The top 6 complaints about campsites in Spain compiled from Google reviews, Tripadvisor and our own experiences plus what to expect…
Spanish campsites are different to what many are used to, if you’re used to camping in the UK for example then Spanish camping is going to be as different as it gets and you may well find it surprising.
To help ease you into it we’ve compiled this list of top six complaints about campsites in Spain and to offer some realistic and intentional balance to this post we’re also publishing an article on how to find the best campsites in Spain too.
How we compiled this list: After using Google maps as our main tool to discover campsites in our area and along forthcoming road trips throughout Spain we began to notice a trend in the reviews that were being left by both Spanish and foreign campers.
A pattern was starting to emerge, coupled with our own experiences of camping in Spain we decided it would be helpful to combine our thoughts and the thoughts of others in order to help you be prepared for how different Spanish campsites can be.
Top of the list and something that will always be taking the number one spot by a country mile is NOISE. It does not matter which campsite reviews you read there will be complaints about the noise from both Spanish people and foreign visitors.
Unfortunately this is just how Spanish campsites are, not all but in general they are noisy. There is also the cultural differences to take into account, if you’re down from England for example then you might expect to get your head down by 11.00pm for a good nights sleep – this is just when the barbeques are getting lit as the Spanish keep much later hours. Add to this a holiday atmosphere and you’re going to be in for a long night.
A common complaint is that a lot of noise comes from neighbouring caravans and when campsite staff are told nothing is done about it.
Kids screaming, loud music and adults competing to be heard are all factors that make campsites in Spain noisy places to be and don’t forget the music from the bar either. A common complaint is that a lot of noise comes from neighbouring caravans and when campsite staff are told nothing is done about it.
Unfortunately this is not surprising as the campsite staff won’t want to rock the boat with a customer who is paying to have his van on the site all year.
 The Shanty Town
Following on from the above you have the ‘shanty town’, many complaints about this across many reviews, most mentioning that it brings the place down and makes the site look abandoned. We tend to agree with this, caravans that are kept on campsites all year are very common, the biggest issue is the appearance of it all:
Caravans are old. We like vintage caravans as mush as the next person but throw a dozen of them together, unwashed, neglected with broken picket fencing, pallets and sun bleached canvas awnings and the place quickly begins to resemble a caravan graveyard. Acceptable to some and not to others – it’s really all about standards.
The other problem is with ‘full timers’ is that they appear to take preference over other campers and tourists, as mentioned above campsite staff are reluctant to upset them and when it comes to partying it’s like the rules don’t apply to them.
We have not found cleanliness to be a problem in the main as we mostly camp off season but it is a very common complaint on Google reviews. Washroom areas and toilets are obviously the main bone of contention but there are also complaints about dog mess not being picked up and litter.
 Rude Staff
There is a review on Google where a response from the business owner includes telling his guest that she needs to be ‘kept in a cage‘. Seriously. Customer service in Spain leaves a lot to be desired, again, it’s a cultural difference. We have found most places to be ‘okay’ but you will run into bad and rude service.
Online reviews are full of complaints about rude campsite staff. Most of these complaints are from foreign guests who are understandibly not prepared for the lack of decent customer service in Spain.
Speaks for itself. Prices are on the rise along with everything else but it has to relative. €30.00 euros a night for dirty toilets and no hot water? Price may be a less common complaint but it does keep cropping up across all review sites.
Another one which kind of ties in with the whole shanty town and cleanliness thing is upkeep. There are dozens upon dozens of remarks stating that the campsite looks abandoned either in full or in part. Campsites in the south of Spain take a battering from the sun, paint peels, fabrics fade and plastic becomes brittle, leave it and it quickly becomes an unattractive mess.
I have to admit that upkeep has been noticeable at several campsites we’ve been to and to be honest unavoidable too, it’s the attention to detail that is lacking – the ‘that will do’ approach may be ok for the regulars but if you really want your campsite to shine then general upkeep is an easy fix to start off with.
Alternatives to Spanish campsites?
Alternatives to Spanish campsites? Are there any? Yes is the answer although there are not many [assuming you want to camp legally]. Every now and then you might come across an ‘eco living’ set up, people who have bought a farm to live off grid in Spain [also popular in Portugal], these places tend to have land with them or at least enough to offer a few spots for camping/motorhome/van life parking.
Some of these places require payment, some simply require a concious donation which is great. Just bear in mind that you’re not going to get the full facilities that a campsite offers but what you will get is some peace and quiet and generally a good vibe.
It’s not all bad
Of course it’s not all bad. Online reviews have to be taken with a pinch of salt too, what is one persons experience will not be anothers. The purpose of this post is simply to create awarness of the most frequently mentioned complaints about campsites in Spain.
Having scoured Google maps for places to stay ourselves all over Spain you begin to notice what gets mentioned time and time again. So what might be the solution to the noise issue? Go out of season, simple as that, we never go camping in July and August as it’s too hot and there are way too many people. Instead we find it better to go earlier in the season or later after the schools go back.
What we’ve found is that Spansh campsites don’t tend to have a review acore of over 4.3, there are of course some [look out for these] but the one star reviews are a little too frequent. The complaints are usually of the same nature which means nothing is being done about them either which, from a business standpoint is no good.
However, we’ve also noticed that there are a quite a few campsites out there that have changed hands, going through the reviews you can see when one pattern of poor reviews stops and the good ones start rolling in because the new owners are making a real effort – it’s not always cut and dry.
If you’re considering camping in Spain then don’t be put off, online reviews are no reason not to try a campsite especially when you consider that many people are very quick to say something bad and not as quick or passionate to say something good…
Ultimately, an understanding that the culture is very different will make life easier, yes it will be noisy late at night in busier holiday periods – this will be the same for most countries and Spain is no different, you’re on the Mediterranean, the sun shines and it’s a more relaxed lifestyle all round.