Cabárceno, Bilbao & the Ferry – Spain & Portugal Tour 2009

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:

Elephants at the Parque Natural Pena Cabarga, Cabarceno
Elephants at the Parque Natural Pena Cabarga, Cabarceno
cabarceno-lake-sm
The lake at Cabarceno
The elephant enclosure
The elephant enclosure
Homeward bound... following signs for Santurtzi port for the Bilbao-Portsmouth ferry
Homeward bound... following signs for Santurtzi port for the Bilbao-Portsmouth ferry
Boarding the ferry in Bilbao
Boarding the ferry in Bilbao
Leaving Spain...
Leaving Spain...
Disembarking from the ferry in Portsmouth
Disembarking from the ferry in Portsmouth

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