Who’s ready for a holiday? Thought so. Summer is here, and it feels like it’s time to make a move. Europe, and many of our parcs, are ready and waiting to welcome you. Space, protection and freedom are – of course – a given. We’re Eurocamp. We’re here to make sure this is a summer to remember – for all the right reasons.
So where to go? If you’re looking for inspiration, you’re in the right place. Whether you’re craving for wide open spaces, a secluded bolt hole or splashing about in the pool (or the sea) we’ve rounded up eight summer-ready suggestions to ensure you have the holiday you’ve been waiting for. The family summer holiday you deserve.
Waterfalls and water sports in Schaffhausen, Switzerland
This region is the furthest north in Switzerland and is as beautiful and peaceful and pretty as you’d imagine.
It’s home to Lake Constance (main pic, above), with its array of cycle trails and water sports and the historic town of Stein am Rhein. With just over 600 residents per square kilometre, this picturesque spot provides a quiet alternative to busier and more well-known Swiss destinations like Geneva or Zurich, which has nearly eight times the population density.
Perched on the Rhine River, with its preserved Medieval buildings and eye-catching pastel-coloured homes, it’s a great town for wandering around with your guide book and camera! Don’t miss a visit to the Rhine Falls, Europe’s largest and most powerful ‘horizontal’ waterfall cascade.
Must do/see: Pay a visit to Stein am Rhein’s Hohenklingen Castle. Dating back to the 1200s it offers amazing views of the town and water below.
Nearest parc: Bella Tola Campsite
History and tapestry in Houlgate, Normandy
Houlgate is a smart tourist resort on the Normandy coast. It’s close to the D-Day landing beaches and WWII museums, one of which houses the Bayeux Tapestry, in Bayeux. The fact that it’s also close to home (the ferry port of Caen is also close by, with regular connections to Plymouth) is appealing too!
There are terrific beaches at Arromanches les Bains (pic), but Houlgate enjoys an excellent beach, a handsome promenade lined with turn of the century Belle Epoque hotels and villas, and plenty of sporting action, both on and off the water.
The cliffs on either side of the town were called “Black Cows” by sailors, as the rocks tumbling down to the sea are covered with black algae. They’re also good places to come looking for fossils. You can walk the cliffs for 6 kms, or, if you’ve not the energy, head to the cliff top lookout spot known as ‘Chaos’. It’s a sublime, peaceful spot, and perfect for a picnic.
Must see/do: The immense weight of Mont-Saint-Michel’s Benedictine Abbey and high-steepled church is borne by a network of underground crypts and chapels that run throughout the mound. An incredible architectural feat, and great fun to explore with little ones!
Nearest parc: La Vallee
Seafood and sandcastles in Saint-Malo, Brittany
Saint-Malo is one of the most charming towns in the north of France; its walled citadel rising defiantly from the waters of the English Channel, softened by a frill of soft sand beaches at low tide. It’s a suitably dramatic spot that suits Brittany’s rugged, windswept coast.
Kids will love the town’s Grand Aquarium, which has hundreds of species of fish and a large touch pool where you can get to grips with some of the less prickly creatures. History buffs should head to the Musée de la Ville for a look at rare maritime objects, including the prow of a ship.
Saint-Malo sits at the heart of 29kms of pristine coastline, with terrific beaches in any direction. Head out of town for charming St Coulomb. This neat seaside town has three beaches, each beautifully preserved and seemingly at one with the natural surroundings. Du Guesclin is bordered by soft dunes, Chevrets is lined with wild flowers and La Touesse is surrounded by rocky outcrops.
Must see/do: One of the best-preserved and prettiest walled cities in Brittany, Dinan is a treat for the eyes. Wander along the impressive 3km-long ramparts, climb St Catherine’s tower for views of the valley, and take to the clock tower’s 158 steps to look down on the charming streets and half-timbered houses of the old town below.
Nearest parc: Domaine des Ormes, Dol-de-Bretagne
A stylish escape route in Southern France
Famous for its beautiful beaches and home to the eternally glamorous Nice and St Tropez, heading south doesn’t have to mean being somewhere hectic.
For culture vultures who want to avoid the crowds, ditch the busier resorts and head to Saint-Paul-de-Vence (pic).
This small but super chic commune was once home to famous artists like Picasso, Matisse and Marc Chagall and nowadays is only home to just 476 people per square kilometre, which compared to the population density of Nice at ten times that, is certain to offer a holiday with greater space to call your own. The cobbled, medieval streets are charming, lined with galleries and shops.
Scores of beautiful beaches are all within driving distance, making this a perfect spot to soak up some culture or simply sit back and relax by the sea.
Must do/see: Climb up through cobbled streets, past cypress and palm trees to reach the town’s stunning ancient cemetery. Painter Marc Chagall is buried here and the views are spectacular.
Nearest parc: Green Park
Feel the forest breathe in Bavaria, Germany
Surrounded by lush, green countryside, steeped in history and full of off-beat places to visit, Bavaria is a safe bet for travellers looking for a relaxing getaway. And if you’re a fan of charming, romantic forests then look no further than the Ettaler forest, with its fairytale castles rising from rocky outcrops.
This region of Bavaria has a spacious and friendly feel, is full of tempting towns, and is close to Tegelberg mountain, with its kid-friendly cable car rides. Don’t be put off by its relative obscurity – this hidden corner of Germany packs an Instagrammable punch; try the gorgeous half timbered town of Miltenburg (pic) for starters, or splash about in its crystal clear lakes.
Its car-free Old Town is a great place to wander around, enjoying the architecture at your own pace, and the castle has to be seen to be believed.
Must do/see: A visit to Neuschwanstein Castle has to top your to do list. The gorgeous building is said to have inspired Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle – and was featured in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – a treat for adults and little ones.
Nearest parc: Campingpark Gitzenweiler Hof
Peace and prehistory in the Dordogne
There is no shortage of Instagram-ready Dordogne towns, but for our money they don’t come much prettier than Le Bugue, a busy little market town with lots of home-grown attractions, and a great base for wider explorations.
Its riverside position makes it especially charming, and ideal for strolls along the water. But do wander through its narrow lanes to find the beautiful, flower-filled window-boxes of the 15th century houses. Le Bugue is also in an ideal position to explore the Vezere valley and its famous prehistoric sites. So unique this region’s array of prehistoric sites that the Vezere Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The world famous Lascaux caves are not far away; and the equally charming towns of Montignac and Beynac (pic) are definitely worth a wander.
Must do/see: Visit the countryside that surrounds Les Eyzies, which is riddled, Swiss cheese-like, with caves and other sites of world class prehistoric attractions.
Nearest parc: St Avit Loisirs, Le Bugue
Surfing and sunsets in Landes
If the ocean is calling, take a trip to France’s wide and (occasionally) wild Atlantic seaboard, for swells, surf and terrific sunsets. Cap de l’Homy beach in Landes enjoys ideal summer wind swells for those who like to chase the ultimate breakers (and if you fancy trying surfing for the first time, there are great schools in the area).
Here, in the deep southwest of France, the living is easy – there’s a definite relaxation of pace, and of worry around these parts. Maybe that’s because Spain is just a short drive away – there’s a definite blending of cultures, with the emphasis on getting things done manana at the stylish resort of Biarritz (pic).
There are wonderful, deep and atmospheric forests to explore too. The The Landes Forest is yours to explore on foot, bike, horse or even by kayaking through the rivers which criss-cross its borders.
Backed by the forest of Girons, the beach of Girons Nord is a spectacular stretch of sands, with those Atlantic rollers crashing in, the sound of the seagulls and the setting sun. Bring a picnic, make a day of it.
Must see/do: If ever a city had a Basque spirit it’s Bayonne. Full of life, and rich in history, Bayonne (yes, it gave its name to the bayonet, but don’t let that worry you) enjoys a perfectly preserved core of narrow medieval streets where you’ll find the Gothic-style Bayonne Cathedral, and impressive Château Vieux castle.
Nearest parc: Le Soleil des Landes, Lit et Mixe
Chianti and culture in Tuscany
The Tuscan hills wrap themselves seductively around the towns of central Italy: each a masterclass in Renaissance art and architecture. Florence, Siena and Pisa – just some of the places whose names are forever associated with world class cultural treasures. For more tasty pleasures, this area is also a part of the world-renowned Chianti Route. The delicious wine is made in this area and the handsome town of Greve is its epicentre. Pay a visit to Florence and you’ll be sure to fall for its magnificent buildings, world-famous artworks and narrow, winding roads. Make a date with Piazzale Michelangelo at dusk to watch the day fade over the Duomo and make a promise to come back again soon.
Kids will love San Gimignano. Known as the Manhattan of the middle ages, the skyline of this UNESCO World Heritage Site is dominated by 14 towers (all over 50m high). When it’s time to give neck-craning a rest, stop for a glass of Vernaccia di San Gimignano, a white wine produced exclusively in the region.
Must do/see: The walled city of Siena is so perfectly preserved you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped right back into the medieval age (or a very convincing film set!). At its centre is the sloping Piazza del Campo, built on the site of a Roman marketplace and lined with cafes and restaurants.
Nearest parc: Norcenni Girasole