Where to go for a cosy campsite in France or Spain
Enjoy your camping holiday to the full. You can do that in a thousand and one different ways. If you prefer a cosy atmosphere in a rustic countryside setting then it is a good idea to opt for a small-scale campsite. You will be woken every morning by the sound of chirping birds or the water lapping in the brook that runs just behind the campsite. In France and Spain there are plenty of these great little campsites; I have sought out the most authentic camping regions on your behalf.
The French Alsace – Visiting vineyards and castles
We all of course know the French Alsace for its vineyards and the wonderful region of the Vosges. The eastern slopes of this mountain range have the perfect fertile soil for one of the best wines in France. When you are in the Alsace you really shouldn’t miss following a route through the vineyards. The Route des Vins d’Alsace is the oldest wine route in France and takes you to the best wine producers and also takes you past the many picturesque wine villages.
If you are enjoying all of the highlights Alsace has to offer, then make sure to visit the 13th century castle Haut-Koenigsbourg. In 1900, the German Emperor Wilhelm II had this castle renovated and refurnished turning into the enormous monument it is today. From the castle, which is easily accessible and has a fun programme for children, you get a wonderful view over the region. Another of the Alsace’s beautiful viewpoints is Mont Sainte-Odile Abbey, about forty kilometres north of Chateau du Haut-Koenigsbourg.
Limousin – The green heart of France
Limousin is one of the greenest regions in France. The region is part of France’s Massif Central Mountains, but here, the landscape is defined by narrow roads and winding rivers. If you want to enjoy the beauty of the tranquil French countryside and nature then this is the place to be! Limousin is also a perfect region for a sporting and active holiday, for example around the popular Lac de Saint-Pardoux. Here, in the direct vicinity of the lake you can go swimming, sailing, fishing, walking, cycling, mountain biking and sunbathing. Everything you could want.
If you would like to alternate sporting activities with a trip to a big city, then although there are not many in this region, the porcelain capital Limoges is one I recommend. An exceptionally pure clay was found close to this city, so it is where the most refined porcelain in France is made. You can find out why even the most prestigious restaurants from across the globe choose Limoges porcelain in the Adrien Dubouché National Museum. Other must sees in this city are the Saint-Etienne Cathedral and the Limoges-Bénédictins railway station. You can end your day with a delicious meal in one of the local restaurants. Meat lovers will really enjoy it here, as the tastiest meat in France, from the red-brown Limousin cows, is served in this area.
Galicia – Unspoilt countryside by the Atlantic Ocean
Galicia is probably the least touristic part of Spain. In this north-western province, where it doesn’t rain as much as people claim, there are still undiscovered areas. The countryside sparkles like never before and the beaches by the rocky ocean coast, many accessible via winding roads, are stunningly beautiful and very popular among windsurfers. In your quest for the most beautiful beaches, you mustn’t miss Playa de Las Catedrales in the north and Praia de Laxe in the northwest!
Yet there is more to the countryside in Galicia than simply the coast and the beaches. Inland you can enjoy forested and mountainous landscapes. It is with good reason there are six nature reserves in Galicia. If you get the chance, visit Islas Atlánticas de Galicia National Park. This region contains the archipelagos of Cíes, Onza and Sálvora and is unique due to the unspoilt countryside and the pearly-white beaches. The islands can be reached by boat from the coastal towns of Vigo or Pontevedra but can only be visited in the summer months.
Catalonia – Wine producers and volcanic landscapes
Catalonia is of course famous for its wonderful beaches, the coastal resorts on the Costa Brava and the cosmopolitan city of Barcelona. They are all definitely worth visiting but the region has more to offer than these popular attractions. Catalonia is also well known for wine and cava. Follow one of the wine routes, such as around Lleida where the winegrowers open their doors in the summer so you can help with harvesting the grapes. And of course, afterwards you can join the traditional festivities to celebrate the harvest in one of the surrounding villages.
If you want to sample more of the Catalan culture and countryside you are best going to the Pyrenees. Amid the imposing mountain tops you will be introduced to another side of Catalonia. In the northeast, you will find the La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park, an area with about 30 volcanos. Further to the south, west of Barcelona, Montserrat towers above the flat landscape. The exceptional shape of the mountain is impressive in itself but you mustn’t miss the historic Benedictine Monastery with the Virgin of Montserrat statue!
Fan of little but great campsites
You can of course visit these regions from a large family campsite or a complete holiday park, but in order to really get into the atmosphere of the region a smaller campsite is highly recommended. Here, you will get a better feel for the region and the campsite owners are generally more than happy to point out even more sights. Try one of the campsites recommended in this article.
If you are looking for a great little campsite in a different region, then on the ACSI Great Little Campsites website you will find a complete overview of all campsites with a maximum of 50 pitches. The ACSI Great Little Campsites app also gives a handy overview and is easy to use while on the road.