‘Camping with kids? You must be mad’.
This was what I heard for months before we set off on our first camping trip as a family of 4. We had both regularly camped before having the children and we’d taken our eldest camping (in Spain at the same campsite) when she was 18 Months. Since then the campsite (now called a resort) has undergone serious upgrading, with an amazing water park (more about that below) and upgraded wash blocks, new supermarket and fab new bars. When my parents invited us to share a holiday in their motorhome (and a large tent we nicknamed the palace!) we didn’t hesitate (who would!).
We flew into Girona and hired a car from there. It’s an easy 35-40 minute drive to the campsite (well it would be easy if unlike me you’ve driven a hire car abroad before….I however felt like I was driving in the wrong lane for the whole week!). If that doesn’t work, you could fly into Barcelona but the transfer would be 2.5 hours (it’s a great day trip option though!). You could of course drive from the UK (that’s what we did this year!). If you’re planning on doing this you may like to read my blog about long distance car journeys!
Whilst we camped there are a whole host of accommodation options, from basic camping pitches to fully serviced pitches with connected water, through to luxurious safari tents (honestly they looked incredible – air con, dishwasher etc) as well as various lodges and the more standard Eurocamp style tents. Something for every budget. Check out the campsite (oops sorry resort) website for more details.
Regulars to my blog will know that we tend to prefer staying off the beaten track, something a little more unique and away from the standard tourist traps. We really enjoy ‘living like a local’, as Airbnb like to say! So we decided to go and stay in a campsite with hundreds of pitches, thousands of people and entertainment on site….what were we thinking I hear you say. Well I’ll be honest I was slightly worried but I really shouldn’t have been. We had one of our most relaxing holidays as a family, there was something for everyone and everything felt far easier and a whole lot more convenient (even the trips up to wash block weren’t overly traumatic!). We still felt like we could eat, and perhaps more importantly drink, local delicacies yet we didn’t have to get in the car to get them (the on-site supermarket is amazingly well stocked and not at all expensive). The all important croissant run was equally simple, a whole host of yummy pastries and bread are baked daily in the on-site supermarket. Oh and the fresh orange juice was divine!
Keeping the little people (and the adults) occupied was not difficult. The swimming pool always was amazing but oh my goodness the latest developments put it in a different league. They have built three new pools (since 2018) – one is equipped with a huge pirate ship with slides (we all loved them…yes even the grandparents!), a ‘beach’ (perfect for the youngest members of the family) and a wonderful rickety bridge and caves for the little children to play pirates! The original dolphin pool now also has a whole host of slides, a bar inside the pool and a jacuzzi for all. New for 2019 was an under 14 pirate pool (with tipping barrels, slides, water shoots and whale skeleton!), a serious set of water slides (I confess to not trying them!) and a sort of moroccan inspired pool with jacuzzi’s etc.
They have completely re-vamped the pool bar (highly recommend the sangria!) and it now wouldn’t be out of place in a 5* hotel complex (for the youngest of guests it has a slide instead of stairs!).
There are also a whole load of other splash pools in and around the various lodges, clamping tents.
If the pool isn’t really you’re thing or you fancy a change, then the campsite is on a beach, publicly owned but immaculate and accessed by a secure gate. There are a host of water-based activities on the beach and a lovely (and remarkably cheap) beach bar. Further down the beach (on the campsite) there is a wonderful cocktail bar – Papaya Bar (the perfect spot for a date night should you have friends or grandparents in tow!).
Regulars to my blog will know that we enjoy cooking and that part of a holiday for me is eating local food and trying out new recipes (I guess I just have more time when I’m not at work!). If you fancy a night off (and who doesn’t!) there are loads of restaurants, cafes and bars on site but slightly further afield (an easy 20 minute walk from the site) are a couple of lovely local and very traditional restaurants. Our firm favourite was Picasso – an amazing week night set menu and the nearby chicken restaurant (affectionally known to regulars as the chicken shack). Slightly further afield (but an easy 20 minute bike ride) is Pals Beach. A number of the restaurants on the beach, unusually for Spain, serve food for most of the day (ideal if your children, like ours are used to eating before sunset!). The children will love playing on the beach whilst you eat fresh fish or paella!
We didn’t get to mini club (too many other exciting entertainment options), but other children reported that it was incredible and the mini disco (run every night by the award winning animation team, who also run mini club) was a huge hit with both of our little people. For older children there are also a whole host of weekly sports teams, football pitches, tennis courts and a skate park. This really is the stuff of childhood dreams!
After fun filled and action packed days the children fell straight to sleep and slept well past their usual 6am (now this is what I call a holiday!).
I don’t often want to return to the same place, but I can’t wait to go back for a longer and no doubt much needed relaxing family holiday! Bring on summer 2019!