Driving in wooded areas in rural Spain is prohibited during the summer months from June 1 – Oct 15 there is a total ban on the circulation of motor vehicles during this period with some exceptions.
Why Countryside Driving Restrictions in Spain?
In a word – ‘Fire’. During the summer months the woodland and forest areas in Spain [particulalrly southern Spain] are at high risk of wildfires hence the ban, fires are strictly prohibited too.
It is difficult to stress enough how dry the forest areas become during and after a long dry summer which sees soaring temperatures and very little rain that would make a difference. Woodland can ignite in seconds and become a real threat just moments later.
the circulation of motor vehicles outside the road network is prohibitedJUNTA DE ANDALUCIA
So what does this actually mean?
Well, looking at what the Junta de Andalucia is saying it essentially means that you cannot take your vehicle into the woods but as usual there are exceptions which by their very nature tend to create grey areas…
Circulation of vehicles : It is allowed, without the need for authorization, when circulating for rural estate management activities and fire or environmental surveillance. As a novelty, circulation in traditional pilgrimages and access to public infrastructures is also allowed.JUNTA DE ANDALUCIA
So access to ‘public infrastructures’, assuming that this means the likes of recreation areas, ermitas, landmarks and other public places of interest which lie within woodland or natural parks then you can take your vehicle to get to them.
Woodland in Spain can be a maze of trails and tracks that snake through the trees, these are the types of areas where you may find beehives but not much else, using common sense you’ll soon relaise that the dirt road that you were travelling on has deteriorated into something much narrower where you need to begin avoiding branches – this is what the restrictions apply to.
What about overland exploration?
I hear you, it’s what we love to do and areas like this are fantastic to explore, the good news is that you still can outside of the June 1 – October 15 window. In reality you are unlikely to be seen given the secluded nature of these routes and who’s to say that you didn’t get lost?
Again, common sense is the name of the game and with that said it may well be safer to avoid the woodland trails during the high risk period, it’s not like there isn’t a thousand other interesting routes to take through the campo and the hills.