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Lutz

First time overwintering in Spain

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We're considering overwintering in southern Spain for the first time this coming winter. Is there anything special to watch out for or can anyone recommend a good campsite on the coast somewhere? I understand that pitches are quickly taken up at that time of the year so I presume that there is a need to make a reservation - something that I have not had any need to do in the past. We'd prefer either the Costa de la Luz or Costa del Sol. Which of the two is better, also with respect to the weather that time of the year? We've already booked a week's package tour, flying to the Costa de la Luz in April to do some reconnaissance as we've never been down that way, so any tips beforehand would be welcome.

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I didn't stay there, but looked at Camping La Rosaleda (Costa de la Luz) a while ago; As long as you don't mind a bit of a hike to the nearest beach, I think it's worth a look. Nice welcome at reception, even though we just wanted to look around and the long term prices were fairly good.

I've no personal experience of sites on the Costa del Sol, but the areas east of Gibraltar are better protected from the Atlantic weather influence.

Edited by Flying Grandad

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Jaydug is probably the expert on this, but I'll put in my two-pennorth!

We used to live in Manilva, on the Costa del Sol to the west of Estepona. There is a campsite called http://www. campinglabellavista. com/ which is right on the beach and very close to the village of Puerto de la Duquesa which has lots of bars and restaurants. There are also supermarkets nearby. It is a modern site, having been completely renewed less than 8 years ago. Pitches are a bit cramped but big enough for a car, caravan and awning. It is very popular in the winter, indeed you may already be too late to book for the end of this year!

There are more sites closer to Malaga - https://www. campingcabopino. com/en. html is a good example - but you have to cross the road to get to the beach.

If you opt for the Costa de la Luz there are several sites to the west of Tarifa catering particularly for the windsurfing fraternity. There's little infrastructure in that area so you have to go a fair distance for shops and restaurants but some of the beaches along that coast are fabulous.

We were in Manilva in Jan-Feb and the weather was mixed. We had virtually no rain but there was quite a bit of wind and the daytime temps were in the 12 - 15 degree range much of the time. This is unusually cold; last year they were in the upper teens.

Hope this helps.

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Thanks for the tip Chalky. I have managed to find Jaydug's blog of his 2017/2018 trip to Spain and have started to read it.

The campsite La Bella Vista is already on my shortlist.

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Hi Lutz

We have spent much time at La Rosaleda and its very good but we never arrived there before the beginning of May when the winter visitors that fill the site had left. Its a beautiful coast  between Cadiz and Tarrifa  not remotely like the concrete jungle once one passes Gibraltar  however even later in the year its not always the warmest place in Spain often with cold wind off the Atlantic and I think I would accept the less picturesque coast line of the Costa Del Sol if I wanted a winter retreat ( which we dont) or go to the Algarve instead.

David

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3 hours ago, Lutz said:

. I have managed to find Jaydug's blog of his 2017/2018 trip to Spain and have started to read it.

I hope you enjoy your read!    For over twenty-four years I've spent some of the winter months in many of  resorts from Alicante around to Albufeira in Portugal but my favourite destination is Malaga Province in Andalusia.       Apart from the first two weeks which I spend meandering through Spain, I stay at El Pino in Torrox from mid-November till the end of February.    It's a site which gets mixed reviews.    Some people hate it - others love it and return there  year after year.       They don't accept bookings and I've never seen the "Full" notices go up.    Indeed, when I arrive in November the place is quite empty.    After the New Year it begins to get busy.      This past year was the busiest I've ever seen it, consequently we suffered a few electricity breakdowns.     The weather before Christmas is usually better than that in late January and February.    Most visitors agreed that the past February weather was the coldest they've experienced.       

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Hello Jaydug,

Yes, your blog made interesting reading. With all that experience that you have I think I should take time to read your other blogs, too.

It seems to have been a cold winter everywhere, regardless of where one is in the world. We were in Florida in January and up in the Panhandle region it was so cold that we spent most of the time indoors, either in the hotel or touring in the car. It wasn't until we got down to Miami and beyond that the temperatures were halfway as expected. Under such circumstances we figured we could save money on our next winter trip by taking the caravan down to Spain instead. It can't be colder there.

I've made a shortlist of campsites in question and the one that Chalky mentioned in Manilva is right on the top of my list. I figured that it's reasonably well protected from the Atlantic elements by being on the Mediterranean side of Gibraltar, but it's close enough to the apparently wonderful Atlantic beaches that one could do the odd day trip from a Manilva base to sample them as well. As I wrote, we'll be flying down to Jerez in four week's time to do a bit of reconnaissance, following the coast from there probably as far as Torre del Mar to have a look at a few campsites.

Perhaps I can call on your expertise by asking my first question. How do you manage for gas when you are away for such a long time?

Edited by Lutz

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We are currently just outside Benidorm at Alicante Imperium and have been at Almafra and here for over six weeks now.

Very cold in the evening down to 2C at times so fleece and jacket for the dog’s last walk, but shorts and tee shirt nearly every day.

Most people on site have purchased a Spanish regulator €23 in the supermarket and use Spanish gas bottles, they pay about €10 for an empty bottle either from another camper or a secondhand place, I can fill my bottles in the back of my car and it is costing me €7. 70 for 6 Kg.

We are using gas for the heating as the electric although 16A is only free for about 4Kwh per day, on the last site we were €125 excess on electric using it for heat in the evening for 26 nights.

Both sites have been full most of the time and they are turning away a lot of vans.

Ian 

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My own winter hideaway in Thailand where we went many times is reporting 30C once again today and was 24C  through the night.  Caravans in winter are not the only way.

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20 minutes ago, moorgate said:

My own winter hideaway in Thailand where we went many times is reporting 30C once again today and was 24C  through the night.  Caravans in winter are not the only way.

I appreciate that and I've done Australia and New Zealand to seek some warmth in our winter too, but we thought we'd give caravanning a try and see it as a challenge. Otherwise it'll probably be Florida once again in the hope that they won't have such a cold spell two years running.

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3 hours ago, Lutz said:

. How do you manage for gas when you are away for such a long time?

Whilst I'm away I use very little gas.    The site where I stay has a winter offer which  includes 10amp electricity in the monthly site fee so for water heating, caravan heating and cooking I invariably use electricity.     As I said previously, we had a few power cuts this year when I needed to use gas.    Other than that, plus the night I spent on Bilbao dockside, I didn't need the gas bottle.

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The site John refers to, El Pino, was also very quick to upgrade the supply to prevent further on site power cuts. We like it and will over winter again from mid October.  

Bella Vista is nice, but much more expensive.

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5 hours ago, Jaydug said:

Whilst I'm away I use very little gas.    The site where I stay has a winter offer which  includes 10amp electricity in the monthly site fee so for water heating, caravan heating and cooking I invariably use electricity.     As I said previously, we had a few power cuts this year when I needed to use gas.    Other than that, plus the night I spent on Bilbao dockside, I didn't need the gas bottle.

I'm a bit surprised by your statements because I got feedback from someone else saying that the site that they go to has metered electricity and it's so expensive that they almost exclusively rely on gas, going through a bottle every 10 to 11 days or so.

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45 minutes ago, Lutz said:

I'm a bit surprised by your statements because I got feedback from someone else saying that the site that they go to has metered electricity and it's so expensive

Yes - there are some sites in Spain that have metered electricity but where I stay for three months plus they use a daily rate or the monthly rate.    Incidentally when I travelled through Spain in November and again in February I stayed at nine different sites and they all offered electric at a fixed price.  

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We have had a couple of winters in la Bella Vista. If you book a long stay with a discounted pitch price, electricity is metered there and when we were there last, it was €0. 30/Kwh. We never bothered with gas even though I have all the bits to use Spanish gas because Repsol propane was €20 for a 13Kg refill, and I didn't think the saving was worth the bother.   We used our Calor for the BBQ. When you work it out, its not that expensive to use the electricity. We chose to pay for our electric and site fee Monthly. The site metering is absolutely smack on accurate according to the meter I had installed in the caravan (I am a trusting soul). Bella Vista do a 30 day price with electric included if you prefer it, but the best deal for us was for the whole winter and no included electricity. On arrival, you get a choice of those pitches which are vacant or not reserved, like many sites. Bella Vista is not a cheap site, nor is it likely to be because it is a superb site. There is a bar/restaurant and the showers are underground in a very nicely appointed utility area. You can walk to a good supermarket, and Duquesa Port  is a food and drink delight. Friday night kareoke in the Irish bar is good if you like stuff like that. Cycling or walking along the promenade one way and foot path the other is brilliant. There is a really good rustic fish restaurant on the beach open all winter. Inland (and up hill of coarse) you may see Eagles in the wild, and much more. The landscape is unusually green for Spain up there. It can be very windy along that bit of coast which is only just East of Gibralta, but if your equipment is sound and well installed you will survive. We absolutely loved it there and felt the fairly high price was justified.  

Edited by Ern

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I stay from October  to May on Camping Cabopino and am now in my tenth year of doing so. It is extremely popular and very cosmopolitan, with people from Scandinavia, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Spain and of course the UK.

Lots of activities are included in the price, which may be why it is so popular.

Electricity is only metered, for those who leave their vans on site for 12 months or more, and is 16amps.

It is usually full throughout the Winter months but you never know, you might get lucky if you book in advance!

 

 

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Our car is on the left (Volvo). obviously the caravan is behind it. This pic shows the view we had from Pitch 114. If you have a continental caravan you ideally should be on the other side of the road so that your awning has the sun. Their web site shows the pitch numbers. You may be able to reserve a pitch by number. Avoid the very large pitches as they are full of huge motorhomes. I noticed their web site shows the pitches to be much smaller than they really are for some reason.  

march1424 001.JPG

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As a matter of interest, and certainly a consideration, are most sites full of tiny pitches?

Bella Vista has standard pitch of 9m by 5m and more expensive ones 12. m by 5m they say.   

I really can't see how you can fit car, caravan and awning on either!  

Even if only a motorhome (and no car) surely with canopy extended you need 5m width?  

I'm beginning to think I couldn't live for a long period in those conditions.     Just hoping the neighbours like us (and we them I guess!) 

 

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4 minutes ago, John_b_45 said:

As a matter of interest, and certainly a consideration, are most sites full of tiny pitches?

Bella Vista has standard pitch of 9m by 5m and more expensive ones 12. m by 5m they say.   

I really can't see how you can fit car, caravan and awning on either!  

Even if only a motorhome (and no car) surely with canopy extended you need 5m width?  

I'm beginning to think I couldn't live for a long period in those conditions.     Just hoping the neighbours like us (and we them I guess!) 

 

Bella Vista has the wrong size for the pitches on their web site. I said so above. Pitch 114 is pretty well the same as the rest of them and we had no trouble getting the Caravan, Awning, Car, BBQ, as we wanted.

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1 hour ago, Ern said:

Our car is on the left (Volvo). obviously the caravan is behind it. This pic shows the view we had from Pitch 114. If you have a continental caravan you ideally should be on the other side of the road so that your awning has the sun. Their web site shows the pitch numbers. You may be able to reserve a pitch by number. Avoid the very large pitches as they are full of huge motorhomes. I noticed their web site shows the pitches to be much smaller than they really are for some reason.  

Thanks, Ern. We will definitely have a look at the site when we're on our reccy trip in a couple of week's time and then we'll have a first hand idea of what to expect there.

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As an alternative have a look at Brittany Ferries winter sun holidays. I am currently sat in a lovely villa on a delightful complex (Aloha Gardens) on the Costa Del Sol just outside Puerto Banus. All heating etc included, (and it’s efficient) Also included is full access to U. K. tv (BBC 1, 2: &4 ITV 1,2,3 & 4, ch4 Ch5 etc) Internet is extra but I use my own Mifi as it’s only for emails and surfing.  

Total cost inc return ferry to Santander (with car and cabin both ways) and 28 nights in this 2 bedroom villa with terrace, balcony AND roof terrace was £1500

I priced up bringing the caravan and by the time I had paid the ferry cost, the extra fuel to,haul it all the way down, and the campsite fees the villa was cheaper!

I appreciate it’s not for everyone but it certainly offers good value, and you have much more space plus a washing machine and dishwasher, you can stay for longer but I don’t know what the extra cost would be but BF’s customer service dept will be able to tell you.

Might be worth considering? (The cost goes up a fair bit on 1st April but over the winter it’s cheap) 

Andy

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We're open to suggestions, but I think we'll stick to caravanning. That way we have our accustomed surroundings and creature comforts, beds that we know we can sleep well in, etc. Besides, our situation is slightly different as we live on the Continent, so we don't have any costs for ferries to consider.

In the meantime we're now looking at alternative dates. Rather than leaving after Christmas and staying, say, to the end of February, maybe we might leave home beginning of October and return in time for Christmas. Any thoughts from the experts about the advantages/disadvantages of such timing?

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Lutz

My post was more directed to the “wider audience” rather than just yourself with the intention of adding a bit of variety to the subject.  

Andy

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23 minutes ago, Lutz said:

 Rather than leaving after Christmas and staying, say, to the end of February, maybe we might leave home beginning of October and return in time for Christmas.

You'll certainly get better weather at that time.    Also you'll find fewer caravans/motor vans on the sites.    Many caravanners don't leave home till after the Christmas/New Year festivities.  

Edited by Jaydug

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11 hours ago, Jaydug said:

You'll certainly get better weather at that time.    Also you'll find fewer caravans/motor vans on the sites.    Many caravanners don't leave home till after the Christmas/New Year festivities.  

+1

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