Costa Brava Holiday With The Kids
A vacation with kids can be trying, but Spain's Costa Brava provides plenty of entertainment for old and young alike. Lots to see and do.
So what's to do on the Costa Brava? Well, for a start, you can pick a package holiday or you can use the Internet to be more selective. We picked a package holiday, but we reckon we could have done better. The apartment was pretty basic and the swimming pool wasn't great either. The camping park in the same resort had much better facilities. There are several camping sites on the Costa Brava, and all of them are very well kept.
That's another thing we noticed about this part of Spain. Everything seemed to be very clean. The toilets, the restaurants, the beaches, the streets, they're all much cleaner than we remember from 20 years ago. This is a big help when you have young kids. You don't want to spend the vacation in a doctor's surgery.
The Costa seems tailor made for children. The Spanish like children, and are very tolerant towards them. They also have a whole bunch of fun parks where you can let them loose. In our resort there were 2 fun parks, one for the 2-6 year age group, and another for the 5-13 year age-group. When they weren't at the beach or in the kiddies club, the fun parks kept them amused for hours.
There were plenty of other activities available in the resort. The boat trip along the beautiful rugged coastline was great. The kids loved going under the sea arch and looking at the fish through the glass-bottomed boat (the area is famous for its marine life and a real scuba diver's paradise).
Our kids like climbing, and there was a small mountain (about 450 metres) overlooking the resort. There is a track all the way to the top, it only took 40 minutes to get there and the views were well worth the trip.
Further along the Costa there were aquariums and water parks. We also booked a trip to Port Aventura, Universal Studios answer to Disneyland. The great thing about going off-season is that there are no queues!
You might think that dragging kids around a large city is a real chore and…well…. You're right. However, Barcelona is easy to get around. You can buy a metro ticket for just 600 pesetas (about $3.20) , which gives you unlimited transport for the day. There's the giant Nou Camp football stadium to see, the Olympic village, Gaudi's massive unfinished cathedral, the royal palace with it's incredible fountain show, the list goes on. Best of all, Pizza Hut was right across the street from the Gaudi masterpiece!
If you have a few days to spare, you can hire a car for about $25-$35 a day. If you do hire one, you should certainly visit Montserrat. This is a beautiful medieval monastery about 50 miles inland. It is perched on a mountain, but there is a road right to the top. You can also treat the kids by bringing them up on the cable car or on the funicular railway. The views are breathtaking, and if you enjoy hillwalking, you could stay overnight in the apartments there and follow some of the trails at your leisure.
Another worthwhile car trip is the 3 or 4 hour journey to the tiny principality of Andorra. You can drive through snow in the Summer as you take in the breathtaking scenery of the Pyrenees. The kids will love it too. There's a McDonald's in the Capital!