The compact beach resort of Calella, on Spain’s Costa Maresme, is a great choice for a family holiday if you’re travelling with teens. There is so much for them to do here you won’t have to hear that dreaded phrase: “We’re bored.”
Whether your kids are into watersports or sunbathing, shopping or art, there are enough activities in this historic-fishing-village-turned-tourist-resort to keep them happy for as long as your holiday lasts. And, just in case that isn’t enough to prize your teen away from their beloved social media devices, there’s also Europe’s largest waterpark just half an hour away, a Universal Studio’s theme park within a couple of hours’ drive and Barcelona with its cool cosmopolitan vibe just 50 minutes away.
Beaches Full of Activities
Of course the main reason for coming to Calella is likely to be its three beautiful beaches, and your teens won’t be disappointed. The three kilometres of coarse-grained sand which run along the seafront of the town offer a range of activities from sun loungers (if sunbathing can actually be called an activity), to windsurfing and sea kayaking.
During the summer months all the activity of the town seems to move to the seafront, so the beaches are always lively and bustling, although, with 50,000m² of sand, rarely overcrowded.
Active teens should head to the sports complex and watersports club which offers sailing, windsurfing, sea kayaking and pedaloes on the water, as well as areas for football, volleyball and even aerobics on the sand.
My kids’ favourite stretch of sand is Platja Gran Calella, thanks to the two rafts anchored 100m off the shore with their own waterslides into the sea. This is the town’s main beach and at 1,430 metres long and 60 metres wide, also its biggest. During the summer it is a sea of sunshades, with more than 1,000 available to rent.
As well as several temporary snack bars which set up here in the summer months, there’s a restaurant and beach club to relax in, as well as a shaded park area.
Another great beach is Garbi. Divided from the town by a railway track and accessible only by the several underpasses which lead to it, Garbi is often quieter than Gran Calella and is served by its own selection of temporary beach bars, so that sunbathers can buy snacks and refreshments without having to return to town.
Beyond the Beach
The first thing to do when you get to Calella is to check out the local tourist office to see if there are any local fiestas during the time you’re there. The Spanish really know how to party and these fiestas tend to envelop whole communities with dancing and music on every street corner. It’s something the kids will never forget.
If you’ve got a teenager who loves to shop then why not let them go off and explore the Carrer de l’Essglesia, the town’s main shopping street, while you wander around the museum which traces the town’s history from pre-Roman times to today. The shopping centre is fully pedestrianised and boasts more that 400 boutiques, which should keep even the most dedicated shopaholic happy.
Active teens may like to walk out to the Torretes de Calella, a now-ruined nineteenth-century tower used for signalling, and then on to the town lighthouse, once a defence tower used to repel pirates.
Day Trips and Excursions
If you fancy a day out then why not take the family down the coast to spend the day in the bustling urban city of Barcelona (you can look at the Gaudí architecture while they people-watch the cool residents at play on the city’s beach).
Other trips worth taking are the short journey to Lloret de Mar to spend the day at the vast Water World park there or the longer trip down to PortAventura, a massive theme park with six different ‘worlds’ to explore.
Insider Tip: Waterparks and theme parks get booked up well in advance during the summer so if you want to treat your children to a day out book ahead.
How to Get to Calella
Just up the coast from Barcelona, Calella couldn’t be easier to get to from the UK with a good range of budget and premium airlines flying into Barcelona airport daily. Just as close is Girona airport with a number of direct flights from the UK.
Whichever airport you choose, the quickest and most convenient way of getting to the resort is by booking a Shuttle Direct transfer before you set off. Book a private car or group transfer online and save yourself the annoyance of tutting teenagers as you frantically try to organise transportation at the airport.
Where to Stay:
Bon Repòs – A good hotel with a great family atmosphere, the Bon Repòs is just five minutes’ walk from the beach. The kids will love the two swimming pools and, of course, the free WiFi throughout the hotel.
Medplaya Hotel Santa Monica – The Medplaya Hotel Santa Monica is a great choice for older kids as there’s a games room downstairs with pool table and table tennis where they can hang out (without you around to embarrass them!) as well as two swimming pools. It’s just a two-minute walk from the beach and all the rooms have balconies.
Hotel Bernat II – If you’re looking for something a little more stylish, the four-star Hotel Bernat II is the perfect choice. Just a short walk from the beach, with its own beach bar and sun loungers waiting for you when you get there, this is a great option for a family holiday. Kids will enjoy the games room while you enjoy the spa and cocktail bar.
About Shuttle Direct:
Family holidays are fantastic but getting there can be a nightmare with teens nagging about lack of WiFi and being bored; why not take the stress out of arriving at a foreign airport by booking an airport transfer with Shuttle Direct before you leave home? Shuttle Direct is the leading provider of private and group transfers across Europe and North Africa – book a private car with them and your driver will be waiting for you in the arrivals lounge when you land. No stress, no hassle, and no whinging kids.