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Tips for Northern Spain

I might be headed down that way (Atlantic Coast) next week for a bit of a flying holiday. Looking for tips on places to go and to avoid...not so much on the airports side, which is rather obvious (Bilbao to be avoided like the plague, all the others like Santander, Vitoria, Leon, Burgos, Asturias, Logrono and San Sebastian seem to be OK), but rather as far as places (beautiful cities and towns and most importantly: beautiful beaches) are concerned. Anyone?

P.S. I have been to San Sebastian a few years ago and really enjoyed it, but would like to go somewhere else this time.

Mainz (EDFZ), Germany

Be wary if you need AVGas... both Leon and Burgos are very pleasant, but Leon has (or didn't when we were there) have AVGas. If, the sight of millions of Euro's of wasted funding might make you blood boil, avoid! Brand new terminals at both of those locations, but almost no flights. GA fueling at Burgos is at the old terminal building, but you need to go back to the new terminal to pay landing fees etc. Similar at Leon, you need to exit via the new terminal, and hike around the airport perimeter fence back to the tower. Allow some time for this...

Scenery is fantastic, ATC cover is patchy outside of terminal areas at VFR levels.

Burgos and Leon are both nice to vist.

If you want to follow Hemingway's footsteps: Pamplona.

If you want to visit the Rioja wine area, LogroƱo and Vitoria airports have useless opening hours, so a drive from Pamplona (90 km) would be required. Another place

Have not been to Bilbao. Why is it bad?

Private field, Mallorca, Spain

It's important that you check opening hours in the AIP. Last year they suffered important reduction in several airports with low activity and now some are almost useless for tourism purposes, as Aart has warned you. For example, Vitoria is only open during night! Opening time for LEBG is also very reduced.

Bilbao has made the use of handling mandatory (around 100€), but this is the only incovenience. Landing fees are very reasonable.

LECU - Madrid, Spain

Have not been to Bilbao. Why is it bad?

Because apart from being a PITA in terms of procedures and burocracy on the ground (this holds true for all Spanish major airports), on top they charge you outrageous landing and handling fees.

I you read any german, try here and you'll understand.

Mainz (EDFZ), Germany

A notice for those travelling to Spanish airports run by AENA:

You may want to review your insurance.. In May I flew to Reus (LERS) and taxied to the maintenance facility station, which requires going through a sliding gate. Suddenly this gate started to close on me and I could not avoid it hitting my wingtip. it appeared that the gate was in maintenance and not electrically driven. They did not bother to lock it and a wind took hold of it, just when I passed... Damage to my plane: 5.800 euro. Took pictures, made a report with the airport staff, who were actually apologetic, which one would expect.. To my surprise, a week ago got a letter from the airport: AENA is not responsible. Apparently the message is: take us to court.. After checking around a bit, there seems to be a pattern to this.

Another topic, related to my home airport, LESB Mallorca. I just saw a list of the landing and parking fees for next year. Especially the parking fees have been increased impressively, although only for July and August: an increase from 1.5 euro per day to 37 euro (1.500 kg). Nice surprise if you fly in with your SR22 and stay here for 10 days. 500 euros for a plane covered in dust.. Interesting to see how the local government is trying to stimulate relatively wealthy tourists to come to the island, and AENA burocrats just doing to opposite. So discouraging to see AENA just wishing to kill off GA in this country. You guys in Northern Europe don't complain..

Private field, Mallorca, Spain

Correction: parking fees upto 1.500 kg MTOW: 37 euro/day, above that: 50 euro/day

Private field, Mallorca, Spain

My experience of "big" Spanish airports is quite good.

Barcelona/Sabadell was great, zero hassle, but €80. But the €80 included transport to city centre and back later, which makes it great value. The whole process was the slickest I have ever seen.

Granada likewise. I don't recall the cost so it could not have been into 3 figures.

Zaragoza likewise, though they are absolutely anal on the PPR. I had a big problem with them on another occasion when they denied having received a phoned PPR which was done right in front of me by the Granada office. They even cancelled the Eurocontrol flight plan, just to drive the point home.

A few others I don't recall.

Of course if you are looking for €10 you won't find it unless you go to little places like La Axarquia.

Also Spanish airport fees increased hugely a year or two ago, though admittedly from a very low base in most cases.

I never found Spain any real issue. The airports there are reluctant to correspond in written English and even less keen to speak on the phone in English, but that is also the case in Italy, I found, and this can make checking things like opening times tricky. But the Spanish AIP is fairly accurate.

Handling companies are good everywhere (=€€€) and the 100ALAS one at Barcelona was exemplary in its communications. Of course GA pilots try to avoid handling but sometimes you get other value from it.

parking fees upto 1.500 kg MTOW: 37 euro/day, above that: 50 euro/day

That's stupid - at a sleepy place like Son Bonet

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Anyone have any experiences with Asturias airport, or general tips for the Gijon area?

Seems like very few people fly to these places...

Mainz (EDFZ), Germany

Anyone have any experiences with Asturias airport, or general tips for the Gijon area?

Been there a couple of times for work, but on CAT. It's an AENA airport, so all the caveats outlined by Aart apply. Doing a flying tour of northern Spain has been on my list for a long time, somehow never got round to it.

The area is beautiful, wooded mountains rolling down to the Atlantic. Oviedo is a pretty little town, well worth a visit.

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