Home Countries Articles (879) Spain Winter Tour in Spain (The Homewoods)
  
 
 
 
Site Menu
Home
About Us
MagBazPictures
What is New in 2018
What was New in 2017
Countries Articles (879)
Current Travel Log
Cycling Articles (98)
Fellow Travellers (78)
Logs & Newsletters (169)
Looking Out
Motorhome Insurers (33)
Motorhoming Articles (120)
Photographs
Ramblings (48)
Readers' Comments (770)
Travellers' Websites (45)
Useful Links (64)
Search the Website
Contact Us

Photos
Winter Tour in Spain (The Homewoods) PDF Printable Version E-mail


The Homewoods Winter Motorhome Tour in Spain

January/February 2014

Helen and David Homewood

Introduction

We were looking for some sun - Central France where we live may not have been as wild and wet as England, but it's pretty chilly and wet, and colder in winter than England anyway.

A friend suggested the Ebro delta, S of Barcelona, as being not too far and pleasantly uncommercialised.

Catalonia was pleasant, relaxed, affluent even. I am sure the high unemployment statistics are correct, but we saw none of it. Spain is a big country, there is plenty of space to park a camper or a lorry - a change from Portugal, which we love but where we can't find anywhere to pull off the road to make coffee, let alone park up for the night.

I was interested to see, in a big Consum supermarket in Burriana, near Castellon de la Plana, beautifully packaged chicken feet, chicken carcasses and other "offal", on sale in the refrigerated shelves, something we don't see in France . . . an indication of a peasant economy, which makes use of everything. I always find that refreshing.

We used http://www.furgovw.org/mapa_furgoperfecto/ for most of the overnight spots. A shame we don't speak Spanish, but Google Translate was useful. Hardly anyone spoke English, or even French, but all the signs were in both Spanish and Catalan.

We asked a chap the way on the seafront in Benicarlo and said "Catalonia!" "Catalonia merde!" was his dismissive reply (he did speak French). " Who is going to give us jobs if Catalonia breaks away?"

From France into Spain at La Jonquera

On 10 January 2014 we set off, as usual at midday ( by the time we had drained the water, packed the van etc) and lunched in the spacious car park of a Casino supermarket in town (that way we can nip back for anything we have forgotten, in this case David's trainers ).

We made Carcassonne in 3.5 hrs, where we usually park close to the Canal du Midi at nearby Trebes, a nice little town with a useful Super U for fuel and essential supplies. The Tom-tom got rather lost though: N 43.20859  E 2.44431

At La Jonquera at the Spanish border there is an Outlet duty-free shopping centre, where David made a killing on the way back on some snazzy mustard-coloured trousers, and I stocked up on 4 different whiskies, a litre of gin, armagnac, and some very nice mulberry liqueur. Very cheap good saucisson too. No co-ordinates, but can't miss it from the Motorway.

Figueres

Our first requirement in a foreign country is usually a 3G Sim, or renewal of same. I had phoned the really helpful Tourist Office in Figueres, who suggested we park on some rough ground for lorries, close to the Esclat supermarket on Carrer Emporda in Figueres, and walk a few 100 yards into the centre, where we found the Vodafone office. I asked if this was a safe place to park and got a very definite reply of "no problem". No Co-ordinates, but just drive down Carrer Emporda away from where it begins in the centre, where the Tourist Information is, and you can't miss the parking.

It cost us 20 Euros for the Sim and 1 gig for a month, which I thought was a bit steep in fact. Some English we met later said you can now get a much better deal buying for a mobile phone rather than a tablet. This is beyond us, but might be worth following up? The Sim is quite invaluable though, you are your own Internet hotspot wherever you go, so well worth the outlay. Later we topped up in a tobacconist's, as you would for a mobile phone.

The Dali museum in Figueres is whacky and fun, he designed the building too.

Castello d'Empuries

From Figueres we headed East to Castello d'Empuries and a peaceful overnight pitch at: N 42.258522 3  E 078499

This is a lovely village with a massive basilica on a hill, a mediaeval Jewish quarter, and a museum in a flour mill.

For reasons best known to ourselves (i.e. grandchildren), I then flew back to England from Girona airport, leaving David to his own devices for a week.

Girona

We found a sheltered overnight in a municipal campervan site with free facilities at the Girona suburb of Quart, SE of the town. The Tom-tom got lost again: N 41.93954  E 2.83926

Girona itself we explored on our way home.

Very pleasant old town, cathedral, old churches, a mediaeval Arab bathhouse. We tried the furgovw car park for an overnight but it was full, so we parked in another nearby car park on the way to a Tuesday morning market where I made a killing on lemons for marmalade, 0.50 per kg! It's an easy walk from the centre, at: N 41.98932  E 2.81709

Suria

We gave Barcelona and Tarragona a miss this time, but explored a bit of the hinterland away from the coast.

From Girona we drove West to Vic and Manresa, and parked overnight on waste ground in the little town of Suria.

Dramatic views from the NW of the serrated peaks of Montserrat, as well as a lovely run through wooded country along the winding C37.

Pinell de Bray

One pleasant overnight "area" was a converted railway station in a cutting at Pinell de Bray (just S of Mora d'Ebre) at: N 40.99875  E 0.47133

Ebro Delta

The Ebro delta is a bit like the Camargue minus the bulls and horses: water all around you reflecting the sky, and with good viewing platforms to watch water birds such as herons and egrets. Bikes would be useful here.

Overnights included a lovely beach under Eucalyptus trees beyond Els Montells at: N 40.65567  E 0.78245 and the restaurant Casa di Fusto, NE of Sant Carles de la Rapita at: N 40.65939  E 0.67500 we found this one after the police said we could not park in the marina car park.

Sant Carles de la Rapita was a nice little town for essential shopping and we had good tapas in a scruffy small taverna on the main street.

Les Cases de l'Alcanar

South of the delta we fell in love with Les Cases de l'Alcanar, the tiny fishing port of the inland small town of Alcanar. It has 2 campsites, a supermarket, pharmacy, small shops and plenty of seafood restaurants, which is all you need in January, and all open because of the boats coming in at 4.30 pm and the subsequent fish auction in a shed on the quay.

This was our entertainment most days, watching the octopus climbing out of the fish boxes too! The weather was sunny mostly, sometimes windy, but nothing compared to what you all were getting back in Blighty.

We lurked here for 2 weeks, partly because we had flu, and parked up in the seafront car park next to a No Campervans sign at: N 40.54985  E 0.52846

The police drove past us most afternoons. In summer you might be better off at the other end of the car park, next to a bar, especially if you went and had a drink there - no "No Campervans" sign at that end.

We also used the town centre car park at N 40.55314  E 0.52971

Camping Estanyet is a very nice site but with no sea view and costing 20 per day at: N 40.54054  E 0.52005. We stayed there to tank up, do washing, or when we were ill.

Vinaros, Alcossebre and Benicassim

We made a foray further south and found the following overnight in the car park in Vinaros, a pleasant town and working port, at: N 40.45497  E 0.46151.

We also used a tiny hillside car park on an unmade road, in a Natural Park, north of Alcossebre at: N 40.26474  E 0.29932.

We lunched on a Sunday in this car park on the bustling seafront at the mainly Spanish resort of Benicassim: N 40.03585  E 0.04948

Burriana

The beachfront at Burriana had several vans at: N 39.86436 W 0.06752. Burriana is just south of Castellon de la Plana, and was a bit of a pilgrimage for us. We have an old book on Spain, "Iberia" by an American journalist, James Michener, who came to Burriana on a tramp steamer from Dundee in 1932, when there was no harbour. Lighters (flat-bottomed barges) of oranges in steel barrels were towed out to sea by oxen, specially bred by the Romans to work swimming in the sea. Apparently the oranges were cut in half and the barrels filled up with sea water!

There is a harbour there now, and from our pitch beside some palm trees we saw a cruise ship in dry dock. When we woke up next morning (Sunday), it was gone.

Nice shops at the roundabout just back from the port behind us, including a "Hamburgeria" which was also a butcher's. A jolly girl and her Mum sold me plain and spicy sausages and some wonderful pork meatballs with mint and pine nuts in the seasoning, and a frozen block of saffron soup to serve them in. They either fry rice, paella-style, or a short pasta called "fideua" to serve with it, making a great local take on fast food!

Les Cases de Xilxes and Segorbe

Les Cases de Xilxes, seafront parking (from furgovw) at: N 39.77053  E 0.15313 was by a lovely beach, in front of deserted holiday flats. There was a stiff breeze overnight but we were well sheltered.

We then drove inland via the scenic and well-signposted Vall d'Uixo to the railway station at Segorbe (a furgovw camper stop) but the water was turned off. Good WCs in the station, and a cosy bar selling lunch.

Montanejos, then back to Burriana

Then to the Spa town of Montanejos, a fabulous drive on well-maintained winding roads through majestic scenery. Sadly the hot baths were closed for the month of February, a shame as I was looking forward to a prolonged dip. So instead we returned to Burriana for the night where lots of kids were windsurfing - very watchable.

From Spain into France via La Jonquera and Souillac

Then we turned for home, via Girona and La Jonquera. We did find the Autoroute via Toulouse extremely expensive. Although we are only a Class 2 vehicle, it cost 57 from the Spanish border to the exit at Souillac. Another year we would use the A75 (south from Clermont Ferrand).

We had an overnight on the way through France: anyone could use this one in winter, by the river Dordogne in Souillac at: N 44.88673  E 1.48221