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Spanish Penant

Campsite Our first visit to Spain was to the Costa Brava in August 1990 when we stayed 10 days at Camping El Delfin Verde, Torroella de Montgri which is not far from L'Estartit. We have returned to this very large self contained site on several occasions over the years the last being in September 2023.

In June 1998 we ventured further south to Cambrils which is just south of Barcelona. We stayed at Camping Playa Montroig for a week before driving across Spain via Zaragoza and Pamplona and crossing the Pyrenees to St Jean-Pied-de-Port. We then headed for the Atlantic coast and on up into France and home.

We made two visits in 2001. In the spring, we took the Portsmouth-Bilbao ferry to Spain and travelled across northern Spain, night stopping at Salamanca before visiting Evora and the Algarve in Portugal and then crossing into south western Spain to travel round the coast and into France. In September we again returned for a few days. We were interested in seeing more of the Pyrenees so travelled down the west side of France to take a road from Pau to cross the border via the Port del Portalet and travelling east along the Pyrenees as far as Ainsa before heading for the Mediterranean coast.

In the Spring of 2002 our visit also followed a visit to Portugal. We intended a similar journey to that made in early 2001 but this trip was unfortunately cut short when, after only three weeks, we had to return, in haste, to the UK from near Cadiz .

On our visit in late March and April of 2007, we attended a Caravan and Camping Club winter rally for 10 days which was held at Camping Bonterra Park, Benicasim. This was followed by a tour northwards up the coast into France. I wrote a blog on this trip. To read this and view our pictures of the trip, click here.

In June/July 2009 we undertook a 6 week tour round the the Iberian peninsular. The blog of this trip, giving more detail on sites and costs, along with photos, can be read by clicking here.

In April 2010 we crossed Spain on route to join an escorted tour of Morocco. On our outward journey we only night stopped but homeward we did spend a few days at Camping Fuente near Banos de Fortuna before quickly heading for France and home. We used routes we had not tried before, crossing the Pyrenees on the outward journey via the Somport Tunnel and returning via the Vielha Tunnel. The blog of this trip and pictures can be read here.

In 2011 we made our first winter trip to Spain leaving in mid January and returning in early March. We crossed the Pyrenees, outward and homeward via the Somport Tunnel and were blessed with excellent weather for travelling and for the duration or our stay. We had no firm plans other than a family commitment but eventually decided to tour the coastal areas from just south of Alicante, north towards Valencia. We revisited Benicassim and Albir and for the first time visited Guardamar Segura, Calpe and Javea. What was very noticeable compared to previous visits was how much Spain, at least in these areas, had progressed in making provision for the disabled. Good dropped curbs have started to appear and more cafes and restaurants are providing easy access and accessible toilet facilities for the disabled. I kept a blog of the trip and this and photographs can be viewed here.

In Auguest 2014 we spent 10 days at Camping El Delfin Verde with some of our grandchildren. We spent most days on or near the site apart from driving to the vets in Estartit to have our dog's Passport validated.

In June/July 2016 we visited the Costa Blanca and the Costa Brava. The blog of this trip, with photographs, can be read here.

In January 2017 we attended a Camping and Caravan Club winter Rally on the Costa Blanca staying for a month at Marjal Costa Blanca. Unlike our previous experience of a winter rally, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay. The blog of this trip, with photographs, can be read here.

In January 2018 we repeated the 2017 trip but this time also including a rally at Camping Almafra near Benidorm. A brief blog of this trip can be read here.

In September 2023 I wanted to visit my brother who lives in Spain and I also wanted to pay a return visit to Camping El Delfin Verde on the Costa Brava. We chose to use the Le Shuttle to cross the Channel and drive down to our destinations. I recorded this trip on PolarSteps and you can view this here.

This is our account and views of the Spanish sections of our trips. For more information on Spain click on Tour Spain and if you want to go direct to a section of this account, click on the highlighted text. To read our notes on the other countries we have visited, use the left hand side menu.

On our first trips to north eastern Spain, in the summer months with the caravan, we used short sea crossings to France, arriving either at Boulogne or Calais. We then made our way through central France, arriving at the Mediterranean coast near Narbonne and then traveling down the A9 autoroute to cross into Spain to join the A7 south to the Costa Brava then later in 1998 to Cambrils. We have tried many routes there and back from Narbonne in southern France but, when visiting Catalonia, we have always used the same route from Narbonne across the Pryenees into Spain.

The routes initially used were :
Via Paris - one of our earliest routes from Calais was via the A26 and A1 to Paris and round the busy Periphique to take the A6/A10 to Orleans, A71 to Vierzon then the N20 (now the A20 toll free road) to Limoges, Brive, Cahors and Montauban. Here we joined the A62 to Toulouse and the A61 to Narbonne. A variation on this route was to take the Paris outer ring road, the A104, from the A1 just after passing Charles de Gaulle airport to the A6/A10, but this was a difficult route to navigate.
Via Lyons - As above to Paris but instead of taking the A10 to Orleans remain on the A6 for Lyon, then take the A3 and A9 to Narbonne. This is a toll route all the way but quick and easy.
Via Clermont Ferrand - as for via Paris but instead of taking the N20/A20 at Vierzon continue on the A71 to Clermont Ferrand. From here it used to be a very scenic drive across the Central Massive to the Mediterranean coast using the N9 but this has largely been replaced by the toll free A75 which joins the A9 for Narbonne.

Later on when starting from Dieppe we went via Rouen.
Via Rouen - on the A16/A28 from the channel ports and just before crossing the River Seine at Rouen, we take the D6015 via Pont de l'arche to the A154/N154 to Evreux and Nonancourt. From here we take the N12 to Dreux taking the ring road to again pick up the N154 south to Chartres, then round the Chartres ring road and either stay on the N154 to join the A10 just north of Orleans to travel down central France using the same routes as though we had come via Paris. Alternatively instead of taking the N154 from the Chartres ring road, we take the N10 to join the A10 just before Tours, if we want to travel down the western side of France on the autoroutes to Bordeaux and beyond. We have used the western route on several occasions to and from north west Spain using the A63 and N10 from Bordeaux to Bayonne and the French border at Irun. This western route is probably the quickest route to Portugal and southern Spain. From the border at Irun, take the A8 to San Sebastian. Here you have a choice either to stay on the A8 for Bilbao where you join the A68 and A1 for Burgos or take the toll free N1 to Vitoria and Burgos. At Burgos either take the E5 to Madrid for southern Spain or the N620 to Valladolid, and Salamanca for Portugal. We last used these routes in 2002 travelling out to northern Portugal and returning from southern Spain via Madrid.

In the Spring of 2001 we used the Portsmouth to Bilbao ferry and then the A68 and A1 to travel to Burgos and the N620 to Valladolid and Salamanca. From Salamanca we took the N630 south to Badajoz then the N4/N18 across the border into Portugal to travel to the Algarve where we spent three weeks sight seeing before crossing into Spain. Our first couple of nights in southern Spain were spent west of Seville at El Rocio and Matalascanas. Other travellers had advised us not to miss El Rocio, they were right and we were not disappointed. We would also have liked to have visited Sevelle and Jerez but our research did not reveal any suitable overnight stopping places which provided wheelchair access. However, this was rectified, at least in part, on another trip in April 2002. Our next stop was near Tarifa before entering Gibraltar for Easter. From Gibraltar we travelled up the Costa del Sol via Estepona to Cabopino just north of Marbella. The stretch of coast line between Gibraltar and Marbella is largely urban, over developed, and not very inspiring. A height restriction at the entrance to Camping Marbella Playa put us off visiting Marbella. Much later it was suggested we should have persevered but being uninspired we had driven on to Cabopino where we caught up with the housekeeping chores before moving on north to visit Torre del Mar and Almunicar and then night stopping at Motril. From Motril we drove inland to our next stop, Granada, where we visited the Alhambra, then on again past the snow capped Sierra Nevada Mountains for a brief lunch stop at "Mini Hollywood", the scene of the Clint Eastwood spaggetti westerns. We reached the coast again at Mojacar. After an enjoyable three night stay in Mojacar we then followed the coast road north again stopping to spend time at La Manga, Benidorm, Alcossebre, Vilanova I La Geltru before finally re-visiting Torroella de Montgri on the Costa Brava. By the time we crossed the border into France heading for the channel tunnel and home, the trip through Spain from Portugal had taken just over 3 weeks.

View from Port del Portalet to France

In September 2001 we drove down from Calais using the route via Rouen to Bordeaux before using country roads to cut across to Pau and then taking the N134 and the D934 to climb up the Pyrenees to the Port del Portalet. The weather was at its best and the views stunning as we ambled along the descent to Biescas where we took the very narrow and tortuous N260 to Viu near Broto. Here we night stopped before setting out again in ideal weather for Ainsa where we stopped for lunch. We were only managing to average 20 miles per hour and it was here we decided we had had enough of taking a big vehicle along narrow mountainous roads and we decided to take the main 'N' road to some of our old haunts on the coast. That afternoon we headed for Cambrils and Camping Playa Montroig.

In the Spring of 2002 we set off from Calais only night stopping until we reached Salamanca 3 days later where we stopped for 2 nights. We travelled via Rouen, Tours, Bordeaux, and Bayonne to San Sebastian where we took the N1 which climbs the Pyrenees to Vitoria and Burgos and the N620 across the level central plains of Spain to Salamanca. After visiting Salamanca we toured Portugal crossing back into Spain from the Algarve to stop a few nights at El Puerto de Santa Maria which is across the bay north of Cadiz. The object of stopping here was to visit Jerez and this was the nearest place we could find a campsite. Here our tour was cut short and we had to rapidly return to the UK travelling back via Cordoba, Madrid, Burgos, San Sebastian and up the west coast of France to arrive in Calais and the UK 4 days later.

In the spring of 2007 we set off to attend a Caravan and Camping Cub winter rally in Benicasim. We used the Dover-Calais Sea France crossing for the first time and were impressed with the outward service even if it was a half hour late leaving. We were less impressed with the return trip on an older boat which was again over an half hour late departing. We used the Rouen, Tours, Bordeaux, San Sebastion, Bilabao, Burgos, Madrid, Alicante route only night stopping for the first 4 days before visiting my brother who lives near Elche. We then visited Albir, Benicasim, Orpesa and Marina d'Or, Peniscola and Estartit before crossing into France for a weeks touring on our way back to Calais.
For more details of this trip click here

In 2009 we took our dog for the first time and found it far more convenient to book a return crossing via the Channel Tunnel using Tescos vouchers. Our route to Spain was via Rouen and down through central France to Perpignon, across the border and down the Mediterranean coast to Marbella. We then headed to Ronda, the Algarve, up through central Portugal to Oporto, along the Portuguese north coast to the north Spanish border and Santiago de Compostela, round the Costa da Morte, to Coruna, along Spain's north coast, back into France and up the west side to rejoin our outward route near Tours.
For more details of this trip click here

In 2011 we crossed the Pyrenees via the Somport Tunnel and night stopped at Camping Zaragoza before pressing on to revisited Benicasim where we stayed 6 nights before visiting my brother. Our next stop was for 7 nights at Camping Marjal just outside Guardamar Segura, followed by a revisit to Camping Cap Blanch at Albir for 5 nights. Our final two stops were, each of 4 nights and were at Camping La Merced Calpe, just 15 miles north of Albir and Camping Javea at Javea.
For more details of this trip click here

Our views on the routes
We have not used the routes via Paris for some years and now prefer to avoid the city altogether and to travel south from the channel ports via Rouen. Apart from this we don't think there is much to chose between them, other than toll costs. The roads were always good and have been further improved over the years, particularly the "N" routes we have used through central France which have seen towns bypassed and dual carriage ways and of course the Millau Bridge on the A75 built. In 2006 the French government handed over control of many of the national routes to the departments and no doubt many roads mentioned above will now be renumbered! In Spain the N1 from San Sebastian to Vitoria was being upgraded when we last travelled over it in 2002. It was never a bad route unless you got stuck behind a truck grinding its way up the steep and more twisty sections which were being modified last time we made the trip. Once clear of the Pyrenees and onto the central plains of Spain the roads are straight and fast. A word of warning, although the trip from Pau up the Pyrenees to the Port del Portalet towards Biescas is very rewarding there is a particularly narrow section on the ascent with a sheer overhanging cliff on one side and a sheer drop on the other with just a low wall for protection. I was clipped by an oncoming vehicle and my wing mirror shattered on this section. The road is deemed unsuitable for caravans so even with a motorhome care is needed.
In 2009 we saw many road improvements, many still ongoing, however road maintenance in Portugal is very poor off the autoroutes and some routes can be bone shaking rides. A great deal has been done to open up routes in north western Spain and much of it is accessible on good wide roads.

The route to Spain via the Somport Tunnel can be very scenic if the weather is right. Just outside Pau, on the N134, 60 miles before the tunnel, notices display information as to whether the tunnel is open or not. This gives the traveller plenty of opportunity to choose another route should it be closed due to severe weather conditions. The approach from Pau to the tunnel is not steep but there are some narrow sections where care is needed. On the Spanish side the road is fast and wide. Even so the Spanish are upgrading this and in 2018 the single carriage way sections south from Jaca were still being upgraded to dual carriageways but much of the route using the N330 and the A23 via Huesca and Zaragoza to Valencia is complete. In 2023 work to add dual carriageways roads around Jaca was still ongoing.

The route via the Vielha Tunnel on the N125 is considerably slower but is very twisty and scenic especially on the Spanish side. There is little dual carriage way but I cannot recall there being any narrow sections to worry about. I have encountered snow on this route in May and would not consider travelling this way in the winter months.

Camp sites
Spain has hundreds of campsites, many open all the year round especially on the Mediterranean coast. The quality and size varies and Spain operates a grading system. Some sites have total facilities including medical centres as well as shops, bars, swimming pools, restaurants and private beaches. You need never leave some of the sites if you did not want to. Visit Camping Spain for more information or have a look at our notes on the sites we have visited by using the top left hand side menu on this page.

General comments for wheelchair users
In the early years, Spain was one of the least wheelchair friendly places on the continent that we visited, yet we still kept going back! Like Portugal and Austria, it is not noted as having an abundance of public toilet facilities, and our experience of looking for wheelchair accessible ones was like looking for golden nuggets. However, we have seen improvements on the Costa Brava over the years. L'Estartit now has a toilet for the disabled in the car park at the northern end of the sea front, it wasn't there in 1990. It's a rarity and you will also probably have to get the attendant to move the cleaning materials etc out of it before you can use it ! Whilst public wheelchair accessible toilets are not very prolific, good campsites do have facilities but standards vary greatly. In 2007, 5 years after our last visit we noticed considerable improvements. Good drop curbs have started to make an appearance, and this includes studded kerbs for the poor sighted. Benicasim had also introduced wheelchair accessible toilet cabins along the sea front promenade and wheelchair access to the beach. L'Estartit had also made further improvements to it's sea front promenade with further ramps added. In 2009 and 2011, we noted these good things had spread more widely and we particularly impressed with the facilities provided for the disabled to access the north coast beaches. In 2017, on a visit to the Costa Blanca, we noticed many of the cafes now have wheelchair accessible toilets and we understand these now have to be provided by law.

Our Stops and tours
Tordesillas, (Last visited August 1994) We have stopped here on two occasions on the way to and from northern Portugal. The campsite, El Astral, with friendly owners, is within walking distance of this old town and is a good place to stop for a couple of nights. Unfortunately this site is only open in the summer months.

Costa Brava (Last visited September 2023) On all our visits but one we have stayed at Camping El Delfin Verde, a self contained site with all facilities which is just 50 miles south of the French border. In 2023 we spent 6 days at El Delfin and did not venture off site. We were quite taken aback at the changes made to this site since our last visit in 2017. It now has 5 pool areas and multiple food outlets and has greened over considerable. In 2017 it had one pool and just three food outlets. As a consequence it is now very popular, especially at weekends, and can be expensive and is very much a family site. On previous visits we have toured further afield, Torroella de Montgri is not too difficult to get around and market day is especially enjoyable. Nearby is the port of Estartit. There is ample parking on large sea front area even for the largest of motorhomes. The town is level and has continued to improve it's disabled facilities over the years and ramps now provide better access to the Tourist Office and the esplanade. In early 2007 we observed further ramps had been added and the harbour front was in the process of having a smooth repaved area finished. Also nearby is the medieval village of Pals which is well worth a visit but access is not easy due to the steepness of its traffic free cobbled roads. Further south Calella and La Franc are well worth visiting but parking can be difficult if not impossible in peak season. Further south still, a day trip away and approached via a twisty mountainous road, is the very attractive resort of Tossa de Mar. Parking can be difficult but there are toilets for the disabled (of a low standard) on the sea front. Northwards, just beyond L'Escala, infront of the Roman ruins of Empuries there is a picturesque beach front and promenade. Parking and wheelchair access is easier here and Platja de Moll Grec by Sant Marti de Empuries has particularly good wheelchair access to the beach. In 2016 we stayed a few days at Camping Las Dunas on the Bay of Roses. Another very large full facility Costa Brava site. The beach here is not wheelchair accessible.

Cambrils (Last visited April 2007) We stayed at Camping Playa Montroig, another self contained site with all facilities, located south of Cambrils. Smaller and shadier than El Delfin but with a fine beach which has better access. The local area is flat and not quite so interesting as the Costa Brava and this site, like many others in this area, has the mainline railway running close to the pitches.

El Rocio

El Rocio (Last visited April 2001) Imagine a Mexican town in a western film set and you are close to picturing El Rocio. The streets are sand and horse, rider, mule carriage and car co-exist side by side in the streets. Park alongside the salt marsh lake on the edge of the town and observe the wild horses, flamingos and many other species of birds dabbling in the shallow waters. The lake frontage is paved and ramped and wheelchair access is not difficult. El Rocio's major attraction, also alongside the lake, and for many the destination of an annual pilgrimage, is the church housing the statue of the Virgin of El Rocio. It is possible to enter the church without too much difficulty but be prepared for a strenuous push/pull to get round the town. I gave up and we settled for watching life go by at the waterfront and were fortunate enough to observe a Spanish wedding where some of the guests arrived dressed in traditional costume and some with their horses to form an escort for the bride and groom. We spent the night by the lake and in the late morning moved on through the Donana National Park to spend the night overlooking the beach at a site near Matalascanas.

Tarifa (Last visited April 2001) The site we chose, Camping Tarifa, was some 9Km outside of Tarifa which we never visited. We spent three days relaxing by the beach watching the wind surfers and the ships pass through the straits of Gibraltar and enjoying the views of Africa in the distance. The beach was down a flight of steps and was not wheelchair accessible but the grassy clearing in the pines above was very pleasant. Our next stop was Gibraltar and this is covered by a separate web page.

Cabopino (Last visited April 2001) After four days wild camping in Gibraltar we needed to recharge the batteries, replenish the water supply and perform other household chores. The main attraction of Cabopino is the beach and the rather exclusive marina with its restaurants and villas clustered around it. A pleasant spot to relax on what is otherwise a busy area of the coast. However, for the wheelchair user it is marred by the poor wheelchair access to the restaurants and the uphill push back to the campsite.

Torre del Mar (Last visited June 2009) We spent a couple of hours in Torre del Mar in 2001 and wished we could have spent more time there. The long esplanade was a delight to amble along and the town was flat and level and looked wheelchair friendly. We ear marked this spot for a longer return visit which we made in 2009. We were not disappointed although the town was larger than I remembered and much more of a bustle with many more bars,restuarants and cafes than in 2001. The camp site of Torre del Mar provides easy access to all amenities and the long level promenade which starts from just outside the site goes a considerable distance north along the coast providing access to the beach and its many cafes/restuarants.

Almunicar (Last visited April 2001) Almunicar whilst being in a more hilly area than Torre del Mar was interesting although we did not like the pebble beach. In 2009 we found it very busy and difficult to park and did not linger.

Ronda (Last visited June 2009) Ronda is breathtaking and with its stunning views, Moorish origins, the oldest bullring in Spain, is interesting at the same time. It is a great place to visit but it can be very hard work without a power chair. A very deep gorge splits the town in two with the medieval quarter lying on one side and the more modern town lying on the other. The medieval part is very hilly and has cobbled streets, the newer part is much easier to get around and does have some good attributes. The oldest bull ring in Spain is there which, with its museum, is open to the public and there are some fine views from an easy walk around the cliff tops.

Granada - The Alhambra (Last visited April 2001) We did not visit the centre of Granada choosing only to visit the Alhambra. Alhambra Buy your tickets in advance otherwise you face a long queue and the possibility of not being allowed admission as the number of visitors per day is limited. Entrance is free for wheelchair users but be prepared for a rough ride and carers a hard days push. Parking is uphill from the entrance, car park number 1 being the nearest and car park number 3 the furthest about 400 meters away. Motorhomes can park in the coach park. No disabled parking was observed but wheelchairs could disembark at the entrance providing you have a driver able to take the car to the car park. Wheelchair accessible toilets are available at the entrance, there are currently none once inside, but a new inside toilet block was under construction and it may in the future have facilities. From the entrance it is about 500 meters to the Alcazaba and the Royal Palaces, all downhill so coming back after looking around is a hard push. There are some ramps provided in the complex and there is the occasional direction sign for wheelchair users. The Alcazaba is not really accessible but the Nasrid Palace, the highlight of any visit, is partially accessible with help. The museum in the Charles V palace is fully accessible.

Mojacar (Last visited April 2001) We liked Mojacar. It is unspoilt and there are very few high rise developments. Adequate well lit pavements with dropped kerbs offer plenty of wheelchair walks with shops, restaurants and beach all within easy reach of the campsite we stayed at.

La Manga (Last visited April 2001) You have to be a real beach/water sports fanatic to enjoy this place. It is very flat and comprises many high rise buildings catering for the holiday industry. We found it uninteresting and cut short our stay. We did observe disabled toilet facilities in the "Upper" supermarket but they were of a low standard.

Benidorm (Last visited April 2001) We just had to go and see it at least the once and we were pleasantly surprised. We had expected some horror town and it was not like that at all. Somehow the high rise buildings do not look out of place with the dramatic backdrop of the hills and mountains and it is about the most wheelchair friendly place we have visited in Spain. There are ample dropped kerbs and ramps, some however, are still excessively steep. We also saw many other wheelchair users promenading along the long smooth esplanades enjoying the views and relaxing in the adjacent bars and cafes. We found no wheelchair accessible toilets and perhaps in an effort to redress the situation a wheelchair accessible port-a-loo appeared on the beach front on the day of a public holiday! The roads are steep in the old town but they are not cobbled and there is ramped access up to the view point from the left hand side of the church. The choice of bars and entertainment is vast and access to most establishments is not difficult. We noticed you can hire aids and adaptations in Benidorm from a company called the British Hire Services. More information is available from the links page on this site.

Albir (Last visited February 2011) With rumours of closure of Camping Villasol in Benidorm and good reports of the adjacent northern town of Albir, we made a night stop here in April 2007 at Camping Cap Blanch arriving in the early afternoon to give time to explore. The site is located on the beach front along which runs a typical flat level Spanish promenade. Easy going with a wheelchair and it isn't far into town which on the weekend of our visit was a hive of activity. We visited a local sea front cafe, watched life go by and returned to site after a pleasant afternoon. We liked Albir and would return again for a longer stay. This we did in February 2011 staying 5 days. You can read more about this Campsite and this visit starting on day 23 in our blog here.

Benicasim (Last visited Februay 2011) We Spent 10 days here in April 2007 on a Caravan and Camping Club winter rally. Read our comments on days 10 to 19 of our blog here. We returned in February 2011 for 6 nights and found the town very quiet compared to later in the season but it was still an enjoyable visit. Not a great deal had changed over the 4 years but we did notice and used the new scenic cycle way to Orpesa. The bus service was reduced in the off season but the ones we noticed were all wheelchair friendly. However, we still could not use them because this time we had a dog with us and you cannot take dogs on Spanish buses.

Orpesa and Marina d'Or (Last visited February 2011) In April 2007 we had been unable to visit these two adjacent places from Benecasim because the bus service northwards had not been wheelchair friendly. We chose instead to visit them on our journey northwards. Unfortunately this was on a gloomy damp Sunday, not much was open and there were few folk about at either place. Parking of a motorhome on the front at Orpesa was banned but it was easy to find parking just off the main beach front wheelchair friendly promenade. We had a short walk along this, found nothing open so headed along the coastal road for the much aclaimed Marina d'Or. This is really a nicely laid out, large, modern holiday complex comprising mainly of high rise appartments, golf course, Irish Pubs etc. Not very Spanish and it did not appeal to us! In February 2011 we did not revisit Marina d'Or but a new 5.5Km long cycleway between Benicassim and Opresa made it easy to visit the latter and the buses now all looked wheelchair friendly. We had a pleasant days walk along the level cycleway to Opresa, had lunch there in a beach front restaurant and walked back.

Peniscola (Last visited April 2007) From Marina d'Or, we continued our journey northwards in worsening weather, arriving at the harbour side car park beneath this fortress walled old town at lunch time. It was raining so we ate lunch and by the time we had finished, it had stopped and had started to brighten up. We set off to explore the old town which had been used in the filming of "El Cid". Wendy used her power trike because although the way was fairly smooth the narrow lanes in the old town were steep. We pottered about, visited a little museum we found, admired the views and descended back to our parked motorhome via an alternative route. It was an enjoyable afternoon and well worth a visit.

Alcossebre (Last visited April 2001) A small resort. A restful spot, not very wheelchair friendly and offering little but the beaches.

Vilanova I La Geltru (Last visited April 2001) Located just south of Barcelona, we stayed at Vilanova Park just outside the town. The public bus service here is wheelchair accessible and we caught the bus just outside the site for the 20 minute ride to the beach front. La Franc The esplanade is flat and wheelchair friendly and the town is easier than most to get around. There are no wheelchair friendly toilets and our stay was limited by this. It is possible to catch the train to Barcelona from here but we did not try it.

Salamanca (Last visited March 2002) We stopped two nights at Camping Regio which is part of the Hotel Regio and is not far from the centre of Salamanca. It is too far to walk but there is a bus service which unfortunately is one of the few routes not equipped with wheelchair friendly buses. Every other bus we saw appeared to be wheelchair friendly! We asked hotel reception to order a taxi for us and much to our surprise a charming young lady arrived driving a taxi all equipped to carry a wheelchair! The fare was €6 for the 5km trip and we arranged to be picked up 3 hours later. Salamanca is a beautiful city with many historic buildings all within reasonable walking distance. There are some cobbled areas and hills but we got about ok and, on a wonderful fine sunny day, thoroughly enjoyed our site seeing. There was a wheelchair accessible toilet in the market just off the Plaza Mayor.

El Puerto de Santa Maria (Last visited April 2002) Puerto de Santa Maria is close to Cadiz indeed there is a ferry service between the two but it is not very wheelchair friendly. The town surprised us. Firstly, it is a fairly interesting place to visit in its own right and secondly it is quite wheelchair friendly, in fact we were equally surprised to find two high standard wheelchair accessible toilets, one in an Internet Cafe in Avida Micaela Iramburu de Moro and one in Romerijo' s Mariscos Restaurant. Public telephones, designed for wheelchair users, were also available but unfortunately the buses like the ferry were not wheelchair friendly. The best beach in the area, Playa Pontilla, can also be found here. There is wheelchair access to it at its western end by the cafe on the point and if you continue westwards, walking past the cafe along the seafront, it is possible to go all the way to Port Sherry where there is another pleasant but smaller beach just past the marina.

Jerez (Last visited April 2002) The Sherry and horse capital of Spain is located about 16Kms north of Puerto de Santa Maria and a visit here to the Royal School of Equestrian Art was the real purpose of our stay in this area. We obtained directions to the Real Escuela de Andalucia and found this to be close to the Sandeman bodega which had easy motorhome parking to the rear. We visited Sandeman's on one day and tried to book for the following days horse show at the Escuela's ticket office only to find that you can only do this on the phone. Leastwise that was the conclusion I came to because the girl in the office only spoke Spanish! Still, the visit to the bodega was excellent. There was no problem with access and they have a very good wheelchair accessible toilet in the reception area. Later a quick call to the Escuela from a phone box to a lady who spoke very good English secured our tickets for the horse show for the following day. There is a discount for the handicaped and, in addition to ladies and gents wheelchair accessible toilets being available, they have a viewing area dedicated to wheelchair users and carers. If you like horses and would appreciate viewing some of the best in riding skills, don't miss this one and a half hour show.

Santiago de Compostela (Last visited July 2009) was and still is a place of pilgrimage and many still walk the old routes across Spain to get there. Their destination is the old town with its magnificent cathedral where it is alleged the body of the apostle James is entombed. There are also many other fine buildings of architectural interest many of which are open to the public but are not always accessible to a wheelchair user. The narrow but smoothly paved streets of this world heritage site are a delight to wander and it is not too difficult for a wheelchair user to get about.

Costa da Morte (Last visited July 2009) Famed for its rugged coast line and wild seas the "Coast of death" is not so remote as it once was. Road improvements have made it more accessible but it did not live up to its reputation on our visit when the whole area was shrouded in mist and drizzle with hardly a breath of wind. Perhaps because of the poor weather, we were disappointed and thought parts of the English coastline had more to offer. We drove round the peninsular from Noya to Finisterre in a day, stopping now and then to take in the scenery before eventually night stopping at a campsite overlooking a picturesque sandy bay. The following day in much better weather we took the direct route to Coruna.

Coruna (Last visited July 2009) An important bustling city port in the north west of Spain. We had previously visited here on a cruise and liked the feel of the place and its modern promenade with its cycle, tram and roadway which runs the full length round the peninsular coastline from the old town to the new. It passes the Tower of Hercules, reputed to be the oldest lighthouse in the world and this is where we headed to stretch our legs for a few hours before continuing our journey along the north coast. It was only a short stay but was an enjoyable walk, on a fine sunny day, along this mostly level sea front way.

Spain's north coast (Last visited July 2009)Northern Spain is very different from the rest of Spain, apart from being cooler and greener and therefore wetter, it looks more prosperous and is definitely cleaner and tidier. There is far less litter, we saw no unattended waste patches of land and very few unfinished buildings. The roads we travelled were good, even the remote coastal road along the Costa da Morte. The A8 coastal road from Irun is progressively being extended to Coruna and other roads have been upgraded and as a result we found our 2006 TomTom incorrect on many occasions. We did leave the main road on several occasions to make detours down to the sea and to obtain a better impression of the area and its towns. We took 5 days to travel its 500 mile length stopping at camp sites near Foz, Luarca and Laredo. It is an interesting area but overall no particular part stood out for being vastly different to any other area we have visited and coastal Cornwall has in our view more interest but not such a warmer climate. One of the lasting memories of the area will be of the profusion of vivid blue Hydrangeas. They obviously thrive there particularly in Galicia. Another is the provision of beach facilities and access, particularly around the cliff areas near Foz.

Guardamar Segura (Last visited Februay 2011) Guardamar gave the feel of very much being a working town which for us had none of the attractions of some of the other costal resorts. Its centre rests on top of a hill and architecturally was not very interesting. At the very top is a castle which we did not visit. The sea front is someway downhill from the centre through parkland and although a pleasant shady walk, the seafront at the bottom did not impress and, although level and easy to promanade upon, appeared sparse and unattactive to us.

La Fossa beach, Calpe

Calpe (Last visited Februay 2011) Calpe is the ancient name for Gibraltar and the huge pinnacle of rock, which rises from a peninsular and overlooks the area and the beaches on either side of it, is not unlike it. This area, of high rise buildings and villas, is dominated by this huge pinnacle which dwarfs the high rise buildings and fades them into insignificance. The terrain is hilly although the area fronting the beaches is fairly level with wide paved promenades and good access to the beaches for wheelchair users. At the time of year of our visit the area was relatively quiet with many of the villas looking empty. Nevertheless we enjoyed our stay and the walks and visits to the cafes along an interesting coast line.

Javea (Last visited Februay 2011) In contrast to Calpe, Javea, a little further north of Calpe, is set in a long sweeping bay and is low rise. The sea front area is built on much leveler terrain although inland and the old town are quite hilly. Javea new town, the harbour and the main facilities are build at the northern end of the bay with further beach facilities at the southern end.

To see more of Spain, have a look at some of our photos associated with the blogs of trips made in 2007, 2009 and 2011 or look in our Spanish Gallery which is accessible via the top left hand side menu.

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