With Easter coming up at the end of the week (well Spain’s bank holiday is slightly different to ours and starts Thursday but then Monday is a normal day). We were not too sure how busy the campsites and stopovers would be so thought it would be best to try and get booked on somewhere. We were also thinking it would be nice to completely relax for a few days in one place.
We found Caravaning La Manga in our ACSI book. I have not spoken about this book yet but we have the book and DVD. This lists campsites in Europe with discounts in low season at 2,504 campsites for 2 adults. They are priced at either 12,14 or 16 euros a night. Another great thing about it is that they provide GPS Co-ordinates which with the TomTom makes it much easier to find them, in fact had we not had the co-ordinaries I don’t think we would have found some of the sites.
The other book we have been using for the free stopovers is Motorhome Guide Camperstop Europe which has 7,420 Motorhome stopovers. Some are free and some charge just a few euros for water or electricity. I think the most we have paid is 12 euros a night. Both the ACSI and the Camperstop Europe sites are checked by inspectors, which is reassuring.
When we booked in at the reception of La Manga the receptionist showed us a large area that she said we could NOT park as they had The Caravaning & Camping Club Carefree Rally on. Also, she said that it was 14 euros for the night but 35 euros a night Wednesday through to the 1st April. Hearing this we just booked one night and once we had set up I rang through to the Caravaning and Camping club (as we are members) and booked ourselves on the Rally for the remaining 5 nights. (That was a nice saving as it was only 17 euros a night).
It was nice being part of the Rally with other British people to chat to and join in some of the organised events. One was where they took over the upstairs of the beach restaurant one evening for a meal and games. We were put on a table with a really nice couple who had been on the Rally but had, two weeks previously, purchased a little bungalow on the site, which we popped in to see the following morning.
A bit about the site Caravanning La Manga
Caravanning La Manga, Costa Calida is located in the South East of Spain in a beautiful area of the Mediterranean opposite the Nature Park ‘Calblanque’ (which unfortunately we didn’t visit this time but is our list for next time.
The campsite is huge and very well run. It is about a mile from the reception to the bottom of the site and the beach. The toilets seem to be constantly cleaned, and security is visible driving around all the time. The supermarket is excellent, probably one of the best we have seen on a campsite and very well stocked with fresh fruit veg, cheeses, fresh meat, bread and a good selection of English brands. Prices very reasonable.
The pitches are really spacious with 7′ high hedging around the pitch making them private. You get a choice of 80 and 100 sq meters. Although you pay a bit more for a larger pitch.
The site has a large number of permanent pitches with a mix of caravans, mobile homes, and lots of different constructions some of them looking a bit scruffy and like shacks. It seems that people can buy their small bit of land and put what they want on it. Some are really nice and some look a bit run down.
At the bottom of the site, you go through a gate to the beach. Here there are lots of people kite and windsurfing. The beach area is really attractive with the palm trees on the sand. Also overlooking the beach is the clubhouse/bar/restaurant. We used to enjoy sitting with a drink outside sometimes with tapas in the late afternoon watching the various water sports. They tend to have a band playing live music on a Saturday night.
When you get to the beach you have the option of either turning right and walking or cycling all the way around the Mar Menor or turning left, walking over wasteland and then walking along a really pleasant promenade.
It was at this site our bikes came out for the first time. I could probably count on one hand the number of times I have been on a bike. The last time I crashed into the wall of The Victoria Hall a few years ago and hurt myself so I’m really not very confident and quite wobbly riding it. We purchased a fold up bike each for this trip as we really want to try and get fit this trip.
We spent a few hours on the bike one afternoon although with the hills and rough ground and cycling into the wind I probably spent as much time pushing it, as I was riding it as I was so out of breath (and unfit). Ray was really good and patient with me. I must admit I wasn’t up to much when we got back to the van (we have named the van Rosie now) and splayed out red-faced on the bed. We haven’t been out on it again since but really will have to make an effort. We have been doing a lot of walking through.