Free Camping On Spain's Rough and Wild Galician Coastline

Jamie and I had always wanted to discover Spain’s Northern coastline. Rough and wild, Galicia’s coastline reminded us of our birthplace; Normandy’s coast for me (Étretat) and part of Yorkshire for Jamie. The landscape felt even more remote and unspoilt than Portugal, see our blog: Inland Portugal: Centuries-Old Fortresses, National Parks and Rural Villages. Dramatic cliffs, rough sea and few and far between villages.

Jamie had spent a lot of his Summers on the Costa Del Sol, but here in the North of Spain, there were none of the big resorts we’re all accustomed to see whether in pictures or on telly with reports of tourists living it wild and forgetting all their manners at home. The villages and small towns were quiet, with pretty harbour and beaches.

First, we followed the Costa Da Morte; shipwrecks incidents along the deadly rocky shores gave it its nickname. We spotted even our very own... A huge rusty ship, broken in half in Cabo Tosto where we ended up free camping on our second night in Spain. We free camped along it near Lagoa Louro and Cabo Tosto (click on the links to read our short reviews of the camping spots under "Spain", bullets 1 and 2).

Beautiful Louro Praia Lagoa on the "Costa Da Morte".

We free camped near Praia Lagoa, quite a view in the morning!

The pretty small and quiet seaside town of O Pindo.

We just stopped for a little walk.

Cabo Tosto.

It wasn't all rumours and myth... Witnessing one of Costa Da Morte's victim...

Its huge mouth!

We feel quite small against it...

One can only imagine how too easy it'd be on a stormy day to get one's boat stuck on this treacherous shore.

Our free camping spot on Cabo Tosto.

In the morning, we walk down to this memorial.

And we continue down to this beautiful sandy beach.

Camelle, a small seaside town with a pretty harbour, our end point to the Costa Da Morte.

An old granary tucked in between the modern developments.

Signage is very important... Just in case you hadn't noticed a big body of water whilst driving and thought of taking a dip...

Next was wild Cabo Prior where we ended up wild camping by the lighthouse. Unfortunately, we had to break our free camping due to washing. We couldn’t find any laundrette so we ended up staying at Camping Valdoviño. It was all perfect and the seaside town was nice with its dead-feel, probably just a matter of weeks before it all kicked in again, but for the moment, it felt we nearly had it all for ourselves. El Gitano, the cafe/restaurant just round the corner from the campsite became our local for two days. Taking shelter there from the rain and warming up drinking tea and coffees.

A beautiful example of an old granary in one of the villages we passed through to Cabo Prior.

The panoramic view from "Miradouro Las Grelas".

Driving through the picturesque town of Betanzos.

"Izzy, The Motorhome" by the lighthouse at Cabo Prior, our camping site for the night.

The view at the back. Not sure if the cross is a good "omen"...

Camping Valdovino.

Our local for 24hours, El Gitano, next door to Camping Valdovino.

An abandoned bar/music venue, down the road from the campsite, on the beach front.

Valdovino boasts a beautiful wide sandy beach.

After a nice meal at El Gitano, we ended up playing scrabble. Am I actually cheating?!...

No swear words on our board, but some very simple ones like "home".

We left with our big washing bag only to discover a few hours after we had gone that it all smelt... They’d probably tried to squeeze it all in in one load without thinking that this would not wash it all at all, but make it worse... Luckily, we had already seen a lot of the pretty corners of the coast in just a few days so we drove on to the nearest town, Ortigueira which had a dry cleaners with a washing service – Tintoreria Santa Marta! In the end, we managed to free camp in a beautiful place – the observation point car park by Rio Ortega (click on the link to read our short review of the wild camping spot under "Spain", bullet 3). 

Small encounters driving through the rain.

A very old "horreo" (granary) in the small village of San Andrés de Teixido.

Its 16-18th century chapel.

On our way out, we meet some wild ponies!

We continued on to Cabo Ortegal where the weather was much better!

And we make it to Ortigueira. Here's our spot by the "Paseo Maritimo" along the river.

The next day, I wake up early and walk along the trail to Ortigueira to pick up our washing at the "tintoreria".

The view's dramatic. I'm lucky the rain's away and not coming in my direction.

It's the low tide so I could have tried and walk on the river bed.

The small harbour by the sport centre just before the centre of town.

The tide is low. It's 8.38am.

Coming into the centre of Ortigueira, I'm meeting Jamie in a nice cafe, the Almada by the port.

The town has a nice feel and has a pretty centre.

A colourful playground by the port. Spanish people love playgrounds, they seemed to be everywhere.

Should we buy these beautiful art deco flats?... Would need a bit of work.

1.39pm, high tide... A little more water than this morning!

Before heading inland in Asturias, we continued further along the coast towards Ribadeo. We wild camped two nights along some more beautiful spots – the small fishing port of Porto De Bares and one of the well-known Galician beaches, Praia Os Castros/Playa De Los Castros (I am not sure what is the best way to spell it, but I have seen it written in different ways). (Click on the links to read our short reviews of these great free camping spots under "Spain", bullets 4 and 5). 

Punta Escata De Bares.

The path goes far beyond the building.

Jamie's far in front of me. It's too windy for me.

The sea's quite rough.

That's the back of the building in the background.

XXX village.

The nice beach.

The village old granary or horreo.

Our beautiful wild camping spot.

And a nice gratin for dinner!

Next day, we stop by Viveiro on the way to Praia Os Castros,

Did I manage to catch two Jamies in one pict!...

On the main square, kids are cycling around these horrible bronze depicting the crucifixtion. Up close they really didn't look good.

On the other side, it's much nicer.

Further on, we stop by Praia As Catedrais. It's very windy and rough.

Is Jamie thinking of going in?

Our final stage for the night, Playa De Los Castros.

The way down to the beach. It's high tide.

In the morning, it's a different look! We can actually walk on the beach.

And we can even climb the rocks.

That's it for our Galician coastal adventure. We didn't see the sea for a while after then. This was 28 April 2014. Our aims were to spend the last weekend of May with friends in South Germany and then meet up with Jamie's parents, James and Mary. As they've got their own motorhome, we drove together through a bit of Germany and Czechoslovakia. 

So next, we knew we had a month to spare before meeting up with friends and family. After discovering a bit more of Spain, we spent a bit of time in my home country, France! I knew we wouldn't be able to meet up with my mum and sisters (they live in Normandy and Paris), but instead we'd decided to go to the Auvergne. One of the regions of my childhood; my mum's home and where we'd spend Winter holidays with my grandparents in the 1980s. Our vague plan was then to discover the Vosges and Alsace-Lorraine before crossing the border of Germany.

There's a lot more to write about as you can see, but that's it for now.