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Scotm



Member Since: 28 Feb 2014
Location: Aberdeenshire
Posts: 630

Scotland 2012 Defender 110 Puma 2.2 SW Orkney Grey
Northern Spain
So have just booked Portsmouth Bilbao ferry to spend 2.5 weeks in Northern Spain from the beginning of July. We will be driving down from near Aberdeen in the Defender.

Outline plan so far is to stay mostly in campsites, with time in the Picos de Europa hiking and then around Bardenas Reales and then find a coastal/beach location to hang out.

Not looking to head much further East than Bardenas Reales

Does anyone have any tips for places to visit, campsites, routes etc?
Post #1023759 6th Feb 2024 11:11am
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Bluest



Member Since: 23 Apr 2016
Location: Lancashire
Posts: 3982

United Kingdom 2007 Defender 110 Puma 2.4 XS CSW Java Black
San Sebastian is one of our favourite places, so I would always recommend a visit there, the food is tremendous. If you want to get away from tarmac, I'd take a look at the Vibraction Roadbook RB28 which is in that area. As well as the track routes it will have info on camping, but you'll need to translate it from French. 2007 110 TDCi Station Wagon XS
Post #1023767 6th Feb 2024 1:35pm
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John P



Member Since: 26 Dec 2013
Location: West Sussex
Posts: 253

United Kingdom 2012 Defender 90 Puma 2.2 SW Corris Grey
When we did Picos de Europa National Park, we stayed at Camp La Viorna near Potes, which is a lovely little town. We did the hike to the Cross on the hill. Thumbs Up
Post #1023769 6th Feb 2024 1:54pm
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steveww



Member Since: 05 Jan 2022
Location: Uppingham
Posts: 490

United Kingdom 2015 Defender 110 Puma 2.2 XS CSW Bronze Green
I will be doing a similar trip in September.

There are loads of tracks to do in the Pyrenees, check out Wikiloc and Outdoor Active for free info. For a small joining fee https://adventurecountrytracks.com has a good GPX file for the area.

Away from the tracks there's plenty of small towns, castles, lakes, hiking trails, abandoned villages, etc.

Just south of Bilbao is the Rioja wine region, well worth spending time there if you like wine.
Post #1023814 7th Feb 2024 9:31am
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John P



Member Since: 26 Dec 2013
Location: West Sussex
Posts: 253

United Kingdom 2012 Defender 90 Puma 2.2 SW Corris Grey
Just do your homework on the day before you drive tracks. We got a fine on one of the tracks, as we were not allowed to be there, although being a well known track. (Hint, make sure you have your V5) When we asked the police how we ere supposed to know, they said they didn't know, as it can change, almost daily. There were no signs etc. Spent over 2 hours discussing with the police. They were nice about it, and then they didn't know how much to fine us, so had to contact head office. Then on another track, we had to get a permit from the local bar to drive the track. Who knew!!! There seems to be less freedom nowadays than when we went years ago.
Post #1023819 7th Feb 2024 10:06am
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8619simon



Member Since: 04 Nov 2016
Location: North Wales
Posts: 222

Wales 1995 Defender 110 300 Tdi CSW Epsom Green
Spent a great week in the Picos last October....... Outside of the main season it is very quiet but can get quite busy during main holidays... That being said there is plenty of it so not too hard to find hike away from the crowds. It is a stunning area for hiking.

There is a great gravel track from Sotres to Fuenta De: https://www.wikiloc.com/offroading-trails/...s-14361194

One of the very few off road tracks you can drive in the park.

As has already been said there are loads of tracks and routes on Wikiloc for the Pyrenees, both East and West. Bardenas de Reales is quite a unique landscape so definitely worth a visit.

In the Picos we camped in a lovely campsite called Camping El Cares (https://maps.app.goo.gl/BLQamkZwp4vAgjKv9). really chilled campsite but with nice facilities and loads of Hikes available to go at without driving anywhere. Easy access to the Cares gorge too.
Post #1023916 7th Feb 2024 10:40pm
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steveww



Member Since: 05 Jan 2022
Location: Uppingham
Posts: 490

United Kingdom 2015 Defender 110 Puma 2.2 XS CSW Bronze Green
John P wrote:
Just do your homework on the day before you drive tracks. We got a fine on one of the tracks, as we were not allowed to be there, although being a well known track. (Hint, make sure you have your V5) When we asked the police how we ere supposed to know, they said they didn't know, as it can change, almost daily. There were no signs etc. Spent over 2 hours discussing with the police. They were nice about it, and then they didn't know how much to fine us, so had to contact head office. Then on another track, we had to get a permit from the local bar to drive the track. Who knew!!! There seems to be less freedom nowadays than when we went years ago.


Are you sure you were not just contributing to the local police Christmas party? Laughing
Post #1023944 8th Feb 2024 10:33am
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Bluest



Member Since: 23 Apr 2016
Location: Lancashire
Posts: 3982

United Kingdom 2007 Defender 110 Puma 2.4 XS CSW Java Black
Interesting advice from John P. My understanding of the Spanish rules was that if there were no signs or barriers, a track is open for use (but my last trip was pre-Covid). That's a disappointing change. 2007 110 TDCi Station Wagon XS
Post #1023954 8th Feb 2024 11:44am
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8619simon



Member Since: 04 Nov 2016
Location: North Wales
Posts: 222

Wales 1995 Defender 110 300 Tdi CSW Epsom Green
I think the restrictions relate mostly to the Picos National park which is highly regulated. The majority of tracks do seem to require a permit of some kind. The one from Sotres to Fuente De is one of the few that does not require anything but you are not allowed to leave the boundaries of the track. If you are in the area I would highly recommend this as the scenery is stunning, particularly if you start from the Sotres end.

I would agree with @bluest, in the rest of Spain and in particular the Pyrenees, they are very good at putting chains across a track or putting a private sign up if you are not allowed on it. Other than that you are generally free to explore. I’ve done three trips to Spanish Pyrenees now in the last 5 years and never had any trouble following this rule.
Post #1023963 8th Feb 2024 12:32pm
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John P



Member Since: 26 Dec 2013
Location: West Sussex
Posts: 253

United Kingdom 2012 Defender 90 Puma 2.2 SW Corris Grey
steveww wrote:
John P wrote:
Just do your homework on the day before you drive tracks. We got a fine on one of the tracks, as we were not allowed to be there, although being a well known track. (Hint, make sure you have your V5) When we asked the police how we ere supposed to know, they said they didn't know, as it can change, almost daily. There were no signs etc. Spent over 2 hours discussing with the police. They were nice about it, and then they didn't know how much to fine us, so had to contact head office. Then on another track, we had to get a permit from the local bar to drive the track. Who knew!!! There seems to be less freedom nowadays than when we went years ago.


Are you sure you were not just contributing to the local police Christmas party? Laughing


Rolling with laughter Yes that's what we first though, but then the red tape that followed with envelopes, signing each one, copies upon copies, and then we even got the final summons in the post of admitting guilt months later. The general thought and trying to understand Spanish, was that as they were in a fire restriction area, and it was very dry, the tracks were closed, although no signs or chains.

Edit. Just to clarify this happened on 6 August 2022.
Post #1023967 8th Feb 2024 1:14pm
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johncorrisgrey



Member Since: 17 Apr 2023
Location: south yorkshire
Posts: 4

United Kingdom 
there is a very nice site called playa joyel at Noja which is about 1 hour along the coast from Bilbao if you want to finish off with beach. You can book through caravan club if a member .Good for surfing n body boards. Don't miss the Guggenheim in Bilbao quite spectacular.

We booked the Brittany Ferries fast ferry in the first year it ran. 3days before we were due to leave it blew a gasket and we ended driving down through France a journey of a 1000 miles instead of 25 miles from Santander Rolling Eyes We caught its first return trip home about a month later Northern Spain is a beautiful part of the world.
John
Post #1023983 8th Feb 2024 3:07pm
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Scotm



Member Since: 28 Feb 2014
Location: Aberdeenshire
Posts: 630

Scotland 2012 Defender 110 Puma 2.2 SW Orkney Grey
Some great ideas so far - keep them coming - thanks
Post #1024121 9th Feb 2024 6:01pm
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