Our Top 11 Favourite Campsites

During our tour of Europe, we stayed at over 95 different Campsites and Camperstops.

Here are our TOP 11 Recommendations for families (with children and a dog!);

1) Camp Bled – Lake Bled, Slovenia

Oh my! Camp Bled is just feet from the amazing Lake Bled; which has to be, in our opinion, the best lake in the whole of Europe.  We visited all of the great lakes of Italy (and some less known ones too) but they are not a patch on Lake Bled!

This place is magical.  In fact, I’m pretty sure it is where Walt Disney found his inspiration for the magic kingdom.  The lake is full of large carp, small rowing boats, and the odd kayak.  You can row across to the small island for 15 Euros for one hour.  Or you can cycle or walk all the way around the lake, stopping at designated picnic areas or sweet little eating houses.

The campsite itself is clean, well run and dog-friendly.  There are even dog baths and showers for your pooches!

There are plenty of activities for the kids (trampolining, basketball, archery, and rowing on top of various external activities such as zip lining, coasteering, tobogganing and fishing). The reception staff speak great English and can book excursions for nearby adventure days or day trips.  We took a taxi to Vintgar Gorge, with amazing waterfalls and rapids.  It’s a must see place!

If we had to pick one campsite that deserves a gold medal for location, hospitality and ambiance, Camp Bled in Slovenia would win it!

34 Euros per night for two adults, two children and one dog in a 23ft motorhome with electricity and wifi during May 2016

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2). Kamp Njivice – Croatia

Campsite Njivice is located in a small fishing village Njivice (island of Krk) which prides itself on pebble beaches, hidden coves, natural walking trails and loads of fun for all family members.

Campsite Njivice is one of the biggest Croatian campsites covering 14 hectares of land, so you should never be short of a pitch.  That said, I would certainly book in advance.  Our European neighbours have cottoned on to this site and it becomes very popular!

The campsite has beautiful pitches by the beach, children’s playgrounds, luxurious mobile homes, contemporary sanitary facilities, an animation team and pleasant staff.

The most beautiful rugged coastline of Kvarner stretches alongside the whole campsite, providing a perfect dog walk all the way along the seafront.  The site was dog-friendly, even allocating a pebble beach just for our pooches!

The water at Njivice is so clear you are drawn to the water.  It was perfect for snorkeling and spear fishing, if not a little cold in May!

The nearby restaurants are lovely with amazing views.  Watch the sunset go down every night at alfresco dining areas scattered along the rocky coast.  Enjoy crazy golf, watersports, tennis, and boat hire just outside the campsite.

Don’t be fooled, though, this is not a Haven-style campsite.  It is classy, relaxed and atmospheric.

Toilet and showers are immaculate.  A safe, clean, well-managed, friendly site on the most spectacular Adriatic coastline.

22 Euros per night including two children and one dog on a large pitch with electricity and wifi in May 2016

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3) Camping Valdevaqueros – Tarifa, Spain

Camping Valdevaqueros is a super cool campsite just across the road from a 9km long beach of golden sands.  This is natural, unspoiled Spain without the high rises and the tourists.  If you want to see some tourist culture, Gibraltar is only 40 minutes away.

The beach is a haven for kite surfers, wind surfers, and surfers.  You can spend hours sitting in the golden sand dunes watching hundreds of colourful kites launch high above the water.

The campsite is fairly basic but some of the upper grass pitches are glorious. The owner, Pepe, is delightful and can’t do enough for you. The bar is friendly and the shop is reasonably stocked.  The nearby town of Tarifa is traditional Spain at its best.  Walk through narrow cobbled streets of white traditional houses and stop for some of the best Tapas you are ever likely to eat.

We stayed at Tarifa over the Christmas period so it was lovely to watch the castle being turned into a nativity scene.  The streets were tastefully decorated in colourful lights and the smell of roasting chestnuts filled the air.

On New Years Day we walked the entire length of the beach – even the dog could not keep up!  To say it is a stunning coastline would be an injustice.  I think Tarifa is Spain’s best-kept secret.  Let’s hope it stays that way because its rugged unspoiled beauty is its main attraction.

I wrote two blogs here to cover the Christmas period: Festive Fun in the Sun and New Year, New Friends.

17 Euros per night for two adults, two children, and one dog on a large grass pitch with electricity and free wifi at the bar – We visited December 2015 through to January 2016.

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4) Camping Villa Park – Zambujeira Do Mar, Portugal

We found this golden nugget thanks to a flyer left on our motorhome outside a supermarket on the west coast of Portugal.  It is a new ACSI site so it is yet to build up reviews but we were so glad to be one of the campsite’s first ACSI customers.

We arrived on the 8th February 2016 planning on staying for two nights.  We eventually left on the 27th February!  It was so clean, peaceful and friendly, we didn’t want to leave!

The campsite is full of small traditional white and blue bungalows that add such charm to this delightful campsite.  It has a great bar with a pool table and affordable food.  The shop was very well stocked even throughout the low season.  The pool and kids play area were clean, safe and well maintained.

There is a fantastic beach just 10 minutes walk away, through a traditional Portuguese town.  There are no high rise hotels here.  Expect little old grannies sitting in doorways, old men playing cards and children running about bare feet.  It really is a special area, full of Portuguese charm.

I don’t think it will take long before this is an ACSI favourite.  Book in quick before spaces become very limited!

Spending time at Zambuereira changed us in a lovely way.   Read about it here: Ocean Spray

13.50 Euros per night including two children, two adults, one dog, electricity and free wifi – February 2016

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5) Bonterra Park, Benicassim, Spain

Bonterra Park is a very well maintained site that is very popular with regular, repeat visitors.  As such, there is a feeling of familiarity and friendliness.  People stop and talk over the top of bushes, small groups of friends meet to play the guitar and sing songs.  It has a nice, safe atmosphere.

For the dogs, there is a huge derelict campsite, owned by Bonterra Park, that has been allocated as a gated dog walk area.  It is perfect and is a great place to stop and talk to like-minded travellers.

The kids will not be bored with two swimming pools and an indoor pool, two play parks and an activity schedule.  The campsite is a 5-minute walk from a great beach with good restaurants and a nice promenade.

Bonterra Park is situated opposite a supermarket that sells fresh baguettes, croissants, and sweet delicious breakfasts, so there is never any need to cook breakfast in the van.

Boule tournaments take place daily and are well attended.  It is popular with the older generation, who miss their grandchildren, so often children are spoilt rotten by other motorhomers!

There is a fabulous cycle path situated at the back of the campsite that takes you along the via verde (old railway) to the next town (Orepesa).  Make a full day of it!

All in all, Benicassim offers you everything you need – cycle paths, promenade, clean beaches, good restaurants, local excursions, supermarkets, weekly Spanish markets, organised activities, swimming pools and a friendly vibe.  At times it felt a little too convenient but it makes the list due to its cleanliness and friendliness.

Day excursions to Valencia are organised frequently – be sure to visit Europe’s largest aquarium with the kids – they will adore it!

760 Euro’s for the period 26th October to 29th November 2016.  Price includes a family of four and a dog on a large pitch with electricity.  Wifi costs extra but discounts are offered for longer durations.

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6) Itsas Mendi – St Jean de Luz, France

Okay, so I had to add one campsite with waterslides for the kids!

Itsas Mendi made our top 11 list because of its perfect location to explore the Basque country.  It is built on a steep hill so probably not great for people with mobility issues but its 9 hectares of green landscape ensures each of the 418 pitches are shaded from the hot sun.

The site has two swimming pools; one with 6 aqua slides and an indoor pool with a jacuzzi for the adults.  The beach is just a 10-minute cycle away.  It is perfect for crabbing and snorkeling during the late afternoon if the weather is right.

We cycled to St Jean de Luz as a family to watch the annual airshow.  Wow! What an incredible display.  I even wrote about it here: The Sky is Falling Down! If you are in the area around the beginning of October, don’t miss it!

I’m not sure I would like this campsite in the Summer – I would imagine it gets very busy with large Spanish families…but as a winter getaway (it is open all year), it is a perfect pit stop to let the kids unwind and have a bit of good old fashion fun!

Even I let my hair down on this campsite!  Find out who won our wedgie war by reading our blog Calamity Chris!

187 Euros for 9 nights.  Price included two children, two adults, one dog, electricity and free wifi.  A 7 night’s for 6 offer is available during low season with an ACSI card.

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7) Du Vieux Chateau, Rouzan, France

I have to say, this campsite holds a very special place in my heart.  I wrote about my first impressions in my blog The little things….. I thought we had arrived at a dirt track in the middle of nowhere.  It was windy and pine trees were down everywhere – the campsite was a mess! But the owners Pélagie and Thom were so welcoming, we decided to stay.

Well, I am certainly glad we did because this soon became one of my favourite campsites of all time!  It is small, intimate, rustic and cosy.  However, this is not its main attraction…

I’m sure other visitors would agree, that the campsite is slightly  outdone by an amazing 13th Century medieval castle that towers over the 2.6-hectare campsite.   It really is quite outstanding and certainly boosts this campsite into a top 5 position!

As if a heated swimming pool, a jacuzzi, children’s play area, archery and a medieval castle is not enough, why not throw in a subterranean cave just 300 metres away!

The Celestine Caves have a fantastic story.  The tour is worth every penny and was one of the best excursions we booked as a family.   I’m not going to ruin it for you – take a detour and head there!

After that, visit France’s most prettiest village, the fortified town of Pujols and St Emilion (a Unesco World Heritage site)

 

29 Euros for 2 nights for two children, two adults, a dog and electricity – Mid September 2015.  Open from April 1st to October 19th.  Free Wifi.

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8) Playa Montroig, Cataluna, Spain

Do you want to be close to miles of golden sands?   Fancy taking your table and chairs to the beach for breakfast?  Watching the sunset without the noise of thousands of other revelers?

Montroig is the place.  We stumbled across this campsite looking for a quick overnight stop and ended up spending 7 glorious days here.

Our allocated pitch was two feet from the beach.  We had a small sand dune separating the van from the beach.  Every morning we ran the length of the beach and jumped fully clothed into the sea!  It is a dream for any traveller looking for peace and quiet, and outstanding natural beauty.

For the kids, the campsite has everything.  For the dog – well, what more does a dog want than miles of dog-friendly beaches?

This site easily sits in my top 5 campsites just because of those crashing waves at dusk!  There is no better sound than waking to the sound of the sea.

20 Euros per night inclusive of kids, dog, electricity and taxes.  Wifi is extra. We visited Mid October 2015

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9) Seaview International, South Cornwall – United Kingdom

Seaview International is a family favourite of ours.  We have been visiting the site since our daughter was a baby (13 years).  We even purchased an annual pitch for 3 years!

It is situated in South Cornwall, surrounded by a patchwork of fields, interrupted by clusters of trees and the deep blue of the ocean. However, its secluded location doesn’t mean that you’re cut off from things to see and do. For those who want to explore what Cornwall has to offer, you’ll find yourself within easy reach of attractions and historic sites, such as the Lost Gardens of Heligan, Caerhays Castle, and the world-famous Eden Project.

What we love most about this campsite is its sense of ‘back to basics’ fun.  There is no clubhouse or bar so the site does not attract holiday makers looking to get drunk and roll home.  Campers are far more likely to be sat outside their campervans, drinking a glass of wine, cooking a BBQ and playing a game of dominoes.

There is a beautiful heated swimming pool, a well-stocked shop and a fantastic park for the kids with a football pitch and badminton courts.  The pitches are large and graveled overlooking the amazing south coast of Cornwall.

If you have children who love to play in wide open spaces, crab with a line, make friends on bikes, then this is the perfect campsite.  No gadgets needed here….dump the iPads and get out and explore!

PS. Oh and ladies, if you are lucky, you might even see Aidan Turner filming Poldark at Charlestown!

Approx 30 Euros per night including electricity and a large luxury pitch for a family of four and a dog.  Wifi is extra.

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10) Camping La Aldea, El Rocio – Spain

I have picked Camping La Aldea not necessarily for the campsite but for its location.  El Rocio is a must-see town.  It’s like it is stuck in time.  You literally step back to the wild west.  Dirt roads, horses tied outside saloons, cowboys and cowgirls in traditional dress, kids riding wagons like they were born to it…

You can feel the true spirit of the El Rocío pilgrimage in town.  On a Saturday and Sunday, you can watch the Brotherhoods parade through the tiny town, waving their flags to the rhythm of drums and the sounds of flutes.  Behind them, small children and Spanish ladies dance and sing in a cloud of fringes, polka dots and flowers.

Inside the church, a gypsy choir leads joyous celebration and the most upbeat enlightening hymns you are ever likely to hear.  It is hard not to get caught up in the spectacle!

Our children LOVED El Rocio – the whole feeling of stepping back in time, riding horses and wearing cowboy boots!

The Campsite is just 5 minutes from town.  It is clean (actually, immaculate), well managed and very friendly with exceptional washrooms and a lovely restaurant.

17 Euros per night for a family of four plus a dog, with electricity.  Wifi Extra.  We visited early January 2016.

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11) Camping Velodrome, Albert, The Somme – France

I chose both El Rocio and the Somme because I couldn’t decide between them.  For both, it was more about their location than the actual campsites – though both campsites are lovely!

Camping d’Albert is a beautiful small campsite in a very pretty area surrounded by lakes, cycle paths and lush green parks.  But perhaps it is better known for its proximity to the battle of the Somme that took place during World War I.

My Grandfather fought in the battle of the Somme as a Sniper so I was always keen to visit the area with my own children.  I cannot adequately describe the feeling here, but please read my blog, Our Last Stop – The Somme where I try to convey the atmosphere of the battlegrounds and war graves.

To say this place is an education is an understatement.  It moves you beyond words.  I can think of no better way to teach my children about history, bravery and courage than to show them the exact spot where our ancestors fought and died for our freedom.

It is perhaps no surprise that Camping d’Albert is a peaceful and respectful campsite.  The campers here are often visiting the graves of loved ones.  It is not a sombre affair but perhaps a more insightful, reflective place where people talk quietly.

Perfect for dog walks – and kids are captivated by the numerous museums that know how to engage and include children in the historical tours.

The Somme was our last stop, and perhaps a fitting end to our top 11 campsites.

We hope you visit!

22 Euros per night for a family of four, a dog and electricity.  Free Wifi at the bar. We visited in June 2016

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