Murcia, Isla Plana

Camping Los Madriles    March 2012

This is an excellent site, very well-maintained and attractive, with terraced pitches, many of which have sea views. The pitches are level, gravelled and of generous size. They are divided by hedges and there are plenty of deciduous trees for shade in summer, and in winter, when bare, they allow precious sunlight in!

There are several medium-sized toilet blocks, very clean and well-equipped - the only thing lacking is loo-paper. All washing-up and laundry sinks have hot water and, amazingly, plugs! Washing machines cost 3 euros 50.

Wifi is available throughout, but there is a charge. There's a large bar but no restaurant. The site has a reasonable-sized supermarket, fresh bread and pastries are available daily, and there are weekly visits from a fruit and veg van and a rotisserie-chicken van.

The outstanding feature of this campsite is the two swimming pools, in use all year, one indoor, one outdoor, both filled with seawater and heated - a real plus in winter (this is a very popular site with over-winterers).

There are plenty of activities - a covered table-tennis area with three proper tables, a tennis court and all-season football pitch, and some organised activities like aerobics and dancing. No doubt in high season there is a lot more.

There is a beach within 10 minute's walk, and plenty more walks and cycle rides in the vicinity. The small resort of Isla Plana, 1 km away, has shops and bars, and there are supermarkets in Mazarron, just a few km further. The coast is very pleasant and the development is low-key.

This is a lovely place to spend the winter and I'm sure it would be nice in summer too

Murcia, Aguilas

Camping Bella Vista     February 2015

This is a fairly small site, very attractive and well-kept. The pitches are level, gravelled, but rather small - more suited to motor homes than caravans, although there are a few pitches big enough to accommodate a caravan plus car, or caravan plus awning, but not both.

Reception staff are friendly and helpful, and there is a small shop in reception. The bar/restaurant is not open in winter. The toilet block is clean and pleasant, although if all showers are in use at the same time there is some reduction in water pressure.

Washing up sinks are under cover and have plenty of hot water. There is a small games room with drinks machine, library and a few tables. There's a small swimming pool.

Aguilas is a pleasant resort with several beaches, a castle, rocky promontories and a marina. It's famous for its spectacular Carnival in February, which is the reason we visited.

The campsite is on a main road a couple of miles outside the town, but within a few minutes' walk of a quiet beach. Road noise is quite loud on some pitches, the ones toward the back of the site being quieter.

Wifi is available. ACSI charge is 16 euros a night

Almeria, Palomares

Cuevas Mar Camping    February 2009

 This is a spacious site with generously-sized pitches, including some really big ones for huge motorhomes.

The pitches are gravelled and marked by neat, flowering hedges and mimosa trees, which were just coming into flower when we were there. It's a popular site for over-wintering Brits.

The reception office is open long hours, has a small shop and helpful staff. (There is also a lage supermarket nearby. ) There's a bar and a swimming pool open in high season. Wifi is good value at 10 euros for a week.

The loos and showers are good though not the best we have come across. The washing up and laundry facilities are good.

The beach is about 300m away. While this is not a particularly scenic beach, there is wonderful scenery both up and down the coast from Palomares, notably the Cabo de Gata National Park. The pretty fishing village of Villaricos is an easy walk or bike ride of 2 km and has an excellent weekly market.

Not the smartest campsite we've been to but it has a very friendly, relaxed atmosphere and is an excellent place to spend the winter. 

Almeria, Roquetas de Mar

Camping Roquetas    February 2015

This is a large, well-run site which is very popular for winter stays. The pitches are quite small, but in winter everyone gets 2 adjacent pitches for the price of one - giving a very generous amount of space.

The pitches are level and gravelled, but the ground is quite hard for hammering in awning pegs. There are several identical wash blocks, not heated but well enclosed and very comfortable, with loo seats, paper, soap and hand dryers, roomy shower cubicles and plenty of hot water. Washing up and laundry sinks are outdoors but under cover and have cold taps, but each area has a hot tap with long pipe attached which is useful for filling bowls or buckets. The laundry has washing machines at 4 euros, a dryer and ironing boards - also a waiting area with seating, and a book exchange.

There is a large restaurant and bar with terrace. Special meals, events and dances are laid on regularly but not intrusive if you don't want to join in! There is tennis, petanque and aerobics/yoga.

I would describe the reception staff as efficient rather than friendly. Security is good and the site is kept very clean and tidy. Wifi is available for a charge. The site has a good-sized supermarket which is open long hours.

The beach is 5 minutes' walk away. It's situated between Aguadulce, a small resort with a smart marina, and the older, larger resort of Roquetas de Mar. Both have plenty of bars, restaurants and supermarkets. The surrounding area isn't particularly scenic - this part of Almeria has a lot of plastic greenhouses which can be a bit unsightly en masse. For those with transport it's not far to the unspoilt Cabo de Gata natural park, or you can drive inland into the western Alpujarras. The area is ideal for cyclists with plenty of level cycle paths, and also very good for dog owners.

When we were there the majority of campers were German, but there was a good sprinkling of other nationalities.

Andalusia, Orgiva

The snow covered Sierra Nevada just visible in the background

The snow covered Sierra Nevada just visible in the background

Camping Orgiva    February 2009

 This is a rather quirky site which may not be to everyone's taste, but we loved it. It's in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, with views of snow-capped mountains (in February, at any rate!) It's a small site and the pitches are small too, but in low season there was plenty of room. The toilets and showers are clean and pleasant but only heated from 8-10am and 4-6pm. Only one of the washing-up sinks has hot water. There is a swimming pool in high season, and a bar and restaurant which are very popular with locals. The reception staff are helpful and will book you tickets for the Alhambra (it's an easy journey to Granada.) There is free wifi and a small library. It's generally a peaceful site but it fills up at weekends with Spanish caravanners who can be rather noisy! The town of Orgiva is 2km away, and the whole area is popular with New Age people. Tie-dyed kaftans abound! Chris Stewart's book, 'Driving over lemons', is set in this fascinating area. It's worth driving up into the mountains to see the unique villages of the Alpujarras. It's very refreshing to see a different side of Spain from the over-Anglicised coastal areas 

Andalusia, Villafranca de Cordoba

picture from pitchup.com

picture from pitchup.com

Camping Albolafia     February 2009

This is a fairly new, well-laid out site with attractive buildings and flower-beds. There are some bungalows and statics, and touring pitches are spacious and hedge-marked, with some trees for shade. As we were there out of season the shop, restaurant and swimming pool were closed but we could sit in the TV room to use the free wifi. I imagine that it would be a very pleasant place to stay in summer.

There are however a few minus points. The showerblock is very clean but there are no toilet seats, 'for reasons of hygiene'. The showers are rather awkward to use - push button, with no temperature control, and they need to be pressed very hard to work. The water stops as soon as you take your hand off the button. The wash-basins are also push-button. The washing-up and laundry sinks, which are outside but covered, have cold water only. There is a washing machine but it's service wash only. Another problem (which is unlikely to happen in summer) is that the ground is clay and gets very waterlogged in wet weather. It became a quagmire while we were there!

The local town, Villafranca, has a small supermarket. It's a 15-minute drive to Cordoba which is a wonderful city with both Roman and Moorish remains. To my mind the Mezquita is even more amazing than the Alhambra. The Juderia, the old Jewish area of narrow streets, is full of interesting shops, and the Roman bridge over the Guadalquivir river is very impressive. I'd love to return to Cordoba but I think I would choose another campsite.

Andalusia, Marbella

Camping La Buganvilla    March 2009

This is quite a large site just off the coastal motorway. Pitches vary in size and shape, some being quite sloping, and when it rains it can get quite muddy. There are plenty of pine trees for shade. The shower blocks are clean but in need of refurbishment. Water pressure is low and it takes a long time to heat up. However the showers are not push-button, which is a plus! The washing-up sinks have warm water but the laundry sinks have only cold. One of the washing machines was not working during our stay and people who had been on the site for a while said they'd reported it and nothing was done. However the reception staff were pleasant enough and security was good - you get a swipe card to work the entrance barrier. We can't comment on the restaurant as we didn't try it, and it was too early in the year for the swimming pool to be open.

There is a small shopping area at El Rosario, about 5 minutes' walk from the site, with a supermarket, newsagents, bar and hairdresser. A baker's van comes to the site twice a week. It's a bit of a hike to the beach, via a bridge over the motorway then through some pleasant suburban streets. The beach is very good and there are a number of beach bars. The proximity of the motorway means there is some traffic noise but it's not too intrusive. We weren't impressed with Marbella itself but there are some interesting places to visit inland, such as Mijas and Ronda

Andalusia, Tarifa

Camping Paloma    March 2009

The area around Tarifa (the Costa de Luz) is well-known for being windy and is popular with windsurfers and kitesurfers, so there are numerous campsites. Camping Paloma is quite large, with some bungalows, a few permanent caravans, and plenty of pitches for tourers. The ground is level, sandy, and well-shaded by pine trees. Only one shower block was open in March. It was quite smart but more suited to summer weather - it had openings rather than windows, and was draughty to say the least! Neither the washing-up nor laundry sinks had hot water taps, so we filled our washing up bowl from the showers! There is free wifi in the bar and immediate surrounding area only. There are some gorgeous beaches nearby and we also visited Gibraltar and Cape Trafalgar, but we found the constant wind very irritating - there was always sand blowing around and it got in everything! Maybe the weather would be calmer in summer. 

Andalusia, El Puerto de Santa Maria

Camping Las Dunas de San Antonio   

March 2009

This is a large municipal campsite which is well-maintained but a bit noisy. There is also some noise from the adjacent public sports complex, going on until 10 or 11 at night occasionally. The pitches are grassy/sandy and of good size. The toilet block is excellent, clean, spacious and modern. There is a well-equipped launderette but to gain access you have to get a chitty from reception then find one of the cleaners and get her to let you in - a bit of a hassle! There is an on site supermarket but only open high season. The bar and restaurant were open in low season and were popular with the locals. There's no wifi, but free internet use in reception, or in the bar it's 1 euro for 20 minutes. There's a beach nearby but the main attraction of this site is its position in the famous 'sherry triangle', and its proximity to Cadiz. The town of El Puerto itself has a number of sherry bodegas including Osborne, which is well worth a visit - loads of tasting! Jerez is not far away and as well as more bodegas - we enjoyed the tour of Tio Pepe - it also has the fabulous Andalucian Riding School which puts on a wonderful show of horsemanship on Tuesdays and Thursdays. From El Puerto you can also take a short ferry ride over to Cadiz which is a city with a fascinating history.

December 2014

It's five years since we were last here and not a lot has changed. Last time we were here in Spring, so it was busier. This time it was a bit quieter, so we had a pitch nearer to the shower block, which is not heated although there is plenty of hot water. There were a number of people of various nationalities staying here for Christmas, although as far as I was aware there was no entertainment. However we only stayed a few days so couldn't really judge.

We enjoyed a trip to a bodega in Sanlucar de Barrameda, one of the three sherry towns (we'd visited the others last time. ) Sanlucar is the home of Manzanilla, a delicate sherry which is said to taste slightly salty because of the nearby sea.

The awkward laundry arrangements haven't changed, and for long stays are a lot less convenient than the self-service launderettes found in most campsites.

On the whole I wouldn't want to spend the winter here, but for a short visit it's fine. The town is interesting, a real Spanish town and not at all touristy. There's a very ornate cathedral, with several storks' nests on the roof (and in December, they were all occupied!)

Andalusia, El Rocio

Camping La Aldea   

March 2009 

 This is an excellent site in a fascinating area. The site is large, with bungalows and permanent caravans as well as numerous touring pitches. The pitches are all the same size (quite generous) but the ground is sandy and quite soft in places, and there are very high curbs which are a bit tricky - luckily several people came to give us a hand, including some folk from a Caravan Club rally who obviously knew the area and had come equipped with ramps! There is a large bar and restaurant which are popular with the locals, and campers can buy fresh bread there. There is also a small shop - useful as the nearest supermarket of any size is 10km away. The toilet block is excellent, as are the washing-up and laundry facilities - lots of hot water. There's a swimming pool in high season. And wifi is available. It's a 5-minute walk into the town of El Rocio, an absolutely unique place, rather like something out of a Western - the road surface is sand and everyone rides horses, so there are hitching posts outside all the shops and restaurants! El Rocio is the scene of an amazing pilgrimage, or romera, every May in honour of the Virgin of El Rocio. There is a beautiful church and the town is full of houses belonging to religious fraternities from all over Spain. There is a parade almost every weekend including women wearing traditional Flamenco dresses. Also nearby is the Donana National Park with its rare flora and fauna. We will certainly visit this campsite again and would recommend it highly.

January 2012

 This was our second visit to this site and we enjoyed it just as much as the first time, although being earlier in the year the weather wasn't as warm. We realised the toilet block isn't heated - no problem when we were here in March, but in January the early mornings can be a bit frosty before the sun warms up. However the plentiful hot water in the showers made up for it.

Prices seemed lower than last time - maybe as a result of Spain's austerity problems. The menu del dia in the restaurant was 10 euros, down from 12 on our last visit, and the washing machines were 3 euros, down from 3. 60. However the ACSI price had gone up from 15 to 16 euros. But if you stay 6 nights you get the 7th night free.

There has been an improvement in the village, which is only 5 minutes' walk, as a decent-sized supermarket has now opened. We were lucky to see a big religious parade on Sunday 29th, with drums, pipes and banners, horses and wagons, and one mass after another in the church.

A trip to the beautiful city of Seville with its Moorish architecture is a must, and just north west of Seville are the ruins of Italica, a large Roman town with an amphitheatre and some wonderful mosaics. It's also a short drive in the opposite direction to the coast, where the quiet resort of Matalascanas has a huge sandy beach.

All in all another very enjoyable stay at this site.

 

Andalusia, Conil de la Frontera

Camping Roche     February 2012

 there are other sites in this area but they tend to be popular with rallies or predominantly frequented by UK campers. We chose this site as it seemed a bit quieter (no evening entertainment, in winter anyway) and with a mix of nationalities.

The pitches are not a bad size but some have low walls, and some have a lot of young trees, which can make pitching difficult, especially for a larger outfit. We also found the site roads had some tight corners. The ground is covered with thick, tough, springy grass, which is a nice change from the usual rather bare pitches.

The shower block we used was very smart and clean - loos have seats and there is a central toilet paper dispenser. One odd feature is that the doors to both the toilets and showers don't have any sort of catch or lock, so you just have to hope no-one barges in on you! The washing-up and laundry sinks are outdoors but under cover, and have plenty of hot water.

The receptionist is very friendly and speaks good English. A bread van comes round every morning. There is free wifi throughout.

My main criticism is that there is a farm adjoining the site. The noise of cockerels, dogs and donkeys didn't bother us, but the strong farmyard smell certainly did - it detracted from the pleasure of sitting outside in the sun, and especially eating outside.

But on the plus side, the price has gone down since last year - it's now 14 euros with ACSI card. 

Andalusia, Torrox Costa

Camping El Pino    

February 2012 

The best I can say is that it's cheap and cheerful. Pitches are rather cramped, all gravel. Lots of trees (not in leaf at this time of year) but otherwise there's not a lot of greenery.

Several small shower blocks, clean but not particularly smart. Showers have controllable temperature, but no separate area for clothes, but are fairly large so with care nothing gets wet. Washing-up and laundry sinks are cold water only, which is pointless as far as I'm concerned.

Wifi is supposed to be available in all pitches near to reception but we're near and we can't get it, have to go to bar. Restaurant specialises in English food and the shop does likewise - who on earth goes to Spain and wants to buy Kingsmill sliced bread, Branston Pickle and kippers?!

January 2015

 I was a bit harsh in my last review, yet here I am again at El Pino, enjoying myself and realising that it's one of those sites where the whole is better than its parts!

We've got a much better pitch than last time, which makes a big difference. The site is on several levels and has pitches of all shapes and sizes. We are on level three, pitch 524, which is large and has sun all day - a big improvement on last time, when we were on the rather shadier lower level.

The restaurant and bar is much as before, perfectly adequate but not outstanding, and the supermarket is currently closed - waiting and hoping for new management. Luckily there's a small supermarket within a few minutes' walk, and several good ones in the town centre - Mercadona, Lidl and Aldi.

There are two laundry rooms, with washing machines of large capacity which cost 4 euros. The shower blocks are looking a little tired, but there is one smart new shower block on level three, although it is not without teething problems. However, lots of people come here year after year, and here we are again - it definitely has something going for it! Maybe it's the relaxed, friendly atmosphere, or the appeal of Torrox Costa itself, which is such an attractive small resort, with lots of bars and restaurants of all types, open all year round. The mountains form a picturesque background and there are lots of interesting places to visit. Despite the fact that there are many sites with better facilities, we enjoyed our stay here - there's just something about it! 

 

Andalusia, Cabo de Gata

Camping Los Escullos     February 2012

This is an excellent site, very well-maintained, within the unspoilt landscape of the Cabo de Gata National Park. Pitches are gravelled and are of a very good size, separated by hedges, and with a variety of trees for shade. All pitches are covered by permanent sunshades but these don't cause any problems with access.

The orientation of the site means that all pitches on one side of the 'roads' are in sun, the opposite side in shade. So in winter - and this is a very popular site for over-wintering - the sunny pitches are in demand, and in summer I imagine it would be the other way round! Cabo de Gata is one of the driest areas in Europe and the summer heat must be pretty fierce.

There is one, large, central sanitation block, fully enclosed, very clean and well-equipped. Loos have seats and paper, washbasins have warm water, soap and hand-driers, showers are roomy and have controllable temperature, although they are push-button.

There is a large, semi-enclosed washing up and laundry area. Half of the sinks have warm water, the rest cold. Washing machines cost 3 euros.

There is a popular restaurant and bar. Set meals cost 9. 75 euros, but on Wednesdays it's only 6 euros! There is a shop but it's fairly limited. Fresh bread is available daily. As this is a fairly remote area it's about 25 km to the nearest big supermarket, but there's a small one in the picturesque little resort of San Jose, just 4 km away, along with a good selection of bars and restaurants.

There's a nice swimming pool, open in winter, but the water is a bit cold! There are some organised activities in winter - Spanish lessons, etc - and various sports facilities. Wifi is free and available throughout.

There is a lovely beach 10 minute's walk away, and many good walks and cycle rides in the area. The scenery is fantastic - volcanic, arid, with strangely-shaped rock formations along the coast.

A lovely site that we would be happy to return to. Camping Cheques accepted

Andalusia, Zahora

Camping Pinar de San Jose   December 2014

 This is an excellent site in a quiet, attractive location, among umbrella pines and not far from fabulous beaches. We spent Christmas and New Year here and the atmosphere was very friendly, with suitably seasonal events organised for those who wanted them - fairly low-key, and no compulsion to join in if you don't want to!

There's a good bar/restaurant, with a very comfortable lounge/library upstairs. We found an interesting mix of campers in winter - plenty of long-term Brits, Germans, Dutch etc, some who come year after year. But there are also a few Spanish families, especially in the bungalows, and younger surfer types, as the local beaches are great for surfing all year round.

The site has its own very good supermarket, but there are others in Barbate (the nearest town) or Conil de la Frontera, where there are lots of bars and restaurants.

The shower blocks are very clean but would benefit from being heated! The site roads are of compacted sand and a bit pot-holed, though the staff fill them in from time to time. As a previous review pointed out, access to some pitches can be a bit awkward so if you have a largish caravan a mover is useful. There is free wifi throughout. The washing machines are particularly good - large capacity and only 3 euros. There's a power car wash for 1 euro.

Like many popular sites, it has some drawbacks but these are more than made up for by the good points. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly, the surroundings are very scenic and unspoilt. It's good value at 16 euros with ACSI, or even cheaper for long stays in winter.

Andalusia, Villafranco del Guadalhorce

La Finca de Piedra    January 2015

Excellent small CL-type site with room for up to 5 units. There was only one other caravan there during our stay, so it was very quiet and peaceful. Lovely views of the mountains and surrounding farmland.

Nice little shower room, very cosy in January! Washing machine is excellent value at 2 euro 50, and Jeff lent us a large rotary clothes drier which was very useful! He and Irene are very helpful, they even managed to find us a replacement for our broken wing mirror!

There are plenty of facilities for eating and shopping nearby. At Coin there is a large shopping mall, La Trocha, with a useful Dunne's store. The coast is a short drive away - Fuengirola, Marbella etc. Mijas is a pretty village with great views of the coast. There are smaller, less developed villages and towns nearby - we enjoyed Alora.

Altogether a very refreshing change from large, busy sites, and it makes a pleasant, restful base from which to explore the surrounding area.

Andalucia, Humilladero

Camping La Sierrecilla    January 2015

 We were rather disappointed by this site. It can be very cold in this area in winter so we were looking forward to the advertised heated toilet/shower facilities. There are two blocks next to each other. The smaller of the two had no heating whatsoever. The larger block had a small electric wall-heater near the wash-basins, but nowhere near the shower cubicles. It was on a timer switch and went off after five minutes, which was as good as useless! It took a long time for the water in the showers to run warm, and there was insufficient hanging/shelf space in the cubicles. So, although everything was clean and modern, it was not a comfortable experience in January!

Other than that, the site was fine - large, level, gravelled pitches, free wifi in reception, but it also reaches to many of the pitches nearby. The restaurant looked pleasant and did a menu del dia for 8 euros.

The town of Humilladero is rather unattractive, but the main reason for staying here is to visit the many places of interest in the area. The Laguna de Fuente de Piedra is popular with bird-watchers and has Europe's largest community of flamingoes. There's a nearby Donkey Sanctuary which we enjoyed. Historic towns in the area include Antequera, Archidona and Osuna.

We'd certainly stay again if we were in the area, but a properly heated shower block would be a big improvement! 

Latest comments

28.12 | 08:07

I live in Nysa Poland that is south west on the cheq border.

22.12 | 20:48

Good to hear from you Liam. I recognise your name from EUnitySeahaven. Where in Poland do you live? We enjoyed what we saw, but of course it was only a small corner

22.12 | 14:43

I live in Nysa in Poland. I shall have to visit in the new year when I have my new phone.

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