Hitch-hiking in Spain: advantages and disadvantages
In Europe, Spain is such an obvious holiday destination that you almost take it for granted and don’t even think how beautiful it really is. Hitch-hiking in Spain made us realise it’s a real jewel. It’s the second (after Italy) on the list of countries with the largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites! Even places which are not top 10 must-see tourist attractions will leave you astonished. Every single village we hitch-hiked through was a cobble-stone street medieval beauty! So if you are a photography or an architecture buff, Spain is the place to go.
Spain is really easy to hitch-hike in terms of weather as well. Although it can get quite hot in summer, it’s generally quite pleasant.
Spanish people are friendly and they understand the idea of hitch-hiking, so they wouldn’t normally ask for money. And if you speak a bit of Spanish, it can get you a long way.
The biggest disadvantage of hitch-hiking in Spain is that it’s extremely time-consuming. The reason for this might be that almost every family owns a car and they seem to use it for absolutely everything, even to go and buy bread in the neighbouring village. So it often happens that if you finally get a lift, it may only be for 10km. Then you will get dropped off in the middle of nowhere where you will have to wait for another 10km lift. Hitch-hiking in Spain is really village-hopping and be prepared that you won’t be able to make more than 350km a day.
Although Spanish people are friendly and open, many of them think that hitch-hiking is illegal. Even some cops share this view which forced us to go to a local police station and have them confirm that: no, hitch-hiking in Spain is not illegal as long as you are not doing it on a motorway.
Outside the cities, not many people speak English, so it’s a good idea to learn some Spanish expressions before you set off.
The extensive motorway network (according to Wikipedia: the fourth largest in the world) doesn’t help hitch-hikers much either.
Autopistas (motorways) are generally faster but in most cases they are toll roads. However, now during the time of economic crises, many people tend to choose the national roads to avoid paying, so if you choose to hitch-hike on the latter, you stand a chance.
Many times, you will have more than one route to choose from.
We hitch-hiked in Spain as part of our ‘A dedo por La Península Ibérica‘ (The Iberian Peninsula by Thumb) trip in 2012. Furthermore, we’ve been living in Barcelona for nearly three years now.
When hitch-hiking in Spain we covered 4026 km and got picked up by around 90 drivers from 14 different countries!
This was our route: