France and Spain out of season, accommodation

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by robjh, 27 Dec 2017.

  1. aegis

    aegis Senior Member

    I would expect the weather would be fine for camping.

    I did the opposite direction from Roscoff in France to Alicante a couple of years ago beginning in early April. I only had one cold night in northern France waking up to find frost on the tent. I was perfectly snug inside with an Alpkit Pipedream 400 sleeping bag. I had a couple of nights in cheap-ish Ibis hotels but that was more a function of arriving in a big town at night or it peeing it down all day than the cold.

    I went through Pamplona, Zaragoza, Teruel, Valencia and didn't find many campsites though that's not exactly the most touristy of routes. Most are essentially trailer parks. Turning up with a bike and a tent is seemingly unusual. France is much more tent friendly though that early on and you're possibly out of season for the municipal camp sites.
    robjh likes this.
  2. mmmmartin

    mmmmartin Random geezer

    Three are few campsites in Spain because in the winter there are no tourists and in the summer it's too hot for a tent. France is very different, loads of campsites and the municipal ones are designed to encourage tourism so are in towns, which is convenient.
    You might find with Warmshowers that the hosted tend to want to sit and talk about your journey, or their journeys rather than merely let you wash eat and sleep, which you can do in a hotel. Maybe download the Accor app and look at the F1 hotels for cheap sleeping, they let you take the bike into the room. They do tend to be on industrial estate places but there is usually a place nearby to eat. GPS unit needed to good them, obvs.
    The Fridays rode Caen to Bordeaux a few years ago, you could pop into France then head to Bordeaux (by train if necessary) and reverse our route. It's bound to be on the internet somewhere, if not ask on the Facebook group and someone will have a track.
    Last edited: 4 Mar 2018
    jay clock likes this.
  3. OP

    robjh Guru

    My thoughts are now focussing on a trip just across Spain, from Valencia to Santander or Bilbao and pick up the ferry from there. I'll be passing (hopefully) through some rather hilly and back-of-beyond parts of Spain en route, and am tending towards a mix of cheap rooms and wild camping. I still wonder whether the extra weight of camping gear will really be justified for just a few nights, but it will give me a lot more flexibility and freedom.

    I get what you say about warmshowers - I've even read online hosts complaining that their guests didn't want to sit up and tell stories. And as someone said upthread, the time for people to respond may be a poor match for spontaneous and ad-hoc route planning.
  4. maxap

    maxap Well-Known Member

    I've used warmshowers a few times and the hosts have gone out of their way to make me feel comfortable and welcome. I am sure they would all have been perfectly fine about me going to bed early if I needed to, however I am not sure I would have felt comfortable staying with someone and simply scoffing their food and then heading off to sleep straight away.
    robjh likes this.
  5. OP

    robjh Guru

    I've been reading up on wild camping in Spain on Spanish cycle touring sites. Consensus : it's (basically) illegal, you just might get fined, but loads of cycle tourists do it anyway and swear that with a bit of discretion you'll be fine. Which is good news as I've now got my bags packed including bivi equipment.

    For non-camping nights, is looking quite useful, with a wide range of hotels including the occasional hostel at under €20 and quite a few small hotels in the €25 to €40 range.
  6. Crankarm

    Crankarm Guru

    Nr Cambridge
    Yes is quite good. There's also AirBnB. I don't know of any cyclists that have been fined for wild camping in Spain. I guess it is location dependent. Rock up in the centre of Barcelona and stick your tent up on a patch of grass in the centre of town you might get fined or robbed ..................
    robjh likes this.
  7. MarkF

    MarkF Legendary Member

    It's big place as you know, how unlucky must you be to be discovered and moved on around any of the old roadhouses on rarely used old A roads? Plus, there are always the'll be alone.........I've paid as little as 15eu for very good rooms above bars.

    And you'd get no sympathy from me seeing as a good room can be had for 25 euros 5 mins from Las Ramblas.

    I am cycling in Holland the last week in March and room prices are making me cry for Spain.
    robjh likes this.
  8. briantrumpet

    briantrumpet Guru

    Devon & Die
    Yes, indeed. Did airBnB in a lovely apartment right near the station in Valence, £20, including breakfast, charming host, but obviously the deal was that he liked meeting and chatting to guests (which I did - great for practising my conversational French). But I think I prefer the solitude and anonymousness of the nearby Appart'City, which is just £40. Pays yer money, takes yer choice...
  9. OP

    robjh Guru

    I'm back from my ride across Spain from Valencia to Santander. I wild camped 3 times, once inside an old building due to the freezing temperatures outside, and would happily have camped a bit more given warmer/drier weather. In the less populated upland areas there were many suitable places to camp, in other areas rather fewer.
    Other than that I largely used to find rooms - I would often check it during the day, once I had a good idea how far I was going to get that night, and it brought up a goodish choice of cheap rooms, for which I paid from €18 to €28. I did also do a bit of door-knocking at hotels looking for a room, but found the online variant a lot quicker and more reliable.
    It was a very enjoyable short tour and I would happily do the same in Spain again.

    A few bivi pictures from the trip:
    20180330 (1) Puerto de Arenillas bivi.JPG 20180330 (4) Puerto de Arenillas bivi.jpg 20180401 (6) Pancrudo.jpg 20180401 (5) Pancrudo.jpg 20180405 (59) Alto la Varga bivi - NW of Oña.jpg
    Dave 123 and jay clock like this.
  10. mmmmartin

    mmmmartin Random geezer

    Interesting. I was in Seville in mid-March and it was wet. As i headed north it became slightly less wet but a lot cold. So my four week trip turned into 12 days. At the end, the met office said it was one degree feels like minus eleven, and the coach driver wouldn't take me with the bike so I rode 70k to Salamanca in winds gusting 45mph according to the Met Office.
    It was the most uncomfortable trip I've ever done, relentlessly grim.
  11. OP

    robjh Guru

    My worst day was in the wind too, on a high undulating plain near Teruel where I was riding directly into 40-50kph winds for hours, and struggled to average 8kph. After the first three hours it stopped seeming funny.
    Weatherwise I got a bit of everything, generally changing every other day, but it was generally cool, which is not surprising when you consider that the basic elevation in much of central Spain is close to 1000m. The only snow came during the night, thankfully one where I was in a hotel.
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