If you, like us, are watching – in wonder – the technicolour parade of beautiful and bizarre creatures on David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II, you’ll be pleased to know you don’t have to sink 1,000 feet into the chilly Antarctic depths, or charter a boat to the Great Barrier Reef to witness the marvels and mysteries of the seas.
No, you just need to get up close and personal with the seas, and the sea life, that surrounds our own continent. And, yes, there’s a Eurocamp parc handily close-by, so you can dry off in no time!
Glass-bottomed catamaran trip from Salou to Cambrils
Even on this most developed of Costas, the water just offshore is dazzlingly clear, and lit by the bright Mediterranean sun. So it’s no surprise to see lots of glass-bottomed boat and catamaran trips offering a glimpse into what lies beneath. Try the tour from Salou to Cambrils: you’ll be surprised by the variety of the marine life you’ll encounter en-route.
Nearest parc: Parc Playa Bara
Snorkelling, and dolphins, in Croatia
The sea in Croatia is very clear, and very clean. The seabed, especially in the shallow waters, is pebble: less sand means less murkiness. Snorkeling is just terrific here. There are also lots of ship wrecks all along the coastline, forming reefs which attract lots of colourful fishes, sea-urchins and shellfish. The Adriatic is also home to friendly pods of dolphins. The best sites are the island of Losinj, and Rovinj on the Istrian Peninsula. Head to the marine park of Brijuni, with its myriad little islands (some, such as tiny Gaz – main pic above – are even fish-shaped!)
Nearest parc: Camp Lanterna
A bird’s eye view of Brittany’s coast
The sea is never far away from you, if you’re headed to Brittany. And the region’s awash with great ocean-themed attractions to celebrate the fact. The Aquashow (Pointe du Raz) explores the deep, and the creatures who are dependent on it – with tanks that include sharks, shellfish, conger eel, cuttlefish and octopus. The attraction also showcases the estuary and coastal birds of the region – with an amazing 45 minute experience where birds are encouraged to dive into a clear-sided tank, swooping down over your heads. It’s quite an experience!
…Or try the unique Trégastel Marine Aquarium, tucked into the in pink granite caves of Brittany’s north coast. Here you’ll see and Breton marine life living in three different zones defined by the height of the tide: the Sea-Spray Zone, the Tidal Zone and the Sub-littoral (or underwater) Zone. It’s a sea life attraction actually shaped, and informed, by the coast itself – it’s small, compared to others – but we love its natural, low-key charm. And younger kids especially will love it.
Nearest parc: Le Ranolien
Diving off the Tuscan Coast
In Tuscany there are about 50 dive centres between Livorno and Argentario, including centres on the archipelago islands just off shore: 15 on the Island of Elba and 10 in Argentario and on the Island of Giglio. A two hour submersion with gas tanks, a guide and transport is around £35 per person, a first level course to obtain a license to dive to a depth of 18m costs around £300. We’d recommend Elba, a terrific spot from which to dive into the shipwreck-rich waters, or the Accademia Blu dive centre in Livorno, offering trips to WWII wrecks, and the marine life that calls them home these days.
Surf and song in Biarritz
Feel the awesome power of the Atlantic at Biarritz – considered one of the most reliable and exhilarating surfing spots in Europe. There are great surf schools for novices and intermediates alike along each of the town’s six beaches. Then, to get a greater understanding of this town’s relationship with surf and sea, a visit to the Maritime Museum is a must. Here, you’ll learn of the town’s whaling history, sitting in an acoustic chair, watching an audio-visual presentation on the mysterious and beautiful songs of the whale.
Nearest parc: Le Ruisseau
Into the deep blue, Corsica-style
For a day on the water and a chance to see dolphins in the wild, a trip to the nature reserve of Scandola is a must. Go on a boat tour to see the stunning sights of the Corsican coast and observe this island’s impressive array of bird-and-sea life. You will also be offered the chance to snorkel halfway through your sea trip- which, again, we’d highly recommend.
Nearest parc: Marina d’Erba Rossa