In Pictures: Review of Family Camping El Astral near Salamanca, Spain (Day 38)

After a restful camping in the south of France in the Pyrenees mountains and a sort-of rushed stopover visits to Hemingway’s Pamplona and Cervantes’ Salamanca, we were running out of steam. . . and time. Here’s a quick review in pictures of Camping El Astral, in the town of slaughtering bulls, Tordesillas, in the province of Valladolid, and our last camping in northern Spain before heading home on day 39 of our second family camping road trip one cool summer.

If you need more info, text follows at the end of the pictures below. Enjoy!

Fields for food of the province of Valladolid, 700-something meters above sea level, in the autonomous community of  Castile and León, central Spain. Photo credit: El Astral as published on GMAPS
The town of Tordesillas with the old bridge over the Douro river, the massive 15th century San Antolin church and the Convent of Santa Clara where Queen Joanna was confined for almost 50 years until her death. Photo credit: Pilar Bazan Garmendia, as published on GMAPS
This is the town known for its Festivities of Toro de la Vega in which “[t]he bull was driven by horsemen and footmen all carrying spears. When it reached the meadow across the river it was finally speared and stabbed by many competing lancers. The person who delivered the fatal blow (this could be with a rifle) was entitled to cut off the bull’s testicles and tie them to the tip of his spear and parade them through the town. The city then awarded him a gold medal and a commemorative forged iron spear.” Source: Wikipedia, where else. Apparently, the practice ended in 2016, thanks to animal rights activists and the regional government, with opposition from the town and its mayor. Photo credit: Jonathan Hoskins, as published on GMAPS
The entrance to Camping El Astral was not quite obvious from the main road. You’d have to go through a dirt road and get up close to read the camping sign at the entrance. There were flag poles that could make it easier to spot, but no flags at the time of visit.
Plenty of pitches available at Camping El Astral when we arrived in the first week of September. The campground also offers cabins and there is ample space for caravans too.
You know you’re in Spain when the pitches are straight dirt/ground; grassy pitches are a luxury here in Spain.
After our previous camping site with outdoor and indoor swimming pools, a “splashpark” (waterpark, jacuzzi and a sauna, the boys have had enough. Here, two clean and pools (one, a small for children) with manicures lawns for sunbathers. Small but sufficient, especially when there’s hardly any other campers/visitors.
Camping El Astral reception and bar/restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating area with plenty of shade from trees and umbrellas! You might NOT like shade, but it could be a life-saver in the summer. YOU’RE in SPAIN after all! There’s also more outdoor seating on the side with a view of the pool.
Children’s own bathrooms! This is quite a novelty–a truly unique feature–at Camping El Astral. Unlike in many other camping sites that we’ve been in, HERE the kids also had no problem reaching the faucets and doing their business. This is the second camping site we’ve visited with these service. It might be a pleasantly Spanish thing.
Playgrounds are always a nice family friendly addition that our children appreciates . . . what child wouldn’t?!? This one was sufficiently small and shaded. . . and with lights for night time play. You know, the Spanish way!
A curiosity for the kids and an impromptu lesson on photovoltaics and solar power at Camping El Astral. It would be more interesting if management puts more info on the fence for some educational purposes for their visitors. Like how much electricity the panels generate, etc., almost like a demonstration project.
Dishwashing and clothes-washing area are sufficiently clean and spacious with plenty of light and hot water. Photo credit: Jose Luis, as published on GMAPS
A FAMILY WC/bathroom–another unique feature at this campinground. We debate about putting pictures of toilet and shower. But everyone’s gotta do it and pictures speak a thousand words, or so they say. So, here it is. Quite clean place to do your business and it comes with plenty and FREE toilet paper. Believe you me, there are plenty of camping sites out there that do NOT provide this most essential service!
Modernized bathroom and showers with hooks to hang your clothes and a shelf to put your bags. These are little additions that many camping sites miss out on. It’s clean too with plenty of hot showers and NO problem with water drainage.
Clean bathroom area although it’s a little bit tight in this enclosed space and the ceiling/sunroof area could use some cleaning up. There’s plenty of light from the sunroof. It’s NOT shown in the picture, but it does provide hair dryer which is NOT common for camping sites. A PLUS+++

NOTE: In case you’re wondering. . . NO, we have not received any form of compensation or freebies or anything at all for reviewing or mentioning this or any others on our blog.  We do it for the fun of it and it is helpful to you and others.

What we like about this campground? 

QUIET, in a word that was what we liked about Camping El Astral, near Pamplona. There are lots of trees and greenery that surround the camping site and in between pitches that likely absorb the noise level. It’s like camping in near-silence even though there were several camping vans and other campers at the time of our visit.

The FAMILY WC/bathroom–another unique feature (see below for details) and a HAIRDRYER–another uncommon add-ons at this camping in northern Spain

What we don’t like about this camping site? 

What about what we did not like about Camping El Astral? If there is one thing that we need to put into this category, it’s the dirt pitch. Why, because it was dusty. And when it rains, that dust and dirt turns into something else. We understand however that it is common to have dirt or ground pitches in Spain, and that it’s difficult to maintain grassy pitches in dry lands.

PRICE

Above-average price at €36.20 euros (including tax) for a family of 4 (2 kids–1 under 5), 3-person tent with electricity at the end of summer season (first week of September).

Breakdown: €x.xx per night for a pitch that is big enough for a 3-person tent, a car, a table and cooking ware, and then some more! €x.xx for an adult, €x.xx for children between 3 and 12 years old.

PLAY area

Playgrounds are always a nice family friendly addition that our children appreciates . . . what child wouldn’t?!? This one was sufficiently small and shaded. . . and with lights for night time play. You know, the Spanish way!

Two clean and sufficiently big pools (one, a small for children) with manicured lawns for sunbathers. Not big but sufficient, especially when there’s hardly any other campers/visitors.

There’s also plenty of space to run around and a couple of courts for basketball, etc..

ACCESSibility

The entrance to Camping El Astral was not quite obvious from the main road. There were lots of trees surrounding the campsite. You’d have to go through a dirt road and get up close to read the camping sign at the entrance. There were flag poles that could make it easier to spot, but no flags at the time of visit.

Once you pull into the entrance, there are plenty of parking spaces with easy maneuverability. There are signs to clearly guide you where to go. The reception would be to your left. There’s a gate to access the actual camping grounds.

SHADE

Plenty of shade here from matured trees, all over the camping site and in between pitches. This is especially helpful when camping in the summer. You’re in Spain after all!

PITCH

How’s the pitch? You know you’re in Spain when the pitches are straight dirt/ground; grassy pitches are a luxury here in Spain. We had a bit tougher time sinking our tent pegs here, but we did not break the pegs.

Plenty of pitches available at Camping El Astral when we arrived in the first week of September. The campground also offers cabins and there is ample space for caravans too.

Privacy hedges 

Yup, about 1.5 meters of well-maintained bushes which contributes also to reducing noise levels.

SANITARY FACILITIES

A FAMILY WC/bathroom–another unique feature at this campinground. Quite clean place to do your business and it comes with plenty and FREE toilet paper. Believe you me, there are plenty of camping sites out there that do NOT provide this most essential service!

KIDS BATHROOM/WC: Children’s own bathrooms! This is quite a novelty–a truly unique feature–at Camping El Astral. Unlike in many other camping sites that we’ve been in, HERE the kids also had no problem reaching the faucets and doing their business. This is the second camping site we’ve visited with these service. It might be a pleasantly Spanish thing.

Clean bathroom area although it’s a little bit tight in this enclosed space and the ceiling/sunroof area could use some cleaning up. There’s plenty of light from the sunroof. It’s NOT shown in the picture, but it does provide hair dryer which is NOT common for camping sites. A PLUS+++

Modernized bathroom and showers with hooks to hang your clothes and a shelf to put your bags. These are little additions that many camping sites miss out on. It’s clean too with plenty of hot showers and NO problem with water drainage.

Dishwashing and clothes-washing area are sufficiently clean and spacious. It does NOT look like it from this picture, but it was nice, with plenty of light and hot water.

DINE or DRINKS

Camping El Astral reception and bar/restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating area with plenty of shade from trees and umbrellas! You might NOT like shade, but it could be a life-saver in the summer. YOU’RE in SPAIN after all! There’s also more outdoor seating on the side with a view of the pool.

WI-FI

Yes, and it was FREE (or at least no additional costs).

others

There’s a hairdryer. That’s cool because it is not usually available at camping sites.

Laundry and dryer machines are some additional amenities, for additional pay of course.

There’s a small but clean section for recyclables–for batteries, glass, camping gas, etc.

Wheelchair accessible sanitary facilities (with a ramp).

We did not see any fridge, freezer or microwave or a kitchen. It is not all that usual for camping sites to have these extra benefits. Maybe we just missed it because the place was quite huge. If it did have it, it was NOT obvious.

TIPs for Camping El Astral

To be able to use the swimming pools, make sure to bring swimming caps/headgear (you know, those little things you put over your head to make sure your hair does NOT get into the pool, and if you have it on too tight, your eyes start to squint like a drunken runaway monkey. . .) Yup, you need it here.

In fact, it would do you good to bring them with you when camping in Spain (maybe even France) to save you money, just in case the camping site that you ended up in has a pool.

what to do near CAMPING El Astral

So, what to see or do nearby?

  • Make sure to reserve a day to enjoy an off-the-beaten site: the town of Tordesillas with the old bridge over the Douro river, the massive 15th century San Antolin church and the Convent of Santa Clara where Queen Joanna was confined for almost 50 years until her death.
  • This is the town known for its Festivities of Toro de la Vega in which “[t]he bull was driven by horsemen and footmen all carrying spears. When it reached the meadow across the river it was finally speared and stabbed by many competing lancers. The person who delivered the fatal blow (this could be with a rifle) was entitled to cut off the bull’s testicles and tie them to the tip of his spear and parade them through the town. The city then awarded him a gold medal and a commemorative forged iron spear.” Source: Wikipedia, where else. Apparently, the practice ended in 2016, thanks to animal rights activists and the regional government, with opposition from the town and its mayor.
  • Salamanca–the city of Cervantes (you know, Spain’s Shakespeare?) is about 100 kilometers (one hour) drive away.
  • Valladolid–known for its medieval religious places like the Spanish Gothic San Pablo church and the palace home of the Spanish kings in the 1600s, is about half-an-hour (30-something kilometers) away.

Next Stop

Onwards, southwards. . . to HOME and the land of sherry, flamenco and dancing horses–Jerez de la Frontera, but first Salamanca–the city of the Spanish Shakespeare and a road to the Camino de Santiago de Compostela.

You know you’re finally in Spain when your camping food is made up of “arroz negra” (rice with seafood and ink from cuttlefish), “chorizo” spicy Spanish sausage, “butifarra” (Spanish white sausage, usually from the regions facing the Mediterranean) and those other white, red and green things.
First half of the return trip of our family camping road trip. . . part 2 (2,236 kilometers): Poznan, Mainz, Luxembourg. Schengen, Strasbourg, Freiburg, Bern, Lausanne, Geneva, CERN, Perouges, Le Puy, Naucelle, and. . . 1,575 kilometers kilometers to go!
Second half of the return trip of our family camping road trip. . . part 2 with 1,575 kilometers to go from Flower Camping in Naucelle (France), Lupiac, Lourdes, crossing the Pyrenees into Spain, Pamplona, Salamanca and HOME.

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