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camper-van tour of Spain

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Feb 22nd, 2010, 04:40 PM
  #1
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camper-van tour of Spain

My family of 5 is contemplating a 3-week camper-van tour of Spain this summer. We know we want to see the sights, and take a day-trip to Tangiers, Morrocco. Other than that, are there natural areas, ruins, small towns, etc. that subscribers on this site would recommend? Has anyone done this sort of trip?

On a side note, is it just me, or is the airfare from North America to Europe way more expensive this year than the last?
simplicitas is offline  
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Feb 22nd, 2010, 06:54 PM
  #2
 
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Um, does this camper van have AC? If not - I wouldn't go anywhere near southern Spain (often temps over 100 - as much as 110 - for days at a time) in one. (We've been in Adalusia in late April and the daily highs were already in the low 80s.
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Feb 22nd, 2010, 07:11 PM
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I have seen very few camper/vans in Spain.

Were there places to park and stay the night?

How did you negotiate the cities and larger towns?
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Feb 22nd, 2010, 08:18 PM
  #4
 
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"a 3-week camper-van tour of Spain", including a day-trip to Tangiers? I don't know where you're from, but have you looked at a map of Spain lately? It's a bit larger than Rhode Island.
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Feb 22nd, 2010, 11:56 PM
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I imagine a camper van that would COMFORTABLY sleep 5 people would not be much good "touring" Spain.

Most people park them for the month at a beach campgrounds ( not cheap) and drag/rent a small car for touring. Getting into the towns wit that size vehicle will be a challenge and I can't imagine where you would park it outside of a huge hypermarket on the outskirts of the towns with bad transport into town.

5 do not fit in a taxi most places. Few taxis are the legal size for 5+driver.

The country is huge. Mountains everywhere. I suggest you read up on the areas and decide more or less where you want to go, then check out prices for campgrounds as you might decide, with gas at 1-1.25 EUROS a LITER, this trip's budget may turn out differently than you are imagining.
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Feb 23rd, 2010, 05:08 AM
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There is no reason why you should not hire a camper. The Spanish do use them just like any other European country, well perhaps less then the Dutch!
You will have to do your own research as to where to hire one from. But if you Google “Alquiler autocaravanas” I am sure you will come up with a lot of answers.
Now for some websites:
This one gives you where you can discharge your waste tanks if you are not using a campsite.
http://www.lapaca.org/
This website does have a forum too so if you read Spanish it will be a big help in organising your vacation. And apart from the forum it has loads of additional information.
The next is a website which lists camping sites in Europe, so read through the Spanish listings.
http://www.vayacamping.net/en/
There is not any official website which covers all campsites in Spain. Again there is a forum.

The problem with a caravan is that they are not practical if you wish to visit a city. They are often too big for some roads plus parking is usually underground and it is impossible to take a camper into one.
However if you plan well you can usually find a side street to park in and take a bus or train into the centres.
And do not listen to the nosayers
Aircon is available on campers these days.
There a lot of models that sleep five or more persons
And Diesel is at the moment round about 1.08€ a litre. But that does change a few cents from area to area.
Here is the website for fuel prices in Spain.
http://geoportal.mityc.es/hidrocarburos/eess/
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Feb 23rd, 2010, 06:08 AM
  #7
 
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Soultravelers3.com (posters here) have travelled all over Europe in a camper. Check out their site.
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Feb 23rd, 2010, 09:51 AM
  #8
 
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We travelled Europe by campervan for nine weeks and spent some of it in northern Spain and Portugal. Of the 32 campgrounds we stayed in the seven countries we visited, the ones in Spain were great for the most part but they were a little harder to locate near places we wanted to visit. That said, we found them to be close to transportation (trains or buses) that were easily accessible to the city centres. I assume you are renting a camper? We rented out of Germany as their prices were the best so can't comment on rentals in Spain. We did have a great book - The Traveler's Guide to European Camping by Mike and Terri Church - which proved to be invaluable. I can post further details as to where we went if you're interested but we went across the north which was spectacular and then back through the middle which was very uninspiring for the most part. I imagine it would be unbearably hot in the summer in the south. It was a great way to travel but definitely not cheap - more of a lifestyle that we totally embraced for the time we were there. Any other questions I'll be happy to try and answer. Happy planning!
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Feb 23rd, 2010, 10:27 AM
  #9
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Thanks, everyone for your replies. I was starting to feel a bit disheartened until I read the replies down toward the bottom! We have visited much of Europe by car, and thought that this would be a fun (maybe we're crazy) way to do it this time.
We thought of a camper-van because when we did a driving/camping trip through Italy a few years back, it seemed like everyone had a camper-van. We have had some experience locating the often tucked-away campgrounds using a guide book.
We are going to be renting the camper...I read that Madrid airport has some, but I don't know about us driving it out of there. Does anybody know if Madrid's International airport in city center or in a more rural spot, like Munich's? That will really influence where we rent the camper, but we are flying into Madrid.
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Feb 23rd, 2010, 01:45 PM
  #10
 
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Madrid's airport is surrounded by 4 lane highways and very busy for several kms in all directions.
lincasanova is offline  
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Feb 23rd, 2010, 03:23 PM
  #11
 
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For details of roads around the airport also look at Google maps.
http://tinyurl.com/yl9humh
I think linca means that they are 2 lanes is in each direction.
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Feb 24th, 2010, 12:20 AM
  #12
 
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I mean the M30/ M40 going around is quite wide ( 4-5 lanes.. isn't it) until it branches off into three and two lane highways.

However, it probably doesn't matter much as people will certainly steer clear of that campervan in a better way than if you were in a sedan!
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Feb 24th, 2010, 01:37 AM
  #13
 
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Sitting high up also has an advantage when in heavy traffic. It is just the size of some 'vans that put drivers of using one. But it does seem that simplicitas (and maybe some of the party) have driven a 'van before.
Lets hope we hear more about this trip.
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Feb 24th, 2010, 02:27 AM
  #14
 
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yes.. it seems so. I wish starfish had posted/would post a trip report about her wonderful experience.i am sure it would be helpful to many.
lincasanova is offline  
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Feb 24th, 2010, 01:10 PM
  #15
 
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here's the link to my somewhat brief trip report that I did when we got back - there was just too much info to try and write about so if there are any questions, ask away...
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-adventure.cfm

Also, we kept a blog of our adventures - this is an excerpt from part of our time in Spain -
So after the wonder of Salamanca Cathedral, we saw the 1000 year old walls of Avila with 86 towers, and moved on to Segovia. This place had a cathedral to match Salamanca (and we had a camera this time!), a castle that would start another castle envy round with the kids (and Real Gaston) and an enormous 2000 year old aquaduct (yes, other real Spike Gaston, we have seen an aquaduct - a heck of a lot of construction to carry a ditch about 150mm x 150mm, not sure they couldn't have paid the peasants to carry the water instead, but it sure looks neat, but pretty amazing that there is no mortar in it).
Met our first Canadian campers (from Burnaby) and stayed up way too late with Rioja and Port before the big (500km) road trip across the middle of Spain to the low point campground of the trip, but the scenery on the way was a spectacular mix of mountain, mesa, prairie, wind farms and river valley. Off through the industrial belt to get to Barcelona early the next day, to a campground with a view over the Mediterranean (clothing is apparently optional on their beaches) and close to the train (everyone was dressed, 15 minutes into the centre of town). We checked out their redeveloped waterfront (a huge marina, cruise port and theme park and bi-level roads and pedestrian boulevards), the gaudy Gaudi cathedral that has been under construction for over 1oo years as a tourist attraction (which one person said had nothing to do with God and all to do with Gaudi, which we will leave to you architects to discuss), and the Picasso Museum, giving a great perspective on the evolution of his art from 15 years old until 80 or so. We also had a superb dinner in the place that he used to hang out early in his career. And everyone was hanging on tightly to their purses and packs, which was disconcerting, so enough city for us. Next stop - the south of France.
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Feb 24th, 2010, 03:40 PM
  #16
 
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I didn't see your post when I looked for it What a wonderful trip.
You certainly have a lot of good encouraging info here.

Thanks for posting the link and your blog.
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Mar 29th, 2010, 03:20 AM
  #17
 
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It is really funny to hear the many views of RVing in Europe. We have been RVing all around Spain and Europe as a family, non-stop since 2006 so have more experience at this than anyone I know.

It's a FABULOUS way to go, especially for families and we do it VERY luxuriously for just 23 dollars a day per person.

Thanks jubilada for mentioning our website, www.soultravelers3.com and I highly recommend that you read the MANY posts on Spain:

http://soultravelers3.typepad.com/so...ain/index.html

Spain has some of the best luxury campsites in Europe & almost ALL campsites in Europe are close to public transportation, so one never has to go into a city or crowded site. All the main highways are as good or better than US & you can actually save money on gas because you are usually parked and using mass transit, bikes or walking.

That said, I would heed the advice on the heat/crowds in Spain in the summer, ( think northern Spain/Galicia if you are going in July or August) and reasonable distances that you want to travel as Spain is a very large and diverse country.

Do consider the most mountainous areas, although we had no problem taking our RV up to the top of one of the highest in Spain near Granada ( which has a fab campsite) where we did spring skiing.

There are FANTASTIC campsites near Barcelona, Seville, Madrid, Malaga, Marbella, Cadiz, Jerez, Bilbao, Santiago, Galicia, San Sebastian, Granada, Cordoba, Costa Brava, Costa Blaca, Costa del Sol and many,many more.

It's also quite easy to take an RV from Spain into Morocco, but spring or fall is the time to do that not summer.

Many smart folks winter in RV's in Nice, Barcelona, southern Spain, southern Portugal in totally luxurious resorts ( with pools, tennis courts, near Med sea, restaurants, grocery stores etc) for as little as 7 dollars a night! So don't let anyone fool you and say RV's & campers are not VERY plentiful ALL OVER Europe.

We love it so much that we are keeping our RV here as a vehicle/storage/home to return indefinitely for summers while we head to Asia this winter to immerse our child in her 3rd language, Mandarin Chinese and other continents to tour.

Also pay attention to size. The smaller the better. You will be surprised how quickly you adapt to smaller space as most of your living is outside ( tables, comfy chairs etc).

In our small van sized with cab over RV, we have 2 double beds and 2 bunk beds. It's our home for 6 or 7 month of the year, so we have lots more stuff in it than normal like a full sized digital piano and tons of books for homeschooling.

You can also bring a small tent like we do as our child loves to play in it or have "sleep overs" with the many friends that she meets from all over the world. It's the best way to meet and connect with other European families ( also bunches from Oz & Nz).

The key to RVing is not moving, moving moving, but slow travel. You pick good bases and use mass transit to go to all the places you want to see and save a ton of money by cooking your own food and letting the kids in the beaches, free kids clubs & pools at your base after touring or on rest days.

The Church book is good, but sadly it is very dated so some of the places no longer exists. Still it is one of our fave sources. See our websites for more great books that will help you.

Since you have already toured much of Europe by car, this should be easy for you if you listen to the cautions.


We almost never rent or use a small car and have gotten into almost every where with our RV that is the size of a van. After all vans can get almost every where in Europe.

(Although I admit occasionally, usually at night, we have had a few thrills while lost on unknown roads in very tiny, roads around Europe or on scary mountain roads ( our RV is old and VERY heavy with our books & heavy piano).

BUT we went up and down the scariest road in Europe in Santorini ( straight up switch back) and also Delphi and found many MUCH bigger RV's than ours when we arrived.

There is not a place in Europe ( or Turkey & Morocco) that we have been that we have not seen RV's. If trucks and vans can go everywhere, why not RV's? There is also free camping around much of Europe if that appeals to you.

Good luck, you will have a great time!
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Mar 29th, 2010, 03:41 AM
  #18
 
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The other thing that most Americans do not realize is that almost every campsite in Europe has rental cabins so one does not have to camp at all. We love the RV because there is no packing & unpacking, but some might like to just use a cabin rental.

Camping is very different in Europe than it is in America. It is thought of as a budget option and one even sees business men using these places when they do business trips. (Italian businessmen love to use their RVs). It is not usually a wilderness experience and often are very luxurious resorts with every amenity.

There is not a city or tourist site in Europe that does not have a campsite near it including several right in Paris, London, Dublin, Vienna, Rome, Florence, Barcelona, Granada, Stockholm, Oslo, Lisbon, Lyon, Venice, Dubrovnik, Salzburg, Tuscany, Santorini, Prague, etc, etc, etc.

They are wonderful places and a fantastic option for families and budget travelers that allows you also to meet other Europeans easily.
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Mar 29th, 2010, 04:14 AM
  #19
 
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A friend of mine spent several months in Spain with a campervan and her 9 year old son. They had a great time
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Mar 29th, 2010, 06:20 AM
  #20
 
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WTnow, did you take buses into the cities and larger towns?
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