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Spain - Winter 2018
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Following on from our enjoyment of the Spanish winter rally we attended in 2017 held at Marjal Costa Blanca, we decided to repeat the trip in 2018 with the addition of a visit to another winter rally at Camping Almafra near Benidorm. We set out on the journey to these rallies on the 15th January allowing five days to travel approximately 1300 miles to the Costa Blanca. This allowed a days contingency to cope with any bad weather, luckily we did not need it. The return journey from Coquelles totalled 2,647 miles and used 564.92 litres of fuel at an average price of 1.1328 Euros per litre. We used 4 campsites and 5 aires at an average cost of 14.64 Euros (£13.34) per night.

Our favourite place of the trip - Camping Marjal Costa Blanca
Best value night stop - The motorhome Aire at Aire sur L'Adour.
Best value campsite - Marjal Costa Blanca
Worst moment – Trying to top up with gas
Best saving this trip – Booking the rally sites through the Camping and Caravan Club

If you do not wish to read all of our blog and only have an interest in a particular area you can go direct to individual sections by clicking on the appropriate days below:

Days 1 to 5 - Outward through France and into Spain via the Somport Tunnel

Days 6 to 12 - The days on the Rally at Camping Amafra

Days 13 to 41 - The days on the Rally at Marjal Costa Blanca

Days 42 to 49 - Return journey through Spain and France with a stop off at Camping Kiko Park

Days 1 to 5 - The journey through France and Spain - We left home on the 15th January on a rainy day for Folkestone and the Channel Tunnel. In spite of the weather we made good time and arrived early enough to be offered an earlier train. This we accepted and our boarding of the train was all most immediate and we were soon on our way. I recorded the outward journey from Calais using an App called "Polarsteps" and you can view the detail by clicking here.

Days 6 to 12 - Our first week at Camping Almafra We had stayed the night before at Kiko Park, Oliva, and it was only a short 42 mile drive along the N332 to Camping Almafra. We arrived shortly after noon to be directed to a pitch about mid way down the site and not far from the facilities block. The serviced pitch's ground was a little rougher than expected but we had no trouble driving onto it and with a groundsheet down it was perfectly accepable. After lunch we set up and reported in to the rally stewards. Formalities completed and a quick check as to what was on during our short stay, we retired to the van for the rest of the day. The following day the restaurant was offering a Sunday roast which we enjoyed. During the week we also had a pizza. Both meals were perfectly acceptable but we thought for a long stay the menu was limited. A weeks stay was not really enough to become fully involved in the rally but we picked up lots of useful information for a return visit and I did enjoy the rally's guided walk along the coast from Villajoyosa to Benidorm, even if it was 8 miles! We filled our time cycling to the local destinations of Albir and Altea and we also used the efficient public transport of bus and tram to visit Benidorm for an afternoon. On the return trip from Benidorm we encountered problems with the bus driver . He would not allow the trike adaptation of my wife wheelchair on the bus. Pity we didn't encounter this problem on the outward journey rather than on the return, we may have thought better of making the trip. We were either faced with finding a suitable taxi to take our kit or walking the mile to the tram station, the latter stopped almost outside the site. We chose the tram and with the aid of the sat nav on my phone found our way to the tram station. For the future I intend to have a carrier bag made for the wheelchair adaptation to make transportation on public transport easier. Taking all things into consideration we thought the site worthy of a longer stay. Motorhome owners would certainly find the close proximity of two forms of public transport, the tram and the bus, a great help in visiting the local area

Benidorm Beach FrontDistant Villajoyosa on the walk

Days 13 to 27 - Camping Marjal Costa Blanca, the first two weeks. It was only a half days drive to Marjal Costa Blanca and we were soon settle on our pitch, this time without any difficulty. We felt no need to leave the area during this time, there was plenty to occupy our time. Both the site and the rally provided entertainment and the town of Catral with its shops, restaurants and cafes was within easy cycling distance. We idled the days away.

Our pitchSpanish Dancers entertain

Days 27 to 34 - The third week. We hired a car, a four door Ford Fiesta, for 7 days at a cost of 162 euros including collision waver insurance. Hiring via the site reception is more expensive than collecting a car and returning it to Alicante airport but it is more convenient. We used this to visit Torrevieja and to explore places along the coast further south as far as Zenia.

Hired CarBeach

Day 34 - 41 - Final week at Marjal Cost Blanca The last week followed much the same pattern as the first two weeks on site enjoying the idle moments in the sunshine in between rally and site entertainment.

BandRod Stewart look alike entertains Central Area
Local Band entertainsRod Stewart look alike entertainsCentral Area

Camping Marjal Costa Blanca. A very large site which I don't think is as isolated as it looks. If you want the beach, then yes it is not for you but I was quite surprised we found enough to do in four weeks. Cycling into Catral was easy and it had all the facilities you would expect of a Spanish town. San Isidro, which is about 3Km away, has a train station from where you can travel into Alicante or Murcia and this gave another option for getting out and about if you did not have a car. The site also ran a bus service to the weekly market in Crevillent. I also thought the rally was very well run and gave you lots of options for things to do on top of the entertainment the site had to offer.

In spite of the proximity of a major road, we didn't find road noise a problem and the site facilities were very good and were kept spotlessly clean.

Marjal Costa Blanca Site

Day 42 - 49 We left the rally on the 27th February allowing ourselves 7 days for the return journey to Coquelles and home. As with the outward trip I recorded the homeward journey using "Polarsteps" and you can view this by clicking here

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