Metal Detecting in SPAIN – A Helpful Guide for Better Finds

Metal Detecting in Spain

I am not Spanish, but I have some origins and roots from Spain. That’s why, I always feel that a part of me is from this country. In addition, if you’ve never visited Spain before, you probably should!

It is one of the best places you could ever visit. It has one of the richest cultures and has witnessed many civilizations that you need to discover. But you know what, traveling to this country and metal detect in it will make the trip much more enjoyable!

It is a perfect chance that you should capitalize on to discover this Majestic country from a totally different angle. It is also a, opportunity to collect some finds that may probably not be available in your home town, state or country.

Yet, you really need to be consciously aware of some few things! I am talking here mainly about the laws that organize this activity and also locations that you may opt for plus finds that you should expect …

In this short Post I am addressing these topics related to Metal Detecting in Spain. I really hope that what you will find is going to be tremendously useful for you …

Is metal detecting allowed in Spain?

The laws surrounding metal detecting and treasure hunting in Spain is quite confusing and unclear! That’s why I will try to explain that at the best of my knowledge to make things as clean as possible …

… In fact, the use of metal detectors or any other treasure hunting for searching for archaeological items is, by law, not allowed, until and unless you have prior permission from the local authorities.

However, illegal treasure hunting is rampant in Spain. In fact, many years ago, a private treasure hunt for foreign tourists was a thriving business in the country.

Most tourists interested in this hobby and other metal detectorists in Spain tend to carry their equipment along with them. Especially, when they go to the beaches.

While most of the times this does not arise any problems. There might be instances where you run in with the law and a police officer catches you without a permit.

According to the Spanish Tourist Office, the use of detectors is not allowed and if you want to bring it into Spain, then you need to apply for an import license for your machine and other equipment.

Apart from this, there are also different types of laws that govern metal detecting in different regions of Spain.

For example, detecting in Andalucía is completely prohibited and there are heavy fines, as well as detector confiscation that happens.

Other parts in Spain, though, are usually more relaxed. However, steer clear of the historical and archaeological sites and always check up on the local bylaws to make sure you don’t get caught in a problematic situation.

If you want to bypass that, you should seek for a permission to detect in a private land. You should do some researches on social media by trying to contact a potential owner in advance.

Metal detecting on Spanish beaches

Beaches are of course one of the most preferred destinations for most hobbyists. Spain is blessed with some of the most beautiful beaches of the world …

… These beaches are also teeming with tourists all year round, making them ideal for detecting activities. However, in order to detect on the beaches in Spain, you need to apply for a one year permit, regardless of which area you will be detecting in.

Remember that all types of metal detecting and treasure hunting activities are banned in the Andalucía region, and is applicable for the beaches of this region as well.

One permit applies only to one particular region! So if you are planning to hunt in other areas as well, you need to apply for the permits accordingly.

Without a Valencian government license or permission, you will not be allowed to use your beloved machine. These permits are applicable for the whole of Valencian region, right from Peniscola in the north to San Pedro in the south.

Keep in mind that the harsh winter storms that occur in Spain usually take away several layers of the sand from beaches. This makes it an ideal time to hunt!

After the storms pass, there are mounds of sand that have been scooped up, allowing you to easily search for more lost jewelry and other valuable items.

Some of the good beaches you can search at are:

  • Cala Mesquida.
  • Playa de Ses Illetes.
  • La Concha Beach.
  • Es Trenc beach.

These are just examples, there are plenty others.

Please check this article to learn the best practices to use your detector in the beach!

What Machines are adapted for Spanish Soil?

Garrett AT Pro

If you are just entering the world of metal detecting, then you need to understand that the type of soil you detect in has a huge impact on your machine.  In other words, this will also somehow determine what type of metal detector and other equipment you will need.

Soil parameters such as its mineral composition, bulk density, soil texture, and even soil moisture. All these factors have an influence on you device. That is, the magnetic properties of the ground can impede the performance of metal detectors.

Spain is unique in this characteristic as across Europe, Spain, Turkey, and Romania (Learn about detecting in Romania) are the only three countries that have acrisols present. This type of soil is low in nutrients and accumulations of clay are also seen.

This type of ground also contains high amounts of aluminum, a factor that may affect the performance of your machine.

If you are detecting in the Southwestern region of Spain, then you will have to keep this soil characteristic in mind.

If you are detecting in soil that is rich in aluminum, then remember that your device will easily be picking up this metal as aluminum has good conductive properties.

This might disturb the shape of the field and give off a signal. You need to properly set up your machine in advance so that it is able to detect only the reasonably-sized conductive object to at least a couple of feet under the soil.

With the proper tuning you will be able to get past the highly mineralized soil in Spain! Below few examples of devices that will help you to set these kinds of settings:

Metal detecting for Spanish treasure

Spain has a rich history and the country ranks high on the priority list of detectorists and treasure hunters around the world.

Spain is steeped in pre-Roman history and the country is characterized by conquest and warfare. Actually, it has witnessed and gone through one of the great ages of Europe, followed by the slow decline in the recent years.

Spain has a strong heritage which began with Celtic/Iberian settlements. Then the years following this witnessed a confluence of many cultures and religions in this country.

Owing to this diverse historical influence, Spain is one of the valued countries for detectorists and treasure fans. While archaeological sites and historical sites are, of course, of importance for metal detectorists, the real treasure lies in the waters around Spain.

The ocean that borders Spain is known to be rich in incalculable secrets. In fact, according to historians, there is today more gold present in the Bay of Cadiz than can be found even in the Bank of Spain.

This is why you will find most hobbyists opting to go for underwater detection while in Spain. There are many sunken treasures, especially near Cadiz, and research also shows that hundreds of ships from America are resting underwater here.

These ships are known for their huge shipments of gold, silver, and various types of precious stones.

While the big treasures have already been plundered, there are still many small-small treasures submerged in the waters of Spain that makes it a gold mine for hobbyists …

Metal detecting Clubs in Spain

There are many detecting clubs that are active in the country. Generally, each one of them provides their member with their own photo ID with all the details and some clubs even provide their members with public liability insurance.

This helps the member in the event where there is a claim about anybody falling down into a hole that been dug by a member of the club.

The clubs all have a strict code of conduct and all member need to adhere to them at all times while they are detecting.

These clubs believe in presenting this wonderful hobby in a completely professional manner so that getting permission for their hunts become much easier.

One of most popular and one of the first clubs in Spain is the ADAPT Metal Detecting Club San Pedro del Pinatar.

Last time I’ve checked their calendar of activities I’ve found out that they hold events and activities every single week! They are very active and gather a bunch of experienced people that you will learn a lot from …

What Metal detecting finds are common in Spain?

Many people perceive this activity as a way to earn some extra cash by hitting upon something valuable. Yet, many others are passionate by historical targets that would come from that.

Since Spain has such a rich history, you may be lucky to find something very valuable and historic at the same time. Or, you may simply have to be content with finding some lost jewelry on the beach.

Sometimes, if you are lucky, you may end up finding some:

  • Metal war equipment.
  • Precious Roman coins.
  • Some ancient relics.
  • Wartime relics, and other similar items like this.

If you are detecting on Spanish beaches, then you are most likely to find many types of lost jewelry. The beaches in Spain witness frequent storms which help in churning the soil …

…This increases your chances of finding valuable jewelry or even watches. In fact, recently someone found a precious pocket watch on the La Caleta beach.

When you are detecting on Spanish Beaches, with a permit, of course, you can also find some coins there.

Due to the many shipwrecks that have happened in the waters off Spain, there is a high possibility of finding ancient lost coins on the beaches here.

Spanish Detecting Stores

There are many stores that are selling all types of detecting equipment in Spain. However, there might be a language issue as not all of these shopkeepers speak English.

If you are not fluent in Spanish, then it might be all the more difficult to explain what type of equipment you want.

There are also many online sites in Spain from where you can buy the equipment and have it shipped to your hotel or the address where you are staying in Spain.

It is also possible to buy used metal detectors that are in pretty good condition in Spain. You can also buy these also from various online local market places. Similar to Craigslist but locally …

Tips on Metal detecting holidays in Spain

Spain is the most popular tourist destination in the Mediterranean region and one of the most popular in the world.

In recent years, the number of tourist detectorists has more than tripled in Spain. Below few tips that you might find helpful:

  • Keep in mind though, that there is a complete band in the Andalucía region on the use of detectors.If you are caught detecting without a permit, then the local authorities or police can fine you up to EURO 3,000, and will also take away your equipment.
  • Read very carefully the bylaws that are governing this leisure. This is especially true for Spain as different regions in the country (Catalonia, Basque …) have different laws related.
  • Underwater Metal detecting is one of the best options you can opt for due to the presence of hundreds of shipwrecks in the Spanish waters.
  • Try always to reach out to detecting clubs, not necessary for membership, but at least to get advice. They will let you know about some obscure places when you can find valuable things. Not to mention that they may help you get a permit pretty quickly …


I am not from Spain, but due to some of my Spanish origins I thought it is important for me to make some researches and write a guide about this topic. So I will, hopefully, provide you with the most precise and useful information …

Spain has a fantastic historical patrimony worth discovering! That’s why; you should seriously consider using your device in Spanish soil. It is really worth it!

Just don’t forget that you are respecting the regional laws and some of the tips I’ve explained above!

Finally, other than Spain, Germany is one of my favorite destinations in which I could swing my detector! I’ve written this detection in Germany Guide … I include most of what you should know!!

Carissa Harmer

Carissa is the huge metal detecting enthusiast that loves collecting coins. She is also highly interested in other treasure hunting activities like magnet fishing and gold prospecting/panning.

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