Aires

It is our intention to use as many Aires as possible during our trip – with the odd trip to a full blown’ campsite every now and then.  We have the ‘All the Aires’ books (from Vicarious Books) to help us find convenient stops along the way. Thanks to the number of reasonable and often free sites we have managed to spend an average of just £4 a day on ‘accomodation’ and that includes a couple of expensive weeks here and there on ‘full blown’ sites wth all the facilities. We thought that we might get away with about £10 a day (that was simply my estimate) but we are pleasantly surprised.

On the Road again…

GERMANY/SLOVENIA?CROATIA 2013

Germany has loads of ‘Stellplatz’ for ‘Aire style’ stopovers – arguably more than France so in-expensive overnights are easy. We have already pitched on a Sports Hall car park (free) which had a WC facility and a great site in Ingolstadt just outside of the city with electric/water/waste and toilets for 5 Euros a night. Croatia and Slovenia do not have these facilities so you have to use campsites which are reasonable anyway and a chance to have a proper shower and do the washing!

FRANCE (again)

 Le Crozet (free site/electic or water vis 2 Euro token)

   

Just us!                                                                     And our view!

A lovely quiet site for just two vans and with picnic tables for the exclusive use of the cmapers. There is a lovely medieval village to walk around with a route suggested by the local tourist office. The electricity token is for 4 hours use but ours actually stayed on all nigh and was still operating in the morning so that was a result.

St Fourgeaux (free site/unmetered electric and water/WC)

Another quiet site overlooking the bowls and tennis courts – not much happening here but as I said it was plenty peaceful and we took our bikes and cycled up to the top of the hill for a bit of exercise.  The bar cum bakery will provide you with a baguette and a nice glass of local wine even on a Sunday!

Oradour sur Glane (free site/electricity and water via a token/WC)

     

Nice views…                                                              ….and a well maintained site!

If you in the area this place is a must – I have written about Oradour elsewhere in the blog and a visit to the Village Martyr’ would have to be on your list. Here are plenty of shops and bars on the short walk to the old village. He site is nice too with vans laid out in an arc overlooking the countryside.

Ste Maure de Tourain (2.50 Euros a night/12 huors electric for 2 Euro/see text)

    

A real ‘pay as you go’ site. Its 2.50 Euros to stay and then everything else is an extra depending on what you want/need. Its all via an honesty box where you fill out what you ‘had’ and post with your money in a letter box. I hope no one takes the mickey. Personally I think they would be better offering a nigh including some essential options as clearly some dirty buggar had emptied their ‘bedpan’ over the buch behind us – it smelt like a thousand cats! Other than that it is a great site. Short walk the town/village and a big Intermarche at your disposal.

ITALY

Plenty of free Aires in Italy – we are currently in a campsite as our son is coming over to visit us and we needed somewhere to pitch a tent as well as a pitch for ourselves but until now we had several nights in a few free aires two of which had electric and a toilet so we were fine.

Cherasco (Free/free water and dump)

The site a Cherasco is great – its at the side of an Archery Club with WC and electric and water. Whilst we were there there was a free Lambretta Exhibition with lovely vehicles on show. On the Sunday there was a 600 stall antique fair held in all the streets which were ‘pedestrianised’ for the day. Excellent few days spent there (supposed to be 48 hours max but dont tell anyone)

The antiques fair in full swing.

Biassono (Free/freewater)

There is a great free Aire at Biassono – which means absolutely nothing to most people except that it is right next to the Monza Grand Prix race circuit. We were woken by the sound of Formula One race cars warning up for a days lap practice. Not everyones cup of tea but it works for us. We cycled around the track (on the outside I hasten to add) and saw from quite a close range the cars practicing.

I have no picture of the site – as its fairly plain and not worthy of a photo – but it has a water dump and cleanwater tap. And its FREE

PORTUGAL

Parque da Gale (6.5 Euro/all in)

By far the best Aire we have used yet! Only been set up about a year and has exactly what we motorhomers need. There’s water, electric, a waste disposal, washing sink and WiFi all for 6.50 Euros.

  

There’s a neat little garden in the centre with a usefull noticeboard which announces that bread and (separately) fish are delivered should you wish it.

Motorhomes can use the facility to fill up with water and empty waste for a 2 Euro payment (it was free but people took advantage/left it filthy – one guy parked up on the waste drop to repair his vehicle whilst the missus ‘stole’ the WiFi)  and you can ‘park’ for 5 hours connected to electric and WiFi for 4 Euros should you wish. Something for everyone.

There’s a few restaurants around the corner, a supermarket, car hire and laundry – the beaches are a short walk/cycle away too.

They are on Facebook and website address is www.parquedagale.com

The co-ordinates are 37 deg 05’33.55″ N / 8 deg 18’41.76″ W

As a bit of an update at 28/06/12 we are still at Parque da Gale as it really is ideal for us – a nice resort, good restuarants and a very friendly family who run the site. Today Paulo is fitting a beach shower so you can rinse off after a day at the beach. He has also installed a picnic bench for folk to use to have a beer, play cards, and (er) ‘picnic’ at. I’ve recorded the ‘installation’ of the shower in my ‘Good Morning’ section.

Praia de Rocha (2.50 Euros/2 Euros for 110 L water/wi-fi via the bar)

Not the most ‘charismatic’ plot – effectively a car park but next to the Marina and near to the town and beach makes it a great location otherwise. There’s a friendly bar which gets you free wi-fi in exchange for your custom – ours reached our motorhome across the car park and stayed valid for a few days.  I am there now with a pint of cold Sagres to update the blog. Portimau is nearby with a good Pingo Doce supermarket  and a nice marina to boot.

     

Look out for the bar on your approach to the site –  it’s a large red coach/bus turned into a bar.

Lagos (free/waste disp/wi-fi)

Sited next to the Lagos Football Club ground its ideal for a visit to the Marina, town and points of historic interest about Lagos. Not the prettiest views in the world but great for any visitor to the area. Water is available with a 2 Euro token and there is good free WiFi.

There’s a three night limit posted officially but as it was quiet when we stayed last week we were told another night was fine. We returned this week for another three nights.

Almeida (free/elec/wc)

Best Aire so far for me – its all you need! Lovely fortress town/village location. There is free WiFi subject to applying at the local library. We even found a washing line and BBQ

       

That’s us down there – not busy                            My ‘current’ view (it’s late)

SPAIN

Valladolid (free/water)

For a city centre site this is fine – water to top up and somewhere to drop your waste. We managed to pick up free WiFi from at least three different un locked servers too. It was surprisingly quiet for the location which although in a city is at least on the side of the river where most of the housing is.

FRANCE

Forges les Eaux (6 Euro/incl Elec and Water)

We can recomment the Aire at Forges les Eaux – we stayed there for three nights in the end. Its 6 euros a night with unlimited electricity and good water/waste facilities too. It takes about 24 motorhomes easily and has grassy areas for you to sit out.

The town is very nice with a good Tourist Info place that offers free ‘WiFi’. Nice quiet site indeed.

Le Madelaine (Free)

There is a lovely, completely free Aire, at Le Madelaine which is en route to Le Mans. There is even a toilet provided and you can top up water via the service bollard (2 Euros)

The area overlooks a great fishing lake – the ONLY downside might be the church clock which strikes from 7.00 am in the morning! It does however ring its last evening bells at ten o’clock so you do get several uninterupted hours sleep!

That’s the church and its loud bells!

Le Mans (Free)

We stayed free of charge also at Le Mans right next to the river, near the small boat dock. You can’t grumble at free – but the early morning traffic once again means an early start to the day.

Canault (Free/Elec is 3 Euro for 6 hours)

16 days in and we have spent the grand total of 33 Euros on sites/Aires – that includes two nights (for the price of one) on a ‘real’ site with WiFi too. The site at Cunault is free but you can buy a token using a credit card and have 6 hours electric for 3 Euros. That gave us the chance to shower in the ‘van’ and watch a DVD film too.

The view of the Loire – and the flood plains. out to the front. It was a former campsite with the office and wash areas now closed but the addition of a power bollard at one end and the service/water bollard where you buy your ‘jeton’ at the other is a very useful addition.

Visit the nearby church – huge by any standard and you wouldnt go wrong with a walk towards Gennes – the buildings are stunning.

Turquant (Free)

The Church to the rear of the Aire

Last one for the moment – the Aire at Turquant is a nice spot at the edge of a recreation park and next to a lovely church. It’s close to the village and there are good walks and cycle rides. Only drawback is it is designed for about 6 vehicles – it is popular and even with eleven on site Saturday night idiots people were trying to ‘invent’ new spaces in your gas cupboard/under your motorhome/in your pocket…

…oh and the toilet emptying ‘hole in the ground’ is pretty grim!

Gente  (Free and free electric and a WC)

A lovely site for just 5 motor homes with un-metered electric too!

I even managed to wash the motor home using the hose pipe there. Nice church nearby and a bar where you can buy your bread. We stayed two nights and even watched late Friday night Boules LIVE! Great  spot.

Pomerez (Free and free electric and a WC)

Another great free site situated opposite the Bullring. Its a little noisy as the main road runs alongside but many sites that charge offer the same traffic noise.

Sailles de Bearn (6 Euros with unmetered electricity – and ‘views’)

First ‘paid’ site for a while – this one isn’t in Vicarious book and I dont know why so I wrote a review and took some photo’s to submit as it is well worth a visit (we stayed two days in the end). Saille de Bearn is a lovely Spa town and with many old buildings circa 1600 and very unspoilt it is nice to walk around – we did several times and kept finding things we had missed.

There are 25 plots all marked out with fencing and many have a decent view (as we did) and you enter just like a car park with a barrier and pay on exit according to how long you stayed. Easy Peasy.

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10 Responses to Aires

  1. Julieanne says:

    What’s an Aire? sort-of-Campsite?

    • Sort of – many are free, designated for motorhomes (ONLY – no caravans) some have electric points (some even free leccy) and a place to empty the cassette (toilet – not outdated mode of listening to music) 🙂

  2. dan duggan says:

    im taking my van to poland for the euro 2012 i wil be arrieving in cherbourg from ireland and traveling accros france belgium and germany to poland inearly june.I read with intrest your information about airs and the prie of diesel.hope you enjoy your trip best of luck regards dan duggan

    • Enjoy your trip Dan – the Aires are so easy to use/find – we have spent very little on overnight stays so far…

      • dan duggan says:

        i will be following your trip with intrest as i hope to head off into the wild blue yonder in the not too distant future for now i will have to make do with the trip to the euro 2012 in poland.Is diesel expensive in france at hoe in ireland its same price and sometimes dearer at about 1.65/1.70 er litre .regardsand enjoy

      • Diesel is 1.40 Euros here at the moment.

  3. Mark and Lesley says:

    Hi Paul and Alison. A big thank you for your wonderful blog which has given us a great insight into the Portuguese aires and helped us find Parque da Gale. In fact we nearly parked next to you last night in order to get a good wifi signal on the advice of Mrs Paulo however it was a bit cosy so we are now parked next to the garden in the autotrail…will say Hi and thank you personally later 🙂

    • Thanks Mark (and Lesley)
      Good to know that something here has been useful – and I hope you like it here as much as we (and all the others) do.
      It would have been a bit cosy right enough! Plenty of room with good signals all over the site.

  4. Richard Dear says:

    Hi Paul and Alison, great details on the Aires. Are thinking of doing a similar trip but would like your advice on the size of motorhomes which can stay on the Aires particularly in Spain and Portugal. Our van is 8 metres and 4250kgs. Would we have a problem?

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