As I sit here watching the sun go down over the Ebro Delta on Spain’s north-eastern coast, I can hear the gentle cries of the flamingoes in the background and the plentiful birdlife playing in the twilight sky.
We stumbled upon this little haven after moving on from Peniscola where the campsite there was door to door vans, with no room to breathe. I felt completely hemmed in and claustrophobic so we hopped, skipped and jumped out of there and up the autovista to somewhere more wild, open and beautiful. And we found it. The Ebro Delta.
It does seem odd to put the next two words in the same sentence; car park and stunning, although this is the truth of Casa de Fusta (co-ordinates N40° 39.505′ E0° 40.523). As a centre for tourist activities, cycling, bird watching and walking, offering a restaurant and toilets, this large parking area accommodates at least fifty motorhomes, for free. There are services although you pay €3 for grey waste and water and €3 for black waste.
One of the things we have come to appreciate in our year on the road is how wonderful car parking spots can be for camping overnight. We’ve called a few of them ‘home’ in the last twelve months and our experiences have changed our perspective of car-park style Aires. And this one serves to be a positive reminder of that opinion.
This region is really a slice of heaven. A good five miles from the motorway, you weave your way through some pretty narrow roads to find yourself in the Ebro Delta – a Natural Park and conservation area, which is changing by the year as the sea reclaims the land. Although for now, the natural beds of salt pans, natural lagoons and reed beds hide a multitude of birds, some rare species claiming this as their territory.
And then you catch a glimpse of brilliant salmon-pink wings as the flamingoes land with surprising grace, right in front of you. What a privilege that is. These creatures that simply don’t look like they’ve been designed to fly and have jumped right out of the pages of a comic strip.
We saw flamingoes at El Rocio in western Spain last year and again in the Po Delta in Italy, although neither place offered such an easy-to-access view of these stunning birds. In fact Italy had turned it into a fee-paying tourism activity, fencing the birds off so that only the largest telephoto lens would pick them up.
So for me as a bird-lover to get so close to these magnificent creatures and hear their cries as my morning alarm has been a rare treat. Miles of cycling along flat roads that run alongside the irrigation channels, where birds take flight as they hear you approach, just adds to the magic. Only five miles away you have El Trabucador – a causeway of sand that shelters the lagoons from the often ferocious Mediterranean sea determined to win the battle over the protected waters. You can park here during the day ( N40° 36.565′ E0° 43.522’ ) and watch the kite surfers skim the lagoon surface, dancing with the on-shore winds. No camping is allowed here over night, although the for the day, it is a great spot to watch the mountains whilst listening to the roar of the ocean. The peace and tranquility are palpable – minus the exception of the odd arctic lorry that gingerly passes on the compacted sand towards the salt factory at the end of the spit.
Our final night in the region was sadly awash with heavy rain, so we were pretty relieved that we didn’t stay any longer on the beach as we’d have made a nice based for a sandcastle. Although we still found a lovely little wild camping spot right on the River Ebro. ( Co-ordinates N40° 42.851′ E0° 42.932′ ) On a good day, the river walk looks lovely, although in this weather, we gave it a miss. Deltebre is a functional town rather than anything pretty, although I do accept that the rain and the need to shop could easily have affected my view. Still there all the supermarkets are here, together with really cheap petrol – the first we’ve seen this year at .99c.
So if you haven’t gathered by my vociferous bigging up of this area – we like it here and really feel that it deserves your time and adoration as it offers so much to the active, bird-loving, nature adoring camper. If you love having a town’s vibe, nightlife, shops and restaurants, right on your doorstep, then this probably isn’t for you. If instead you love nature’s orchestra, then this is definitely worth putting on your To-Do list when travelling up or down this eastern coast of Spain. We hope you like it as much as we did. Kx
Here’s our Gallery of Ebro Delta pictures;
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