Costa Brava was our first holiday destination abroad with both our small children in tow. We love Spain, but hadn’t been to this area yet. As it’s only 2 hours on a plane from the UK, it really appealed having a 3 year old and an 18 month old travelling with us. I have to make family holidays as easy as possible, especially for my husband. He’s not ever so keen on flying, and leaves me in charge of all the holiday arrangements. That works for me!
Flying out to Costa Brava was relatively straight forward. I had checked in online in plenty of time so we were allocated seats together on our Ryan Air flight. We landed a little late, due to some fog when we left the UK. This meant we were waiting for our transfer for a while, and the kids were wound up like spinning tops by the time our bus was ready to leave. When we finally got going, it was fine and we were dropped off near our hotel about 45 minutes later.
Our Hotel In Costa Brava
The Hotel Stella & Spa is a lovely hotel in the quiet resort of Pineda De Mar. I picked it because of it’s location in respect to Barcelona airport and because it seemed very family friendly. It was a lovely hotel and we felt welcome from the moment we walked in. Our room was lovely with lots of room for a family and in a quiet spot in the hotel. The other thing that Hotel Stella & Spa do very well is food. There bar food and restaurant meals were lovely. It’s the only all inclusive hotel where I’ve seen people taking photos of the food. Everyone was impressed.
What We Did In Costa Brava
I had had high hopes of exploring Costa Brava during our holiday. There was a train station at the very end of our street, with easy access to Barcelona and Gerona. I also hoped we’d visit other nearby resorts like Lloret De Mar. Unfortunately, on this occasion this didn’t happen. Small children aren’t so keen on sight seeing, and unfortunately cannot be forced or encouraged to enjoy it in the same way older children can.
Their needs are simple. The want to play on the beach, paddle in the sea, splash in the pool and eat ice cream. What else could you possibly need on a holiday?
I do love that holidays can be this simple. They don’t need constant entertaining or activities to do in the same way as older children. They are not hiding in the hotel room playing on their iPads. They just want to play, and it is adorable. Costa Brava does have lots of activities for children, even small ones like ours, but our visit was out of season so we had just missed out. They were just as happy with their bucket and spade, and when they are happy Mummy and Daddy are happy too.
There was a lovely play area on the beach that the girls really enjoyed. It had all your usual suspects like swings and slides, as well as a pirate boat climbing frame and a mini gym. It was perfect for them to play on and burn off some energy.
Sadly, our youngest daughter was ill for a couple of days while we were in Costa Brava. She was coming down with something as we flew out so it wasn’t entirely a surprise. Daddy kept her in the room for a day just to try and get over it, which left me and my 3 year old Princess to explore. We took a ride on the tourist train together. It stopped right out side of our hotel and did a loop around Pineda De Mar. It was a lovely way to see more of this little town together, without the moans about having to walk. I think it cost about €4.
Despite not having her little sister to
terrorise play with, she still managed to have fun. Beaches are great spaces for kids to enjoy a sense of freedom. With the weather taking a turn for the worse in the UK, it was lovely to be able to be outside for a change. I was keen that we should make the most of the warmer weather while we had the chance.
We enjoyed some family strolls along the beach hunting for treasure. My daughter had made a friend at the hotel who also liked to walk along the beach. She would collect shells and pieces of washed glass daily and give them to my daughter at dinner every evening. She was so happy with her beach treasure collection by the time we left.
It’s really special how the simple things can make children so happy isn’t it? Letting the waves wash over your feet is certainly one of life’s simple pleasures, well it is in our book.
A Spanish holiday wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the market, and I bought a new pashmina to add to my growing collection of scarves. I like to bring a little keep sake home to remind me of my travels, and collecting something like this is nice and simple. Over the years I’ve picked up lots of bargains from the Spanish markets, including shoes and bags. They are perfect if you like a little shopping spree. They don’t last in the same way a pashmina does I’ve discovered.
Sometimes a gentle holiday is all that is needed, and Pineda De Mar is the perfect place to get that, no matter how old you are. The beach is stunning and goes on for miles and the Mediterranean is alway a perfect blue making it a happy partner. We would definitely go back to the area and the hotel. If we did, we would try and explore more of Costa Brava as the kids got older. While they are small, we will just enjoy our time playing in the sand and paddling in the sea.
Have you visited Costa Brava? I’d love to hear about where you have stayed and what you would recommend for families?