Asturias, Luarca

Camping Los Cantiles    May 2009

This is a very attractive site with large, grassy, hedged pitches, many with sea views, and lots of trees and flowering shrubs. In low season, when we were there, it's very quiet and the reception office is not manned, but someone comes when you ring the bell. Unlike the previous review, we found the staff friendly and the toilets excellent - toilet seats, paper, lots of hot water. There was only one toilet block open when we were there, so maybe it's the other one that isn't so good. The washing machines and tumble driers were good value at 2.50 euros. Wifi was availabe in and around the bar. In May the bar wasn't open but there was a camp kitchen where we used our laptop. The weather when we were there was wet and cool and there was very little to do, but we would like to return in July or August as the scenery is fantastic and it was such a pretty site.

Asturias, Ribadesella

view towards the Picos from the second tier

view towards the Picos from the second tier

Camping Ribadesella    May 2009

 This campsite, only 80 km from Santander,is long and narrow and set in a small valley. When we arrived the lower area was full but there are plenty of pitches higher up on the terraced grassy slopes. However, this involves negotiating a very tight turn if you have a large outfit. The advantage to being higher up is that you get a view of the Picos de Europa, if the weather is fine! The area is cooler and wetter, but much greener, than other parts of Spain and the high season is fairly short.

At the end of May when we visited, only one of the toilet blocks was open, the snackbar and outdoor pool were closed, but the indoor pool was open. There is free wifi in and immediately surrounding the snackbar. The toilet block was excellent, as were the washing-up and laundry facilities. Ribadesella itself is a pleasant small resort/fishing port and it's worth visiting the nearby caves of Tito Bustillo with stalagmites and ancient paintings of animals. There are nice little towns all along the coast, such as Llanes, and of course a trip into the Picos is a must. It's an area we would like to return to but would go in summer to ensure better weather! 

Cantabria, Ruiloba

Camping El Helguero    June 2010

This site is 45 km west of Santander, in a very scenic area with excellent beaches. The site is quite large, with some wooded areas and rocky outcrops, but the touring pitches are level, grassy and well-kept, with enough trees for shade, numbered but not divided by hedges. However, access to some pitches can be difficult due to deep concrete gutters. Statics outnumber tourers but are in a separate area, and in addition there are some cabins for rent

Reception staff are friendly and speak English, and there is a small book exchange. There is a busy bar and restaurant, a supermarket and a nice swimming pool, where the wearing of bathing caps is compulsory.

The toilet blocks are very good with controllable showers, plenty of hot water, loos with seats and paper, and all kept very clean. The same goes for the washing-up and laundry areas.

On the down side, it can get quite busy and noisy at weekends when lots of Spanish families arrive, but during the week (in low season anyway) it's peaceful and relaxing. I imagine it will be very busy in high season. Occasionally the cabins are used by groups of young people who can also be noisy.

But on the whole it's a very pleasant place to stay, with plenty to see and do nearby, including interesting small towns like Comillas, San Vicente and Santillana and the famous Altamira caves

Castille y Leon, Tordesillas

Camping El Astral    May 2009

This is a pleasant site beside the River Duero (which becomes the Douro in Portugal.) It has recently been taken over by the Dutch chain, Kawan, and major refurbishment of the shower block is planned, though the existing one was perfectly ok, if a little tired. It's quite a large site, with pitches of varying sizes, shaded by white poplars. Unfortunately in May they shed lots of white, fluffy seeds, so it looked as if there'd been an explosion in a pillow factory! This is only a problem if, like me, you suffer from hay fever. There's a pleasant swimming pool, restaurant and bar, lots of hot water for washing-up and laundry, and washing machines for 3 euros 80. There is wifi all over the site for a small charge.

It's a short walk into the small but very interesting and historical town of Tordesillas. Must-sees are the House of the Treaty where in 1494 Spain and Portugal divided the New World up between them; the Church of San Antolin: and the Convento di Santa Clara, once a Moorish palace, where Juana la Loca (Joan the Mad) spent her last years. Within an easy drive of Tordesillas there are several fascinating places to visit - the ancient cities of Salamanca and Valladolid and some splendid medieval castles at Medina del Campo and Coca.

The surrounding countryside is unspectacular, being the archetypal 'plain in Spain', but the wonderful historic buildings stand out all the more for the lack of surrounding scenery! It's an interesting and very different area from those usually visited by tourists, but typically Spanish. Highly recommended.

Castille y Leon, Castrojerez

Camping Camino de Santiago    June 2010

The Route of St James, which we'd followed from St Jean Pied de Port in France (as tourists rather than pilgrims) runs right through this medieval village, hence the name of the campsite. There are a couple of pilgrim hostels in town but quite a few travellers doing the long-distance walk choose to stay at the campsite. In the bar there are numerous photos of pilgrims, some on foot or bicycle, some with a donkey, and some even on motorbikes. It's a small and friendly site, a little bit run-down, but in good weather a peaceful, leafy refuge. Unfortunately it was pouring with rain when we arrived and the site was very muddy indeed - my wellies came in useful. But when the sun came out it was very pretty, overlooked by a ruined castle on a hill. The shower block is ok but in need of a bit of attention as 2 out of the 3 showers in the ladies didn't work very well. However it was clean, the loos had both seats and toilet paper, the washing-up and laundry room was large and under cover (but only one sink had a hot tap) and there was an indoor drying area for hikers' clothes, with a pool table. Reception, bar, restaurant and shop are all in one room and the friendly owner speaks English. We spent a day in Burgos (40 minutes' drive) which is a very attractive and historic city, the home of El Cid. This site isn't for you if you want entertainment and top-class facilities but it was relaxed and friendly and we would have stayed longer had the weather been better!

Castille y Leon, Burgos

Camping Fuentes Blancos    December 2014

A very useful site on the way to or from Southern Spain. It's in a pleasant, quiet location. The pitches are large, in fact some units were able to stay hitched up, and there was also room for a fifth wheel. Some pitches were rather muddy but there were plenty of others to choose from.

It's a municipal site so the toilet blocks aren't very attractive from the outside, but the one open in winter was excellent inside - clean, heated, lots of hot water, soap and hand dryers, loos with seats and paper. However the washing up sinks are in the open air, although under a small roof, and as the temperature was around zero we preferred to wash up in the caravan!

There were problems with the wifi when we were there but the staff readily gave us a refund of the 2 euros we'd paid.

At 16 euros a night with ACSI it was good value. Burgos is a beautiful city and it's worth stopping an extra night or two to see it.

Castille y Leon, Salamanca

Camping Regio    December 2014

 This is another very useful site as a stopover on the way south, although it's worth staying a bit longer to visit Salamanca which is a wonderful old city.

It's a large, level, grassy site in a quiet situation behind a large, smart hotel. In winter the site reception is closed and you check in at the hotel. The receptionist was very friendly and helpful and gave us information about the town and the bus service. Then we were free to find our own pitch.

We have quite a large caravan and some of the pitches were quite small but we found that there are a dozen or so larger ones just in front of the toilet block. However in winter when it's not busy twin axles and large motorhomes can pitch comfortably on the wide site roads.

The toilet block was quite smart but unheated and I wasn't brave enough to use it! OH did and said there was plenty of hot water.

Wifi is free and available throughout. The bus into town actually stops in the hotel car park, which is very useful. It takes about 20 minutes and costs 1 euro 40.

At 16 euros a night, ACSI price, this is a useful stopover.

Galicia, Santiago de Compostela

picture from Turismo de Galicia

picture from Turismo de Galicia

Camping As Cancelas    May 2009

 There are three campsites in Santiago but we had been put off this one because the guidebooks say there's a steep ascent on entering the site and the pitches are small. We tried the other two sites and they were both closed, so we ended up at As Cancelas after all!

We needn't have worried as we coped well with the steep ascent and found one of the few larger pitches. However, this is a very busy site, even in early May, so things might be more difficult in high season.

The site is quite large, is steeply terraced, and has very good shower and laundry facilities. There's also a bar and restaurant, though we didn't use the latter.

There is a bus stop for the city centre a couple of hundred metres from the site, but we opted to walk into town as it's downhill, but got the bus back. Santiago is a fascinating place, full of history and interesting architecture,ranging from medieval to baroque, and thronging with pilgrims.

There is a pilgrims' mass in the Cathedral at noon every day which is well worth seeing, but for sightseeing purposes a return to the Cathedral at a quieter time is necessary!

Navarre, Mendigorria

Camping Errota el Molio    June 2010

This is a large, popular site with lots of facilities, especially sporting. There are a lot of bungalows, some for rent but many privately owned. The area for tourers is large, level and grassy with some trees for shade. There is one large central toilet block, well-equipped and modern. Toilets have both seats and paper, washbasins have soap and hand driers, and the showers are the push-button type with no temperature control - they took quite a long time to get hot. There is a large washing-up and laundry room, plus washing machines and driers. There is a very big restaurant and a bar/cafe with a terrace, also a supermarket. The swimming pool is large and has a water slide. There are lots of sports facilities: tennis, football, squash courts, pelota (this is Basque country), boating on the river Arga which runs beside the site, and a children's playground with a large climbing 'tree'. The site gets busy at weekends with an influx of Spanish families, and it's also popular with rallies - there were two while we were there, one Belgian, one Dutch. The site also has separate accommodation for visiting school parties - again there were two while we were there, which made it a bit noisy. The site is well-placed for visiting the many interesting and historic towns in the vicinity, such as Pamplona, Puente la Reina and Olite, also the Rioja vineyards and the desert scenery of the Bardenas Reales. It's a fascinating area and very different from the usual tourist Spain, but this means that not so many people speak English, so take your Spanish phrasebook! 

Pais Vasco, Itziar

Camping Itxaspe    June 2010

We chose this campsite because we wanted to visit Bilbao, and the 2 sites which are nearer the city had off-putting reviews! From Itxaspe it's 55 km to Bilbao which is fine for those with a car, but if you want to use bikes or public transport it's not practical. The site is in a beautiful location high above the sea, with sea views from some pitches. There is a footpath down to the sea from the camp, but it's very steep - 10 minutes to get down, and about 40 to get back up! It's a fairly small site, level and grassy with some trees. There are not many large pitches and there are some tight corners, making it awkward for larger outfits. It's excellent for tents, with plenty of small grassy areas and picnic tables under cover - useful, as this region gets more rain than the rest of Spain. The toilet block is large and modern, though the ladies section is down a flight of stairs. However, there are disabled facilities at ground level. Oddly, there are more sinks for laundry than for washing-up, and only the laundry sinks have hot water! There is a washing machine and a drier, a small shop in reception, but no bar or cafe, just a coffee machine. The small swimming pool is lovely, with beautiful sea views. My only grouch is that you are allocated a particular pitch, and ours was rather cramped and right by the washing-up sinks, so it was noisy. Some people were still washing up at midnight! On reflection we should have turned it down and chosen a better one. We had a wonderful day in Bilbao visiting the Guggenheim, and we also explored the coast both east and west of the site. There are some lovely resorts to visit, including San Sebastian, 32 km away, though our favourite was Zarautz with its huge surfing beach.

Pais Vasco, Mundaka

Camping Portuondo    December 2014

We used this site on our way to Southern Spain. We wanted to visit the Guggenheim again, and also Gernika, and very few sites were open in December. In fact this site closed a few days after we left.

As others have said the pitches are quite small and close together, but as we were almost the only people there, we were able to spread out a bit. The main toilet block was closed but we had the use of the disabled facilities, which had a good infra red heater - useful as the weather was wet and cold.

It looks as if it would be a lovely place in summer, though due to the small pitches it's probably better suited to tent campers. There's a fantastic view from the bar terrace, and the swimming pool has a water slide, which you don't often find in Spanish sites.

It's not in the ACSI scheme so we found it quite expensive for December, but would be reasonable value in high season

Aragon, Zaragoza

Camping Municipal    December 2012 & March 2015

This is a very useful site for a stopover on the way to or from the Costas. While far from being the best site we've ever stayed on, it was acceptable. The lady in reception was very friendly and spoke good English. She allocated us a pitch which turned out to be a very generous size. Admittedly, there was a derelict caravan on one adjoining pitch and what looked to be a man living permanently on another pitch, but neither caused us any problems.

The toilet block is very modern, though not luxurious. It was lovely and warm inside, which was welcome as Zaragoza can be very cold in winter. There was nowhere much to hang clothes or towels in the shower cubicles so I hung mine outside. There was plenty of hot water, and the level of cleanliness was ok but not immaculate.

We were aware that there were people living in the chalets but experienced no problems. In fact we decided to stay an extra night so that we could explore Zaragoza. It has many interesting buildings including one of Spain's most important shrines, the church of Santa Maria del Pilar.

It's not a cheap site but it's very convenient and we would certainly use it again.