Europe in a Van Part 13 – Spain: Gibraltar, Seville, Palmer de Troya and Setenil de las Bodegas

Its been a while – and a lot has happened since we left Tarragona. Firstly, the travel reviews and itineraries have been given a name change! Secondly, we had a wonderful Christmas in Benalmadena, followed by a visit to the monkeys in Gibraltar and New Years in Seville. From there, we headed on to Cadiz for a wonderful 3 weeks of yoga teacher training. I’m a qualified yoga teacher now – I’m still trying to get my head around that!

We managed to squeeze in a spot of wild camping and a one night visit to a town literally built into the side of a mountain. The last month has been a lovely combination of city breaks, exploring the wilderness and lots of learning.

Highlights and Lowlights


  • After 3 weeks of 10 hour days, I qualified as a yoga teacher – it was honestly one of the most enlightening experiences ever
  • The sun is still shining, but without the blistering heat of the summer. I could get used to this
  • Seeing the monkeys on the Rock of Gibraltar was very cool – even if one of them tried to mug me


  • Despite it being really sunny and warm during the day, the nights have been really cold, as low as -1 degree at times.
  • Our “campsite” next to Gibraltar was a real disappointment
  • I got a bad head cold and yet another UTI during yoga teacher training – I was not impressed!

Below, I have listed some of the extra facilities available at the campsites we’ve stayed at. Each campsite also had the basics – toilets, showers, sinks for dish washing (a god send as we don’t have running hot water), laundry facilities, bins, grey water disposal, chemical toilets and fresh water.

On Top of the Rock in Gibraltar

Campsite Alcaidesa Marina
Cost – €18 per night for two people including electricity
Facilities – no showers, no fresh water, no grey water, nothing really!
Accessibility score – 3 / 5

See here for further detail on my accessibility scoring system.

We only stayed here as we wanted to go and visit Gibraltar, we definitely wouldn’t have come here otherwise! It was good due its proximity to Gibraltar, but it was a pretty poor spot regarding facilities. It had nothing, but still cost us €18 a night! I was raging, I hate feeling like I’m being ripped off.

We literally just got a parking spot to stay in for a few nights. Essentially we just joined a bit line of vans, like a row of soldiers and looked out onto the marina for the night.

Thankfully we didn’t spend a lot of time here, as we left each morning to go into Gibraltar. It was a bit of a mad place to visit. Firstly, we had to go through passport control, twice, and then walk across a live runway. When we arrived in the city, we were immediately confronted by a large red phone box, signalling our arrival into the UK.

Regarding accessibility, it was OK all round. As our campsite had nothing, there was nothing to rate. Except for the fact that it was a marina, and the chance of taking an unwanted dip in the ocean was high. On the other hand, it was quite flat with one way in and out, so it was easy to get around. I got very excited in Gibraltar as they had the spinning cones at the pedestrian crossings. These are little cone shaped objects fitted to the bottom of the pedestrian crossing box. They spin when the light turns green. Definitely some of the better tactile signals I’ve used.

Things to see and do – The main attraction was The Rock, which we climbed up and got a cable car down. This was well worth doing, we got to see the macaques up close (one even jumped onto my head), the WW2 tunnels and some incredible views.

Celebrating in style in Seville

Campsite Camping Puerto Gelves
Cost – €20 per night
Facilities – no extra facilities
Accessibility score – 3/5

New years was beckoning and we wanted a place where we could go out and celebrate. Seville was a great choice. We stayed at a little site just outside the city, that was on a couple of bus routes. The site was actually at a marina, with a local bar and everything! This was such a good spot we actually extended our stay and went into the city a good few times.

Again, this was a small site, with just one toilet and shower each. It had a kind of a “makeshift” vibe to it, but it did the job! It was easy to get around and find the essentials, but they didn’t make a huge effort with making it accessible. The local bar was great, they produced a live band for New Years eve and had a little parade for 3 Kings Day in January.

The campsite map from Camping Ole

Things to see and do – food, food food! Seville had some incredible places to eat, with lots of local delicacies. We decided to a food tour on one night, to really understand it and sample some things we never normally would have. We also did a tour of the Real Alcazar which was really cool. Any Game of Thrones fan will enjoy this as it was the set for some of the scenes.

A night by a lake

Campsite this spot
Cost – free!
Facilities – as this was a wild camping spot, there were no facilities
Accessibility score – N/A

Oh I do like to be beside the . . . lake side. A nice little one night stopover to get some breathing space from being in the city. We also finally got to put the hammock up! It finally got a day out after being driven around for 10 months.

Aoife is lying down in an orange hammock that is tied up between two trees. Half of the van can be seen in the background. The ground is covered in green grass.
Enjoying the hammock!

Sensational Setenil de las Bodegas

Campsite Camping el Nogalejo
Cost – €20 per night
Facilities – a pool (during high season)
Accessibility score – 3/5

We decided to go here on a recommendation from a friend. We were not disappointed! Its a cool town, that is literally built into the side of a mountain. Many of the houses and restaurants are built into the caves on each side of the town. Its really cool to see. We walked in from out campsite and had dinner in a cave on the night we were there.

It was a pretty accessible campsite overall, except for the terrible steps going in and out of the bathrooms. They just all blended into one. We only stayed here for one night so it was a quick stopover.

In the middle of all this travelling about, we spent 3 weeks at a yoga hotel as I trained to be a yoga teacher. I hope to bring yoga to the blind and vision impaired community when I return to Ireland. I’m going to dedicate a whole post to the yoga as there is just too much to say! We’ve moved on to Portugal now, more on that in the next blog. Thanks for reading. Aoife x

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