A few days into our Spanish and Portuguese adventure with a one year old in a motorhome, we had our first taste of a Northern beach! Directly after the first few nights on the mainland, we were already craving some sun. Surely there would be some on the beach? We’d not heard too much about the beaches of the north in all our research, but were excited to appreciate what they had to offer, and they did not disappoint.
We did a few long drives through to the shores of Playa de Oyambre, in search of our next overnight stay. However as we reached this stunning beach, we were greeted with signs that said motorhomes were not allowed to stay overnight in the carpark, despite some googling telling us otherwise. You could see why though as the beach carpark was actually the beach and definitely prone to flooding or risk of high tide! We may not have made it back out again in our 3.5tonne beauty.
We took Ethan out to explore the beach whilst we parked up and hatched a plan for where to stay the night. He loved it and it gave him some time to crawl around and explore. It was so nice to feel the sun on our backs, and breathe in the cool sea air. We ‘al fresco’ dined for some lunch whilst drying some bits in the long awaited sun, and then headed to the next recommendation for an overnight stay, Las Comillas.
Upon arrival, we saw the small oceanfront town of Las Comillas that seemed to have load of things to explore including a house designed by Gaudi. That is happening! As usual, we hadn’t planned to stay here, and were making it up as we went along much but it was a fantastic find and well worth some time to explore what it has to offer.
Las Comillas is just 16km west of Santilliana de Mar, and is a cute little area with cobbled streets and squares, as well as a superb beach. It was just glorious and a fantastic place to stay overnight. We actually camped right in the oceanfront carpark. And the best bit, it was all for free. So far we’d not paid a penny to stay anywhere and we wanted to keep this momentum up.
We spent the afternoon pottering around, taking in the sights and sounds of the beach town. The town is not exactly pushchair friendly but with a cool breeze in the air, we were hesitant to pop Ethan in the carrier. His little cheeks get so red and cold! We had to pull the pushchair up many steps but the city itself was worth it.
The main attraction of the city is El Capricho which is the first house designed by the architect, Gaudi. Built in 1883, the villa is an easy walk from the centre, if not very hilly with quite a few steps! It has a whimsical tower, much compared to Hanzel and Gretel’s gingerbread house. Unfortunately for us, we took the long route, via an unnecessary steep hill which Terry did a bit of facebook living from, with the pushchair in tow.
The town itself was also quite steep but lush, narrow cobbled alleys and a really interesting gothic cemetery on its peripheral to pop into whilst heading on the long way round to the Gaudi house. A few twists and turns using Maps.me later (a great resource to use when on the road as it allows you to use it offline), we arrived excited to visit the house only to find it was closed for renovations. Typical! This week only too! We did manage to sneak a pic through the security fence though…cheeky.
If you like cathedrals, palaces and some unusual architecture, head to Comillas. It worth the daytrip and an overnight stay. We think that in the summer this place would be heaving, pretty much like all the places we’ve visited so far. Winter = ghost town. Summer = pumping busy!
The next morning as we were getting ready to depart, half way through a shower the water ran out! Not the best experience being wrapped in a towel, shampoo in my hair, holding Ethan as we drive half way across the carpark to get water. Luckily, and this happens very rarely, the carpark had fresh water available. So out in the cold, Terry filled up our water tank so we could finish showers and be ready for the day!
Travel as the grow verdict: Worth an overnight stay and a days walking to explore!