Thursday, 12 September 2013

A Eurocamp Holiday in Spain


After 2012's wash-out summer we were all desperate for a proper 'fly and flop' beach holiday this year. We needed sun, a good beach and great food. However, when I started my holiday research sometime last spring I was horrified by how steeply inflated the cost of an average holiday had become. After several years of self-catering holidays I was harbouring a vague hope that we might be able to manage at least half-board this year, but many hours spent searching the net and poring over holiday brochures quickly put paid to that idea - anything vaguely nice ran into prices we just couldn't afford. So we opted for our fall-back choice - Eurocamp. 

We have stayed at Eurocamp sites across Europe ever since our children came along and have had a fantastic time at every site we've been too. Like most holidays this year, I was surprised, however, by how much the prices had escalated - this option is nowhere near as cheap as going DIY (eg. taking your own tent/mobile home/caravan and booking direct with the campsite) and we ended up paying over £1200 for 12 nights in a mobile home. On top of that you have to factor in the cost of travel - in our case Ryanair flights from Bristol to Girona - plus all your catering when you arrive. 


That said, in comparison with other options - especially if you are forced to travel in peak season school holidays as we are - Eurocamp is definitely the cheaper alternative. Despite my surprise at the rise in prices I would whole-heartedly recommend Eurocamp if you are looking for a laid-back family holiday. This year we stayed at the Camping Cypsela resort on the Costa Brava and I can't recommend it highly enough. I'll explain why in a moment, but first here are just some of the reasons Eurocamp works for us:
  • It's camping made easy. You can stay under canvas or in a mobile home, and some sites have rather luxurious yurt and safari-style tents. You don't have to wrangle with a tent and there's none of that sitting down to open a bottle of wine only to find you've left the bottle opener at home - the accommodation is well stocked with everything you might need
  • Children have real freedom on site - more so than in a hotel where they might climb the walls a little  and potentially annoy other guests. Sites are usually very safe with very little traffic so while you're showering or cooking dinner they can safely play around your tent or mobile home. They will get to mingle with other children, too - Eurocamp sites are usually packed with families so there will always be a neighbour to play with
  • Most sites have plenty of activities to choose from. We have never taken advantage of the kid's club, but many sites operate some kind of childcare option if you need it, plus there are facilities to suit all age groups, from kids discos and playgrounds to tennis courts and games rooms
The best sites we have stayed at are Camping Valle Gaia in Tuscany and the one we visited in Spain this year. We had an absolutely wonderful time this year at a site that ticked so many boxes: excellent location just a few minutes from a lovely, sandy beach (there was a free, frequent shuttle bus between the resort and the beach) and the beautiful medieval village of Pals, clean surroundings and beautiful landscaping, fantastic facilities - two swimming pools (including a toddler pool for little ones), restaurants and a very stylish bar, for example - plus excellent, helpful on-site staff and thorough security which allowed us to let our children have some independence and fun without constant supervising. 

This particular area of Spain is truly stunning and a world away from the hideous concrete over-development that blights other coastal areas of the country. It's an area of gorgeous coves, historic villages and up-market beach resorts, lined with some of the most esteemed restaurants in the country. Having been to this area before we particularly love the character-filled, former fishing village of Calella de Palafrugell, the lovely little village of Peratalada and the idyllic beach at Tamariu. We also made a visit to Cadaques, a favourite of artists such as Salvador Dali, and the regional capital, Girona, an evocative, riverside city with a beautiful cathedral and a historic Jewish quarter, characterised by tiny narrow streets and crumbling old buildings. 

Here are some photos of our trip to whet your appetite...


A few things to note about Eurocamp:

  • Book either really early or last minute - the prices are usually cheaper
  • Once you have booked once you'll get a loyalty discount of 5% off your next holiday
  • You have to pay extra for bed linen, and you can also book beach towels if you need to keep your luggage weight down (particularly if you're travelling with Ryanair)
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9 comments

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. We have had a couple of Eurocamp/Keycamp holidays over the years, but always in France so we could pile the car up with luggage. Never thought to fly to a campsite but this location sounds fantastic. I have heard great things about this part of Spain and how beautiful it is. Must go sometime.

    Thanks for adding this post to the BritMums travel round-up linky :-)

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  3. Hi Trish

    Thanks for the comment! I would really recommend this campsite - you could almost drive it (I know people who have made the journey by car) but if you can get a cheap flight and hire a car the other side it works really well. It really is a stunning area with lots to explore and fabulous beaches, plus it retains a very Spanish feel about it. Be warned that it gets madly busy in peak season and you have to fight for your patch of sand a bit on some of the beaches, but aside from that I can't fault it. Look out for my post on our Eurocamp trip to Paris, coming soon...

    Luisa

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  4. I've just signed the petition against the parent trap - thanks for making me aware of that!!

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  5. I new from the title of the post I would be envious! I LOVE canvas holidays, in a tent - sunshine, France, camping - without trying to occupy kids in the car on a long drive witha car parked to the roof with a tent!!

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    1. They're great, aren't they? We loved our holiday so much that we're going to the same place this summer!

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  6. I've often looked at Eurocamp holidays and thought they looked really good but we've never actually been on one. I'll have to put it on the 'do to list'. Thank you for sharing on #ThriftyThursday :)

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