 
Last edited:
John Brierley Camino Frances Guide
This guide is one of the ones that has been around for over 15 years. Updated yearly. Please read the reviews.
Holy Year Credential
Get the HOLY YEAR Camino Credential (Passport) here.

RobinK*

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés (2012), incl. Muxia and Fisterra, Camino Portugues (2016), Camino Primitivo (2018)
In September 2012 my wife and I walked the CF. We pitched our tent probably half of the fourty nights. We loved it. I would have done it every day if I could have, but the lady appreciated a hot shower now and then ;-)
Sometimes we set up the tent in the garden of an albergue (paid for it and used facilities), at a camp site or just near a river out in the middle of nowhere, even on the meseta (pic). When sleeping in an albergue I often took my inflatable and sleeping bag and went to the yard of an albergue, the dining hall, the washing area, or whatever convenient location and slept there. This because often I could not sleep between the snoring fellow pilgrims or just got to hot in the sleeping halls. It was quit an adventure, but really loved it. On our other caminos (Portugues April 2016 and Primitivo June 2018) we only used the bunks in albergues or pensions. Got used to it and enjoyed just as much as the CF earlier. Official camp sites on the CF were sometimes a little of track, but not very. I did find them quit expensive though. Buen Camino!


57981

PS: Don't forget to check the inside of your gear (including shoes) in the morning before putting them on!
 
Last edited:

MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
I doubt that it is illegal to wild camp in Spain. In fact, I have seen many vids of folks doing just that. No camping facilities. But it is best to ask permission before pitching a tent. This old wives tale is generated by albergue owners.

On that, no real need for a tent where a tarp would suffice, and likely drop the weight in half, especially if walking poles are being used.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
I doubt that it is illegal to wild camp in Spain. In fact, I have seen many vids of folks doing just that.
Just because people post videos doesn't mean what theu're doing is OK. Camping with the permission of someone is one thing, but it's my understanding that wild camping IS illegal in Spain. Someone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
 

MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
Just because people post videos doesn't mean what they're doing is OK. Camping with the permission of someone is one thing, but it's my understanding that wild camping IS illegal in Spain. Someone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
So, with a little searching, the true answer to this question is yes, no and maybe. The Spanish Biker Blog provides all on free camping in Spain here, including translation of the governing Spanish Laws;


Now that we have all this, I must stress, DO NOT START ANY FIRES!!! That is a whole different thing and it is wise to stay away from this practice. Shame on Tom, Joost, Jack and Sarah!!!
 
Last edited:

camino.ninja

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 5 6,16,17,18,19,20
Primiti+Salvador 19
Portug. 17,18,20
Catalan 17
Norte 17
Plata 18
I wonder how practical it is to wild camping on the Camino. I can get an ultralight tent (weigh about 1.5 kg). So the weight is not a problem. But I remember I read it somewhere it said the official camping sites are usually quite far from Camino trail and it is prohibited to wild camping in Spain. Don’t know if this is true. I have three routes in mind, Portugues, Norte and Via da la Plate. The facilities on these routes are not as good as Frances. I think a tent is necessary in case I can’t get a bed in albergue.
View attachment 57747

You can get tents down to 500 grams. Have a look at Nordisk.eu or ZPacks.com ...but tents are not needed on those routes. If worried just bring a light sleeping pad and a sleeping bag (+10).
 
Silver Oxide Camino de Santiago pendent
Camino de Santiago pendant that has a shell on the front, and "Camino de Santiago" engraved on the back. Comes with a black cord. Pendent is slightly larger than a 50 euro cent coin, about 25mm.
Camino Cups
Browse our selection of Camino Cups on the forum store

hecate105

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
'09 Portuguese Estellas '14 Aurelia '16 St Davids '17 Via Augusta/V dl P. '18/'19 Michael Mary Way
I have wild camped all over Spain, Portugal and France (many other places too!) it is easy, simple and if anyone does notice you - they are usually concerned that you will be cold, or that you have enough food...
As long as you are gone first thing, leave no traces (I usually clean up a place if there is litter) and are respectful - no-one ever minds. (not in the last 53 years anyway...!)
We are all travellers in a strange land and all of us need to lay down our heads at some point. Not everyone can afford accommodation (even albergues mount up!) I always welcome strangers in my land and my garden, they are always welcome to camp - or have a bed for the night - we are all human - I cannot imagine anyone doing any differently.....
 

weiho

Wei Ho
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances , September/October 2018
I have wild camped all over Spain, Portugal and France (many other places too!) it is easy, simple and if anyone does notice you - they are usually concerned that you will be cold, or that you have enough food...
As long as you are gone first thing, leave no traces (I usually clean up a place if there is litter) and are respectful - no-one ever minds. (not in the last 53 years anyway...!)
We are all travellers in a strange land and all of us need to lay down our heads at some point. Not everyone can afford accommodation (even albergues mount up!) I always welcome strangers in my land and my garden, they are always welcome to camp - or have a bed for the night - we are all human - I cannot imagine anyone doing any differently.....
Great! Thank you!
 

weiho

Wei Ho
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances , September/October 2018
In September 2012 my wife and I walked the CF. We pitched our tent probably half of the fourty nights. We loved it. I would have done it every day if I could have, but the lady loved a hot shower now and then ;-)
Sometimes we set up the tent in the garden of an albergue (paid for it and used facilities), at a camp site or just near a river out in the middle of nowhere, even on the meseta (pic). When sleeping in an albergue I often took my inflatable and sleeping bag and went to the yard of an albergue, the dining hall, the washing area, or whatever convenient location and slept there. This because often I could not sleep between the snoring fellow pilgrims or just got to hot in the sleeping halls. It was quit an adventure, but really loved it. On our other caminos (Portugues April 2016 and Primitivo June 2018) we only used the bunks in albergues or pensions. Got used to it and enjoyed just as much as the CF earlier. Official camp sites on the CF were sometimes a little of track, but not very. I did find them quit expensive though. Buen Camino!


View attachment 57981

PS: Don't forget to check the inside of your gear (including shoes) in the morning before putting them on!
Thank you Robin. Your experience sounds brilliant to me!
 

Kathar1na

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
So, with a little searching, the true answer to this question is yes, no and maybe.
Beyond the shadow of a doubt it is illegal to wild camp in the comarca Odra-Pisuerga which includes Castrojeriz, Hontanas, Hornillos del Camino, and Itero del Castillo, see this recent article of 2 July 2019:

On 30 June 2019, a person had called the Guardia Civil to inform them that a tent had been put up in a public recreational area of a locality on the Camino de Santiago (the article specifies only the comarca). The Guardia Civil went there at 22:15 at night and found two persons who were occupying the tent and who said that they were walking the Camino de Santiago. The Guardia Civil also discovered that one of the two persons, according to her passport, had entered the Schengen area in March and had therefore overstayed her Schengen visa.​
The Guardia Civil started the procedure to expel the person with the illegal status from Spain and informed the other person about the nearest albergues where he or she could spend the night if he/she wished to do so.​

The author of the article thinks that this is an isolated case and not typical for the behaviour of the hundreds of pilgrims who have walked or are walking the Camino de Santiago as they stay in albergues and other accommodation. The article concludes with some comments about the legal situation of camping in Castilla y León.

PS: Google Translate will render "tienda" as shop. If you are puzzled: it means tent in this context.
 
Last edited:
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
The Guardia Civil went there at 22:15 at night and found two persons who were occupying the tent and who said that they were walking the Camino de Santiago. The Guardia Civil also discovered that one of the two persons, according to her passport, had entered the Schengen area in March and had therefore overstayed her Schengen visa.
Rules and laws can be annoying, irrational, and arbitrary. But there they are. Choose not to follow them at your own risk. Overstaying a Schengen visa and camping illegally seems an ideal recipe for misfortune.
 
Original artwork based on your pilgrimage or other travel photos.
Casa Ivar Pin
Custom hard enamel pin badge with silver coloured locking pin. Size: 30 mm.
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances April / May 19
Early one morning at the top of the hill outside Castrojeriz I met a bloke who had spent the night in the shelter there. The previous night the Guardia Civil had stopped their vehicle and had a quick look at him, then moved on without saying anything. Seems he had no trouble camping and no one was bothered as long as he picked an isolated spot.
I made a point of looking for camping spots as I walked, even though I was staying in albergues the entire way. A bit hard to find on the Meseta but in the forests of Galicia there were plenty of places to set up discreetly.
 
Last edited:

Kathar1na

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Early one morning at the top of the hill outside Castrojeriz I met a bloke who had spent the night in the shelter there. The previous night the Guardia Civil had stopped their vehicle and had a quick look at him, then moved on without saying anything. Seems he had no trouble camping and no one was bothered as long as he picked an isolated spot.
I made a point of looking for camping spots as I walked, even though I was staying in albergues the entire way. A bit hard to find on the Meseta but in the forests of Galacia there were plenty of places to set up discreetly.
„Is it illegal?“ and „Will I get caught?“ are obviously two different questions. I came across the article and found it remarkable for two reasons: first, that it said that they started a procedure for expelling a tourist with a minor period of overstaying, and secondly, that a (presumably local) person didn’t approve of wild camping and contacted the police who then were obliged to intervene. A cautionary tale, nothing more. The article does not provide many details otherwise.
 

anthikes

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016 SJPdP > SdC
2018 Porto > SdC
2019 Sevilla > SdC
I know it won't be classed as wild camping, but I took a UL tent on the Frances in 2016 and managed to camp a few times. I camped mainly in the grounds and gardens of albergues. I liked the fact I was away from the noise pollution of dormitories, but I could still use the facilities, often paying less than other pilgrims.

I also camped for free on a grass area as you enter Hontanas - with the blessing of an albergue owner! There were actually two others camped there too.

I would not hesitate to take a UL tent again, particularly if I was walking during the peak season. I did consider taking a tent on my recent VDLP hike, but accommodation was widespread and always lots of beds free.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Imagine having land along the camino.
Thousands of people think they're entitled to use it as a latrine.
Others feel it's OK to pitch a tent there, never mind that it's illegal - all that matters is that they don't get caught.
They try to be unobtrusive, and are certainly not the serial poopers - but are you happy they're there?
Do you get any recompense if they damage your crops/trees/land, however unintentionally?
No, and no. You lump them together with the latrine lot, and call the Guarda on them.

To some people along the way, we pilgrims are locusts - and camping without first asking for permission just confirms that perception. Please use albergue gardens if you need to sleep outside, or ask landowners - making sure you offer some donativo in return. It's the courteous comprimise that considers the impact of your presence on others.
 
Camino Cups
Browse our selection of Camino Cups on the forum store
Camino Masks
12 different designs, shipped world wide from Santiago.
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
I know it won't be classed as wild camping, but I took a UL tent on the Frances in 2016 and managed to camp a few times. I camped mainly in the grounds and gardens of albergues. I liked the fact I was away from the noise pollution of dormitories, but I could still use the facilities, often paying less than other pilgrims.
Thanks, Ant, for not being a scofflaw, and setting a good example. It helps our relationship with locals when we respect their property.

@weiho, thanks for posting that gorgeous watercolor. Another winner!
 

sojourners

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015
I have wild camped (stealth camping) on all of my caminos.
Used hammock, light weight tent and bivy.
Found bivy is best used with a tarp.
Each has their own good and bads.

Most of the time I stopped in a a’burg. Paid. Shower, did clothes, went to eat and then went to my wild camping spot.
Normally found before sunset. Then went to store, a’burg, etc.
Coming back to spot / area at sunset.
No fires, no smoking, no cooking etc.
Never climb over fence or enter gate.
Left spot better than found it when I got up at sunrise.
I like to wild camp so don’t hear snoring, toilet flushing all night, talk, giggling , etc

Few times I went straight to stealth camping spot without stopping at a’burg.
I have body wipes to wipe down some before sleeping.
I have light weight sleeping bag.
Always have wool night cap and emerging blanket.

I have also stayed in private places, B&B, pensions, hotels etc.

Also slept with in garden area (with permission) of a A’burg.

Slept on porches, balcony, etc

I do not take cooking gear.

You will be surprised at how many spots there are to wild camp! All over the place.

Many on here frown on people who want to sleep outside.

Good answer. I have done this all over Europe, including Spain and the Camino, on and off for decades. My pack never weighs more than fifteen pounds, including food and water, and in summer is usually about ten to twelve pounds, often under ten - when not carrying much food or water. Ultimate travel freedom.
 

anthikes

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016 SJPdP > SdC
2018 Porto > SdC
2019 Sevilla > SdC
I travel full time (I work online) with hiking gear, laptop, city clothes etc, yet I am still under 12kg total when I check in for a flight. My main issue is storing my non-hiking gear while I am walking. The Spanish postal service is a good option. I sent a day pack from Seville to Santiago for e43, including 70 days storage.

Living this way is my ultimate freedom and even with extensive international travel, I can still save money by being frugal. There is something extremely liberating about having no bills. I think some people (those with a house, mortgage, regular job) would probably feel sorry for a 'homeless' wandering soul like me, but the truth is that I probably feel more sorry for them.

Sorry to have taken this thread slightly off topic. Good to see some fellow campers out there willing to swim against the tide. We are certainly a rare species on camino hikes.
 
Last edited:

Did not find what you were looking for? Search here

Popular Resources

“All” Albergues on the Camino Frances in one pdf ivar
  • Featured
“All” Albergues on the Camino Frances in one pdf
4.95 star(s) 100 ratings
Downloads
15,017
Updated
A selection of favorite albergues on the Camino Francés Ton van Tilburg
Favorite Albergues along the Camino Frances
4.83 star(s) 35 ratings
Downloads
7,678
Updated
Profile maps of all 34 stages of the Camino Frances ivar
Profile maps of all 34 stages of the Camino Frances
4.88 star(s) 24 ratings
Downloads
7,525
Updated

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Updates on YouTube

Camino Conversations

Most downloaded Resources

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store
Top