In the first article about the six-week family road trip
in summer 2018 our Founder Eva
reports on the wonderful experiences she had on the trip with her boyfriend and their daughter Lotta. Today you will also receive a detailed list of campsites with all 14 stops on the trip and lots of tips and hints.
6 week road trip to southern France and northern Spain - all stops at a glance
Phew, there is a lot to tell and I hope that all this information can serve as inspiration / help if you are planning a similar trip yourself. Here we go:
Frankfurt Hanau / Großwelzheim campsite (1 night)
To be honest, it was more of a "stopgap" for us. Actually we wanted to go to Mainz for a really great one Parking space directly on the Rhine
, but it was already full when I called on the way. So that's Hanau, we had hoped to land right in the country and be able to relax deeply in the first night. The campsite is located directly on a quarry pond with active dredging operations and in the approach path of Frankfurt Airport. So there was no need to speak of rest and relaxation. Unfortunately, no recommendation from the heart, but in a pinch it can be for one night! Don't worry, it gets better.
Lausanne / Camping du Vidi (1 night)
We chose Lausanne as the stop because my friend Nils still had one (last) business appointment there. The campsite
is in the middle of the city (!), I thought that was really cool. We were worried that it would be super loud again, but it wasn't at all! The campsite is located directly on Lake Geneva and is really nice in itself. Quite expensive by our standards, of course, Switzerland. Can be done well if you want to go to Lausanne. If you want to pay attention to your travel budget, it is best not to stay too long in Switzerland, but that is a well-known fact.
La Grande Cosse / Capfun Camping (7 nights)
From Lausanne it went straight to the south of France, for La Grande Cosse campsite
, where we met Lotta's grandpa. This campsite used to be the largest nude campsite in France, but has not been for two years. So no more a nude campsite, so we dared to go there, haha. Unfortunately, the campsite was taken over by a fairly large operator who is now mostly equipping the site with mobile homes, not so great. There are only 50 parking spaces left for caravans, etc. That is a real shame, because it gives everything a retort character. The place itself is super nice, between dunes and close to a really nice natural beach. (There are still a lot of nudists there, but it doesn't matter.) But I think that despite the beautiful location, we won't go to this place again because of the restructuring mentioned. The place simply has a lot less charm than other places.
Pyrenees / Camping Domaine St Martin (2 nights)
This beautiful campsite
is very angled and runs very horizontally; that is, if you had a parking space upstairs, you often had to walk for a long time, as there is only one wash house, for example. That was a little inconvenient. But otherwise this place is a great place to go, because you can go on nice little hikes in the vicinity, for example there is a small waterfall that you can walk to. The campsite is not that high up yet, but you can already guess the fresh mountain air!
Pyrenees / Camping Pla de Barres (1 night)
!!! When I think back to it, the enthusiasm immediately rises in me again! Everything there is very open and natural, somehow everything reminded me of Canada, although I have never been to Canada;). A stream runs through the middle of the campsite, super beautiful. However, quite windy, but this is due to the region. The place is kept very simple, but has a tippitoppi new wash house, which I thought was great. By the way, this was the campsite where the bear scratched our bonnet. (I mention in the first article.
) At the entrance to the square, a flyer indicated that bears could be around here. So our experience doesn't seem to have been a rarity. Pure nature. I like.
Pyrenees / Camping Pica d‘Estas (1 night)
is also due to a stream, but in my opinion it is a very noisy one. So more of a river. Nevertheless, it is a nice campsite that is easy to drive to. It's also kept rather simple and quite small. The wash houses took some getting used to for me because the showers were divided into cubicles, kind of old school, but it doesn't matter for one night either. All around wonderful mountains, which always easily make up for such little oddities. You can also walk up the street for a nightcap after camping dinner, where nice seniors run a small bar.
Benasque Pyrenees / Camping Aneto (3 nights)
This fantastic campsite
is one of my absolute highlights of this trip. We had a great parking space right by the pool and close to the supermarket. Everything on the square was not so new anymore, but the pool was just amazing ... the feeling of splashing around in the pool in the middle of the beautiful mountains with a breathtaking view. Indescribable.
There was another small stream nearby and the small town of Benasque (5 minutes by car from the campsite) is also super beautiful. Totally cute, small cafés, tapas shops, playgrounds - simply super relaxed. There is also a small mountain lake made of melted snow in the area from spring to early summer, which is also ideal for an excursion. You can cycle around it, take a walk or sit comfortably by the lake. Or paddle around with the SUP if you have one with you, like us;). As I said: an absolute dream! That's why we stayed here longer than planned.
Zarautz / Talaimendi (5 nights)
We were in Zarautz eight years ago, but on this one campsite
not before. The season had just opened there the day before and it was really incredibly busy because so many people were just arriving. Fortunately, our friends were there a bit before us and "reserved" a parking space for us (and paid for it directly), because officially you cannot reserve there. Downstairs at the campsite was full of party people, which initially worried me a little, but the further we got up, the more families and retirees were to be seen. Very good, hehe. We had a great view of the sea. It was always a bit of a walk to the beach, but the overall area is nicely done. There is a golf course and a beautiful wooden walkway in front of the course. By the way, we used to always go to the campsite in Zarautz, which is located higher up, and is beautifully located on a cliff. You have to climb hundreds of steps, so it is not recommended with small children.
San Vicente de la Barquera / El Rosal (6 nights)
Also this place at an estuary
is one of my absolute favorite campsites! It's very old school, nothing has changed here in eight years, but it doesn't need to be. The wash houses have no roof in the middle ... so you can shower in the open air. Gorgeous.
We also had a really good pitch here. Insider tip: No. 169 or 170! This is where the pilgrims on the Way of St. James camp usually, but there weren't any. So we stood right at the fence, very close to the river, and also had the best view of the city. Mega romantic. The fishing village of San Vincente itself is also totally beautiful. So, if you're anywhere in the area, be sure to stop by!
Ferrol / Camping As Cabazas (6 nights)
From San Vincente it went directly to Galicia, on the As Cabazas campsite
in Ferrol. This place is also very recommendable and cool, because here you almost have the feeling that you are camping wild! Here you can position yourself how and where you want - you are only given an approximate area. As a result, everyone stands back and forth and it looks much more natural.
Of course, there is also a suitable keyword for this place. No hammocks may be hung there to protect the trees. A shame for all hammock lovers like me, but a great pose! From the campsite, a sandy path leads down to the sea, where you stand with your feet in the sand.
The washrooms are very simple here, but that doesn't really matter in view of the other qualities of the campsite. It's just so beautiful here! By the way, there is also a small bar and a café on the square, but we didn't notice any excessive party excesses. The city of Ferrol itself is rather difficult socially. As a reaction or countermeasure, the amazing art project "Menidas de Canido" was created there. It's super creative and beautiful. There's even a wall reserved for Banksy, haha. In any case, I wish the initiators that one day this prominent contribution will work out. A trip to the district is absolutely worth it!
Picos del Europa / Hotel Aliva (1 night)
The Picos del Europa are a beautiful promontory of the Pyrenees. The landscape is very exciting and simply "different", for example there is a lot of rubble. We also saw vultures and a wolf here.
You can camp on the mountain plateau there, but only with a tent, not by car. That's why we have this Hotel Aliva
wanted as a hostel, to put it casually, a 'better mountain hut'. It is in a beautiful location and there was a special offer at the time - overnight accommodation including breakfast for 70 euros. That's why we decided to stay overnight. The breakfast was not really great, but the location of the hotel is awesome. You really feel like you are in "nowhere". No place, no internet, no cell phone reception. So if you really want to switch off, this is the right place for you!
Bidart / Le pavillon Royal (2 nights)
This place is by the sea, Bidart is a surfer hotspot and the "line up" is always very full. The campsite
is quite big and there is a lot going on, lots of entertainment and animation. Wasn't mine. The location right by the sea is of course great, but if you're looking for peace and quiet and a wide view, this is the wrong place. I also found this campsite extremely expensive at 65 euros per night, which I have to say that the pitches in France were generally more expensive than expected. In Spain it was around 30 euros a night. The beer was also comparatively expensive ... Spain 1 euro per beer, France 5.50 euros. A big difference. The coast there in the region of Biarritz / Bidart is beautiful, very wild, and partly not suitable for swimming due to the strong currents, especially not with children. Biarritz in itself is really beautiful too. And if you are into surfer clothes, you are in paradise with the outlet shops in the region.
Auvergne / Camping Volcanoes (1 night)
From Bidart we went on to the Auvergne, in the middle of France. The campsite
was practically on the flat land. Around 200 sheep grazed next door, which were a bit annoying with their background noise. Luckily they kept the night's sleep and around 10 p.m. the bleating was over, haha.
There was actually a small volcano nearby, which my friend Nils climbed. The landscape is extremely beautiful! I didn't go up myself because we got there relatively late and I stayed in the tent with Lotta. But the pictures of the view and the nature there are fantastic, the 30-minute climb is definitely worth it if you have the time!
Chamonix Mont Blanc / Camping Les Marmottes (1 night)
, which is located across from Mont Blanc, I found it to be very beautiful again. It was a fitting end to our dream trip. When we stood there, it rained and thunderstorm incredibly hard for over 1.5 hours in the evening. There were three of us in our roof tent and listened to the background noise. I thought it was super romantic and it was really exciting for Lotta.
There you can take cable cars up into the mountains, which is definitely a cool excursion. I can also do the little one run by an Australian Hibou Deli
absolutely recommend, the food is delicious, very fresh and simply good! And: We were able to have a snowball fight in a T-shirt at an altitude of almost 4000 meters. That was definitely a special experience.
Book recommendation for your road trip
We had two books in the series "Wild Swimming *"
(of course the expenses for France and Spain), which I can definitely recommend. There you will find wild swimming areas. I found that very good for us, because we could always see whether there was a great bathing area on our route that we could go to for a short break, including a hop into the lake or river. That certainly shortened the felt travel times for all of us, but especially for Lotta, because we often had a "little adventure" in between on the route. That was always well received.
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Image source: All photos are from Nils Elsner
, except for the last one, which comes from Eva Malawska / Team Kleine Prints