Geiranger and the terrifying Trollstigen road.

After 3 nights in wonderful  Ålesund, and watching Norwegians celebrate their Constitution Day on 17th May, it was time to move on. Our next destination was Åndalsnes on Romsdals Fjord, followed by the famous Trollstigen road.

After driving through 3 long dark tunnels, including the 4.1 mile long Innfjord tunnel we found another fantastic free overnight parking area along the side of the fjord and with breathtaking views of the mountains. Coordinates N62°34’7″, E7°45’19”.

Free overnight parking near Andalsnes in Norway.

Åndalsnes, as well as having beautiful scenery, is the start of the famous Trollstigen mountain road. We are hoping to drive over the Trollstigen road tomorrow. The road is liable to being closed at any time due to bad weather and flooding from waterfalls.

The E63 is one of Norway’s best National Tourist Routes. It runs from Åndalsnes to Geiranger over the Trollstigen mountain road. The route includes 11 hairpin bends of Trollstigen, a tunnel through a mountain, a ferry across a fjord, and the perilous hairpin bends of the Eagle Road into Geiranger itself. This final stretch downhill gave me cause for concern with my brakes as I will tell you about later!

Trollstigen means Trolls Road. A stop at the visitor centre just at the start of the steep bit!

There is a visitor centre before Trollstigen itself starts so we stopped for a browse around the shop before plucking up the courage to drive to the top which is 700 metres up 11 hairpin bends. I wouldn’t normally flinch driving a car up a narrow mountain road but driving a big motorhome is a different beast and whilst it’s not my first mountain road in a motorhome this one looked like our biggest challenge yet. As it turned out the Trollstigen road was not as bad as I had imagined.

The road is spectacular. We passed huge waterfalls and crossed narrow bridges over deep ravines before reaching the visitor centre at the top. Negotiating 11 hairpin bends was not a problem apart from one incident when the car in front decided to stop without warning in the middle of the road to admire a waterfall on a very steep incline. After that there was a hot burning smell from hot brakes, which luckily subsided as we got going again.

The 11 hairpin bends of the Trollstigen Pass mountain road, viewed from the top.

The Trollstigen road reaches a height of 700 metres where there is a visitor centre, an impressive building with a cafe and a shop, but the best bit is the walkways and viewpoint that have been built that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, waterfall and valley below. It’s not the highest point we have been to but it is one of the most impressive.

Trollstigen bridge over a raging waterfall with a motorhome driving over it.

The E63 road continued for another 35km past snow drifts and incredible scenery. I would have loved to have been driving a Top Gear type car along these roads but I was driving a 3.5 tonne motorhome instead, which was still an exciting experience. The video below is dashcam footage of our journey up Trollstigen and set to music to block out the swearing!

Eventually, after several stops to admire the wonderful views, we arrived at the small ferry port at Valldalen and took the short ferry crossing to Eidsdal. (£25 for a 7 metre motorhome). Geiranger was our next destination a distance of 23km and little did I know that we were in for a very steep descent on what is called the Ornesvingen Eagle Road, and the very steep hairpin bends would put serious strain on our brakes!

From the top of the Eagle Road we could see a huge cruise ship in Geiranger Fjord and it was at that point I realised how steep this road was going to be. On the winding descent we met tour coaches and even a double decker bus. The road sign showed a 10% gradient so I engaged 2nd gear for most of the way yet I could still feel the heavy motorhome wanting to accelerate so I needed to use my brakes a lot, but it wasn’t until I reached the campsite in Geiranger itself that I could smell hot brakes. I parked up but didn’t apply the handbrake as I had read that applying the handbrake to hot brake discs can cause a problem. Eventually, the hot brakes smell disappeared but the experience has made me think twice about driving downhill on severe gradients.

A waterfront pitch on the campsite at Geiranger. A big cruise ships sails past.

It was a relief to park up on the campsite at Geiranger. We had a beautiful waterfront pitch and we later watched a cruise ship go past, looking so close that we felt like we could touch it. The depth of water in the Geiranger Fjord reaches depths of 260 metres and it’s 100 km to the open sea. Sheer rock reaches out from the water and it truly is an incredible sight, which is one of the reasons that Geiranger is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Geiranger is one of Norway’s most popular tourist destinations. The population of 200 people is swamped during the summer with an extra one million people, many of who arrive on one of the 180 or so cruise ships that arrive at Geiranger between May and October every year.

Dramatic viewpoint at the Trollstigen visitor centre in Norway.
The campsite at Geiranger, with our motorhome parked by the water.

Molde to Ålesund – And a Norwegian celebration.

After a washing and motorhome cleaning day we left the wonderful campsite at Molde, with bathrooms like hotel rooms. Our motorhome pitch had fantastic views of 220 peaks  across the fjord (so it says in the tourist information booklet) and the view is known as the Molde Panorama.

Norway celebrates the 17th May. Photo taken today 17 May 2018 in Ålesund.

I was feeling the effects of cleaning our motorhome though as I had a sore back with other aches and pains. It was hard work cleaning the outside with a waterless cleaner. I was recommended waterless washing by some motorhome touring friends, Jo and Richard, who we met at Almerimar in Spain and whilst it’s hard work it is very effective. We now have a gleaming motorhome ready for our next drive to Ålesund.

Five minutes after leaving Molde camping we were in the queue for the ferry to Vestnes. Ferries operate every 15 minutes and the electronic departure board was showing that the next ferry was leaving in 10 minutes. I had a rough idea how much the cost would be but the prices don’t seem to be advertised except online. Payment is made on the ferry once you drive on. Payment can be made by card or cash.

The Molde to Vestnes ferry took 40 minutes and cost us 420 NOK (£38.50). Our motorhome is 7 metres long. Motorhomes under 6 metres would have paid half the price.

The drive from Vestnes to Ålesund along the E39 is very pleasant and we stopped at the Norwegian supermarket chain Bunnpris to pick up a few things including a very nice box of strawberries.

Arriving in Ålesund we found a fantastic parking area right by the sea front and as I write this blog I am about 6 feet from the sea, I can hear the waves on the rocks and there is a wonderful sunset. I can also see a bank of dense fog rolling in from the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a mesmorising sight. The coordinates for our motorhome parking in Ålesund are N62°28’33”,   E6°9’26”.

A foggy sunset in Ålesund, Norway.

The cost to park at Ålesund is 250 NOK per 24 hours which is about £22.80 and there are facilities including showers.

Ålesund is a town on the west coast of Norway and at the head of the famous Geiranger Fjord. The whole town of 850 wooden houses burnt down in 1904 and was rebuilt in an Art Nouveau style. It’s a popular cruise ship destination and the P&O cruise ship Britannia was in port whilst we were in Ålesund. Over 3,000 passengers were in the town and I asked one of them if they were enjoying the cruise and he said there were too many people for his liking. He said they also owned a motorhome and next time would use that to come to Norway!

View over the town of Ålesund, Norway.

One of the most popular tourist things to do in Ålesund is to walk up the 418 steps to the viewpoint overlooking the town so we did that and were rewarded with awesome views of Ålesund and the giant cruise ship Britannia at the cruise port.

Fish and chip shop in Ålesund, Norway. 130 NOK !

I’m itching to try fish and chips here in Norway to see how they compare with the Yorkshire version. I saw a fish and chip take away on the harbour at Ålesund that was advertising “Probably the world’s best fish and chips” but when I saw the price of £12 my Yorkshireman instinct kicked in and I had to say no!

The 17th of May is Norway’s Constitution Day and a public holiday. It’s a day of national celebration of the Norwegian history and culture and we were in Ålesund to see the colourful event, and what a privilege it was to be there. Everyone was either wearing traditional Norwegian costumes or smartly dressed and it seemed like the whole of Ålesund was there to take part. Norwegians are proud of their flag and nearly everyone was waving one. It made me want to be Norwegian because we don’t have as much patriotism on display in the UK as I think we should have. Marching bands, children singing, adults waving flags and a procession that took at least an hour to pass, with everyone smiling and looking happy. I can see now why Norwegians have a reputation for being happy. Maybe it’s also because the children eat ice cream on the 17th May!

Norwegians celebrate the 17th May.
Alesund on 17th May.
Our motorhome in Alesund, Norway.
Kayakers in Alesund, Norway.
Alesund, Norway
A walk out in the evening sunshine at Alesund, Norway.
P&O Britannia at Alesund. The ship can take 3647 passengers.

Driving the Atlantic Road in Norway with a motorhome.

After a night in Trondheim, Norway, we set off heading south on the E39 highway. This coastal road is 830 miles long and actually ends in Denmark. There are a total of 7 ferry crossings included on the route, as well as the famous Atlantic Road, which is the subject of this blog.

The amazing Atlantic Road bridge in Norway.

Passing through several tunnels and winding its way through snow capped mountain passes and along spectacular fjords the road is every bit as to how you might imagine a road in Norway to look. We stopped several times to admire the view before stopping for the night at a free motorhome parking area at Halsa. (Coordinates N63°4’6″ E8°13’54”)

Halsa free overnight stop.

Ferries in Norway

Halsa is one of the many places where we needed to catch a ferry across Halsafjorden to reach Kanestraum. Ferries are an inevitable form of transport in Norway. They save drivers many miles circumnavigating the large fjords. The cost of ferries depends on the length of your vehicle. For example, on the Halsa ferry the cost for a vehicle up to 6 metres long with 2 passengers is £14 and between 6 and 7 metres length the cost is £28 so there is a considerable difference in the ferry price if your motorhome is over 6 metres, which ours is! Even the local bus , number 905 to Trondheim used the ferry as you can see below.

Halsa ferry.

The Halsa to Kanestraum ferry takes about 20 minutes and we then followed the E39 highway before turning off at the 70 towards Kristiansund. This road included two incredible 5.7km tunnels, one of which was so steep it was hard to keep the speed within the limit.

The Atlantic Road – The worlds best road trip

The Atlantic Road has been ranked the worlds best road trip by The Guardian and the Norwegian people voted the road ‘the construction of the century’. The road was opened in 1989 and a series of 8 bridges connects small islands on the edge of The Atlantic Ocean. The road runs between Kristiansund and Bud. There are many places to stop and we found another free overnight parking spot overlooking the sea. Coordinates N63° 1′ 16.9″ E7°22’56”

Our motorhome parked up on The Atlantic Road in Norway.

The iconic Storseisundet bridge on The Atlantic Road in Norway is the longest and most stunning of the 8 bridges that connect the islands. When we were there in May, the weather was clear and calm but during the many storms the area has the spray can often reach the bridge span itself. The drive on this road is an unforgettable experience. The scenery is stunning. The motorhome overnight stops are fantastic and there are plenty of free service points at supermarkets and petrol stations.

I made a short You Tube video of our drive on The Atlantic Road that you can see below.

Driving over the Atlantic Road bridge in a motorhome.
Pedestrian walkway on The Atlantic Road, Norway

We ended our 2 day journey at Molde and decided to spend 2 nights on a campsite so we could do our washing. The washing machine wasn’t great and struggled to cope with the contents of our washing bag but the view from our motorhome absolutely made up for it. I wonder whether I’ll get bored of these views? I’ll let you know in another 5 weeks when we leave Norway and head back to the UK.

Our motorhome on the Molde campsite in Norway.

Driving from Sweden to Norway on the E14


The E14 runs from Sundsvall on the coast of Sweden to Trondheim on the west coast of Norway, a total of 448km and we have just driven along this incredible road in our motorhome.

We are on a motorhome trip and visiting Denmark, Sweden and Norway. As we drove west from Sundsvall we made several stops to take in the breathtaking beauty of the landscape around us. We passed huge lakes, several of which were still frozen after a long very cold winter. The ice must have been very thick because the temperature was a warm 20c although the rivers were flooded as the ice was melting.

Flooded river due to melting snow just off the E14 in Sweden.

The Swedish rest stops are excellent on the E14. They have toilets, picnic tables, beautiful views and many have motorhome waste emptying points.

Our motorhome parked near to the facilities on the E14 in Sweden.

There are also several reststops where you can park a motorhome and stay overnight for free, although you may have to put up with road noise from passing traffic on the E14.

The E14 road was very quiet when we drove it in May. At times it seemed like it was just our motorhome on the road and we had all the wonderful scenery to ourselves, and then a huge lorry would appear carrying logs, destined to be turned no doubt into Ikea furniture!

Campsite with our own huge waterfall

Rather than spend a free night on the E14 we decided to head for a campsite about a mile from the main road and this turned out to be a good call as we ended up staying two nights at Ristafallet Camping. With only 30 pitches we were parked up next to one of Sweden’s most picturesque waterfalls. The Ristafallet waterfall is 50 metres wide, 14 metres high and it was in full flow as the winter snow melted. It is an awesome sight. The owner of the campsite told us that there had been nearly 2 metres of snow on the ground only 2 weeks ago but now we were bathed in wonderful warm sunshine, which we hadn’t expected so far north.

We decided to have a rest day at Ristafallet as the weather was a warm and sunny 23c. We did walk along the nearby nature trial along the side of the raging river and waterfall to take more photos but apart from that we got our deckchairs out and relaxed. This part of Sweden could be Alaska or Canada. We even saw logs floating down the river and over the waterfall which was a fascinating sight.

Driving the E14 in our motorhome.

After two nights listening to noise of a huge waterfall at Ristafallet we set off again west on the spectacular E14. The scenery became more dramatic as we got nearer the Norwegian border. Huge forests as far as the eye can see, frozen lakes, raging white water rivers and snow capped mountains for over 100 miles. There are warning signs for elkes and several ski resorts including Åre where the last remaining snow was melting in the 23c heat.

A few miles from the Norwegian border we stopped at the Euro Cash Swedish supermarket and stocked up on some fresh food. The supermarket was in the middle of nowhere and the store was full of Norwegians who had driven across the border to take advantage of cheaper prices.

The Swedish/ Norwegian border was not what I expected. We didn’t need to stop and there was nobody there to check passports so we were left with a 60 mile drive to Trondheim.

The E14 eventually meets Trondheimsfjorden and then through a series of very long tunnels, the longest of which was 3.7km, reaches Norway’s 3rd largest city, Trondheim.

About 40 Norwegian motorhomes at Trondheim and us!

There is a motorhome parking area at Nyhavna with room for 50 motorhomes. It was busy but there were a few spaces left. We paid the overnight cost of 250 NOK (£25) at the machine and walked into Trondheim. Trondheim is a university city with 30,000 students and most seemed to be missing lectures to sunbathe or drink in the many waterfront bars. Trondheim was once the capital of Norway during the Viking age.

Trondheim Norway

After walking around Trondheim in hot weather I said that I needed a beer and it just so happened that we were standing outside a bar. I ordered 2 large beers at a cost of £12.75, about what I expected!

Speed cameras on the E14

There are lots of speed cameras on the E14 in Sweden. There is little warning to slow down and the speed cameras are not easy to see. Speed limits can suddenly reduce from 100km an hour to 70km an hour.

Toll roads in Sweden and Norway

Sweden has no tolls on its motorways. We drove hundreds of miles on good roads without having to pay.

Norway, however, has toll roads and toll tunnels. There are no manned toll booths but a system of cameras is used called AutoPass. I read before driving in Norway that foreign vehicles might not get charged but I didn’t want to take the risk so I registered with Euro Parking Collection (EDC), the official toll collection agency for foreign vehicles, and they will send me an invoice within 3 months.

Old bridge in Trondheim
Trondheim cathedral
First stop in Norway on E14 is a great picnic spot.

 

 

Sweden – perfect for a motorhome trip.

Our motorhome is parked up for the night on the Swedish coast in a sleepy village called Stocka. (N61°53’55”  E17°21’16.3″)

Our motorhome stop at Stocka, Sweden.

To our east is the Gulf of Bothnia, and this place has red coloured wooden houses with verandas overlooking the sea. How lucky are the people who live here!

We have met many very friendly people on this motorhome trip. This morning we met Andy who came to our motorhome to introduce himself and we swapped interesting stories about where we had been and where we were heading. We also were chatting to a biker German man and his new wife, who were eager to chat to us about where they had visited in England.

Driving our motorhome north on the E4 in Sweden.

The days are long here and the light woke me at 4.30am. After breakfast we drove north up the E4 to our overnight motorhome stop, a distance of 180 miles. The landscape was fairly flat but with lots of huge lakes and millions of trees. Many of the picnic stops along the way look out over lakes and make a wonderful place to stop. Totally different to the picnic stops you might find on the M1!

Our motorhome parked at a picnic stop in Sweden.

The motorhome life is proving to be just as we had hoped on this trip. It’s the option to stop in remote places with views that no hotel can offer that is so appealing: not that there are any hotels near here.

Sweden is very laid back. The person responsible for collecting the £10 fee for the motorhome stopover is a lovely lady called Marianne. Her English was very good and she told us that she had been living in this place for 50 years and the community was once well known for ships coming into the harbour to fill up with timber from the nearby mill. A house just along the road was selling fresh fish and there is an honesty box to pay. This place is a world away from the traffic congested cities we are used to in England.

Tomorrow we head further north heading in a few days time for Trondheim in Norway.

A selfie at one of the many picnic stops on the E4.

 

Over the Öresund Bridge to Malmö and Stockholm

The Öresund Bridge connects Copenhagen in Denmark to Malmö in Sweden. The bridge is an incredible feat of engineering and this morning we drove on the bridge in our motorhome, after leaving the wonderful city of Copenhagen.

Öresund Bridge

The bridge is a combination of a tunnel, an artificial island and a bridge with a total length of 18km. The Öresund Bridge itself is over 5 miles long and is the longest connected road and rail bridge in Europe. At its highest point the road is 57 metres above the sea.

Our motorhome is just over 7 metres long so it falls into a higher toll category and a higher cost. The cost to travel across the Öresund  Bridge for our motorhome was 100 Euro, making the trip an expensive one!

The Swedish city of Malmö has family connections so we wanted to stop the night and spend a day in the city. We found a peaceful place to park for the night at the marina (£16) and had fantastic views across the sea to Copenhagen. The number 7 bus runs every 10 minutes to the centre of Malmö. We had been told that you can only pay with a credit card and not cash but when we presented a card to the bus driver he said his machine didn’t work and we could ride for free!

Malmo, Sweden

Malmö is Sweden’s third largest city, although the city originally belonged to Denmark until 1658. Apparently, over 100 languages are spoken in Malmö and Thai food is just as popular as meatballs! We found Malmö to be a charming cosmopolitan city with historical buildings and fascinating architecture. Malmö is also home to Scandinavia’s tallest building the Turning Torso.

Waking to blue sky and after emptying our waste and putting water in our fresh water tank we set off north on the E6 and E4 to drive the 612km to Stockholm. Not wanting to drive for 7 hours we stopped  halfway at a lovely free overnight spot on the shores of Sweden’s  Lake Vattern. It’s always a good feeling when we find a free place to park up for the night. We found the place on the Camper Contact app. which I think is fantastic and well worth the £4.99 cost. We had a walk down to the waters edge, beautiful scenery with traditional red painted wooden houses along the shore. We had a stunning sunset and all this for free.

Next day we set off again to complete the remaining journey to Stockholm. The E4 motorway to Stockholm winds its way through lots of dense forests and past crystal clear lakes. There are plenty of picnic places and service areas on the way. The picnic stops are often next to a lake and they have toilets and information boards making them a great place to stop for lunch. They are perfect for motorhomes because we can just turn the gas on and boil a kettle or get something out of the fridge for lunch.

Stockholm, of course, is Sweden’s capital city with a population of about 1.3 million. It’s known as the Venice of the North because it is built over 14 islands and water dominates the landscape. We arrived at Bredangs camping, which we had picked out as a good place to stay, and it turned out to be a good choice. It’s a 10 minute walk to the nearest T-Bana metro station and cost 44 Swedish Krona (£3.70) to get to Stockholm centre. We got off the metro at Gamla Stan, which is the old town of Stockholm and walked to the waterfront to buy a ticket for the Hop On/Hop Off boat trip. At a cost of 220 Swedish Krona (£18.50) it was well worth the money.

Meatballs for lunch in Stockholm

After our boat trip we decided to see if we could find somewhere for lunch and we found a nice restaurant in the old town, which turned out to be Russian, but the meatballs were good, as was the price at a very reasonable £11 person including drinks. Our impression of Stockholm being reasonably priced was shattered, however, when we later had a coffee and a piece of cake each and the bill came to £22 which for a Yorkshireman was hard to tolerate. No prices were visible in the cafe and I should have known better! It’s a good job we will have plenty of free overnight stops, for which Sweden and Norway are well known for, to make up for the exorbitant prices in Stockholm.

Stockholm old town
Traditional Swedish roast Sunday lunch

Despite the high prices, we really enjoyed our visit to Stockholm and the warm sunny weather was a bonus. Stockholmers were making the most of the good weather and were sunbathing and walking in the many green spaces and along the waterfront where there are lots of boats and plenty of people watching to be done.

Cafe culture in Stockholm
Hotel ship in Stockholm harbour
Traditional mens toilet in Stockholm
Guard outside the Royal Palace in Stockholm

 

Dodging the cyclists in Copenhagen

Following a three week break in the UK catching up with our nearest and dearest, we set off again in our much loved motorhome. Landing at Rotterdam on the overnight ferry from Hull, we set off in the direction of Bremen and Hamburg with our destination being the ferry port of Puttgarden in northern Germany. The motorway system through the Netherlands and Germany is excellent, although we were delayed a little by roadworks and a vehicle fire (not us, thank goodness).

Nyhavn, Copenhagen

After an overnight camper stop at the quiet German town of Wildeshausen, 352 Km from Rotterdam, we stopped for the night again on the Baltic coast at an excellent campsite.  Rosenfelder Strand Ostsee Camping is a short drive from the Puttgarden ferry which links Germany with Denmark. Motorhome pitches are of a reasonable size, with excellent campsite facilities and views across the Baltic.

The next day it was grey, blowing a gale and the sea was looking rough but the 45 minute  ferry crossing from Puttgarden to Rødby in Denmark was surprisingly pleasant. The cost, €98, offsets the cost of the fuel for driving the long way round! Ferries run every 30 minutes and we were amazed just how busy it was. We were surprised how big the ferry was as well, it was roughly the size of a cross channel ferry, we were expecting something much smaller for such a short crossing.

Arriving at the Danish ferry port of Rødby, we were met with a very friendly  border policeman who checked our passports and joked that we were not on the Interpol list of wanted persons, which of course is nice to know!

City campsites can sometimes not be the best but Camping Absalom on the outskirts of Copenhagen is good. There are even gas hobs, ovens and microwaves available to use for campers. There is a large dining area where families can eat and relax as well. The campsite is a 15 minute easy walk to the train station where the trains run every 10 minutes  to Copenhagen centre and the fare is 36DKK (£4.25).

After 48 hours exploring Copenhagen, I can say that the city is amazing, but expensive. There is a lot of water in Copenhagen, and its perfectly flat for cyclists.. There are thousands of them riding an incredible assortment of bikes. We saw a huge number of cargo bikes, bikes with baby carriers and up to four children  transported by one adult.  Pity the poor parent pedalling their brood around daily! It did feel a bit like Amsterdam and we were surprised that we didn’t see any bike accidents. In fact 55% of all Copenhageners commute by bike every day and the population is 1.2 million. That’s a lot of cyclists! On the subject of facts, the Danish monarchy is the oldest in the world, Copenhagen has the longest pedestrian street in Europe and the harbour water is so clean you can swim in it.

Climbing the external staircase at Church of our Saviours, Copenhagen

We decided to buy the combined Hop on /Hop off Bus and Boat 48 hour ticket ,  245DKK per person (£29) and we thought this was well worth the money. We did several circuits of the city on the different routes, one of the routes took us through Freetown Christiania, an alternative, self governing  district based on collective ownership which started in 1971   and now  has up to a thousand residents. Highlights of Copenhagen for us were Nyhavn , where you will find wooden sailing boats moored along the quayside next to the characterful and colourful old buildings. This area is packed with restaurants, bars and cafes. We also enjoyed the boat tour which lasted about 90 minutes. The climb up the external staircase of The Church of our Saviour was pretty spectacular, from the top we could see across to Sweden. We saw Copenhagen’s most famous tourist attraction, The Little Mermaid, from the story by Hans Christian Andersen.  Whilst a lovely sculpture, she is actually, very small !

We didn’t spend much whilst in Copenhagen but two small glasses of Carlsberg lager cost £13  (it had to be done!!), lunch for two £25, bus and boat for 48 hours cost £29 per person and campsite £25 per night.

Copenhagen is the first port of call on our motorhome tour of Scandinavia. Next, we are crossing the famous Øresund Bridge from Copenhagen to Malmö.

Outside spiral staircase of Church of our Saviours, Copenhagen
View of Copenhagen from top of spire of church of our Saviours

24 hours in Cáceres

Cáceres might not be a town you have heard of but it should be on your bucket list because it has one of the best preserved Medieval old towns in Europe. Three hours drive from Madrid and in the beautiful Extramadura region of central Spain Cáceres is one of several Roman and Mediaeval towns in this area.

Cáceres old town with snow capped mountains in the distance

Driving north on the A66 from Merida brought us to this magnificent example of Medieval history. The A66 is known as the Ruta de la Plata or Silver Route and it was the Romans that first built a road along this route from Seville to the north of Spain. Nowadays, the A66 is a motorway that runs for several hundred kilometres in the west of Spain.

Our motorhome stop at Cáceres 

We rarely book our next motorhome stop, preferring to decide a few days before where we might stay and then we turn up to see if pitches are available for our motorhome. This system hasn’t failed us so far and today was no exception as we arrived at Camping Cáceres and were told there were pitches available. We were given pitch 115 but when we drove up to the pitch we couldn’t fit our motorhome on due to trees so we asked if we could have pitch 117 which reception said was no problem.

Camping Cáceres  turned out to be a good choice because every pitch has its own shower and toilet facilities. I have never seen this before on a campsite. It was like having our own en suite bathroom, and high quality too!

Buses run every half an hour to the historic centre of Cáceres  and the fare is 1.10 Euro per person.

What to see in Cáceres 

Cáceres was founded by the Romans and its old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site. You will find a mixture of Roman, Islamic, Gothic and Renaissance styles. There are more than 30 towers from the Islamic period. Torre del Bujaco is the most famous.

Looking through an arch into Plaza Mayor from Caceres old town

We headed for Plaza Mayor, a large sloping square with several restaurants and cafes as well as the entrance to the old walled town. We didn’t have a plan, so we just wondered through  the narrow cobbled streets admiring the several churches, huge palaces and towers. I can imagine that walking through these streets at night with no people would make you feel like you really were in Medieval times.

What to eat in Cáceres 

I had done my homework about  Cáceres  and read that a dish called Migas was the traditional food of the area as well as Iberican Pork and Torta del Casar (local cheese) so I was determined to find a restaurant that served Migas and Pork so that I could try it. I didn’t really know what Migas was but I had read that it was spicy breadcrumbs with ham. It sounded good to me! Luckily the first restaurant we found in Plaza Mayor had Migas on the menu and there were tables available, in the sun too.

Tradition Migas Spanish dish

Whilst in Spain, we have had a few so called ‘Menu del Dia’ but the one we were about to have, for only 12 Euros per person, turned out to be the best so far on our motorhome journey. The quality and presentation of the food was of a very high standard. Menu del Dia is always excellent value we have found. For 12 Euros we had a Migas starter, followed by Iberican Pork and a dessert. A large glass of wine with a free tapas was also included.

Cáceres makes an excellent nights stop. Every country has its highlights but Spain is turning out to have far more than I ever realised!

Here are more photos I took in Cáceres

Ouesta de la Compania
Inside the church of Ouesta de la Compania, Cáceres
One of the many towers in Cáceres
View over the roof tops of Cáceres
Map of old town Cáceres
The shower room at Camping Caceres
Traditional Iberican pork dish that we had for lunch in Caceres, Spain