Hitchhiking in… (2) Spain


Spain has not the best reputation for hitchhiking. And this is totally reasonable. By passing Spain my patience and experience should be put to a serious test. Spain was difficult and hard to cross. However i hitchhiked all the way, although was in between so desperate and frustrated, that i thought about taking a Bus or Train.

My Route

I hitchhiked down all the east-coast from Barcelona to Gibraltar. I declined in Barcelona a lift to Madrid, cause i wanted to take the east route. A big mistake.


What i observed in Spain is, that there are very few young people and also women driving cars. Most of the people which passed by, or which i asked at the gas stations have been older couples, or business travellers. Most of them just ignore you at the side of the street. They don´t care about you hitchhiking. But thats just my observation. Definitely not the easiest target group for getting a lift.


Street-network in Spain is very special. In general i moved on three different kind of streets: Toll-Highways (AP – Autopista), normal free Hichways (Autovista) and Nationalroads (N). The nationalroad have been „okay“ for hitchhiking, biut after Malaga it became one big together-sticking city, which is not recommendable for hitchhiking. Both of the highways are going parallel in several places, which makes hitchhiking difficult, cause u never know where your lift will go.


My usual tactic to move from one gas-station to another was screwed up in Spain. What is most similar to a gas station in Germany is the „areal de servicios“ on the AP´s. On the free highway it is very difficult to find the bigger gas stations, as at almost every exit there is a gas station. Some of them are frequented, but most of them are really bad for getting the next lift. On the Ap the hitchhiking on the gas stations works quite well, but most of the cars move on the free highway (except tourists).

I think it is a good tactic for crossing Spain to look up for long-distance-lift even before u enter the country. I crossed Spain 2 times before this trip and i had always one of those long lifts and never any problems like this time.

Actually the infrastructure in Spain is not that bad for hitchhiking, as u have a roundelle on every on ramp for the highway and also a good keeping area. But the waiting times take much longer than anywhere else. In contrast: When i hitchhike onramps in Germany it takes me usually 5-10 min for getting a lift. In Spain it took me 60 min + x to get a lift. And its definitely not reasonable in the circumstances.


Funny fact: Even if there is more than enough space to stop, most of the cars just stop in the middle of the street and nobody knows why.

The Costa del Sol has a wonderful coast-road. Especially between Almeria and Malaga i can recommend to follow the Nationalroad.

Funny fact: Auch wenn mehr als genug zum Trampen ist: Viele Spanier halten mitten auf der Straße an und keiner weiß warum. She leads gorgeous through cliff line and is great fun to drive.

What is part of natural image in the south are greenhouses, which gather between the mountains and the coast line near Almeria. They grow the winter vegetables for the european market. It is ugly and fascinating at the same time to watch this scenery. A real gem of capitalistic production-fetish. It felt like 150km of greenhouses, when i passed this area.

Dont forget your sun protection. Even in the late summer. This october we had up to 35° in Malaga and at the onramps you have no sun cover most of the time. Standing 60-120 minutes in the sun without any shadow is not very nice thing.



  • Hi,
    Thanks for your useful blog!
    I am thinking of hitch-hiking your route – from Barcelona to Gibraltar. I’m sorry you found it difficult. Can you tell me roughly how long it took you, for the whole journey?
    Also did you sleep outdoors? I was thinking of doing this.
    Danke! 🙂

    • Dear Isabel,

      it took me 1 day Germany-southern france and 3 days southern france-Gibraltar. First night no sleep, second night i camped at a gas station in Barcelona and third night i slept outside at the coast near Malaga. When you are at the Costa Del Sol, there it might be possible to find very nice camping spots. Alternatively the route Barcelona-Madrid is a bit longer, but maybe easier.

      Happy thumbing and warm roads!


      • Hi Stefan!

        Thanks for your reply. That’s so quick! Great. I think I want to take it slower and enjoy the coast-line / towns and villages. I’d be going from Marseille I think originally. It’s good to know it can be done so quickly. Was going to fly to Marseille but maybe I should just hitch the whole thing (from England).. I’m in no rush.

        Thanks again, happy travelling!


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