Leon (Back into Spain) – Spain & Portugal Tour 2009

Our next destination was Spain; the city of Leon to be precise. We normally steer clear of most cities when touring in the van, but Leon had two advantages:

  • It was en-route to Bilbao and sounded so attractive and interesting in our Spanish guide book that I managed to persuade my better half it would be a good idea to visit
  • It had an official ‘area de servicios para autocaravanas’ (motorhome aire) within easy walking distance of the city centre

My navigator’s skills were stretched slightly by our inadequate city map, but by mid-afternoon we had found our way into one of the busiest car parks in Spain, also the location of Leon’s motorhome parking facility (aire). Here, I would like to offer a bit of advice:

  1. There is allocated parking for eight motorhomes.
  2. The location is great – by the river and a pleasant café – and within an easy walk of the city centre.
  3. Spanish car drivers don’t recognise the motorhome parking symbols and use the motorhome bays to park their cars in.
  4. This means patience and timing is required to get a space for your motorhome. We managed it at about 9pm, having arrived around 5pm and squeezed into a car space.

However, it was well worth the effort. Leon is a really attractive city. The river runs into the city, providing wide, shady boulevards, and the old buildings are very attractive – as are many of the cake shops, cafes and restaurants that are dotted around.

This grand building is operated as an upmarket hotel by the state-run Paradores organisation
This grand building is operated as an upmarket hotel by the state-run Paradores organisation
Stroll along Leon's wide, leafy river banks and escape the heat of the day
Stroll along Leon's wide, leafy river banks and escape the heat of the day
The view from the motorhome parking area at Leon
The view from the Area de Servicios para Autocaravanas in Leon
I can't remember what this is, but isn't it fine?
I can't remember what this is, but isn't it fine?
Leon has a proper outdoor market in a central square
Leon has a proper outdoor market in a central square
Alright, perhaps some of Leon's market is aimed at tourists...
Mmmm... traditional hams and cheese - perhaps slightly aimed at tourists?

We spent two nights at Leon (maximum allowed stay is 48 hours) and thoroughly enjoyed it. Although the parking location is just a corner of a car park, there is water (hosepipe with correct fitting required), waste water and toilet emptying point (a manhole in the pavement by the road, marked with a blue patch of paint). Emptying the toilet was quite funny – I was standing in the middle of a busy pavement, with a manhole cover up, emptying out my toilet cassette as commuters walked around me. Should have got a photo!

3 thoughts on “Leon (Back into Spain) – Spain & Portugal Tour 2009

  • January 15, 2010 at 2:31 am
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    I enjoyed this read specially the ‘pedestrian dump-point’ which I am still laughing at. Pictures would have cracked me up! Also good photos and info – the aires I have been searching for & found at last.

    Reply
    • January 15, 2010 at 1:11 pm
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      Sandy,

      Thanks! I still smile when I think about standing their emptying my toilet cassette as commuters walked around me… The book we used to find all the aires in Spain and Portugal was this one from Vicarious Books. There are fairly good directions (plus GPS coordinates) for all aires plus loads of information – it’s well worth the money.

      Cheers,
      Roland

      Reply
  • October 19, 2016 at 9:06 pm
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    I am Spanish and I can confirm 100% that those hams and cheeses are not for tourist purposes, they are part of our basic diet and you can find them everywhere, better or worse quality, industrial or handmade, each region has their typical stuff… Ham itself (jamón) is a religion for us, it’s what we miss the most when we are away from Spain… yummy!

    Reply

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