Southern Spain

  1. Seville – Cordoba –Almeria –  Mojacar – Calabardina – Los Arenals -Moraira – Valencia – Barcelona – Tossa de Mar – Caldes de Malavella – Roses

We decided to head across to Seville, as the 240V invertor had blown a fuse, so we needed to find a camping shop to replace this.  Unfortunately we had to pay for the Motorhome Parking here in Seville and it wasn’t cheap at 12 Euros!

 Link to site found here: https://www.campercontact.com/en/spain/andalusia-04-11-14-18-21-23-29-41/sevilla/21247/motorhome-parking-area-de-autocaravanas-de-sevilla.aspx

 This was a weird carpark in an industrial area 3km walk away from town, however there isn’t  really any other options in Seville and I think there would be issues with security if you left your Motorhome in a non-secure location.

It was swelteringly hot in Seville and we ended up walking miles to find the Invertor shop, only for it to be closed when we got there. Figuring out opening times in Spain is something we are yet to master, but basically avoid trying to do anything essential between midday and about 4pm!

 

Fortunately near the inverter shop we stumbled across El Rinconcillo, the oldest tapas bar in Seville which has been serving drinks and tapas since 1670. Unfortunately, we arrived at the conclusion that they hadn’t changed the menu since then as the tapas were very disappointing. We had Ewes milk cheese and some local chorizo. From here we headed into town to Antigua Abacería de San Lorenzo, which was a tapas bar Rick Stein recommended in his show on Spain. David had a little steak sandwich which was tasty, although expensive for what it was at nearly 5 Euros for a finger sized piece of meat in a dry bun. On the opposite side of the road we spied a little place called Bar Agustín & Company which was much more our cup of tea. The waiters were friendly and put our phone on charge for us, so we shared a jug of Sangria and delicious fried turbot with pistachio mayonnaise… yum. We didn’t want to have a late night as we knew we would have to drive the next day as we didn’t want to have to pay for parking for 2 nights.

 

The next morning we found a different Motorhome shop that sold invertors so I looked online for a map and found it was in Cordoba. We headed there and 3 hours into driving I realised the map was wrong and the shop was actually back in Seville! Very annoying. However we carried on to Cordoba and found a little Caravan shop that had some second hand invertors that would provide a temporary solution.  We were both exhausted from driving in the extreme heat of central Spain and decided we would treat ourselves and spent 2 days in a campsite nearby that had a swimming pool.  This little place was called Camping Albolafia, it was on the pricey side at 19 Euros a night! However we got our money’s worth and spent the next two days lounging out by the pool and having millions of showers (in the bus we can only have quick showers as the water runs out so fast!)

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The following day we had a very long day’s drive all the way to Almeria, where there is some absolutely fantastic scenery. We took a smaller road that went past Zuhero castle. The landscape really looks like the Wild West and there are some amazing little cave houses in the hills! We stopped for lunch at a petrol station that had a bustling little fish restaurant attached and shared a delicious meal of grilled hake and salad.

When we finally made it to Almeria after 7 hours in the bus driving we found a free parking place right by the beach. Link to site here : https://www.campercontact.com/en/spain/andalusia-04-11-14-18-21-23-29-41/almeria/30521/motorhome-parking-parking-auditorio-maestro-padilla.aspx  . First impressions of Almeria were not great.  Compared to the other beautiful historical places we visited Almeria was full of graffiti and 70s apartment blocks. To be honest we were a bit worried leaving the bus unattended as there was a band of homeless men in the car park trying to get money off people to show them were to park.  However the city grew on us and we actually stayed for a couple of days, wandering down the beach front to the old town and enjoying tapas in the evenings.

 

 Our favourite place was a tapas bar called Taberna Entrevinos. Surprisingly, Almeria was the first place in Spain  offering free tapas with your drinks, so after a few drinks you’ve had dinner for free. We had Spanish omelettes with spicy potatoes, croquettes, foie toast with jam and other tasty little snacks all for free!  The Alcazaba of Almería is defiantly worth a trip, an amazing Middle Eastern style palace built in 955AD, but again check for opening times as it closed during the day. The surrounding area is also very interesting with pretty little Moroccan restaurants with lovely gardens.

 

Next we trundled down the coast to San Jose; a beautiful little sea-side village in the centre of the Cabo de Gata Natural Park.  This reminded us of a less developed Santorini, with its tiered white-washed terraced houses cascading down the cliffs towards the sea. There was a large public sandy car park right near the beach which had a free designated section for campervans.  The beach in town is very well maintained with public restrooms and showers. There are a handful of quirky restaurants scattered around the town, along with some expected tourist traps.  The town had a really hippy vibe, with several boutiques reflecting this.

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We hiked down to Playa de Los Genoveses which is a beautiful beach in the Natural Park. Be warned there are a lot of Nudists proudly displaying their wares! Heading along the beach and up over the hill we found the most beautiful cove (you can access it up the mountain on the left side of the beach).  The water is crystal clear, and yes you guessed it, full of Nudists!

 

 

Next we headed down the coast to Mojacar. There is a host of sandy car park spaces right on the beach that you can park up. We stayed opposite the Dia Supermarket in the big sandy space,  for a couple of days (be warned locals suggested that in the summer Police are not so lenient about parking here). Mojacar is a pretty little (slightly touristy) low rise town on the coast.  There was a good selection of cool little beach bars and restaurants running down the beach.  However there was a lot of the all-inclusive resort crowd around town (Brits abroad), that might not be to everyone’s taste.

 

The next day Amy was feeling very ill so we just headed 15 minutes down the coast to Calabardina  This is a very small town on the coast, with a cute little beach and a huge rock backdrop behind the town. Whilst a pretty little stop we wouldn’t recommend a trip here as it was very quiet with only 3 restaurants in the whole town and very little going on. We found a sandy car park in town to park in and decided to head off in the morning.

 

The next day our friend Racheal was flying over from Belfast, so we spent the night in Los Arenals which was near Alicante airport. This is a built up 50s style development on the beach, definitely not our cup of tea, but probably not as bad as a lot of the other places to choose from in Alicante! We stayed in the town, but driving out we passed the natural park beach which would have been a much more beautiful place to stay.

Once we had picked up our friend we headed down to Moraira. We found a great carpark in Moraira right on the beach behind El Castello Restaurant. There were signs saying no Motorhomes but there were several there so we decided to risk it without any trouble. We walked across to the beach bar and had several beverages before getting a bottle of our wine from the bus and sitting on the beach to enjoy it. Moraira has an impressive little marina, an excellent variety of local shops, markets, harbor-side fish restaurants and bars and best of all has still managed to preserve its Spanish character. This is probably one of the best parking spots with direct beach access that we came across in Spain.

 

 

The next day we walked down to Playa del Portet beach just around the cove, which is absolutely beautiful.  The sea is crystal clear and has the most amazing beach. There were some lovely restaurants down the beach too, selling large gin and tonics full of summer berries.  We were very surprised to find this amazing gem in Alicante! Be warned it would be very hard to drive directly here in the campervan so park in Moraira and walk down.

Valencia was next on our itinerary. Conscious of the size of the city we opted to stay on the outskirts at Valencia Camper Park and get the train into town.  (https://www.campercontact.com/en/spain/valencia-03-12-46/betera/22540/motorhome-parking-valencia-camper-park.aspx?fromsso=1  )   This was a great little find right near the metro which takes you into Valencia. We paid 15 Euros a night for 3 of us. They had a lovely pool so we thought this was a reasonable price. We got the metro into Valencia and had a walk around town stopping at one or two bars along the way ;). We were not impressed with Valencia.  We found the smell of sewage overwhelming and ended up down several back alleys that had some unsavoury gangs of characters.  It is definitely not one of Spain’s safer or prettier cities. We also had some of the worst tapas in Spain while here! Probably wouldn’t recommend the effort involved in visiting this rather underwhelming city.

 

From Valencia we drove straight to the outskirts of Barcelona. We had heard that it is very unsafe to park the campervan in Barcelona and all the Motorhome parkings there were 30 Euros! We found an amazing place called  Campo de Futbol, a free Aire de Camping-Car  in La Colònia Güell. This Aire has water and waste dump included. From here you can walk to the train station and get a train into Barcelona for only 4 Euros! Be warned the camp site is a bit noisy from the football practice ground next to it, but it certainly felt very safe.

 We got off the Metro in Barcelona and headed straight to Parc Guell, the municipal park designed by Gaudi. It was huge and took as a long time to get around.  They were also doing renovations on the museum which was a disappointment, although the views of the city from the cross monument at the top of the park are breath-taking.  From the park we headed to Gaudi’s Catherdral which again was covered with large building renovation work, but no the less impressive; and we were very happy to find a little café overlooking it that served up some very tasty tapas and a much needed refreshing cervaca.

 

Deciding the 40min walk was too far in the heat, we hopped on the metro down to Las Ramblas. Here we found the most amazing little market with gorgeous produce on offer, so we sat out here and had cold white wine and delicious oysters.  We found the rest of Las Ramblas very overpriced and touristy, however we met a friendly group of Americans in an Irish bar and ended up having a bit of a wild night with them.  The next morning we all felt very sorry for ourselves and our wallets, even despite the never-ending generosity of our new American friends.

 

Next day we covered a lot of distance and made it all the way up to Tossa de Mar on the Costa Brava. We knew parking would be a struggle here, so we parked in a sandy bus carpark right on the outskirts of town and walked in – we were here several days and were not bothered once.

 Tossa de Mar is a pretty town with cobbled streets, constructed around a magnificent ancient castle. The beautiful mountainous valley, green gorges and natural springs create a stunning backdrop for the town. Be warned the mountain drive down to this town was hair-raising.  David got quite the workout driving the bus down all these mountainous hairpin turns. The old town and castle are beautiful; there is have a lovely restaurant right at the top of the castle with the most amazing sea views in all directions. Down the back cobbled streets we found little bars off the beaten track with beers for only 1 Euro and spoke to Spanish bar owners who had owned these gems for decades.  We also found a quirky bar with a bowling alley inside and had several funny games, which David won.

 

Next we headed to Caldes de Malavella, which had free motorhome camping and facilities, and is right next to Girona airport. https://www.campercontact.com/en/spain/cataluna-08-17-25-43/caldes-de-malavella/41324/motorhome-parking-area-de-caldes-de-malavella.aspx?fromsso=1  . This was handy for us dropping Rachel in a couple of days’ time.  The town itself was very quaint with little cobbled streets and ruins of Roman baths. We found the most beautiful hotel (Hotel Balneario Prats) with a thermal spring pool which you could use for 10 Euros a day.  We decided to just have a couple of chilled out days, making tasty dinners and playing card games and badminton on the town’s green where the parking is located.

 

After a few wild weeks of Rachel staying with us, we needed a spot to hold up for a few days to recoup, and Roses on the Costa Brava proved just perfect for that. The stunningly clean beach sweeps across the front of the town and the incredible mountainous views across the bay make the flat calm sea look even more enticing. The town hugs the cliffside and there is a small castle on the edge of town and a Roman Fort ruins in the town centre. There are a number of quaint bars in town, but our favourite was a little surf shack bar right on the beach, near to the watersports centre.  We found a little wine shop in town with big barrels of different wines to try. You could buy 2 litre containers of these very cheaply.  We settled on 2 litres of a fruity red for 3 Euros and 2 litres of lethal Sangria for 8 Euros. We then proceeded back to the bus stopping to get ice on the way.  We then rather naively drank the full two litres of Sangria without mixing it with anything. The next day we were very very ill.

 

 

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