Northern Spain: Life after Gijon

As we said in our first post on Northern Spain, we loved Gijon but as we wound our way through Northern Spain there were many more destinations that we fell in love with.  

Lugo
Ronda Republica Argentina

N 43° 0’ 17.46, W -7° 33’ 41.92”

Free (not available in September)

Another city that often gets missed off, which is worth stopping at, even if it’s just for a night or two. It has great Roman walls which you can walk or cycle along, good playgrounds and a beautiful cathedral. We spent a couple of hours sitting in the town square with coffee and snacks watching the children playing in the square.

We stayed at the bottom of the As Costas do Parque which offers beautiful views across the Spanish countryside. It was a steep walk up into town but there was lots of stopping points along the way and a few playgrounds for the younger members of the family. The turn up to the aires is tight and steep. Whilst we had no problem in Rosie (she’s only 5.8m long), you might in a longer van. As an aside, this site is not available for the month of September when the town festival is on. We shared the site with the circus!

A Coruna
7 Francisco Vasquez

N 43° 22’ 8.75”, W -8° 23’ 16.44”

22€ for 24 hours (long term discounts and ACSI discounts available)

This is the main port town of Galicia. It has a huge cruise ship terminal and a marina with boats to die for many of whom are owned by the world’s rich and famous. Whilst we were staying the daughter of Amancio Ortega(owner of Zara group) had her wedding reception at the Yacht Club.

The town itself is a pretty medieval town with narrow streets and lots of alley ways. The seafood is spectacular.

We stayed a great site next to the marina in easy walking distance of the town and Tower of Hercules with good services and friendly staff. The showers were particularly great and it had washing machines and dryers on site.

For us, it will always be the place that we met our dear friends Tina, Mike and Thatcher the dog. 

The beach resorts and fishing villages of Northern Spain

Whilst the rest of Europe flocks to the the Costa del Sol, Costa Brava and Costa Blanca, Spaniards head to Galicia. I suspect many of the little beach towns and fishing villages are a very different prospect in high season they were largely deserted or closed for the winter.

That said, we were welcomed by the locals wherever we stopped and even if you are travelling in off-season the weather was comfortable and by enlarge dry.

Playa de los Cristales (The Glass Beach)

This is something a bit a quirky. 

Basically, glass has collected in this area and the sea has polished and rounded it to makes it look like coloured crystals from a distance. The actual beach itself is not accessible by motor home or campervan. 

My advice would be to park in the marina and either walk or bike up. It’s a steep climb. I thought it was worth it when we got there but judging by the comments on trip advisor many don’t share my views!

Laxe
11 Paseo Maritimo

N 43° 12’ 56.72”, W -8° 59’ 59.59”

Free

It was our first proper attempt at wild camping and was a huge success. Being November we had the beach to ourselves apart from a few bemused locals who came to watch this crazy English girl running along the beach.

There are no facilities here other than a water fountain and beach showers but you get beautiful views of the beach. As we were off season we were camped there alone although I imagine in summer this would be a very popular site.

Muros

Miradioro de Rebrdino

Free

We had planned to stay the night at one of the harbour parks but it was full and we were on our way out to a camping site when we found a lay-by which we pulled into. It gave stunning views over the peninsular and bay.

If you go to Muros, you have to look at the spectacular murals down in the harbour.

Illa D’Arousa
Carretera Po-M

N 42° 32’ 49.11”, W -8° 51’ 30.39”

We stopped at Illa D’Arousa on the way to Sanxenxo. Had the weather been better we would have stopped on the Illa D’Arousa as there was a great aires site where you can stay free for 24 hours just before you cross the bridge to the mainland however it was very gusty when we were there and we didn’t want to risk being blown away. In better weather we definitely would have stayed.

O Grove

O Grove was definitely shut for the winter. There was evidence of huge camping grounds but in November there was no sign of life.

The aquarium was open. I use the term loosely as I suspect that we may have been the only visitors in a while and I got the distinct impression that we were more of an annoyance than paying customers. That said, given that we didn’t see another person as we drove through O Grove I will give them the benefit of the doubt and say that it is probably a very different place in high season. The aquarium itself has seen better days and had the weather not been so awful we probably wouldn’t have gone as there are far better aquariums in Spain. The one in Gijon was excellent and Issy and I thoroughly enjoyed our mum and daughter date there.

Sanxenxo

N 42° 24’ 36.0”, W -8° 51’ 41.61

10€ including electricity

Our stop for the night on the day we visited Illa D’Arousa and O Grove. It was a basic camperstop with it’s own private beach and stunning views over the ocean. The price reflected the services. In high season your options would have been greater but I’d still recommend this place as a first port of call.

Tui
Rua Antero Rubin

N 42° 2’ 48.12”, W -8° 38’ 29.47”

Free

This was our last stop in Northern Spain and I’m really glad that it was getting late and we stopped rather than ploughing on to Portugal which is literally the other side of the river. Just to prove how close to the border it was the nearest laundry was actually in Portugal!

It has a beautiful cathedral with a great and engaging audio guide. For me it stands out for it’s Caprese salad – it was simple but sublime!

We stayed in a car park down by the river and next to the Naval Base. It overlooked Portugal and we had great fun watching life on the river until the sun set. Further along the riverbank there was a volleyball pitch which we used to play badminton.

Coming soon: Our final post on Northern Spain is about the Camino De Santiago

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