Holidays when you have a few kids to keep happy, full and entertained can do serious damage to your bank balance, but I think that it is possible to have a fun, memorable and valuable family vacation on a budget.
The destination? I recommend the charming Spanish resort town of Salou in the Tarragona province. Here you will find gorgeous sandy beaches, a lovely warm climate and plenty of great activities to keep the little ones engaged.
Here are a few suggestions for keeping costs down whilst not sacrificing the fun factor on your sunny Spanish vacation.
Where to Eat
Understandably, it is often feeding hungry young stomachs that can cause the most stress for families vacationing on a budget. Salou has many great eating out options whether you are looking for a burger or a local delicacy.
Petit Bar – Whilst your brood may not be as keen to sample local cuisine as you, try taking them to this popular eatery that serves up generous portions of tapas but without the hefty price tag. Due to its popularity with tourists and locals alike (creating a lively atmosphere), you may want to book in advance. Petit Bar is located at 6 Plaça d’ Europa.
The Little Hampton Steakhouse – When the kids want burgers and chips (and possibly mum and dad!), head to The Little Hampton Steakhouse at 26 Carles Buigas for a filling meal. The prices are low and the service is excellent and particularly for young families. Whether you opt for burger or steak, you are sure to leave a very satisfied customer.
Pizzeria Goretti – Brilliantly situated beachside at Paseo Jaime, Pizzeria Goretti is ideal if you want to encourage your kids to try something new. Get a plate of tapas to share and then they can fill up on an old favourite – pizza!
Insider Tip: It is polite to tip in Spain even if it is small change, whilst at restaurants it is recommended to tip at 10%.
What to Do
The sprawling sandy beaches are Salou’s main attraction and particularly Levant Beach – a picturesque 1km long palm-tree lined promenade with everything that you could possibly need. The beach has plenty of water sports equipment if you are feeling adventurous, or you can simply relax on a sun lounger whilst the kids paddle in the turquoise waters. The great thing about hitting the beach is the fact that it is completely free!
Of course you do not want to spend the entire vacation in the sand, which is why I recommend visiting one or two of the local theme parks. These are bursting with thrilling rides and activities, but many of them also have peaceful areas for relaxing (believe it or not!).
Inside Tip: Bring your own packed lunch (if allowed) as this will save you a fortune!
Check out our guide to the best family theme parks in Salou here.
Top Tips for Parents
So, you know where to eat and what activities to get up to – here are a few general tips for vacationing in Salou.
- Most places are walkable as it is quite compact, but there is also a 24-hour tourist train which can take you around and just outside the city (including PortAventura).
- Do not cram too much in as it can get very hot during the day and you do not want to deal with any tantrums!
- Make sure that everyone wears strong sunscreen every day (waterproof, ideally)
- Meal times are generally later in Spain, so attempt to adjust your body clocks by an hour or so. The evenings are much cooler and ideal for strolling the streets.
How to Get to Salou
Another reason that Salou is a great choice for families on a budget is the fact that it is just a two-hour flight from London. Barcelona El Prat (BCN) is the closest airport and many major budget airlines make this flight every day, so you should be able to find one that is within your price range and at a suitable time.
Salou is just over an hour away by road and a scenic drive down the coast. To minimise stress and get your trip off to a smooth start, I recommend pre-booking a Shuttle Direct transfer as a friendly local driver will be waiting at the airport and drop you to the door of your hotel.
Where to Stay
Accommodation is another one of the major expenses, but how about a fun camping experience to save some cash?
Camping Baix Camp – Located just outside Salou, this campsite offers guests cosy bungalows that come complete with a kitchenette and lounge area. Some have a dining area and/or a terrace as well. The site also has a garden, outdoor pool, a barbeque, mini-market and on-site bar and restaurant. With such a friendly atmosphere, you are sure to make a few friends here too!
La Siesta Salou Resort – Conveniently just 550 yards from Salou Beach, this camping resort has plenty onsite to keep you all happy and entertained for times that you do not want to be out exploring. The bungalows come with TV’s, dining areas, kitchenettes and a porch area. The complex also features two swimming pools, a club for kids, a buffet restaurant, cafe-bar and even its own supermarket. Previous guests have commented on the excellent location and how it is really fast and easy to get into town and back every day.
About Shuttle Direct:
As an established airport transfer provider throughout Europe, Shuttle Direct pride themselves on their reliable, efficient and affordable service. They provide transfers to and from airports, hotels, cruise terminals, train stations and other areas of interest throughout the continent and can take all of the stress out of onwards travel.
Use their online booking form today to book your transfer and leave the rest to their team of experts.