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9 Things to See and Do in Italy in February

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Italy is a favourite holiday destination among many travel bloggers. In February, you'll find lively festivals, smaller crowds, and a new perspective on the country. While the weather might be cooler, the warmth of Italian hospitality never fades. Here are nine must-do activities if you find yourself in Italy during this charming winter month.

gondola boat on river


Experience the Venice Carnival
The Venice Carnival is one of the most famous events in Italy, attracting visitors from all over the world. It usually takes place in February, leading up to Lent. Imagine streets filled with people donning elaborate masks and costumes, creating a magical atmosphere. The city becomes a stage for performances, parades, and masquerade balls. Don't miss the chance to witness the grandeur of the Venetian celebrations – it's truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Hit the Slopes in the Italian Alps
If you're a winter sports fan, then the Italian Alps are calling your name. February offers some of the best skiing conditions, with plenty of snow and crisp mountain air. Pack for a ski trip and head to resorts like Courmayeur and Cervinia who cater to all levels of skiers and snowboarders. After an exhilarating day on the slopes, cozy up in a mountain lodge and enjoy hearty Italian cuisine by the fire.

Soak Up Some Culture in Florence
Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance, is a treasure trove of art and history. With fewer tourists around, you can take your time exploring the Uffizi Gallery, home to masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli, without the usual crowds. Stroll across the Ponte Vecchio, visit the stunning Florence Cathedral, and cap off your day with gelato, even if it's a bit chilly outside – it's always gelato season in Italy!

verona


Celebrate Valentine's Day in Verona
Verona, the setting for Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," becomes even more romantic in February. The city hosts 'Verona in Love,' a festival dedicated to love and lovers each year. The streets are adorned with heart-shaped lanterns, and there are concerts, markets, and poetry readings. You can also leave a love note on Juliet’s wall or visit the famous balcony. It's the perfect destination for couples looking for a romantic getaway.

Indulge in Chocolate at the Eurochocolate Festival in Perugia
Chocolate lovers rejoice! Perugia hosts the Eurochocolate Festival every February, where chocolate artisans from Italy and beyond showcase their delicious creations. You can sample everything from classic bars to exotic flavours you've never imagined. There are also workshops, sculptures made of chocolate, and plenty of opportunities to buy gifts for your loved ones (or for yourself!).

Explore the Quiet Beauty of Cinque Terre
The five picturesque villages of Cinque Terre are a sight to behold year-round, but visiting in February means you'll share the stunning views with fewer tourists. Wander through the colourful houses perched on rugged cliffs, hike the scenic trails connecting the villages, or simply enjoy the tranquil ambiance of the Mediterranean Sea. The cooler weather is perfect for savouring a warm bowl of seafood pasta while gazing out at the serene waters.

Attend the Historic Carnevale di Ivrea
Head to the town of Ivrea in northern Italy to witness the historic Carnevale di Ivrea, known for its unique and passionate Battle of the Oranges. This event symbolizes the fight for freedom and involves teams throwing oranges at each other, representing ancient combat. It's a thrilling spectacle that combines history, tradition, and much of citrus! Remember to wear a red hat to signal that you're just watching, not participating in the battle.

Coliseum in Rome


Discover the Wonders of Rome Without the Crowds
Rome in February is a delight for those who prefer to avoid the peak season hustle. With much shorter wait times, you can visit iconic landmarks like the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Vatican Museums. Take a leisurely walk through the city's cobblestone streets, enjoy a cappuccino in a quiet piazza, and soak up the rich history surrounding you at every turn.

Enjoy the Almond Blossom Festival in Agrigento, Sicily
Celebrate the early arrival of spring at the Almond Blossom Festival in Agrigento, Sicily. This festival marks the beginning of the almond blossom season and features folk groups, dancers, and musicians worldwide. The Valley of the Temples, with its Greek ruins, provides a stunning backdrop for this joyful celebration of new life and cultural exchange.

snow covered field


FAQs
Is winter a good time to visit tourist attractions in Italy?
Yes, winter is a great time to visit attractions as they are less crowded. Plus, you might get to enjoy seasonal events and Christmas markets!

Can tourists play the lottery while visiting Italy?
Tourists can participate in the Italian lottery, SuperEnalotto. Just purchase a ticket from an authorized retailer and try your luck. You can also do it through Lottoland, a popular website for lottery lovers.

What should I pack for a winter trip to Italy?
Pack warm clothing such as sweaters, thermal wear, a heavy coat, and waterproof boots for snow or rain. Don't forget accessories like scarves, gloves, and a warm hat to keep you cozy.

Will I be able to find accommodation easily in Italy?
Finding accommodation can be easier and often cheaper in winter than during peak seasons. It's still wise to book ahead, especially around holidays.

Is it possible to go skiing in Italy during winter?
Italy boasts some fantastic ski resorts in the Alps and Dolomites. Check the local snow conditions and resort openings before planning your trip.

Have you visited Italy? What is your favourite place to visit?

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Michelle
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What To Pack For A School Ski Trip

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If your son or daughter gets the opportunity to go skiing with their primary or secondary school, it is such an amazing opportunity. Some children may already know how to ski whilst this may be the first time for others, either way this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for most and if possible not to be missed. However, as a parent we found it quite stressful, knowing exactly what to pack for a weeklong stay. 

a group of adults and children on a ski slope


The first thing you need to remember is when packing for any school trip is that your child will be responsible for carrying, lifting, pushing or pulling their suitcase or bag. Teachers unfortunately can't help every child with their luggage so it's down to each child. 

If your child is flying to their ski resort they will most likely only be allowed 15kg maximum. This is still heavy for little ones to carry. Also most hotels have lifts however we have found in the past that schools prefer the children to use the stairs while transporting their luggage so it's wise to have them practice on stairs at home lifting or pulling up their case. 

So bearing that in mind, it is quite difficult to know exactly what to pack for the ski trip. The school will give you some basic information on what the essentials they need, which I will speak about however, it’s the 'other' clothes and accessories that they may need on their trip that you don’t get much guidance on.

As a parent of a son who went skiing as a year 6 pupil, here is exactly what we packed but I have also added what you may also need for packing for a girl too.

packing a suitcase



We opted for a large holdall bag with wheels* which was recommended to us by a resort volunteer. Also we used packing cubes labelled with what was inside, which we found was so much easier for our son. We showed him exactly what was in each packing cube so he knew exactly what was where. 

For travelling our children where given a red jumper and were asked to wear their ski jacket so no need to pack this.

Also the teachers who were travelling with the children were in receipt of their

Passport
EHIC
Spending Money (€80)

child lying in snow wearing ski goggles


In The Case

Ski Essentials 

1 pair of salopettes - these are recommended over ski trousers so they don't fall down.

2 x base layer tops

2 x base layer trousers 

1 x fleece 

2 x pairs of ski socks - ( 3 pairs if you are not requested to put a pair in their hand luggage).

1 x ski goggles - These must be of a high quality to protect their eyes.

1 x sun glasses - Again these must be of a high quality to protect their eyes.

1 x ski gloves

1 x hand warmer gloves - these go inside their ski gloves for extra warmth.

1 x suncream - preferably one that can be worn around the neck so they can reapply when on the slopes

1 x lipsalve - preferably one that can be worn around the neck so they can reapply when on the slopes.

1 x hat - a beanie style hat is preferred as needs to sit inside the helmet. 

1 x neck warmer - these are preferred to scarves.

Other Clothing 

3 x tracksuit bottoms or leggings - plus the pair they travel in.

7 x a mixture of short and long sleeve t-shirts - plus the top they travel in

2 x hoodies, jumpers or tracksuit tops - hotels are usually warm so no need to over pack.

10 x pairs of undies or knickers - 1 for each day plus a few spares.

10 x pairs of socks - 1 for each day plus a few spares.

2 x pyjamas

1 x slippers

Toiletries

Toothpaste

Toothbrush

Shower gel

Roll on deodorant

Brush

Hair bobbles and/or clips

Towel - the hotel our children went to did not provide towels

boy walking through snow



Hand Luggage - We chose a medium sized backpack

This will differ for everyone but our school wanted inside hand luggage

A packed breakfast - our meet time was 4:15am so they ate their breakfast at the airport

A packed lunch - this was so they could eat their lunch before leaving for the resort in Italy

£10 to buy drinks at the airport - as you can't take drinks through security

An empty sports bottle - There are water fountains in most airports

Activities to do on plane coach such as pencils/ paper/ colouring books/ top trumps

A hi vis vest that was given to us by the school

A large trolley bag such as a sports direct bag

A pair of ski socks - this was so they could go straight to their ski boot fitting once at the resort.

This all fitted neatly in his packing cubes and in his large holdall. It was heavy but he could manage it with some effort. 

I've popped a link to the Amazon Basics Packing Cubes*  we used and also Large Holdall With Wheels*

If there is anything I've missed off please feel free to message me and I'll include. If you have a child going on a ski trip I hope they enjoy it and make memories to last a lifetime!

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Michelle
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5 Unforgettable Places to Visit in Southeast Asia

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Which Southeast Asian destination is going to feature on your travelling planner? Each of the eleven destinations are popular for their impressive landscapes, histories, cultures, and cuisines. There is something for every traveller here, and you will probably have a hard time picking just one place to visit.

boat in the water


The ancient temple complex of Angkor Wat is the most significant and religious monument in the world. It is Cambodia’s pride and joy. It tells the history of Cambodia in stone carvings and paintings on the walls of the temple. These one-of-a-kind temples were built in the 12th century as a Hindu temple. It is dedicated to the god Vishnu, one of the three principal gods in Hindu mythology. It is magical at sunrise and is breathtaking in every single way.

Inle Lake (Myanmar) is a freshwater unpolluted and picturesque lake surrounded and is surrounded by hills and is known for its natural beauty and the unique one-leg rowing skills of Intha fishermen. The lake is home to several ethnic tribes of Myanmar who till now follow well-preserved traditions and cultures.

Hoi An in Vietnam displays the heritage of Japanese merchant houses, Chinese temples, and ancient tea warehouses. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been described as the place “where time stood still”. The charming “yellow town “is packed with history and full of opportunities to create magical memories.

Conclusion: Southeast Asia’s unique landscapes and hidden islands are waiting to be discovered. The diverse tourist destinations provide visitors with an experience of nature, spirituality, and adventure.

signpost for Bali

Bali

Bali is a seamless blend of, pristine beaches, gorgeous rice paddies, mystical temples, warm hospitality, and an abundance of activities. Visit this top destination with the Bali Packages as it offers a unique blend of natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and a laid-back lifestyle and creates a tapestry of wonders that captivate the soul. Bali is the undisputed favourite among the 17,000 islands and lives up to its reputation as the quintessential tropical paradise. Canggu located on the southwestern coast is vibrant and rapidly becoming a destination that offers a mix of laid-back charm and attractions. It is known for its stunning beaches, paddy fields, and thriving surf culture. Canggu has become a magnet for surfers, travellers seeking a relaxed and bohemian atmosphere, and digital nomads. It boasts a plethora of trendy cafes, stylish boutiques, and hip beach clubs, creating a  buzzing social scene. Nusa Penida lies tucked off in Bali’s southeastern coast and is known for its rugged beauty and unspoiled landscapes. Famous for its breathtaking cliffs, shimmering turquoise waters, and pristine white sand beaches it offers a tranquil escape from the bustling mainland. Nusa Penida‘s dramatic coastal features include the iconic Kelingking Beach and Broken Beach, which leave the visitors in awe of nature’s artistry. Diving and snorkelling enthusiasts will be captivated by the marine life surrounding Crystal Bay and Manta Point. Pura Lempuyang known as the “Gateway to Heaven”, is a sacred Hindu temple complex. It is situated on the slopes of Mount Lempuyang in East Bali, six hundred m above sea level. This iconic temple has gained global recognition for its breathtaking views and spiritual significance. The main attraction is the split-gate entrance, which frames a magnificent vista of Mount Agung, Bali’s highest volcano.

Thailand

Thailand is a Southeast Asian country known for its stunning beaches, magnificent architectural marvels, and fun nightlife. With the Thailand Tour Packages From India explore this land of smiles that radiates a concoction of flavours through its culture, history, full moon parties, exotic beaches, and enticing floating markets. Bangkok, the capital of Thailand is known for its glittering lights, shrines, beautiful parks, lakes, markets, and shopping complexes. This city offers a classic Thai experience. This modern-day melting pot is known for contrasting cultures and faiths. Here skyscrapers with towering heights gel perfectly with temples and monasteries.  The luxury malls compete with the street bazaars and floating markets. The nightlife of Bangkok moves around flashy nightclubs, rooftops, bright neon light signs, and go-go bars. Food is a crucial part of Bangkok’s culture and tourists can savour delectable Thai dishes at food stalls and restaurants. Phang Nga Bay popularly known as Ao Phangnapa is a group of forty -two islands situated between the Malay peninsula of Thailand and Phuket. Its distinctive feature is the limestone karsts that protrude vertically out of the emerald-green waters. James Bond Island and  Koh Panyee are the two most famous spots in the bay. Koh Samui is the second-largest island of Thailand after Phuket and is a gem of an island in the Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand. Breathtakingly beautiful beaches, dense mountainous forests, and luxurious resorts define Koh Samui. Whether you prefer the lively atmosphere of Chaweng Beach, the relaxed vibes of Lamai Beach, or the tranquil surroundings of Maenam Beach you will surely find the perfect place to unwind.

singapore skyline


Singapore

Out of all the beautiful destinations of the Pacific Island nations, there is something magical about the island of Singapore. Located just off the southern tip of Malaysia, the wonderful city of Singapore is every tourist’s retreat. It is a perfect place for a family vacation, a honeymoon holiday, or an outing with close-knit friends. Marina Bay Sands is not just a hotel but an iconic symbol of modernity and luxury. This architectural wonder stands tall with its boat-shaped rooftop offering some great experiences. The entire complex boasts of celebrity chef’s restaurants, the Art Science Museum, and luxury shopping at The Shoppes. Helix Bridge is another architectural masterpiece inspired by the structure of human DNA. It is one of Singapore’s most visually striking landmarks inaugurated in 2010. The Helix Bridge is a pedestrian bridge linking the Marina Centre with Marina South in the Marina Bay area in Singapore. It has four strategically located viewing platforms, giving visitors the best views of the city’s skyline and Marina Bay and impressive selfie-moment backdrops. Changi Airport is not just an ordinary airport, it is a complete destination in itself.  The airport has a massive indoor waterfall, vertical gardens, and Michelin-worthy restaurants. It comprises four terminals and Jewel Changi is a world-class aviation hub that seamlessly links terminals 1,2 and 3 and is infused with artistry, architecture, and nature in a single structure.

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is the capital city of Malaysia and is also the largest city in the country. It is divided into separate districts, each known for something extraordinary. The main draw of the city is the Golden Triangle comprising Bukit Bintang, KLCC, and Chinatown areas. The Petronas Twin Towers located in KLCC are the twin skyscrapers as each tower stands tall at 451.9 m. The major attraction of the towers is the double-decker sky bridge on the 41st and 42nd floors and the observation deck on the 86th floor. It provides a magical aerial view of Kuala Lumpur. Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown is the hotspot of food, accessories, clothing, and everything a tourist could ask for. This place is Elysium to satisfy the hunger of shopaholics and offers ample sightseeing opportunities such as captivating Buddhist Temples, art galleries, traditional food, and coffee houses. Take a day trip to Genting Highlands located in Pahang. It is a beautiful hill station in Malaysia that is only an hour’s drive away from Kuala Lumpur. It is known for its spirited nightlife, huge shopping complexes, luxury hotels, and world-class casinos. Genting Highlands also has cave temples, water parks, and amusement parks. Awana Skyway and Genting Skyway are the two accessible cable car services for reaching Genting Highlands.

Palawan Island ,Philippines

 

Palawan Island ,Philippines

Palawan Island, Philippines is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is truly a slice of heaven as it teems with quaint fishing villages and exotic wildlife. It has a beautiful coastline of 1200 miles and over 1,750 islands and islets making it a great place to visit and plenty of things to do on your Palawan vacation. Though the island is underdeveloped, it still offers some fabulous vacation spots and avenues to make the most of your vacation. El Nido on the northernmost tip of the mainland is the best place to enjoy overwater scenery. It is filled with karst mountains that act as the perfect backdrop for adventurous activities. El Nido is also a sanctuary to myriad forms of exotic wildlife particularly different kinds of fish wherein manta rays are common. Puerto Princessa is the capital of Palawan and has several spectacular sites that one can explore. Kickstart your vacation with a trip to the underground river in Puerto Princessa. After an underground adventure spend a day relaxing and snorkelling on an island-hopping tour around the Honda Bay. Honda Bay is a group of tiny islands situated on the western side of Palawan. It is a popular island-hopping spot among tourists, filled with various resorts and white-sand beaches. The Shipwrecks of Coron Bay are the most visited dive sites in the Philippines. There are 12 war wrecks at the bottom of the ocean -the result of an attack on the Japanese Navy by US Navy aircraft during the Second World War and world-class casinos.

Conclusion: Southeast Asia is a paradise for backpackers, with some of the most beautiful places in the world to see. Between the lush landscape, flowing waterfalls and gorgeous island escapes it’s hard to beat Southeast Asia. And taking a trip to these places should be on your bucket list.

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Michelle
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10 Essential Tips for Safeguarding Your Touring Caravan: A Comprehensive Guide to Caravan Insurance

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Disclosure - This is a collaborative post

Touring caravans are a symbol of freedom, allowing you to embark on exciting journeys while carrying the comforts of home with you. However, to fully enjoy the nomadic lifestyle, it's imperative to safeguard your touring caravan against a range of potential risks. This comprehensive guide not only provides you with ten essential tips for securing your mobile haven but also delves into the significance of having the right insurance coverage while also making comparisons with static caravan insurance for a more nuanced understanding. 

a family overlooking mountains from outside their caravan


1. Understanding Your Unique Coverage Needs 

As you begin the process of selecting the most suitable touring caravan insurance, it's crucial to start by comprehending your specific coverage requirements. These needs can vary greatly depending on factors such as the value of your caravan, your travel habits, and the contents you carry within it. Taking these factors into account will help you tailor your insurance policy to your caravan and lifestyle accurately. 

2. Selecting the Appropriate Insurance Type 

Touring caravan insurance typically offers three main categories: fully comprehensive, third-party, fire, and theft, and third-party only. Each type comes with varying levels of coverage. Fully comprehensive insurance stands as the most extensive option, encompassing protection against damage to your caravan, personal belongings, and liability claims. The type of insurance you choose should align with your budget and level of protection needed. 

3. Coverage for Your Belongings 

While focusing on the physical protection of your caravan is paramount, it's equally important not to overlook the valuable contents you carry inside it. Ensure that your insurance policy extends coverage to your personal belongings, including items such as electronics, clothing, and camping gear. This added protection ensures that you are financially secure in the event of theft, damage, or loss of these possessions. 

4. Regular Policy Updates 

Caravans, like any other asset, age over time. Additionally, you might make improvements or upgrades to your caravan. To maintain comprehensive protection, it's essential to update your insurance policy regularly. Neglecting this crucial step could potentially lead to underinsurance, leaving you vulnerable to unforeseen risks. 

5. Investing in Security Measures 

The security of your touring caravan should be a top priority. Enhance its safety by investing in security measures such as wheel clamps, hitch locks, and alarms. Many caravan insurance providers offer discounts for these additional security features, which can also serve as a strong deterrent against theft or vandalism, thereby reducing your insurance premiums. 

6. Examining Policy Exclusions 

It's imperative to thoroughly review your insurance policy to understand any exclusions or limitations. Different policies might have varying terms and conditions. By grasping what circumstances might not be covered, you can take extra precautions if necessary, or even consider supplementary insurance for specific risks that may not be included in your primary policy. 

a caravan


7. Safe Driving and Legal Compliance 

Safe driving practices not only contribute to your well-being and that of other road users but also have a direct impact on your insurance rates. A clean driving record and adherence to traffic laws will not only keep you in good stead with your insurer but also decrease the likelihood of accidents, which could negatively affect your insurance premiums. 

8. Exploring Membership Benefits 

Consider joining caravan clubs or associations as they often provide insurance benefits to their members. Membership perks can include access to exclusive insurance packages with discounted rates. These organisations are also excellent sources of information and support for caravan enthusiasts, enhancing your overall experience. 

9. European Coverage for International Adventures 

If your caravan adventures extend beyond your home country's borders, it's crucial to opt for insurance that offers coverage across Europe. This extension ensures that you remain protected during international travels, including aspects such as legal liabilities and breakdown assistance. It's a necessary addition for those who have their sights set on exploring the continent. 

10. Comparison Shopping for the Best Deal 

While it might be tempting to settle for the first insurance policy you come across, it's advisable to shop around, compare quotes, and thoroughly research insurance providers. Each provider may offer different packages, and their rates can vary significantly. Taking the time to find the best deal that aligns with your touring caravan insurance needs can save you money in the long run. 

Touring Caravan Insurance vs. Static Caravan Insurance: Understanding the Distinctions 

It's essential to distinguish between touring caravan insurance and static caravan insurance. Touring caravan insurance is specifically designed for mobile caravans that frequently hit the road, while static caravan insurance is tailored for caravans that remain stationary, typically situated at caravan parks or holiday sites. The primary difference lies in the mobility of the caravan and the related risks. Static caravan insurance caters to the caravan's stationary use, whereas touring caravan insurance accounts for the travel and transportation-related risks unique to mobile caravans. 

In conclusion, safeguarding your touring caravan is a prudent financial decision and crucial for your peace of mind while exploring the open road. By comprehending your insurance needs and following these ten comprehensive tips, you can embark on your caravan adventures with confidence, knowing that you have taken the necessary steps to protect your investment and yourself. Whether you possess a touring caravan built for the road or a static caravan stationed at a holiday park, the right insurance policy ensures that your cherished getaway remains secure. 


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- If you would like to work with us please visit on Work With Us page for more details

Michelle
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Staying At La Villa Hotel Nice Promenade

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Last month John and I got the chance to have a couple of days away, just the two of us. We haven't been away without the kids for over 10 years so we were excited at the idea of going abroad but had no idea where to choose. After lots of research we chose Nice, France. We had no idea what to expect, if three days in Nice was enough but we went with it. We browsed so many hotels but we found a little gem on booking.com and we instantly fell in love with it. 

la villa nice promenade

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Everything You Need To Know About Estival El Dorado Holiday Resort

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When it comes to booking a holiday, we are always very cautious, as holidays are just so expensive. We usually make sure that wherever we go it has either been recommended to us or scores very high on TripAdvisor, even then we still worry that it may not meet our expectations. In the past, we have been lucky to always choose a holiday that has met our needs and we’ve always had a great time. Browsing holidays is always a minefield there is so much choice and as we are a family of three adults and one child finding accommodation is quite tough and in some places, it almost doubled the cost as it added an extra room. After hours of searching, we stumbled across Estival El Dorado on Jet2 Holidays. It looked perfect. There was a choice of a family room which looked big enough for us all, the complex looked stunning and it was reasonably priced compared to others that we’d seen. It seemed too good to be true, however, a quick look at some reviews and I knew instantly that this was something I wanted to book with the overall TripAdvisor rating of 4.5 out of five from nearly 2,000 reviews. 

pool at estival el dorado

Estival El Dorado is a Hotel, Sports and Spa holiday resort based close to Cambrils town, Spain. It's extremely quiet but only a short walk or taxi ride from Cambrils and then further on Salou. Estival El Dorado Hotel, Sports and Spa resort is suitable for all the family. 

entrance to estival el dorado


Check In
On arrival we were were greeted by a friendly receptionist who spoke very good English. She showed us a map of the resort, including our accommodation block, where we could grab some lunch as it was lunch time and gave us our all inclusive bands. She explained how our all inclusive worked and gave us some general information about the resort.

Rooms are usually ready around 2pm on check in day. 

standard room at estival el dorado

standard room at estival el dorado

standard room at estival el dorado

standard room at estival el dorado

standard room at estival el dorado


Accommodation
There are two main accommodation buildings located within the complex numbered 1 and 2. We were located in building two, and all the amenities and facilities were no more than a five minute short walk away, including the beach.

Our accommodation was a family room. This consisted of two standard rooms with an interconnecting door in between. The rooms where really spacious, clean and modern up-to-date. If felt like we had booked a Crown Plaza or Hilton as the rooms had that type of feel to it especially in the bathroom with lots of toiletries.

A standard room has two large single beds push together to make a double and there was also a single bed underneath which could be pulled out should it be needed. We had one full hanging wardrobe space plus four large shelves, one which included a large safe. 

There was a desk, chair, drawer and another cupboard. There was a separate unit with a drawer, tea and coffee making facilities and a fridge underneath.

The bathroom had separate a toilet, walk in shower and sink. There are no baths in standard rooms. 

The balcony was quite spacious with two chairs, a table and a clothes dryer. There are walls either side of the balcony so we were not overlooked at all.

The interconnecting room next door was the exact same, so as you can imagine, this was a really spacious accommodation for three adults and one child

All Inclusive
We chose to book the all-inclusive package as we thought this was better value for money. We’ve been on all-inclusive holidays before and we know that they have restricted times for snacks, ice creams and only serve cheaper local beers and wines but we were happy with that. However, we were pleasantly surprised that the all-inclusive at the Estival El Dorado felt completely different. 

Meals are served in the main restaurant. 
Breakfast is served between 7:30am and 10:30am
Lunch between 1pm and 3pm
Evening meal between 7:30pm and 10pm

The buffet style meals offered a choice of hot and cold foods at every meal time, salads, meats, fish and a wide variety of gluten free options too. Plenty of choice even for fussy eaters. 

The children's section offered pizza, chips, burgers, fish as well as anything from the main buffet. 

Desserts where always a hit with a huge choice of cakes, sweets, ice cream and fruit.

Drinks are self service and included tea, coffee, fresh juices, water and soft drinks. Sangria and Estrella beer are on tap and you can just pour yourself. You could choose to have wine also which is brought to your table, or you could pour the local branded wines yourself from a machine.

If however, you did not feel like you wanted to eat in the main restaurant there is a snack bar which is located at the splash park pool. This is open 11am till 8pm every day. It offers a wide range of hot and cold foods, fresh fruit and desserts again. All drinks are self-service including the beer Estrella and sangria. You can also ask for any cocktails or drinks and they will make them for you to you as part of your all-inclusive package. Cocktails included PiƱa Colada, Mojito and more. You can also enjoy other drinks but they will be charged. However we found they pretty much covered every drink we wanted, even Baileys so didn't need to buy any. 

There is also an option to fill cones and tubs of crisps, chips, toasties and pizzas at the snack bar and take them to you sun lounger. You cannot take plates of food you have to use the paper cones and tubs. 

Ice cream is available all day, every day. All you need to do is go to main bar or snack bar and you will be presented with a box, full of Walls  branded ice creams such as mini milks, cornettos, feasts and other lolly ices. 

There really was no limit to how much food and drink you could consume at Estival El Dorado. I felt we were not given cheaper versions of drinks or ice creams, which we have sometimes received elsewhere. Really thought it was the best choice for us and would definitely recommend it to others considering all inclusive.

sports bar at estival el dorado

sports bar at estival el dorado

bar area at estival el dorado
bar area at estival el dorado


Bars
As well as the main restaurant, snack bar and main bar there is also a Sports Bar on site. The Sports Bar shows live sport events or highlights all day. It’s quite spacious inside with a fully stocked bar and again it is included on your all-inclusive.

Pools
There are 3 pool areas at the Estival El Dorado. Each pool has something different and would depend what you are looking for. Firstly all pools open at 10am to around 8pm. There are plenty of sun loungers. There is no panic of a morning to pop your towel on a lounger as there is enough for everyone and no matter what time of day you head to the pool you will get a lounger. Umbrellas are not really needed around the pools as the trees provide natural shade areas which we found really good.

sports pool at estival el dorado


The Sports pool is a large pool including two swimming lanes. It is located by the main reception area. It has a separate baby pool. 

As well as sun loungers the Sports pool has day beds situated alongside the edge of the pool, which I would say if you did want a day bed then you would probably have to get there a little earlier than opening. However they seemed pretty pointless to us so we decided a normal sun lounger was ideal for us. The sports pool is around about 1.2 to 1.4m deep.

splash park pool at estival el dorado
splash park pool at estival el dorado

splash park pool at estival el dorado

The Splash Park pool is another large pool and is where we spent most of our time. It includes a lazy river, Jacuzzi bubbles and a Splash Park with slides alongside. 

The Splash Park pool is quite deep and ranges from 1.4 to 1.6m, which at times was really difficult as I was unable to stand up and neither could little J. It normally wouldn't be an issue however it is where the Entertainments team do most of the activities such as Water Polo and Water Basket.  

Little J and I could not join in with these activities as we couldn’t stand up and it was pretty pointless being involved. It does go shallower along the lazy river which is a nice addition to the pool and was able to give our legs a rest.

The Jacuzzi has plenty of space to sit and it was never overcrowded. The bubbles come on intermittently so you just need to keep an eye out. They are not off for longer than 10 minutes.

splash park  at estival el dorado

splash park  at estival el dorado

splash park  at estival el dorado
Alongside the pool is the Splash Park. Here you will find a shallow pool and a 4 slides. It never felt particularly busy or overcrowded at any time.  Although probably just for kids we did see some adults going down with smaller children. Little J really enjoyed it and said it was lots of fun.

Speaking of fun when you’re on holiday, you would usually bring balls, lilos, bucket and spades to enjoy in the pool, however these are not permitted in the pools at all. To be honest we didn’t miss playing with a ball at all as there was so much to do and I often think lilos take up too much spcae in the pool. If you do decide to take a ball, lilo or rubber ring you’ll be quickly told to remove it by one of the various lifeguards around the pool.

There is a shop on site which will also remind you of this rule. It does sell pool toys but the signs clearly do state if you want to buy them and use them you will have to go to the beach.

activity board at estival el dorado

activity board at estival el dorado
The Entertainment Team
There is plenty of entertainment at Estival El Dorado.  Miniclub for younger guests, Maxiclub for slightly older, then adults separately. Daytime entertainment is mainly around the splash pool. However, there are also activities that take place in the clubs for the specific age ranges. Everything is highlighted on boards around the resort so that you don’t miss out on any activities.

We didn't use the kids club facilities but we did join in with quite a few maxi and Adult games. Activities usually start around 10am open till about 12:30 and then there’s a break and they normally come back around about 4pm till 6:30pm.

One thing that I found really bizarre about the entertainment is that mini disco starts at 6:30pm. Whilst I think this is a great time for little ones to enjoy dancing and singing along with the entertainment team, there’s actually no more entertainment on the stage until 10 pm. This means there is a 3 hour wait from when mini disco ends till the evening entertainment begins. 

As we don’t have little ones it didn’t really affect us. However I just think that is such a long wait from 7pm till 10pm. We used the time until 10pm to finish off in the pool, chill before dinner then get ready for the evening. 

Each night the entertainment team do come out around the stage area at 9 pm to offer little ones the chance to get their face painted to get a balloon.  I found this was quite repetitive as one day you could get your face painted the next you could get a balloon and repeat. There was also only two options of balloon, a sword or a dog. 

I really do think the entertainment for little ones was a bit rubbish and there should be more for the children to enjoy, especially after they’ve had their evening meal, and they’re looking to keep busy until the entertainment starts at 10pm.

hawaiian dancers

With regards to the evening entertainment, we saw the usual acts you see on stage when on holiday such as acrobats singers and Hawaiian dancers. The entertainment would usually finish between 11pm and 11:15pm which again is quite late especially for little ones. Having said that as the resort doesn’t really get going until 10am in the morning, there is really no need to be waking up too early.

promenade over looking the sea

boy swimming in the sea
The Beach
The beach is located less than a five minute walk from Estival El Dorado. You can access it through a gate which will put you on the promenade overlooking the sand. 

The beach was never overcrowded or busy. We always seemed to get a spot with our towels, and there was plenty of sea for everyone to enjoy.

There is a Nautico Club centre which offers you the choice to hire sun beds, kayaks, paddle boards and more however we didn’t use this facility. 

The beach is really clean and there are little coves that you can use to relax and be away from others. However like I said it really isn’t overcrowded at all and it’s very very spacious. There are rocks within swimming distance out in the sea. Great to swim too and see lots of fish.

The Promenade
The promenade again is really clean and really quiet. The nearest town is about a 25 to 30 minute walk away called Cambrils. It is a flat walk along the front to the town where you will find more restaurants, shops and also McDonald’s. It’s also has more of a resort feel to it in Cambrils with street entertainment and a port.

Games Room
There is a small games room located next to the Sports Bar with two pool tables, some small arcade games, and a few grabby type machines. All take one euro coins and the bar area will change notes for you.  This was popular with some children to try and win something, however we really enjoyed the pool. Its 2 euros per game and although theres no queue system and the area isnt supervised everyone was fair in taking turns so that everyone got to play when they wanted to.  Its also cool in the room which gives a break from the heat of the day if you are looking for something different to do.

Minigolf
We had every intention of playing Minigolf while we were at Estival El Dorado however, time got the better of us and we just never seemed to have the time. However, I would recommend it as it is free to play.

The Minigolf isn’t actually on site. It’s a small short walk away from the hotel. However we seen lots of people heading up there so it was a popular choice.

Indoor Spa
Again, this was in a facility that we used as we just didn’t seem to find the time. The spa and wellness centre  is overlooking the splash park pool. There is an indoor pool, spa, Jacuzzi, whirlpool and other spa facilities. It didn’t really seem popular and never seemed overly busy, however, you can book treatments but we just didn’t use this facility.

children playing football

hotel at estival el dorado

man and boy looking out to sea


Anything Else
As I mentioned it earlier, there is a small shop on site which offers a variety of toys, swimming essentials,  beach goodies and a small selection of toiletries. It is open until 8pm daily.

I just wanted to add that it does not sell any snacks or drinks which I found quite strange. However, there is a supermarket just a stone throw away from the hotel main entrance. The  supermarket is only small in comparison to other supermarkets we’ve seen on holiday resorts in the past however it has everything you may need including bakery items, chocolate, crisps, other snacks, ice creams, and a wide range of non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks.

We absolutely loved our first visit to Estival El Dorado. We loved everything about the resort and also the area was so peaceful but close enough to Salou if we wanted to visit restaurants, shops and a different beach. 

Estival El Dorado is part of the Estival Group and I am very interested in seeing what other resorts Estival have to offer for next Summer. 
Michelle
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