Difference between revisions of "Spain"

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'''Spain''' is a member state of the European Union as well as the Schengen Agreement.  
 
'''Spain''' is a member state of the European Union as well as the Schengen Agreement.  
Spain consists of 17 administrative units called ''Comunidades Autónomas''. Some of these administrative units  also represent historical nations  that vary in traditions, culture, gastronomy and even language. Despite that all citzens of Spain speak Spanish and are politically recognised as Spaniards,  you will be more liked by locals — especially in some northern regions  such as Galicia, Asturias, Euskal Herria (Basque Country) and Catalonia where nationalist movements are vigorously  flourishing — if you learn  the basic particularities of each territory (i.e: Don't expect sevillanas and bullfighting  in Girona and don't be surprised if you see  bagpipes and celtic-like stuff in Santiago de Compostela!).
 
  
In Spain, hitching isn’t a very common concept and mostly done by foreigners. However, the thumb will be understood.
+
Spain consists of 17 administrative units called ''Comunidades Autónomas''. Some of these administrative units  also represent historical nations  that vary in traditions, culture, gastronomy and even language. Although all citizens of Spain speak Spanish and are politically recognised as Spaniards, you will be more liked by locals – especially in the nationalistic Basque country and Catalunya – if you learn the basic distinctive features of each region (i.e don't expect sevillanas and bullfighting in Girona, and don't be surprised if you see  bagpipes and celtic-like stuff in Santiago de Compostela!).
  
The best method is to ask people directly whenever, even if your Spanish is very poor. The Spanish phrase ''vas a... ?'' ‘are you going to...?’ is a good starting point. Because Spain is a touristic country, at some large service stations you can find drivers from all over Europe, who are more likely to take you than the local people. But be careful, as many petrol stations, especially in the South, are deserted, if you are unlucky, only one or two non-local cars stop at the station every hour, and you might spend the night there.
+
In Spain, hitching isn’t a very common concept and mostly done by foreigners. But It's really different depending on the autonomous community : it's easy in Galicia, Asturia and Extrémadura. In these communities it works like in France. It's better to stand with a cardboard. In Euskadi and Catalonia, you will wait a long time just stand with a cardboard. However, the thumb will be understood. An effective best method can be ask people directly whenever possible, e.g. in service stations, even if your Spanish is very poor. The Spanish phrase ''vas a... ?'' ‘are you going to...?’ is a good starting point. Because Spain is a touristic country, at some large service stations you can find drivers from all over Europe, who are more likely to take you than the local people. However, this strategy is not advised in the far south of Spain (Andalucia), as service stations there tend to be deserted and sometimes off of the main road.
 +
Generally, there are petrol stations every 20-30 km, often in a so-called "via de servicio", along with a hotel or a restaurant. This means that each and every one of those petrol stations has less traffic. Most people who travel certain roads regularly will know (or pretend to know!) the good spots where a lot of traffic passes through (e.g. truck stops, or nice restaurants). Try not to get stuck in places off the main road (in a village, or an industrial zone), but ask your driver if s/he knows a place with lots of people.
 +
__TOC__
 +
Even if you hitchhike alone or in groups of two, be prepared to make much fewer kilometres per day than in e.g. Germany or France. Waiting times of over an hour are common, and 500–700 km a day may prove a real challenge. The first time you hitchhike in Spain, it might be a good idea to only plan for 300 km a day. If you do master some Spanish, however, and if you carefully stick to service stations asking people, hitching can be easy and fun - even in Spain.  
  
Even if you hitchhike alone or in groups of two: be prepared to make much fewer kilometers per day than in e.g. Germany or France. Waiting times of over an hour are commin, and 500 or 700 km a day may be a real challenge. The first time you hitchhike in Spain, it might be a good idea to only plan for 300 km a day.  During the hot hours of "the Siesta" (2pm -5pm) traffic density is decreased.
+
During the "the siesta" (from 14:00 to 17:00), there tends to be less traffic. In the summer, the sun can be very powerful at this time of day, so it may be best to avoid standing on the road during the siesta hours.
  
[[File:Espana.jpg|thumb|left|[[User:Amylin|Amylin]] hitching to Spain from [[Portugal]].]]
+
As hitch-hiking is not a very common concept in Spain, many Spanish people travel via blablacar. If you want to get out of big cities (Madrid, Barcelona) you might have to pay 3-5 Euros to get to a hitch-hiking spot. In this case, consider finding a short ride just out of the city to a nearby small town, with blablacar. The driver can drop you directly on a service station on the motorway, and you might not have to walk around in the Spanish summer heat.  
[[File:CommunidadValenciana.JPG|thumb|left|Hilde hitchhiking to [[Valencia]].]]
 
  
== Border crossing ==
+
<gallery perrow="3" style="float:right; width:200px; margin-left:20px;">
 +
File:CommunidadValenciana.JPG|thumb|right|Hilde hitchhiking to [[Valencia]].
 +
File:2002_Dec_Hitch_hiking_in_Catalonia_SPAIN.jpg|Hitch-hiking in Catalonia. December 2002.
 +
File:Granada.jpg|Robino hitching from Valencia to [[Granada]].
 +
File:HhPICT1975.jpg|Stop at Valencia, at the trip from [[Germany]] to [[Portugal]].
 +
File:2002-03 Trying to hitchhike in Murcia to Sevilla.jpg|2002 trip from Berlin to Cádiz. It took only one day from Berlin to Barcelona but three days to get from Murcia to Cádiz. South of Spain: Very difficult to hitchhike. But the flowers did help!
 +
File:P1000787.JPG| Night hithhiking in [[Murcia]]
 +
</gallery>
  
When entering the country from [[France]] you should try to get a lift as close to your destination as possible. On the Mediterranean side, a good place for this is La Jonquera, one of the biggest truck stops in Europe. You’ll find plenty of international truck drivers all over the country, because Spain is a centre of the fruit industry, exporting their oranges and tomatoes. On the Atlantic side, there is another huge truck stop near Irun.
+
== License Plate IDs ==
 +
Pro tip: Under the old licensing system, license plates got identifying letters showing the city/region where the car is registered. This is great for quickly identifying (at least on old cars) if the car is heading your way.  i.e. lots of old "B" plates out there going to and from Barcelona. Read more: [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicle_registration_plates_of_Spain#Old_provincial_codes]
  
If you arrive by the ferry from [[Africa]] you should try to get a ride on the ferry or at the port. There are lots of people from [[Morocco]], who went to visit their families and now return. You’ll see number plates from many other European states.
+
== Cities ==
 +
* [[Algeciras]]
 +
* [[Alicante]]
 +
* [[Badajoz]]
 +
* [[Barcelona]], the capital of [[Catalonia|Catalunya]]
 +
* [[Bilbao]]
 +
* [[Burgos]]
 +
* [[Ceuta]]
 +
* [[Cordoba]]
 +
* [[Donostia-San Sebastián]]
 +
* [[Granada]]
 +
* [[Madrid]], the capital
 +
* [[Málaga|Malaga]]
 +
* [[Oviedo]]
 +
* [[Salamanca (Spain)|Salamanca]]
 +
* [[Santander]]
 +
* [[Santiago de Compostela]]
 +
* [[Sevilla]]
 +
* [[Valencia]]
 +
* [[Vigo]]
 +
* [[Zaragoza]]
  
 
== Road network ==
 
== Road network ==
 
 
The north of Spain has a well developed system of ''Autopistas''. Autopistas are very similar to French ''autoroutes'', and so similar rules can be applied when hitchhiking. ''Autopistas'' have two or more lanes in each direction, accessed after passing through a  ''peaje'' (tollgate) and have large rest stops along the way.
 
The north of Spain has a well developed system of ''Autopistas''. Autopistas are very similar to French ''autoroutes'', and so similar rules can be applied when hitchhiking. ''Autopistas'' have two or more lanes in each direction, accessed after passing through a  ''peaje'' (tollgate) and have large rest stops along the way.
  
When hitching at ''peajes'', usually people have great success, and can obtain long distance rides, even at night time. Usually the police and motorway staff do not interfere, but some stricter police may request that you leave. It is important to note that large ''peaje'' sections are usually split by a concrete wall; 2 or 3 lanes for cars, on the inside, and another 2 or 3 lanes for buses and trucks on the outside. The concrete walls usually carry on some distance after the peaje, and end once the vehicles are traveling too fast to stop. It is up to the hitchhiker to decide which lanes to take, however sticking to the outside and waiting for a truck may attract less attention from the authorities than standing further inside waiting for a car.  
+
When hitching at ''peajes'', usually people have great success, and can obtain long distance rides, even at night time. Usually the police and motorway staff do not interfere, but some stricter police may request that you leave. It is important to note that large ''peaje'' sections are usually split by a concrete wall; 2 or 3 lanes for cars, on the inside, and another 2 or 3 lanes for buses and trucks on the outside. The concrete walls usually carry on some distance after the peaje, and end once the vehicles are travelling too fast to stop. It is up to the hitchhiker to decide which lanes to take, however sticking to the outside and waiting for a truck may attract less attention from the authorities than standing further inside waiting for a car.  
  
 
When hitching long distances it is a good idea to stick to large ''peaje'' sections or rest stops. Bring water and food, since these ''áreas de servicio'' are expensive. It should be noted that hitching at small ''peaje'' sections, on motorway exits, is not recommended, as often there is one peaje for both directions, automatically ruling out many vehicles as possible rides.
 
When hitching long distances it is a good idea to stick to large ''peaje'' sections or rest stops. Bring water and food, since these ''áreas de servicio'' are expensive. It should be noted that hitching at small ''peaje'' sections, on motorway exits, is not recommended, as often there is one peaje for both directions, automatically ruling out many vehicles as possible rides.
  
In the south of Spain, the motorways are smaller and the petrol stations are usually further away from the road. It is best to be patient at these places. Be careful when people promise you to drop you off at a "very busy" petrol station, as it might turn out to be deserted. It is better in these cases to find direct lifts from one town to another (use a sign when thumbing).
+
In the south of Spain, and parts of the center and the North, the motorways are smaller and the petrol stations are usually further away from the road; this system is called ''autovia''. [http://motorways-exitlists.com/europe/e/spain.htm This website] shows exits and also service areas for some ''autovias'', as well as ''autopistas.'' It is best to be patient at these places. Be careful when people promise you to drop you off at a "very busy" petrol station, as it might turn out to be deserted. It is better in these cases to find direct lifts from one town to another (use a sign when thumbing).
  
== Language ==
+
== Border crossing ==
As mentioned above, the Comunidades are not only administrative districts; many of the regions have their own culture, language and some even are reluctant about considering themselves as a part of Spain. For example the dominating language in [[Catalonia]] is Catalan, so be aware of that. Nevertheless, everyone speaks ''castellano'' (Spanish).
+
When entering the country from [[France]] you should try to get a lift as close to your destination as possible. On the Mediterranean side, a good place for this is La Jonquera, one of the biggest truck stops in Europe. You’ll find plenty of international truck drivers all over the country, because Spain is a centre of the fruit industry, exporting their oranges and tomatoes. On the Atlantic side, there is another huge truck stop near Irun called Oyarzun (accessible in both directions).
 +
 
 +
If you arrive by the ferry from [[Africa]] you should try to get a ride on the ferry or at the port. There are lots of people from [[Morocco]], who went to visit their families and now return. You’ll see number plates from many other European states.
  
Aside from Spanish, other recongised spoken languages are Galician, Basque, Catalan, Aranese, Astur-leonese and Aragonese. Only the first three are legally oficial and have a considerable number of speakers.  But don't panic! Everybody speaks perfect Spanish and won't feel unconfortable talking to you. Younger Spaniards will easily understand you in English as well.  Obviously big co-oficial languages like Basque, Catalan and Galician  are widely used in their respective regions, and learning a handful of words or at least showing your interest  in local languages may make the driver loosen up.
+
=== Crossing Spain to get to Portugal ===
 +
If you just want to get to Portugal, you'll want to to keep your hitch journey in Spain as short and quick as possible. This will happen by sticking to the the main road (AP-1, A-62, mostly "autovia") from Bayonne/San Sebastian to Salamanca / Vilar Formoso (the portuguese border near Guarda). Even if you come from, say, Montpellier, it's recommended to hitch up to Bayonne and cross the basque country.
  
Also, you will find that some Catalan, Basque and Galician cities can appear in signs and maps with two names: one in its local  language form and the other in Spanish. For instance: Donostia (in Basque) is also known as San Sebastián (in Spanish),  Lleida (in Catalan) is Lérida (in Spanish), Rianxo (in Galician) is Rianjo (in Spanish) etcWhatever your map says and whichever  language you are speaking —even if you are speaking in Spanish— , hitchwiki  encourages you to use the local language form better than the Spanish one  if possible, also in your sign,  in order to not to mess  with politics. Spaniards all across Spain understand both forms.
+
A good technique is to stay in one of the last service stations on the A63 in France before the spanish border, and wait for someone who can take you all to way to Portugal. Portuguese plates (1/3 of portuguese nationals live outside Portugal) or tourists (20 million invaded Portugal in 2016) will pass there.   
  
Note: Although  the signs on the road and other kinds of key information (i.e: restaurant menus) are translated into Spanish in blingual territories, you will defenetely need help in  small towns and non-touristy places in the Basque Country and Catalonia, especially because Basque is an isolated language that does not resemble anything you have heard before.  In case of doubt,  ask the locals. In Spanish ''Disculpe, ¿qué signfica..."(Excuse me, what does ... mean?)'' works fine everywhere. [[User:Mariam|Mariam]] , who does not speak  Basque, walked from a small town following a sign  in Basque that she thought would guide her to the next town and ended up in a reciclyng plant.
+
Otherwise, don't let your drivers drop you at just any gas station along the way - try your best to stick to busy ones (on the right side and near the highway, Repsol and Galp).
  
=== Spanish for the Hitchhiker ===
+
If your ride is only taking you to somewhere near Vilar Formoso border and you want to go further in Portugal, you can stay at the last Cepsa gas station on the right side of the road, 5kms before the border. Gas is cheaper in Spain.
  
The Spanish phrase ''¡Hola! Vas a... ?'' (Hello, are you going to... ?) with a wide smile is an excellent starting point. Remember most Spaniards actually meet the stereotype of being loud and friendly, but aren't used to see hitchhikers on the road. Therefore, you'd better be extra framiliar and polite  by saying things like "¡Gracias, buen viaje!" (Thank you, have a nice trip!) after your driver drops you off or when they make excuses to not pick you up (this way they will think twice the next time they bump into a hitchhiker). Check the Spanish section in the [[Western Europe phrasebook|phrasebook]] for more basic words.  
+
== Myths and truths about hitchhiking in Spain ==
 +
# '''It is illegal to hitchhike in Spain.'''<br>''Truth'': This assertion that you will hear from both the locals and the travellers is a result of a wrong understanding of the Spanish law that forbids pedestrians walking on a private motorway. Therefore, '''it is absolutely ''legal'' to hitchhike in Spain'''.
 +
# '''It is ''impossible'' to travel hitchhiking in Spain'''.<br>''Truth'': While it is definitely harder to catch a ride in Spain than in Germany, it is not impossible if done smartly. Actually, in many areas in the countryside or the north of Spain where there are very few means of public transportation, hitchhiking is done frequently by locals who need to take rides from town to town (Galicia and its messy bus network is a great example of this). However, many old Spaniards believe that hitchhiking culture died in the 70s, and there is a lot of fear around, because of some cases of theft or rape when hitching. To get a ride in Spain you will need to put more effort and think tactical: '''hide the hippy clothes in your backpack and look clean, smile, know a few Spanish words, be polite, be familiar with the  Spanish hours and always try to hitch from a service station.'''
 +
# '''Spanish people will rob you'''.<br>''Truth'':  Indeed, Barcelona and Madrid score very high in the pickpocketing league, but this is something all locals are very embarrassed about. They will often advise you to keep an eye on your belongings and never put your wallet in the rear pocket. The best advice is to avoid as much as possible the touristy  areas.
  
In Spanish there are only five vowel sounds and, conversely to French or English, you should pronounce all the  letters that you read as an independent sound. So say phonetically with a clear distinction of each sound "autopista"  [ aw to 'pis ta ] (motorway), not  ''ottopista'', or ''otpist'' . Other difficulties that foreigners usually face: 
+
== Language(s) ==
 +
As mentioned above, the Comunidades are not only administrative districts; many of the regions have their own culture, language and some even are reluctant about considering themselves as a part of Spain. For example the dominating language in [[Catalonia]] is Catalan, so be aware of that. Nevertheless, everyone speaks ''castellano'' (Spanish).
  
The letter  ''Ñ'' as  in ''España'' and "mañana" (''morning'' or ''tomorrow''), which is the equivalent of the Portuguese digraph ''NH'' and Catalan ''NY''. If you struggle with it just pronounce it as an ''N'' and an ''I'' like when you say "Esto[[ni]]a" — it is not the actual sound, but it will work for a tourist. The digraph "LL" as in "calle" (¨street) and "valle" (valley) is pronounced in most places as a strong "y". Therfore, you would say "ka-yeh" and "ba-yeh". The digraph "CH" is always pronounced as in ''church'' in English.  
+
Aside from Spanish, other recognised spoken languages are Galician, Basque, Catalan, Aranese, Astur-leonese and Aragonese. Only the first three are legally official and have a considerable number of speakers. But don't panic! Everybody speaks perfect Spanish and won't feel uncomfortable talking to you. Younger Spaniards will easily understand you in English as well. Obviously, big co-official languages like Basque, Catalan and Galician are widely used in their respective regions, and learning a handful of words or at least showing your interest in local languages may make the driver loosen up.
  
There are other tricky sounds like the ''Z'' and ''C'', the  double ''RR''... but you can get away with these brief tips pretty well. Spanish is easy!
+
Also, you will find that some Catalan, Basque and Galician cities can appear in signs and maps with two names: one in its local  language form and the other in Spanish. For instance: Donostia (in Basque) is also known as San Sebastián (in Spanish),  Lleida (in Catalan) is Lérida (in Spanish), Rianxo (in Galician) is Rianjo (in Spanish) etc.  Whatever your map says and whichever  language you are speaking —even if you are speaking in Spanish— , hitchwiki  encourages you to use the local language form better than the Spanish one if possible, also in your sign,  in order to not mess  with politics. Spaniards all across Spain understand both forms.  
  
== Sleeping ==
+
Note: Although the signs on the road and other kinds of key information (i.e: restaurant menus) are translated into Spanish in bilingual territories, you will definitely need help in small towns and non-touristy places in the Basque Country and Catalonia, especially because Basque is an isolated language that does not resemble anything you have heard before. In case of doubt, ask the locals. In Spanish ''Disculpe, ¿qué signfica...'' (Excuse me, what does ... mean?) works fine everywhere.  [[User:Mariam|Mariam]] , who does not speak  Basque, walked from a small town following a sign  in Basque that she thought would guide her to the next town and ended up in a recycling plant.
  
===Squatting ===
+
=== Spanish for the Hitchhiker ===
 +
The Spanish phrase ''¡Hola! Vas a... ?'' (Hello, are you going to... ?) with a wide smile is an excellent starting point. Remember most Spaniards actually meet the stereotype of being loud and friendly, but aren't used to see hitchhikers on the road. Therefore, you'd better be  extra familiar and polite  by saying things like "¡Gracias, buen viaje!" (Thank you, have a nice trip!) after your driver drops you off or when they make excuses to not pick you up (this way they will think twice the next time they bump into a hitchhiker). Check the Spanish section in the [[Western Europe phrasebook|phrasebook]] for more basic words.
  
Despite the fact that many houses have been shut down lately, Spain has a very active squatting scene. It’s quite easy to find a place to crash by asking around for a ''casa okupada''.
+
In Spanish there are only five vowel sounds and, conversely to French or English, you should pronounce all the letters that you read as an independent sound. So say phonetically with a clear distinction of each sound "autopista"  [ aw to 'pis ta ] (motorway), not  ''ottopista'', or ''otpist'' . Other difficulties that foreigners usually face: 
  
== Maps ==
+
The letter  ''Ñ'' as  in ''España'' and "mañana" (''morning'' or ''tomorrow''), which is the equivalent of the Portuguese digraph ''NH'' and Catalan ''NY''. If you struggle with it just pronounce it as an ''N'' and an ''I'' like when you say "Esto[[ni]]a" — it is not the actual sound, but it will work for a tourist. The digraph "LL" as in "calle" (¨street) and "valle" (valley) is pronounced in most places as a strong "y".  You would say "ka-yeh" and "ba-yeh". The digraph "CH" is always pronounced as in ''church'' in English.  
From any tourist-info around country, you can find good roadmap of the region and/or the autonomous area for free of charge.
 
  
== Cities ==
+
There are other tricky sounds like the ''Z'' and ''C'', the double ''RR''... but you can get away with these brief tips pretty well. Spanish is easy!
* [[Algeciras]]
 
* [[Alicante]]
 
* [[Badajoz]]
 
* [[Barcelona]], the capital of [[Catalonia|Catalunya]]
 
* [[Bilbao]]
 
* [[Burgos]]
 
* [[Ceuta]]
 
* [[Cordoba]]
 
* [[Donostia-San Sebastián]]
 
* [[Granada]]
 
* [[Madrid]], the capital
 
* [[Málaga|Malaga]]
 
* [[Oviedo]]
 
* [[Salamanca (Spain)|Salamanca]]
 
* [[Santander]]
 
* [[Santiago de Compostela]]
 
* [[Sevilla]]
 
* [[Valencia]]
 
* [[Vigo]]
 
* [[Zaragoza]]
 
  
== More Pictures ==
+
== Resources ==
<gallery perrow="3">
+
{{nomadwiki}}
File:2002_Dec_Hitch_hiking_in_Catalonia_SPAIN.jpg|Hitch-hiking in Catalonia. December 2002.
+
* [https://www.facebook.com/groups/174166089591892/ Facebook group for hitchhiking in Spain]
File:Granada.jpg|Robino hitching from Valencia to [[Granada]].
+
* [https://warmroads.de/hitchhiking-in-2-spain/ Short anlyses of hitchhiking in Spain - warmroads.]
File:HhPICT1975.jpg|Stop at Valencia, at the trip from [[Germany]] to [[Portugal]].
+
{{wikipedia-link|Spain}}
File:2002-03 Trying to hitchhike in Murcia to Sevilla.jpg|2002 trip from Berlin to Cádiz. It took only one day from Berlin to Barcelona but three days to get from Murcia to Cádiz. South of Spain: Very difficult to hitchhike. But the flowers did help!
+
=== Maps ===
</gallery>
+
From any tourist-info around country, you can find good roadmap of the region and/or the autonomous area for free of charge.
  
 
{{hitchbase_country|177}}
 
{{hitchbase_country|177}}
 
{{Template:Europe/countries}}
 
{{Template:Europe/countries}}
 
{{IsIn|Southern Europe}}
 
{{IsIn|Southern Europe}}
 
[[wikipedia:Spain]]
 
 
[[trash:Spain]]
 
 
 
[[Category:Spain]]
 
[[Category:Spain]]
 
[[Category:Europe]]
 
[[Category:Europe]]

Latest revision as of 15:58, 2 May 2019

Flag of Spain Spain
Information
Language: Spanish, Catalan, Basque, Galician
Capital: Madrid
Population: 47.000.000
Currency: Euro
Hitchability: <rating country='es' />
More info: Hitchbase
Meet fellow hitchhikers on Trustroots or BeWelcome
<map lat='40' lng='-1.8' zoom='6' view='0'/>

Spain is a member state of the European Union as well as the Schengen Agreement.

Spain consists of 17 administrative units called Comunidades Autónomas. Some of these administrative units also represent historical nations that vary in traditions, culture, gastronomy and even language. Although all citizens of Spain speak Spanish and are politically recognised as Spaniards, you will be more liked by locals – especially in the nationalistic Basque country and Catalunya – if you learn the basic distinctive features of each region (i.e don't expect sevillanas and bullfighting in Girona, and don't be surprised if you see bagpipes and celtic-like stuff in Santiago de Compostela!).

In Spain, hitching isn’t a very common concept and mostly done by foreigners. But It's really different depending on the autonomous community : it's easy in Galicia, Asturia and Extrémadura. In these communities it works like in France. It's better to stand with a cardboard. In Euskadi and Catalonia, you will wait a long time just stand with a cardboard. However, the thumb will be understood. An effective best method can be ask people directly whenever possible, e.g. in service stations, even if your Spanish is very poor. The Spanish phrase vas a... ? ‘are you going to...?’ is a good starting point. Because Spain is a touristic country, at some large service stations you can find drivers from all over Europe, who are more likely to take you than the local people. However, this strategy is not advised in the far south of Spain (Andalucia), as service stations there tend to be deserted and sometimes off of the main road. Generally, there are petrol stations every 20-30 km, often in a so-called "via de servicio", along with a hotel or a restaurant. This means that each and every one of those petrol stations has less traffic. Most people who travel certain roads regularly will know (or pretend to know!) the good spots where a lot of traffic passes through (e.g. truck stops, or nice restaurants). Try not to get stuck in places off the main road (in a village, or an industrial zone), but ask your driver if s/he knows a place with lots of people.

Even if you hitchhike alone or in groups of two, be prepared to make much fewer kilometres per day than in e.g. Germany or France. Waiting times of over an hour are common, and 500–700 km a day may prove a real challenge. The first time you hitchhike in Spain, it might be a good idea to only plan for 300 km a day. If you do master some Spanish, however, and if you carefully stick to service stations asking people, hitching can be easy and fun - even in Spain.

During the "the siesta" (from 14:00 to 17:00), there tends to be less traffic. In the summer, the sun can be very powerful at this time of day, so it may be best to avoid standing on the road during the siesta hours.

As hitch-hiking is not a very common concept in Spain, many Spanish people travel via blablacar. If you want to get out of big cities (Madrid, Barcelona) you might have to pay 3-5 Euros to get to a hitch-hiking spot. In this case, consider finding a short ride just out of the city to a nearby small town, with blablacar. The driver can drop you directly on a service station on the motorway, and you might not have to walk around in the Spanish summer heat.

License Plate IDs

Pro tip: Under the old licensing system, license plates got identifying letters showing the city/region where the car is registered. This is great for quickly identifying (at least on old cars) if the car is heading your way. i.e. lots of old "B" plates out there going to and from Barcelona. Read more: [1]

Cities

Road network

The north of Spain has a well developed system of Autopistas. Autopistas are very similar to French autoroutes, and so similar rules can be applied when hitchhiking. Autopistas have two or more lanes in each direction, accessed after passing through a peaje (tollgate) and have large rest stops along the way.

When hitching at peajes, usually people have great success, and can obtain long distance rides, even at night time. Usually the police and motorway staff do not interfere, but some stricter police may request that you leave. It is important to note that large peaje sections are usually split by a concrete wall; 2 or 3 lanes for cars, on the inside, and another 2 or 3 lanes for buses and trucks on the outside. The concrete walls usually carry on some distance after the peaje, and end once the vehicles are travelling too fast to stop. It is up to the hitchhiker to decide which lanes to take, however sticking to the outside and waiting for a truck may attract less attention from the authorities than standing further inside waiting for a car.

When hitching long distances it is a good idea to stick to large peaje sections or rest stops. Bring water and food, since these áreas de servicio are expensive. It should be noted that hitching at small peaje sections, on motorway exits, is not recommended, as often there is one peaje for both directions, automatically ruling out many vehicles as possible rides.

In the south of Spain, and parts of the center and the North, the motorways are smaller and the petrol stations are usually further away from the road; this system is called autovia. This website shows exits and also service areas for some autovias, as well as autopistas. It is best to be patient at these places. Be careful when people promise you to drop you off at a "very busy" petrol station, as it might turn out to be deserted. It is better in these cases to find direct lifts from one town to another (use a sign when thumbing).

Border crossing

When entering the country from France you should try to get a lift as close to your destination as possible. On the Mediterranean side, a good place for this is La Jonquera, one of the biggest truck stops in Europe. You’ll find plenty of international truck drivers all over the country, because Spain is a centre of the fruit industry, exporting their oranges and tomatoes. On the Atlantic side, there is another huge truck stop near Irun called Oyarzun (accessible in both directions).

If you arrive by the ferry from Africa you should try to get a ride on the ferry or at the port. There are lots of people from Morocco, who went to visit their families and now return. You’ll see number plates from many other European states.

Crossing Spain to get to Portugal

If you just want to get to Portugal, you'll want to to keep your hitch journey in Spain as short and quick as possible. This will happen by sticking to the the main road (AP-1, A-62, mostly "autovia") from Bayonne/San Sebastian to Salamanca / Vilar Formoso (the portuguese border near Guarda). Even if you come from, say, Montpellier, it's recommended to hitch up to Bayonne and cross the basque country.

A good technique is to stay in one of the last service stations on the A63 in France before the spanish border, and wait for someone who can take you all to way to Portugal. Portuguese plates (1/3 of portuguese nationals live outside Portugal) or tourists (20 million invaded Portugal in 2016) will pass there.

Otherwise, don't let your drivers drop you at just any gas station along the way - try your best to stick to busy ones (on the right side and near the highway, Repsol and Galp).

If your ride is only taking you to somewhere near Vilar Formoso border and you want to go further in Portugal, you can stay at the last Cepsa gas station on the right side of the road, 5kms before the border. Gas is cheaper in Spain.

Myths and truths about hitchhiking in Spain

  1. It is illegal to hitchhike in Spain.
    Truth: This assertion that you will hear from both the locals and the travellers is a result of a wrong understanding of the Spanish law that forbids pedestrians walking on a private motorway. Therefore, it is absolutely legal to hitchhike in Spain.
  2. It is impossible to travel hitchhiking in Spain.
    Truth: While it is definitely harder to catch a ride in Spain than in Germany, it is not impossible if done smartly. Actually, in many areas in the countryside or the north of Spain where there are very few means of public transportation, hitchhiking is done frequently by locals who need to take rides from town to town (Galicia and its messy bus network is a great example of this). However, many old Spaniards believe that hitchhiking culture died in the 70s, and there is a lot of fear around, because of some cases of theft or rape when hitching. To get a ride in Spain you will need to put more effort and think tactical: hide the hippy clothes in your backpack and look clean, smile, know a few Spanish words, be polite, be familiar with the Spanish hours and always try to hitch from a service station.
  3. Spanish people will rob you.
    Truth: Indeed, Barcelona and Madrid score very high in the pickpocketing league, but this is something all locals are very embarrassed about. They will often advise you to keep an eye on your belongings and never put your wallet in the rear pocket. The best advice is to avoid as much as possible the touristy areas.

Language(s)

As mentioned above, the Comunidades are not only administrative districts; many of the regions have their own culture, language and some even are reluctant about considering themselves as a part of Spain. For example the dominating language in Catalonia is Catalan, so be aware of that. Nevertheless, everyone speaks castellano (Spanish).

Aside from Spanish, other recognised spoken languages are Galician, Basque, Catalan, Aranese, Astur-leonese and Aragonese. Only the first three are legally official and have a considerable number of speakers. But don't panic! Everybody speaks perfect Spanish and won't feel uncomfortable talking to you. Younger Spaniards will easily understand you in English as well. Obviously, big co-official languages like Basque, Catalan and Galician are widely used in their respective regions, and learning a handful of words or at least showing your interest in local languages may make the driver loosen up.

Also, you will find that some Catalan, Basque and Galician cities can appear in signs and maps with two names: one in its local language form and the other in Spanish. For instance: Donostia (in Basque) is also known as San Sebastián (in Spanish), Lleida (in Catalan) is Lérida (in Spanish), Rianxo (in Galician) is Rianjo (in Spanish) etc. Whatever your map says and whichever language you are speaking —even if you are speaking in Spanish— , hitchwiki encourages you to use the local language form better than the Spanish one if possible, also in your sign, in order to not mess with politics. Spaniards all across Spain understand both forms.

Note: Although the signs on the road and other kinds of key information (i.e: restaurant menus) are translated into Spanish in bilingual territories, you will definitely need help in small towns and non-touristy places in the Basque Country and Catalonia, especially because Basque is an isolated language that does not resemble anything you have heard before. In case of doubt, ask the locals. In Spanish Disculpe, ¿qué signfica... (Excuse me, what does ... mean?) works fine everywhere. Mariam , who does not speak Basque, walked from a small town following a sign in Basque that she thought would guide her to the next town and ended up in a recycling plant.

Spanish for the Hitchhiker

The Spanish phrase ¡Hola! Vas a... ? (Hello, are you going to... ?) with a wide smile is an excellent starting point. Remember most Spaniards actually meet the stereotype of being loud and friendly, but aren't used to see hitchhikers on the road. Therefore, you'd better be extra familiar and polite by saying things like "¡Gracias, buen viaje!" (Thank you, have a nice trip!) after your driver drops you off or when they make excuses to not pick you up (this way they will think twice the next time they bump into a hitchhiker). Check the Spanish section in the phrasebook for more basic words.

In Spanish there are only five vowel sounds and, conversely to French or English, you should pronounce all the letters that you read as an independent sound. So say phonetically with a clear distinction of each sound "autopista" [ aw to 'pis ta ] (motorway), not ottopista, or otpist . Other difficulties that foreigners usually face:

The letter Ñ as in España and "mañana" (morning or tomorrow), which is the equivalent of the Portuguese digraph NH and Catalan NY. If you struggle with it just pronounce it as an N and an I like when you say "Estonia" — it is not the actual sound, but it will work for a tourist. The digraph "LL" as in "calle" (¨street) and "valle" (valley) is pronounced in most places as a strong "y". You would say "ka-yeh" and "ba-yeh". The digraph "CH" is always pronounced as in church in English.

There are other tricky sounds like the Z and C, the double RR... but you can get away with these brief tips pretty well. Spanish is easy!

Resources

Check Nomadwiki for info on visa, accommodation, showers, food, internet access, public transport, busking, places to visit or Trashwiki for dumpsters .. and share your wisdom :)

WikipediaW.png Wikipedia has additional encyclopedic information on Spain

Maps

From any tourist-info around country, you can find good roadmap of the region and/or the autonomous area for free of charge.