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    Travel advice needed

    I am an elderly widower and I camp on my own as I have no relatives or children so I can please myself what I do.
    I have booked a two month stay in a campsite just outside Lisbon in Portugal, for the months of May and June. I have visited this campsite before, and I was impressed with the conditions there.
    But I have a problem getting there in my new Dimension.
    One alternative is to take the ferry to Santander in Spain and drive from there, but that is a very expensive option as it would cost about £600 to £800.
    What I propose doing is taking the ferry to Calais and driving the approximatly 1500 miles down to Lisbon, taking about 7 or 8 days to do it, stopping at French and Spanish "Aires"
    My question is this. "As anyone done this?" and can someone recomend the best route. Obviously I need to avoid Paris.
    Any advice would be welcome.
    regards to everyone,

    Solo camping

    Your planned trip to Lisbon sounds great. I have never been so can't give any advice but have a lovely time.



      Route to Lisbon

      Hi Eugene
      Just for a matter of interest I checked the Microsoft Autoroute It came up with Paris but I re-routed through CAEN the mileage came out at 1344 mls.
      Why not try the RAC or AA.
      All the best


        My daughter (over there) likes Mappy.

        You may be well advised to avoid Aires on the Autoroutes going south. There are stories of vans being targetted by villains when you are setting off on your hols; cash etc. Cross over to the north-bound side, perhaps, or better still find an Aire off the Autoroute. Look at a route down through Bordeaux? Some of the N roads are very quick, and avoid paying fairly substantial tolls.


          We did France a few years ago and one piece of advice I would give anyone is to avoid Paris. It is possible to drive anywhere without going into Paris. We got lost , missed our turnoff and had a nitemare drive. On the way back we kept on country roads with no problems. We had a really enjoyable return journey. I wouldnt reccomend overnighting at the aires but there are lots & lots of little camp sites along the country roads that are more than adequate and have the security which you need when travelling alone. Good luck with your trip.


            Travel Advice needed

            Thanks to everone for their advice,
            There is one thing that I am doubtfull about. That is the security of the "Aires".
            I have got the book "All the Aires" and that says that although the Aires off the motorway are dangerous the ones in the small towns are perfectly safe.
            What are other peoples views on this?
            Regards to all,


              Hello Eugene

              We have only had one experience of staying on an aire and that was in a small town, it was absolutely delightful and we never had any problems at all, it even had a toilet which was cleaned every day. I can't imagine anywhere like that surviving in this country without being vandalised.

              Here is a review of the aire we stayed at.


              I would be very wary of staying at a motorway aire but would definitely try one is a small town again.
              Did you know you can follow us on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter or you can visit us at our Website


                And , if you havn't already got one, we found a sat nav transformed our trips to France. After many years of losing out to the multiple road numbering and 'Deviations', we found peace of mind with Tom Tom.
                Happy travelling


                  Hi Eugene

                  Since you sound as if you are considering the drive down to Lisbon, possibly using Aires I thought I might pass on my views I drive down to southern Spain, myself and my dog, at least twice a year to avoid a little of the worst of the winter and have also toured France, Germany, and Italy using the aires almost exclusively. These are the "aires" that are located within the towns and villages en route - they are not the motorway aires and I would not recommend staying on those unless you have no alternative. I have never had any problems on the non-motorway aires and they can be quite sociable places. The key is to use one of the aires guidebooks for the relevant country (I use the ones published by Vicarious Books (others are available!) and use them in conjunction with satnav (since I have no "navigator"). I use the Dover/Calais route and avoid toll motorways as I treat the journey south as part of the holiday and the aires are for me an essential part of it. Finally, if travelling during peak season, I would recommend arriving at an aire by about 3 pm as the popular ones do fill up early - that in itself says something about them as an overnight option!Routing from Calais to Lisbon is straightforward and avoiding Paris is easy and recommended! Which route you use would depend on how much time you want to take getting there.

                  My view is that with common sense, touring in a campervan is about as safe as anything in life these days and I feel no less safe when "on tour" than walking down my local high street and what rational person would hesitate doing that?

                  Good luck with your plans


                    Travel Advice needed

                    Hi David,
                    Thanks for your detailed reply to my proposed trip to Lisbon.
                    I have booked for a two month stay at the camp site, and I am planning to take about seven days to travel down through France and Spain, staying at the "Aires" NOT on motorways but in small towns. And then a leisurly trip back taking my time and avoiding the motorways.
                    I have got both books "All the Aires" from Vicarious books for both countries.
                    I will be using Tom Tom as I too have no "navigator" and I plan to use the GPS coordinate settings to find the Aires.
                    Thanks for your input and everyone else.


                      Hope you are taking a laptop and dongle so you can let us know how you are going on, sounds a great adventure, best of luck.
                      Did you know you can follow us on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter or you can visit us at our Website



                        If you are using a Tom Tom you can get free POI's(Points of Interest) from here


                        They include Municipal, Camping Cheque and ACSI Sites
                        Also I have downloaded the Google Earth POI's onto my PC and laptop which is a bit crowded with sites.Tons of them
                        If you have the Street View cams loaded you can often see 360's of the site entrances
                        See example photo Site South Of Bordeaux

                        Tony Anchorman
                        Attached Files
                        Last edited by anchorman; 09-03-2010, 23:22.


                          Eugene, In my experience aires are safe and are normally busy with other motorhomers. I have not driven through the North West Coast of France but have driven from the South West coast of france through to Lisbon and from the All the Aires book that you have I have been to the Aires in France at Biarritz (at a dedicated parking area for motorhomes near the beach, there is a charge for staying which is collected by the local police so it is very safe), in Spain at San Sebastian (in an area at the back of a car park), Vitoria Gasteiz (dedicated area in a car park) and Palencia (dedicated area in a car park, dumping facilities not working when I was there) and in Portugal, Macao (at police station and swimming pool car park in a small village in hills, free electricity, water) and Lisbon (but you won't need this one). Most of the aires had lots of other vans parked up so were very safe and sociable but as you will see from above a lot of them are in car parking areas in the town so it depends how you feel about parking there.

                          You will also get talking to other motorhomers on your way so the best tip I can give is ask their advice of the best places. Best wishes for a great trip.



                            Travel Advice needed

                            Thanks for your very informative message, I will try the Aires that you mention.
                            I am beginning to think that the trip might be more fun than the stay in Lisbon.
                            If I can do it at 85 years old anyone can, as I am spending my last years doing things that are fun for me.


                              travel advice

                              Hello Eugene

                              Just wanted to say how nice it was to meet up with you in Ant and Pam's
                              ' snug/office ' on Tuesday. I often wonder when I see a Roma if it belongs to a Smallmotorhomer so it was good to put a name to a face and have a chat about Romahoming and your trip to Portugal. I must commend you for your get up and go attitude and hope you really enjoy your time away.



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