A short summary of 3 weeks on the south coast. It gets more interesting once we leave this area (but we have been before, so see previous posts for more detail)
We already knew that we were heading for Cabopino when we got south, the only question was for how long. It started out as 7-10 days but ended up as 3 weeks – I’m not quite sure how this happened, but it did mean that we were able to have a night out with Steve and Denise’s friends for Steve’s birthday before we left. Apart from that 7-10 days would have been more than enough.
We really didn’t get out and about much as we don’t have the car with us and it’s not cycle friendly unfortunately.
So, where did we go?
Well we went, on the bus of course, to Marbella old town, La Cala market (Calv and I walked the 5 miles back) and Fuengirola. Other than that we just had walks and trips to the beach and, of course Happy Hour down at Jorge’s on a Friday 🙂
Buses are really cheap over here. It cost us just over 6 Euros per couple to get to Marbella and back, less than 3 euros to get to La Cala de Mijas and just over 3 euros to get to Fuengirola. Very good value 🙂
Marbella old town is definitely worth a visit with a number of lovely squares. La Cala de Mijas has numerous bars and eateries together with a lovely beach. Fuengirola is surprisingly nice as well with a long promenade along the beach.
We also got back to ‘running’ (both of us) and I did a fair bit of swimming.
I’m sorry it’s a bit boring, but it does get better once we left Cabopino and started seeing new sites. I will try to update much quicker now!!
Parked up at Area de Autocarvannas in La Guardia de Jaen
Last time we took the ferry to Spain in January 2017 we went into Bilbao and had to then spend 5 nights at our 1st site in Zaurutz whilst waiting to get my tablet back (I’d left it in our cabin…) This wasn’t a major issue though as we were taking our time to reach the coast, via Pamplona.
This time however (January 2022) we docked in Santander (after a nightmare journey – read about it here), and the intention was to travel in the most direct manner south. Together with our travelling companions, Steve and Denise, we decided on the next night’s stop each evening. Actually, let’s be honest here, Steve and I found each evening’s park up between us!
We decided on 3 overnight stops before reaching the coast – it can, of course, be achieved quicker, but we wanted to enjoy the journey and see some new sites on our way.
So the 1st leg was Santander to Aranda de Duero just south of Burgos, roughly 150 miles in total. We stopped in an approved area with services, by the river and had a wander into the lovely little old town across the river. I also met a lady who had the misfortune to have had the same horrendous crossing as I experienced – only this poor lady hadn’t benefitted from the comfort of a cabin 😦
The following day we made it a further 125 miles south to the beautiful town of Aranjuez just south of Madrid. We had been somewhat concerned about negotiating our way around or through Madrid, but it was Sunday and we decided to head straight through (on the motorway of course!) You just need to keep your wits about you and make sure you follow the signs for Cordoba/Granada. I think I was more stressed than Calv trying to ensure I got the navigation right!
This time our stop off was by the side of a river, and just before a campsite (Camping Internationale). We parked up and headed straight across the bridge to the Palace Gardens to follow the river into town. Sadly the Royal Palace was closed, but plenty of bars were open, and we took full advantage. This is a lovely place and we would happily return for another visit.
We had a slightly longer journey the next day (about 175 miles) heading to an Area de Autocaravannas that I’d found in La Guardia de Jaen– it looked wonderful but some of the reviews suggested that we might struggle to reach it in our van. We decided to give it a go anyway as we were coming from the north. Absolutely no issues were experienced and this spot is an absolute gem 🙂 We stayed 2 nights in the end. The only problem was that it took us 3 attempts to find the little supermarket open, and the only bar open at all while we were there was a very local one – Calv poked his head through the door and said it looked like someone’s front room filled with men (exclusively) smoking and drinking.
We saw a red squirrel in the trees in the valley by the area, and Calv and I walked up to viewing point high above us – a very steep climb; one of those that was as bad coming down as going up! We also walked around the town and up to the castle (sadly closed), around the back of the castle to the church (similarly closed) where there were additions tacked on where families were living, down to the garage to get drinking water – there was another bar here that was actually open – entailing another steep climb back up to the van.
The guy in the van beside us also stayed a few days and he used to go off cycling for miles while his wife sat in the sun relaxing 🙂
Click on the link above for advice on how to arrive at this area (i.e. we would recommend that you don’t try and come through the town itself, you need to approach from the north, which might entail going past and then coming back on yourselves). This is probably the best free stopover we have ever stopped on (although Algodanales in the hills north of Ronda comes a very close second 🙂 )
After La Guardia de Jaen we headed for the coast and 1 last free night (in Cala de Mijas) before arriving at Camping Cabopino for a few weeks. We had to go via Granada having found a Caravan Dealership where we could buy ACSI cards (we had ordered ours before christmas but they hadn’t arrived before we left home).
This final stint we did in 1 hit (apart from the stop to buy ACSI). We know the free area in La Cala (de Mijas) well from previous stays, but on arrival we were shocked at how many motorhomes were there! It’s normally very well policed, but they were spilling over outside the accepted area – there must have been 3 times as many vans as would normally be allowed 😦 We decided to stay for 1 night however (it’s very handy for a night out)). We were now able to head out to do a proper shop – we tried the Aldi (not too keen tbh), and then headed back out to Lidl in the morning for the bits we couldn’t get in Aldi!
A meal in El Gusto (because Biddy Mulligan’s shut the kitchen at 5pm – their loss, we discovered El Gusto next door and will return!) was most welcome and very, very good.
We did see last week that the car park has now been cleared of the excess motorhomes and there is just the corner now available (as per usual – there’s still about 30-40 vans in there though)
We’re now settled at Cabopino for a few weeks and in my next post I’ll tell you about trips to Marbella Old Town and La Cala de Mijas (on the bus!)
We have now spent our first night happily in Spain. I have now recovered from the nightmare crossing!!
This is the 3rd time we’ve crossed this way – twice to Spain and once home. We never intended to do it again after the last time, but of course we’re not allowed to traverse through France at the moment….
Our first crossing to Bilbao back in January 2017 was wonderful. We were confused as to what everyone was going on about when they said how awful it was. I didn’t have to retreat to the cabin once, except to sleep of course.
Our second crossing was 10 weeks later out of Santander. This time I managed a few hours out on deck before having to admit defeat as we navigated the bay of biscay. I then couldn’t get up for the rest of the crossing! Although I was able to eat a little and drink.
This time. This time…!! Wow. Well it was relentless almost from the start. Boarding just before 10.15pm I did actually see the public areas as we had a quick drink before going to bed just before midnight – I was already needing to lay down. And that was it tbh. I barely moved for the next 32 hours. Not because I was being lazy you understand, I simply couldn’t get upright, not even to sit! During those hours I managed to eat a quaker breakfast bar (it took me all day), drink half a can of coke, a cup of green tea and half a bottle of water. Heading to the loo was a bit of an issue as I had to be upright, obviously (sadly those bodily functions don’t shut down in times of stress)
Yesterday when we parked up for the night at Arando de Duero, I met a lady who suffered the same as me but was far worse off, only having a seat, not a cabin.
Calv said the boat was very quiet in the public areas and that the food was ‘okay’. I think this crossing was particularly awful due to the weather – when I snatched the odd 30 seconds looking out of our window – all I could see was high seas with peaks and troughs constantly roiling. The boat was beaten on all sides all the way – it was truly horrible. 🤢
There was a highlight. I managed 30 seconds of watching a large school of dolphins jumping in and out of those waves (before I had to lay down again) – that was a real privilege 😊
Anyway the conclusion is that I never want to do that crossing again, ever. So we’re really hoping that France will let UK nationals drive through by the end of March. Please, keep your fingers crossed for me! Thank you 😁
Are you travelling to, or from, Spain via France? This is the route we took on the way home last year and the overnight stops we used (all free). It’s a route we would definitely use again 🙂 (GPS included)
Whilst trying to decide what route to take home from Spain last year, we were thinking of heading up to Pamplona and taking the motorway from there to France, maybe visiting Biarritz on entering France.
But then somebody told us about the Somport tunnel which goes through the Pyrenees. We had no idea! After a bit of investigation we decided that this then would be our route home 🙂
We didn’t have to alter our plans too much as we were using the same road north through Spain, just leaving it a little earlier.
As we approached the tunnel (well a few miles away) on the Spanish side, we stoppped at our last service area, I think it was at Jaca, where there was a rather lovely chocolate, patisserie shop. We managed to resist before heading off on our last stretch of road in Spain, which was punctuated by charming little villages and blue sunny skies. We would probably try to stay at least 1 night in future in this area.
The tunnel itself is free to use and 5.3 miles long. It’s amazing to think that you’re driving through the Pyrenees! So we left Spain’s sunny skies and emerged on the other side in France to drizzly rain!
But there were still lovely features – better roads for a start… Also an old railway line (I believe the Pau-Canfranc) running along the side of the road, in places this seems to have been restored. Again, we would like to stop in this area on a future trip and making sure we visit the Canfranc International Railway Station on the Spanish side.
We found the roads absolutely fine for our 8.56m motorhome towing a Citroen C1 behind, although, I have to say, Calv IS a lorry driver and very confident in pretty much any situation.
I think that perhaps we travelled too far on the French side on our first leg, and unfortunately, despite some investigation, I can’t remember the name of the town/village we stopped in. Sorry – I’ll do better next time!
We arrived in the dark and the parking was all taken, so we parked on some ground next to it which was being used by coaches to park up overnight – we parked next to a Morello! We set off nice and early in the morning though and then headed to our next stop, which was to be Montreuil-Bellay, apparently celebrities as diverse as Edwina Currie and Mick Jagger have homes here – I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s a lovely area and it wouldn’t surprise me 🙂
Although we were aiming for a different overnight stop (3 spaces behind a wine cellar at GPS, N47.13.522:W0.11121), when we got there it turned out to be too small really for us, so we set off looking for the other stop (Les Nobis – 30 spaces at GPS, N47,13272:W0,15835), which would have been easy to find had we not already left the main road! Trying to make our way through town was not easy, entailing leaving the van parked up, unhooking the car and driving round and round in an attempt to find the site… (There are areas in town where it’s not possible to take a camper or caravan; low, narrow arches and suchlike).
We discovered what a beautiful, historic town this was and eventually found our destination. And how amazing it was too – a dedicated area big enough for a couple of dozen vans, located in front of an outdoor swimming pool and next to a nice looking campsite (closed out of season), alongside the river and with a wonderful view of the castle 🙂 See the pictures below:-
And those photos are just of the Aire! We actually stayed 2 nights as the town was so lovely. Photos of the town follow 🙂 Most of these pics are within a 5-10 minute walk of the Aire.
Once we managed to tear ourselves away and get back on the road we headed on up to Le Mans, where we had already decided to stop overnight – the medieval old town is something special, known as Cite Plantagent as Henry II was born there in 1133. The Historic Quarter comprises 20 hectares of cobbled streets; still inhabited and a wonderful walk.
The Aire is immediately at the foot of the Historic quarter, on the Quai Louis Blanc (N 48 ° 0’45.0036 ”E 0 ° 11’55.7628) , at the end of a series of large car parks (it’s a dedicated area but several cars choose to park there during the day, despite there being more than enough car parking spaces in the other car park areas…).
It is next to a busy road, but this does quieten down outside of rush-hour, and it’s opposite the river with a lovely view of an old mill and an historic bridge almost exactly opposite. The real downside is that, although there is water available, it costs 8Euros!! Just make sure you have enough onboard before you get there would be our advice 🙂
We only stayed 1 night, but arrived fairly early in the day so were able to explore the historic quarter at our leisure, including a lunch watching, yet another, French protest. This time lorry drivers who were no longer to be allowed to park up in front of the new town hall. They had been blocking the road for the last 24 hours, with another 24 hours to go – or so we were told by one of the policemen looking on (there were many, many policemen).
We had 1 more stop before the ferry – we were going from Caen. We chose a small stop behind the town square of Hermanville, with a 5 minute walk to the British War Cemetery (GPS, N48,97026:W0,31243). A lovely little find with a shop, bakery, florist and hairdressers right on hand Plus a nice little walk around the village and a 10 minute drive to Caen.
We spent the afternoon in Caen and discovered the old part of town as well as the beautiful beach; although this does evoke mixed emotions when you consider the history of this whole area.
And of course, knowing that you only have a 10 minute drive to the port in the morning for your ferry is very welcome!
A final Spanish stop on our way home. Another little find; another place to revisit (especially as we missed the best part of the Monasterio del Piedra – the park itself)
Our final stop in Spain before our run through France to catch the ferry home. We chose Nuevalos via the ACSI book mainly for it’s proximity to Calatayud, not realising it’s a lovely area in it’s own right.
The drive was interesting with the SatNav taking us along a narrow, bendy road through the mountains for the last 20 or so kilometres. Luckily we didn’t see too many other cars, and when we did we were close to passing points (with the little car on the back it’s not so easy to reverse). For most of this section there was nowhere to go on the right hand side of the road. Calv would have loved it if we had just been in the little car; in the van – not so much! Anyway, we survived and made it to our campsite on the lake, Camping Lagos Resort, Nuevalos . This is a nice, terraced site overlooking a beautiful lake. Quite steep in places and unfortunately, at the time we were there in mid-March, there were alot of little, annoying, flies 😦
We stayed 4 or 5 nights and were lucky to enjoy some beautiful weather (although we couldn’t really sit outside the van due to the flies). We visited Calatayud, a pleasant town about 10 miles north, where we were able to stock up on groceries. We also wandered along the lakeside, around Nuevalos itself and took a longer walk to the Monasterio del Piedro.
We enjoyed a wonderful stopover in Albarracin and would highly recommend a visit to those touring Spain. Possible if you’re heading north either towards France (via Somport Tunnel) or to either of the ferry ports.
Sometimes, when you have no idea where to go next, the ACSI book supplies a corker!
When unsure where exactly to head we decide on a general direction and roughly how far we want to travel – then we simply get the ACSI book out and see what’s available! (This doesn’t always work of course. At which point we get out the ‘Motorhome Stopover’ book and/or defer to the internet).
On this occasion though we knew that we were heading for the Somport Tunnel as our way out of Spain (as we were towing the little car we were avoiding Northern Spain), so we were to head in the direction of Zaragoza – further away from Valencia than you would think!
We were originally considering the town of Teruel but on checking the ACSI map saw a site a little further on at a place called Albaraccin. A quick check online confirmed that this could be a nice place so the satnav was set accordingly. The A23 (non-toll) took us most of the way before we headed off onto the 234 just after Teruel, and finally onto the road running into Albaraccin. This is where we really started to get a feel for where we were heading as the scenery was stunning as we headed through gorges and past ruins high up on the hills.
Camping Ciudad de Albaraccin is located on the outskirts in the ‘new’ part of town. By going this way you also understand that there is more to this region than just the beautiful old town (cave paintings/bouldering/walking/dinosaurs…)
Once parked up (with amazing views of the old fortification walls forming a spine on the mountain) we set off to explore immediately (we were only staying overnight).
Our pitch at Ciudad de Albarracin
The old town beckoned. With little time we took the little car and headed back out to park in the big car park we’d seen as we took our first left towards the campsite. Even this was pretty with a little stream running alongside.
Wandering through the lower part of town we found a couple more carparks (possible for motorhomes perhaps to park – not sure about overnighting though) before starting on the long climb up to the main old town. One thing we didn’t manage to find though, on a warm Tuesday afternoon near the beginning of March, was a cafe!
No matter, what we did find more than made up for the lack of a beverage 🙂
After finding the Torre Blanca (sadly closed for visits) and the stunning scenery surrounding it we made our way towards the castle, the el Salvador cathedral and, eventually after a wander around the narrow, steep, winding cobbled streets – at times together, at times separated by my desire to explore a little set of steps or a covered alley, we found the Plaza Mayor (from where the main picture was taken). On my circuitous route to this spot I also found the base of the wall snaking it’s way up the mountain. Although there were 3 lads clambering up towards the wall itself it was definitely way beyond my capabilities!
We decided on a final visit to the coast before heading for home, choosing a site near Valencia (Camping Valencia) in a small town called Pucol.
Even though first impressions of our chosen site were, shall we say, less than favourable, we managed to move to the nicer part of the site on the 2nd day and ended up extending our stay to a whole week 🙂
We did spend a fair bit of time simply relaxing here, but we also visited the nearby town of Pucol on our bikes – there are many opportunities for cycling, with a really good cycle/running path into town. We also cycled the other way along many green lanes/farm tracks – of which there are many 🙂
Days out were 1 day driving to Valencia, failing miserably to find a parking space so parking on the outskirts and riding back in! More on that later 🙂
We also drove in the opposite direction to visit the ancient town of Sagunto, which is well worth a visit.
So let’s start with our visit to Valencia. Having parked on the outskirts (I’m sorry I can’t tell you where exactly (it might have been Benimaclet), but it was adjacent to the cycle path and we parked for nothing). I do know that we headed past the university and into the city before finding our destination of The Turia Gardens. We had heard that this was a wonderful way to cycle the city situated as it is through it’s heart where the Turia River flowed until it was diverted to prevent further flooding.
With numerous exits and entrances to this 8km long area we joined a little way before the futuristic Museum of Arts and Sciences, an amazing building bordered by numerous wasterways and fountains. A beautiful, tranquil area to relax.
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We simply cycled along the paths of the gardens, eventually stopping for some lunch near the old city – I think it was the Bar Baja la Puente Calatrava (no. 7 on this list of Turia Garden eateries from JuliaEats). I do know that we enjoyed our lunch and that there was plenty of parking available for our bikes 🙂 I also know that whilst we were sat there there was a long series of VERY loud bangs, which startled us but seemingly nobody else! We later discovered that this is a daily occurrence in the weeks leading up to The Fallas Festival – The Mascleta; read all about it here.
We left the gardens at the Puente de Flores, bordered as it is on both sides with beautiful floral displays 🙂
We came out by the old gateway to the city (that we saw on our last visit), had a little cycle around the fountains before returning to the gardens and heading towards the car. Which we eventually found – even though we took a completely different route!!
Our other day out was to Sagunto, a small town with a big history. There was a market on the day we visited so we couldn’t drive directly into the old town; after a detour of about 2 miles (well it felt like it anyway) we found ourselves about 100m up the road and on the other side of the old town – these were very narrow streets! Even in the little car it felt tiny. We had to be really careful as many of the streets turned out to be dead-ends and it was pretty awkward reversing back down the steep hills whilst navigating the amazing Spanish parking!! We finally spotted a space by the side of the road. Leaving the car we headed up one of the steep roads towards the hill holding the massive castle.
I say massive – this castle is visible from miles away (including from the campsite), and during our visit we discovered it actually ranges across the top of the hill for about 1/2 mile.
We followed stone steps and pathways up, up and then down, down the hill. Which was a little disconcerting! We passed a small white chapel on the way before coming across the Roman Ampitheatre, free to visit and definitely worth a visit.
Around the hilloutside the ampitheatre was the old cemetry (Judio Cemeterio) consisting of graves dug into the hill itself. We walked passed many more as we made our way up the steep hill towards the castle itself. Also free to visit we maybe managed to see half of what there was to see! There are extensive ruins to be seen, although it is a work in process of renovation. I would suggest taking a picnic and spending the day exploring 🙂
I need to point out that the beach at Pucol was lovely, but unfortunately we didn’t really have the weather to take advantage of it 😦
All in all we had a lovely time here and there were a couple more excursions that we could have taken, but we just wanted to relax by then!
Here’s hoping I manage to finish off posting about our last trip before we head off on our next one (in a couple of month’s time!!)
On leaving the desert plains of the Cabo de Gata we decided to head back to the Banos de Fortuna with a view to finding the ruins of the Roman baths – which we summarily failed at on our last visit!
This time we had a couple of days at the back of the site (Camping La Fuente) with no electric before moving back to the access road with electric for a few nights. We would have been really happy to stay where we were, but couldn’t as there was someone booked in. (Note: If you have a non-electric spot the swimming pool is included in your 15Euro nightly charge – bonus!)
Anyway we were very happy to be back – and it was very much hotter this time! Our first mission was to find the roman ruins, which turned out to be much easier than we thought. It helps if you talk to the right people of course! Straight up through the village past the church, slight left and hop over the ‘chain’, follow the track – the ruins are on the right, but it’s worth looking to the left as well 🙂
We were really surprised at how much there was left and also at the fact that nothing is being made of them at all since an earthquake (I would have loved to have seen them before the earthquake). Apparently this is actually only a tiny proportion of the original site, much of which is now buried beneath the ‘modern’ buildings (built in the 18th century). See here for more information on the area.
Having finally succeeded in our mission we tured our attention elsewhere. On searching for a new gas bottle (we should have just bought it on the site) we drove past, for the 2nd or 3rd time, a reservoir that looked to be worth a visit. So we headed back out there and followed signs to try to find somewhere to park up and explore.
We found somewhere and were able to walk across the top of the dam, from where we found the water didn’t appear quite so enticing 😦 We chatted to a couple of other Brits who had attempted to walk around the reservoir – they told us that it was very uneven and you never really get close to the water, and having walked for a couple of hours they didn’t really seem to have got very far! So we decided against it 🙂
Instead we had a little wander finding a couple of abandoned old buildings, and also plenty of evidence of drug taking and, seemingly, someone taking potshots at bottles (lots and lots of glass). So not the best of expeditions, but at least we know now!
The other thing that we did that we hadn’t managed on our last visit, was to visit Tina’s bar properly and eat there (we had fish and chips – very good).
The only other activities that we engaged in whilst staying here was taking advantage of having free entry to the pool for a few days, finding new running routes and basically lounging around doing very little 🙂
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We would highly recommend a visit to this area. We thoroughly enjoyed our time here (on both occasions).
Moving further north-east along the Spanish mediterranean coast we finally made it to visit Cabo de Gata, an ancient volcanic area which is the driest area in Europe.
We had been looking forward to visiting this area for some time, so were a little disappointed to find that the dreaded plastic came right up to the edge of this protected natural park. Not only that, but it was worse than anywhere else we had been so far – shanty huts and towns (complete with garages and satellite dishes) were in evidence everywhere. The saddest sight was massive sheets of plastic discarded amongst the landscape..
This did all stop, of course, as soon as you entered the park proper, but only right at the edge.
We found a camper stop in Albaricoques; Camper Park Olivades, which was absolutely perfect for us (at 13Euros per night we had toilets, showers, laundry and electric). There are many film locations (particularly spaghetti Westerns) in this area, and Albaricoques is no exception hosting the stars of For a Few Dollars More (film name of the town – Agua Caliente), amongst other films. The streets pay homage to this history, bearing names such as Calle Clint Eastwood, Lee van Cleef and Ennio Morricone.
On the edge of the park (near the main N344 road) there are 3 big theme parks based on Westerns – I would love to have visited one of these, but they were prohibitively expensive (in that we weren’t prepared to part with that sort of money!)
You need to either be a serious cyclist or have a car to explore the area properly. In our few days there we drove around the whole area, but perhaps missed out on some of the internal villages. We enjoyed Las Negras on the coast not too far from Los Albaricoques (there were many, many campers wild camping in this area), Isleta del Moro (a small village with many sailing and surf schools – and again, many wild campers) and San Jose, which is perhaps a little more commercialised. It has a lovely beach, though fully overlooked by the restaurants in the harbour.
On the other side of San Jose you can access some wild, windswept beaches down a rough track. The one we stopped at Monsul beach which is back by a huge dune; the walk down to the beach from the car park shows evidence of outdoor showers – I don’t know why that stuck with me; I guess you’d probably be more interested in the couple sunbathing nude on top of the dune….. (no pictures, sorry!)
Of course, we also visited the Cabo de Gata itself (which is a little like visiting Lands End or The Lizard in Cornwall). We continued on for a while and then went back to get the car and take the narrow, really rather scary road (pot-holed track), up to the lighthouse. I’m glad Calv was driving…. (Don’t attempt it if you care about your car..!)
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There were some spectacular views from up there (plus lots of tracks off the main track taking you down to hidden beaches and coves). We could also see that it was possible to walk (or even drive if you had the keys to get through the gates) along the edge of the cliffs to get to the beaches at San Jose. I wouldn’t have fancied driving that track at all, but Calv would have liked to have a go!!
Probably our favourite day (well, mine anyway) was when we went for a walk into the caldera of an ancient extinct volcano, Caldera de Majada Redonda. Not a particularly long walk (but long enough) but lots to see along the way, including the site of a house high up in the hills and an abandoned (?) car filled with rocks! (Calv insists that this car shell must have been carried up the mountain..)
I would definitely recommend taking a couple of hours to do this walk 🙂
Before heading back to the van we quickly visited the coast again at Las Escullos, where there was a trio of men taking photos of jeans laid out on the rocks! Some more unusual landscapes to appreciate here.
A definite recommendation for a visit when in Spain – certainly different to what you normally see in the Costas 🙂
On the way to Carchuna, near Almeria, we stopped off for 3 nights free stay Cala de Mijas which is just down the road from Cabopino, meaning that we were able to visit friends while we were there. As well as a night out in Biddy Mulligans of course 🙂
We were then heading towards the Cabo de Gata but needed somewhere to stop off on the way, which is how we found ourselves in Carchuna just north of Motril on the south coast. Whilst there is some stunning coastline in this area there is no getting away from the plastic poly tunnels and the black beaches. From the motorway you can simply see a sea of plastic all the way to the coast. Unfortunately this means that there is not an awful lot that is obvious to attract you to the area.
However, we found a lovely campsite, Camping Don Cactus, and ended up staying to recharge our batteries for a full week. We had to travel quite a way, to Motril, to do a spot of shopping. The road took us through Torrenueva Costa – which we had no desire to revisit…
We did head back south to visit the famous caves at Nerja which was a nice day out (although we have definitely visited better caves in our time and so were a little disappointed). After our visit to the caves (you are given a time slot and go around with a guide) we wandered across the bridge to the little village of Maro (I was looking for a cash machine – no luck!) where I have just discovered we missed a waterfall into the sea, The waterfall of Maro!
Maro itself was a very small village with a couple of eateries. We chose 1 carefully showing that they took cards (as we had so little cash on us), the food was okay but when we went to pay they told us their card machine wasn’t working… Oh dear… So we gave them all our cash (except 1Euro which I had already put in my pocket earlier) and they said we could come back tomorrow with the rest (about 2Euros..)… It was lucky we’d kept the euro as that’s what we needed to get out of the car park by the caves 🙂
Just outside of Maro on the way to Nerja there is an impressive viaduct, Aqueducto de Aguila (The Eagle Aqueduct), which was built to carry water to the local sugar refinery (the remains of which can be seen a little further along the road).
We finished the day in Nerja itself with a little sit on the beach (and I managed to get some cash – although I broke my golden rule of never paying to get my own cash out!) We quite liked Nerja itself and would recommend a visit if you’re up this way.
Below are some pictures of this part of the trip 🙂
Having just relaxed for most of our time here, we headed out on our last day. We were trying to find a way up some of the mountains that sit back from the sea in this area. We didn’t find a way up and concluded that all the trails were private and led to the water reservoirs that we could see, and are clearly built to serve all the growing in the area.
We did however find a lovely little village high up in the hills where we stopped and had a little wander around. Here we found one of the historic communal outdoor laundries that you find occasionally in Spain, this one beautifully restored.
This was the highpoint of our stay in this area and it just goes to prove it’s worth going a little further afield (and that at times you really need a car!)
My next post will be from our time in Cabo de Gata (the only designated desert in Europe).