I’m going to start this review with a confession: I thought Eurocamp was all about camping.
I’ve grown up knowing the name – it’s one of those brands that everybody’s heard of, after all, and I remember friends going on Eurocamp holidays with their families when I was growing up. But, not being the world’s biggest camper (it’s the rain in the UK: I just don’t do soggy tents), I hadn’t really given Eurocamp much thought.
That’s until we started planning a trip to Italy earlier this year, and I began looking for self-catering holidays. We had planned to go back to an agriturismo in Tuscany that we’d stayed at with my son when he was a baby, but we wanted to eek it out to two weeks and do a bit more of a road trip this time around. But when I searched for a) options that weren’t ridiculously expensive and b) places that would let us choose flexible durations, it’s fair to say the results were pretty slim pickings.
Eurocamp: arrive any day, stay as long as you like
Fortunately, that’s where Eurocamp shines. We’d already booked a week’s accommodation in Tuscany and were in the process of sorting flights when Eurocamp asked if we’d like to visit a parc to write a guest post on their blog (it’s all about tips for taking toddlers on a Eurocamp holiday – pop over and have a read).
After looking on the site and realising I didn’t actually have to stay in a tent (far from it – the accommodation options are huge), I started drilling down to location. Unlike the self-catering apartments I’d looked at everywhere else, Eurocamp were very flexible with durations and we could arrive when we wanted to, stay as long as we liked, and split our week between two or more parcs in different areas if we fancied it. It fit perfectly with our plans to make our holiday into a road trip, so we started working out where to stay.
Eurocamp parcs in Italy: Adriatic Coast and Lake Garda
Self-drive holidays, and ferry and Eurotunnel crossings are a big part of what Eurocamp do, and can all be booked as part of a holiday. But, living close to Luton Airport, we decided to book cheap easyJet flights ourselves (made easier by the fact that we could choose our arrival day based on the best deals) and hire a car when we got there.
We decided to fly in to Venice Marco Polo Airport and stay on the Adriatic Coast, close to Lido di Jesolo, for four nights, then drive across to Lake Garda for a further four nights. Then we’d drive down to Tuscany, stay for our final week, and fly back to Luton from Pisa Airport. That gave us 16 days in Italy to cram in as much as we possibly could.
It took a while to settle on the individual parcs – there were 21 to choose from in the two areas we’d narrowed it down to – but the videos on the website really helped. In the end we settled on Camping Ca’Savio in Cavallino-Treporti, because it was right on the beach, but also really close to Venice with good transport links into the city. On Lake Garda we settled on Bella Italia campsite, mainly because my four-year-old son was so excited when he saw the photos of the swimming pools and waterslides, but also because it was right on the lake.
Camping Ca’Savio, Italy: highlights
Arriving at Ca’Savio was nice and easy. It was about an hour’s drive from Venice airport, and the Eurocamp rep showed us to our accommodation. We’ve done a lot of Center Parcs breaks in the UK, where you have to leave your car in a car park away from your accommodation. But, as touring and exploring the local area is such a big part of what Eurocamp is about, you can keep your car right next to your accommodation if you want to. I found this made things a lot easier when we did want to get out and about.
The parc itself has a really lovely, relaxed feel, and is spread across a pine forest with lots of room to wander. It has two main pool areas, each with toddler-friendly zones, pirate ships and small slides. The main pool has a lovely lawned area next to the toddler pools, and is right next to the restaurant with an indoor soft play area, plus a huge outdoor playground and bouncy castles.
The second pool is smaller, but has an amazing LEGO-building tent next door. It’s a genius idea – you choose what you want to build from a catalogue, then they give you a box with all the bits you need from a massive LEGO library and you just return it when you’re finished. My son absolutely loved it, and my daughter played in the Duplo area.
The main on-site shop is a SPAR and there was plenty of food for self-catering, plus a whole outdoor section dedicated to kids’ toys (we hadn’t packed many, so we were grateful for this). There’s also an open-air pizzeria near the second pool, and we loved taking a pizza to eat over on the beach – a wide sweep of sand with loads of space for the kids to run around, which I wrote about in this post.
Lastly, Ca’Savio is within really easy reach of Venice – you can take a boat and be there in 40 minutes. Taking a gondola ride with the kids was one of my favourite moments from the whole holiday, and I’ve written a separate post on essential tips for how to do Venice with kids.
Bella Italia campsite, Italy: highlights
Bella Italia is right on the shore of Lake Garda, and that was the main attraction for us. There’s a narrow pebbly beach right next to the main hub of shops and restaurants, and the water in the lake is warm and shallow, so it’s ideal for toddlers and young kids. There’s a jetty in the middle of the lake, and a path runs off in either direction. We went for a bit of a walk and found a gorgeous, hidden-away restaurant where we had dinner as the sun set over the water.
The parc itself has a busier feel than Ca’Savio, with more in the way of organised entertainment. We went along to the baby disco and a variety show one night and, although it’s not particularly our cup of tea, the kids were in heaven. Lots of the entertainment doesn’t start until quite late in the evening – 8 or 9pm – and it’s not uncommon for children on the parc to be up until gone 11pm, so we managed to convince the kids to have a nap in the middle of the day and stay up later.
The pools are a big pull here, and they’re all in the same place near the entertainment venue. There are some pretty cool waterslides, but the place does get busy. Get there as soon as it opens if you want to get a sunbed, because they’re all bagsied with towels pretty quickly.
We also tried out the Eurocamp Kids’ Club at Bella Italia, which my son loved. Children have to be aged four and over, so my daughter couldn’t join in, but sessions are generally two hours long in the morning and two in the afternoon and they’re offered on a first-come, first-served basis. That’s potentially four hours of free childcare as part of the cost of your holiday, which is a major draw if your kids are old enough.
We also took a daytrip out to the Parco Termale Del Garda at Villa Dei Cedri while we were here – it’s an easy drive from Bella Italia and free for kids under 120cm, which saved us a bit of money getting in. It’s a beautiful green, leafy park with two huge warm, thermal lakes. I’d highly recommend it if you’re in the area.
Self-catering accommodation options
We were really impressed with the accommodation at both parcs – the three-bed mobile homes we stayed in were modern and new, spotlessly clean, and well set up for self-catering. Mod-cons like dishwashers and air-con were included at both parcs (the air-con at Ca’Savio is payable), but it’s worth knowing you need to book bed linen as an extra cost if you’re not bringing it yourself. Things like travel cots and highchairs are free – you just need to request them.
Of the two, we preferred the Azure accommodation at Ca’Savio, purely because of the set-up with plenty of room between mobile homes. Bella Italia’s Avant homes were much more tightly packed in rows, facing directly on to another row of houses. It gave the place a much more sociable feel, granted (especially as barbecues were allowed here, which we’d missed at Ca’Savio), but we personally preferred the element of privacy at Ca’Savio, where it felt like you were surrounded by nature and had a bit more room to spread out.
Our first Eurocamp experience: the verdict
The litmus test with every holiday, of course, is whether or not we’d go back, and I do think we’ll be booking another Eurocamp holiday again. The flexibility to design our own itinerary, plus the proximity to some amazing local attractions and family-friendly feel of the parcs suited us down to the ground.
Plus, the fact I didn’t have to stay in a tent was the icing on the cake.
Eurocamp kindly provided us with free accommodation at their parcs for a guest post on their site. All opinions are, as always, our own. The cost for a similar stay to ours would be around £835 for a family of four, for eight nights split across two parcs.