Traveling in camper van is synonymous with freedom. You can stop your little home on wheels anywhere, for a lunch and sleeping. However, it is advisable to make a small planning of possible places to sleep before leaving home, to make sure that we will find a safe location before night falls. Finding a good spot to sleep, at night in a new and unknown place can take us time and even get to despair, so we can end up overnighting anywhere, on the slope or next to a street with traffic and noise. Even though out of season the task of finding an ideal place may be easier, in the middle of summer and especially in coastal areas, things can get complicated; the places are crowded, there is no parking, it is forbidden to stay overnight and the campsites are expensive. In these moments, with more reason, it is advisable to make a plan with possible areas and foresee each day where we can sleep.
If you are looking for a flat and safe place, it is best to look for the areas prepared for auto-caravans. They usually have water and spaces to empty the dirty water deposits, sometimes even shade and picnic spots. There is a guide of the areas for caravans in Spain, you can find it here (but it is in Spanish).
Campsites are another option, personally I only resort to them when it is absolutely essential since I do not like to sleep in campings and also tend to be very expensive, especially in high season.
A very useful option is to sleep where we see other vans or caravans. Although not signposted, some towns, beaches, viewpoints and others have parking or esplanades that are traditionally used by vans and caravans, these are places where sleeping will be completely safe.
Finding a perfect place just for you, is also a very interesting decision. This nevertheless requires time and some practice. The rural areas, on the outskirts of the villages, in the parks or watering holes of small villas, on dirt tracks or esplanades on the sides of rural roads, can become absolutely perfect places to dine and spend the night very quiet. The advantages are the solitude and calm that these places offer us. The disadvantage is the fear that many people get to sleep alone in the middle of the field. From many years of experience, I think that fortunately Spain and surely almost all of Europe, is safe in this respect. I think it is very unlikely that a thief or psychopath will arrive in the middle of nowhere to steal in a van, so in general, I usually sleep quite calmly. However, I would not try to sleep in this way in: i) near the big cities, there may be danger of theft and giving you a good scare, ii) near gas stations and highways, where there may also be danger of theft. For example, in the A-9 that runs along the French coast, there are mafias that are dedicated to stealing at night truckers and auto-caravans, iii) in the tourist coastal areas in high season, for example in Andalusia and Levantine coast, it is usually forbidden and fined, iii) on dirty roads in very poor condition, especially if there is sand or mud and the danger of rain, we can get stuck.
There are several apps for your phone to find places to sleep in van, the best are:
- Furgoperfectos, is a map that is updated all the time created by the forum of camper van users more known in Spain: Furgovw.org, with areas to sleep throughout Europe. They also have a mobile application.
- Park4night, you can search for places to park with the van for the night and it also tells us the best route to get to the place in question. It can be used online and offline.
- Campercontact. This is an app for travel by van and motorhome where you can find places to stay overnight, other users’ evaluations and photographs to consult. In your classification you can choose between finding parking, areas or campsites.
- Camperstop (not free).