Our final stopping point was yet another aire from the “All the Aires: Spain & Portugal” guide, published by Vicarious Books. This absolute gem of a book enabled us to spend the grand total of €6 on overnight parking in 24 days touring Spain and Portugal. We wild camped a few times but never illegally. We never (quite) ran out of fresh water, waste water or toilet capacity and only ever emptied and/or filled these containers in legitimate ways. Unlike some, sad to say, who risk ruining great facilities for everyone else.
Cabárceno was a designated motorhome parking area and service point on the edge of an eponymous nature reserve (correctly known as Parque Natural Pena Cabarga). Situated in a small village, it is very rural yet only a few minutes drive from the main road – ideal for our planned early morning departure to Bilbao.
Although there is not much to do at Cabárceno – and when we were there the cafes and restaurants all closed once the day visitors had gone – it is a very pleasant place and has several features that might appeal to families or couples looking for a quiet overnight stop.
Even without paying to go into the nature reserve, you can view one of its best attractions – the elephants. There are also lots of interesting birds of prey and a large lake with picnic areas and walking paths around it.
Cabárceno is very close to Santander port and only about 1.5 hours to Bilbao and is very peaceful – or at least it was in May. I imagine it’s busier in summer but still acceptable.
Here are a few shots to finish off the trip: