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Subject Topic: Fed up of the Weather . . . so Post Reply Post New Topic
Message posted by TKMAXX01/9/2015 at 11:10am
Outfit:  Ranger 550 6 - Nissan Quashqai     Location:  Maidstone - Kent
Joined: 12/8/2009
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Hi all,

Having had a very wet break in the New Forest this year, and a very wet break in Belgium last year, we have decided that in 2016 we are going further afield to Spain!

We don't want to drive for days and want to take the ferry from Portsmouth.

For those of you that have done this, would you please mind helping us out with the following questions:

1) is it worth paying the extra for the 'cruise' experience or is the 'quality' ferry ok?
2) can I get any discount codes anywhere to help with the costs?
3) any recommendations of sites in Spain?

2 adults and 2 kids (aged 10 and 8)

Many thanks.

Post last edited on 01/09/2015 11:24:00

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Enjoying caravanning, realising what an expensive hobby it is and spending the family’s inheritance before they can get their hands on it!

Don't forget to leave a review of the French and other European campsites you have visited!


Message posted by Billy x01/9/2015 at 11:57am
Outfit:  Caravan     Location:  Essex
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For good sunshine and reasonable drive its best to head for the stretch of Med coast from French border down to just past Tarragona. Plenty of suitable sites in that area. No need to drive right down to southern Spain and if you must have sun I would avoid the Atlantic coast of Spain as weather is more changeable.

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Message posted by mattsurf01/9/2015 at 12:59pm
Outfit:  Sunncamp 550se     Location:  Wiltshire
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Just back from Costa Brava (Med), Camping Aquarius close to Sant Pere Pescadore. We were there for 24 days. In terms of weather, most days were 30 to 34 degrees peak, we had one day of rain and 2 days in the mid 20's, which is a little cool on the beach, there were thunder storms on 2 evenings / nights. Overall a little colder than typical, however, still very nice; the last 12 days we had fantastic weather.

We sailed from Poole to Cherbourg, however, Portsmouth Cherbourg or Portsmouth Le Harve are great crossings, as is Newhaven to Dieppe. Not tried Portsmouth to Caen as the crossing is longer and more expensive.

I like the port at Cherbourg the most, it is a lovely town, with a nice small efficient port, just 2 minutes drive from the centre. Dieppe is also pretty good too, but ferry times are less convenient and Newhaven is a 2 hour drive (compared with 45 minutes to Poole)

It is an easy 2 day drive, on the way down we arrived in Cherbourg at 1330, drove down to Niort (close to La Rochelle) arriving around 1830. hotel had a nice pool and restaurant. Next day, we set off at 0830 and arrived in Camping Aquarius at 1500, stopped for lunch close to Carcassonne. I was towing a trailer tent and kept my speed to 65 to 70mph.

On the return, we left the campsite a 1430 after a nice lunch and drove to the Massive Central, staying in Meyrueis, arrived at the hotel at 1830. We visited the Grottes De Dargilan in the morning (which was fantastic), had lunch in the Gorges Du Tarn, in La Malene, and had a paddle in the river. Set off at 1445 and arrived in Bourges at 1830. The following day set off from Bourges at 0845, arrived in Cherboug at 1410, had a nice lunch and walk, before taking the 1830 ferry to Poole, arrived home in Salisbury at 2300. The drive both ways was not at all stressful, with 3 kids 11, 13 and 16

There is little benefit taking the crossing to Santander or Bilbao if you intend to head for the Med, as it only saves 3 or 4 hours drive when compared with the drive from Cherbourg, Caen or Le Harvre.

Tons to do on the coast, lots of sand and sea, amusement parks (if that is you sort of thing), historic sites, beautiful towns, galleries (Dali) and Museums. For the most part, we alternated a day on the beach and a day doing other stuff.

Our visits this year included, trips to Girona, Dali Museum - Figueras, Castle San Ferran - Figueras, Parc Aventura (like Go Ape) - Pals (twice), Aqua Brava (Waterslides) - Rosas, Cadaques, Lake Bagnoles, Roman and Greek Ruines at Ampurias

Message posted by Kelper01/9/2015 at 2:13pm
Outfit:  Sterckeman Alize Concept CP480     Location:  Northern Ireland
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'Fraid I disagree with Billy ... and if you are taking the ferry to Bilbao or Santander, it does seem a bit daft to then motor right the way across to the fiendishly busy Costa Brava ... or to the very south ... unless you have long holidays.
We have holidayed on the north coast of Spain for seven of the last fifteen years, and keep returning because of the great variety and experiences it offers.
The Picos de Europa are extraordinary, and a week based around Potes (e.g.) can be immensely rewarding (see my reviews) ...
Weather-wise ... we've had a total of about six days of rain over the seven years (fourteen weeks), plus about 20% of the time cloudy (mostly in the mountains ... which can change very quickly) ... but all our memories and pictures are of sunny days.
The north coast is so different from the somewhat full western costa experience, and finding empty coves is easy.
The boat trip is a mini cruise, and a great way to start and end the holiday, freeing you from long drives ... yes, it does cost more ... so you need to balance that out ... if you have more than two weeks, then driving probably comes into play (we did seven weeks this year, with two on the North Coast of Spain and the rest in France ... and drove to/from Cherbourg both ways).
See my reviews for info on several sites on the North Coast ...

Don't forget to leave a review of the French and other European campsites you have visited!


Message posted by Frogman1401/9/2015 at 5:26pm
Outfit:  Touring caravan.     Location:  Lancashire
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Re ferries from Portsmouth, the Economie cabins are fine, large and comfortable, after that the boat is naff so if you choose economie, suggest you take your own food/kettle/tea etc cos meals on board are rank. The "cruise ferries" are matter of opinion. Bigger and better than economie but depends what you expect. Last crossing we did Club cabins, and they were on deck 5, noisy due to engine noise, definitely not worth the extra for a tv we could nt hear, and a kettle.. All that said 24 hrs on a boat is a convenient way to arrive in N Spain, and we did see dolphins en route. As always, you pays your money and takes your choice. On balancefor me it is a worth while trip, but I think "cruise"is guilding the lilly, and I would be dead miffed if I had booked a round trip cruise.
Once you get to Bilbao or Santander, then I am with Kelper. Fabulous area , weather very liveable, pick your sites from reviews on here, 10/10 is genuine. Food is superb and prices more than reasonable. Plenty to do and the scenery is exceptional. I have no idea why anyone would flog on down to the Costas.
FM

Message posted by MGJo01/9/2015 at 9:02pm
Outfit:  Lunar Clubman SB      Location:  Buckinghamshire
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We have done Spain for the last couple of years using ferry from Portsmouth to Bilboa on way out and Santander to Portsmouth return. It is very expensive approx £1000 for our folding camper, car with bikes on roof and 2 adults. We prefer to spend one day letting the ferry do the work and then one overnight stop at Zaragosa before heading to Blanes costa brava. It all depends on if you enjoy driving and don't find it tiring. We do budget to spend a lot on board - cinema and slap up 3 course dinner and snacks. Life would be boring if we all liked the same things.

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Joanne

May - Peak District
June - MG Live Silverstone
August/Sept - Salou


Message posted by Soup Dragon01/9/2015 at 9:39pm
Outfit:  khyam's Vango's Terra Nova Outhouse     Location:  None Entered
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Last summer we had a 13 and 9 year old and did the Spanish crossing. Then did the same the year before. With kids I think we would choose a regular crosing over an economy just becuase there are more places to roam.

This year we did a night economy crosing to Brittany and that was a very nice boat but we didn't need more than a small bar for a quick bedtime drink. Wouldnt have really wanted to spend much longer with only those facilities and kids that wanted to wander occasionally.

We have paid for the more expensive rooms for the Spanish route. We've not had a problem hearing the TV, with the kettle situation you can take you're own and a travel plug etc. With a kettle, books, loaded up sd cards and a tablet I would do without the tv with them. The tv was more for us adults. Think I would still go for an outside cabin, its a personal thing but it was nice to have daylight.

I wouldn't rule out doing one of the economy crossings in he future if the deal / driving costs / we wanted to visit certain places on the way ratio balance worked out right for us.

Economy or usual boat its still good to take some food supplies.

The Atlantic coast is gorgeous and worth taking a few days over.

Don't forget to leave a review of the French and other European campsites you have visited!


Message posted by TKMAXX04/9/2015 at 9:08am
Outfit:  Ranger 550 6 - Nissan Quashqai     Location:  Maidstone - Kent
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Thank you all. Some great tips and pointers on here.

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Enjoying caravanning, realising what an expensive hobby it is and spending the family’s inheritance before they can get their hands on it!


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