WHERE SHOULD I STAY?
While it may not be possible to visit right now, my wife and I have brought our three daughters to family-run Camping La Siesta for more than 15 years.
Even though they’re all grown up (aged 17 to 23) they still love this trip.
Set among pine trees, it’s a mix of traditional camping, caravans and comfortably furnished wooden bungalows — and we always opt for the latter.
Each has a kitchen, dining table and barbecue, plus an outside area where we’ve gathered many times with extended family and friends, including a memorable 2012 celebration of the Queen’s diamond wedding anniversary, complete with impromptu “street party”.
The site’s bungalows and chalets are equipped with showers and for campers and vans there is a shower block with toilets and dish-washing facilities, as well as a launderette.
It’s inexpensive but clean and cozy, which is why we keep coming back, often in the less busy months of May and June with a large group of extended family aged one to 80.
A picturesque corner of unspoilt Spain, Calella de Palafrugell, in Girona, is a part of the Costa Brava that hasn’t had the landscape blotted out with ugly high-rise buildings.
Palafrugell boasts a lively Sunday food market when many of the locals gather at the coffee bars around the main square.
Rent a bike at the main reception to explore the area on brilliant local trails taking you through rural farmland and woodland to the nearest beaches.
HOW’S THE BEACH?
We’ve fallen in love with the numerous sandy beaches and rocky coves within walking or driving distance.
Follow well-signed footpaths along clifftops and drop down to idyllic beaches by foot — only accessible that way or by boat. Among our favourites are Tamariu, Llafranc and La Fosca.
CHEEKY POOL DAY?
There is a lifeguard-patrolled swimming pool with slides and a shallow section for toddlers, plus plenty of sunbathing space and an abundance of beds and umbrellas.I don’t recall ever seeing holidaymakers up early to towel-reserve beds.
Families, particularly those with young children, could easily never leave the site.
GO: COSTA BRAVA
GETTING THERE: Airlines who normally fly to Girona or Barcelona include Jet2, easyJet, Ryanair and BA.
STAYING THERE: Holidays at Camping La Siesta: Resort Calella de Palafrugell feature en-suite bungalows with two bedrooms and a kitchen. For more information, see campinglasiesta.com/en.
FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY?
The securely controlled site has play areas for kids including a large one with five-a-side football, tennis court, volleyball, inflatables, swings and table tennis.
In the busy summer months entertainment staff run a kids’ club, a daily programme of activities and perform evening shows.
Other facilities include an indoor and outside gym, a well-stocked mini-supermarket, gift shop and bakery where you can get fresh bread and pastries every day.
The security team even come round in golf buggies from time to time just to make sure no noisy drinking groups are gathering outside chalets into the early hours.
HOW’S THE FOOD?
The site’s table service restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating, a bar and a takeaway food counter.
Over the years we have made a habit of walking to the restaurants of nearby beaches at Calella de Palafrugell or along the coastline to Llafranc — a slightly more upmarket town. Or you can drive inland to less touristy restaurants that are better value for money.
This a sea-foodie’s paradise, with fresh produce caught daily.
Tapas is a staple delight, with plenty of options for meat dishes and vegetarians.
At Fiego, on the edge of the Port Pelegri, tables are set up on the sand and shaded during the day, or only in the evenings between June and September.
For a big shop for self-caterers, head to Palafrugell.
I FANCY A DRINK
Camping La Siesta is not the place to bring teenagers who want Ibiza-style nightlife.
The site’s owners like outside noise to be finished by midnight, which is great for families with young children. The nearest larger town for nightlife is Platja D’Aro, which is around 15 minutes away by car/taxi. It boasts more bars and restaurants. But it does have high-rise buildings so I’m always glad to be back in the more peaceful Calella de Palafrugell.
Or drive south to Tossa de Mar to visit the castle ruins and its picturesque old town, where you’ll find narrow streets lined with bars.
Queues for the beach? Spain plans roped-off sunbathing spots that CAN’T be reserved
ANYTHING FOR THE BUCKET LIST?
Artist Salvador Dali hails from the Girona region and culture vultures can drive an hour to his home town of Figueres to see his former home or The Dali Theatre and Museum, which features much of his work.
Or venture further afield to sample major city life. Barcelona is a 90-minute drive away and Girona is around 40 minutes.