Cheats guide to camping abroad with kids.
So perhaps you've done a few family camps in the UK and want to try further afield? Or maybe you've not camped in the UK due to the wet and cold, and you long for a Mediterranean holiday, but without as much expense?
Well, have you considered camping abroad? ...or does that sound even more daunting?
we went to Venice!
We took the easy route and booked a Eurocamp holiday.
Eurocamp - Camping abroad the easy way
Eurocamp has many campsites, from the big to the small.
On many sites, you can bring your tent, hire a pre-erected tent (which has camp beds), or hire a static caravan.
As well as sites in Northern Europe within easy reach of the UK, they also have many in the Mediterranean.
At the larger sites, they have free kids clubs and activities during high season, as well as multiple swimming pools.
So on the surface, the Eurocamp parks look large and noisy; not the sort of relaxed wilder places we prefer. However, we weren't disappointed. And it certainly takes some of the 'hassles' out of camping abroad.
Our kids hadn't been abroad much, but with the size of our family, the usual 'package holidays' were out of our budget - and previous experience in a noisy hotel in Mallorca was not something we wanted to waste our money on.
Eurocamp had been recommended to us by several people so we decided to take a look.
I had wanted to take the kids to the French Alps, having spent a great time there camping and whitewater canoeing in the past. However, we noticed that Eurocamp had a site near Venice in Italy. We'd been there as a couple, many years ago, and thought we could give the kids a holiday in Europe and some 'cultural education'.
Eurocamp had been recommended to us by several people
So thoughts shifted to driving and camping through the French, Swiss, and Italian Alps, and ending up in Venice. Unfortunately, I could not get that much time off work. Flying was the only choice.
We did return to this campsite at a later date and did camp in France, Germany, the Austrian Alps, and back to Venice. That was in our caravan!
You can read about it here.
Budget airlines it was then. Looking at our camping gear, even with taking the minimal kit, there was no way we would be paying the extra air charges to take that with us.
Ultimately, we opted for a static caravan. ... OK, this is not true camping abroad, but we could have done it. 😉
We stayed at the excellent Ca'Savio campsite.
This is on the mainland, right next to a very large beach on the Adriatic, just outside the Venetian lagoon.
This was a very large site. It had a few pools (with slides), a cafe and restaurant, and activities for the kids.
we would strongly recommend the rumble-truck
We hired a 'rumble truck' and strongly recommend it if you have toddlers. It can have two seats (with belts) that fold up, or they can fold flat, and you have a truck to take all the gear down to the beach. Our youngest got very attached to his truck.
The takeaway pizza was excellent: real Italian pizzas, fired in a proper oven, large and tasty, and only a few quid. Great for a simple meal out on our deck. (Oh, and I mustn't forget the ice creams. Or the wine.)
Our static caravan was new and of excellent standard. There was no air con, but all the windows had built-in mosquito nets. We also had a deck, so eating out in the warm evening became the norm.
The caravans were closer together than in the UK and not arranged in rows but at various angles nestled under trees. We had an excellent spot and weren't overlooked at all.
The pre-erected tents looked OK but not as big as the static caravan. Many tents were also pitched - mainly from Europe, though there were a few camper vans from the UK.
If you do pitch here, the ground is very sandy. Dry fine sand. So you'll need to bring the right tent pegs with you.
Camping on the Venetian shores
Getting into Venice was relatively easy. You could buy a combined bus and ferry ticket at the park. Catching the bus was just down the road in the village (but the bus was very crowded).
Venice itself is excellent but not pushchair friendly. Many many people and a lot of small bridges with steps.
We were there at the time of the Venice Film Festival (though we didn't know it at the time), with billionaire's yachts (luxury cruise liners with actual yachts stuck on the side) moored up in the Grand Canal, apparently for the likes of George Clooney and Madonna.
The Eurocamp staff were all very helpful and the few extras we ordered with the holiday (rumble truck, towels, and welcome pack) made packing and the stay just that little bit better. They had also sent through a free beach bag and a couple of water pistols before we left, which was a nice touch.
In all, it was an excellent holiday, as well as saving £1000s over hotels or apartments, and we shall certainly be considering a holiday with Eurocamp again.