Home Culture Top 6 car-free family holiday destinations

Top 6 car-free family holiday destinations

by Victoria 9th March 2015
Le Soleil

It’s amazing how many bargain flights to Europe you can find. So for your next holiday, try leaving the car at home! Follow my guide to the top 6 car-free holidays in France, Spain and Italy and find out just how easy it is to transfer from the nearest airport and pack in all the local sights in some of the best family holiday destinations in Europe.

1) Le Ruisseau, Gascony, France

Pool complex at Le Ruisseau

Biarritz Airport to parc = 15 minutes

This transfer is a breeze! Biarritz airport is just 15 minutes away and there’s a bus service that takes you directly to the parc. Or if you’d prefer, a taxi only costs about €20.

Activities for everyone

Got your checklist ready? There’s something for everyone here – the pool complex includes a designated spa area (bliss), plus loads of different sports to let your competitive streak loose! And for the monkeys in the family, there’s a treetop adventure course, suitable for kids of all ages (3 and up). After working up a serious appetite pretending to be Tarzan, you’ve got a choice of eateries on the parc where even the fussiest of eaters will enjoy their meals.

Out and about

Going off parc, you can take the bus towards the surf and sand at the beach in Bidart, or take a taxi into Biarritz for a day of culture, shopping and food! Or there are always the parc-run excursions for a bit of white-knuckle fun, like rafting and quad-biking…

Find out more about holidays to Le Ruisseau >

2) Les Peupliers, Roussillon, France

Le Bosquet pool area at Les PeupliersPerpignan Airport to parc = 25 minutes

Hop in a taxi at Perpignan Airport or see the sights using the local buses! You can get a bus into town then another bus to the parc.

A tale of two parcs

Double the pools, double the space, double the fun! Les Peupliers is two parcs in one – Le Bosquet is a laid-back area beside the river Têt with tropical plants and its own pool, and Les Peupliers is the larger area with several waterslides, a bar and restaurant.

But whichever side of the parc you’re situated on, you get to enjoy all the facilities of both. The river Têt empties into the Mediterranean sea just 500m away, so you’re only a short walk from brilliant beaches and the lively resort of Canet-Plage.

Out and about

If the waterslides on-parc leave you wanting more, take a trip out to Aqualand in St Cyprien. It’s only 15km away, and you can make a day of it by visiting St Cyprien’s famous 6km long beach while you’re there. Canet-Plage’s beaches, activities, and excellent variety of bars and restaurants are on your doorstep, and Spanish-influenced city Perpignan is an easy day trip.

Find out more about holidays to Les Peupliers >

3) Cala Gogo, Costa Brava, Spain

The beach at Cala Gogo

Girona Airport to parc = half an hour

From Girona Airport, take ‘Sarfa Bus’ direct to the campsite. In low season, take this bus into Playa D’Aro then a short taxi ride to the parc. Easy!

Top-class views, top class facilities

What a setting! Cala Gogo is a terraced parc so there are gorgeous views of the Med and the private beach! Serve up a treat on the tennis court, show everyone what you’re made of on the ping pong tables or just kick back and relax with a drink by the pool while the kids splash around with their new mates. It all sounds doable to me! When you’re hungry there’s a snack bar, take away and restaurant on parc too…you can’t eat ice cream all the time, can you?

Out and about

Ooh, spoilt for choice…what first? There’s the parc’s own mini train that can take you down to the beach (because why walk when you can get the train?), sample the cosmo-cultural delights on an excursion to Barcelona, or just walk into Playa d’Aro for a bit of shopping, eating and drinking in the sunshine!

Find out more about holidays to Cala Gogo >

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4) Cambrils Park, Costa Dorada, Spain

Elephants in the pool at Cambrils Park

Reus Airport to parc = 15 minutes

The quickest way is simply take a taxi from outside the ‘Arrivals’ at Reus airport straight to parc: 15 minutes and you’re there!

Look out for the elephants…and the pirate ship…and the dragons!

Everything here is just so nice: sports pitches, play area, and even the crazy golf course is beautiful! Then there’s the centrepiece of this gorgeous parc; the pool complex, complete with fitness centre (if, unlike me, you like to still work out on holiday), slides, plus elephants with squirting trunks, crocodiles, sea turtles, dragons and a pirate ship*!

The shop on parc sells everything you need to enjoy a slap-up barbecue every day if you so wish…but why would you do that every day when you can enjoy the on-site restaurant and take-away?

*Those last 5 pool features are all fakes, btw.

Out and about

Adrenaline junkies: strap in! PortAventura Theme Park is a short taxi/bus ride from Cambrils Park, and just next door to that is the Costa Caribe Water Park. Visits to both parks are an absolute must! Barcelona can be reached by train or you could go on a parc-organised excursion. Not forgetting the popular marina and promenade of Cambrils Port is just a short distance away, as is the town of Salou; both of which you can reach on foot (which is lucky, given the number of superb bars and restaurants available!).

Find out more about holidays to Cambrils Park >

5) Camping Village Fabulous, Rome, Italy

Slides at Village Fabulous near Rome

Ciampino or Fiumicino Airport to parc = 20 minutes

Book a bargain flight in to either Ciampino or Fiumicino Airport and you can get from either airport to parc in just 20 minutes! Either hop into a taxi or you could organise a transfer through the parc before you go.

Fabulous activities indeed

There’s so much going on for everyone at this parc. The animation team provide great entertainment for the kids, allowing you a bit of peace to soak up the sun uninterrupted! The pool area will while away hours of fun, then when you’ve dried off, dine-in or take away some of the parc’s delicious food (most definitely a highlight)!

Out and about

Well, you can’t come all this way and not visit Rome for the day, can you? Given how easy it is to get to Rome without a car (public transport is so near to parc or the parc organises regular excursions), there really isn’t any excuse! And the day trips don’t need to stop there: Ostia Antica, Naples and even Pompeii can be ticked off your sightseeing list thanks to the parc’s excellent choice of excursions. A little closer to home (or rather, parc) is the town of Acilia. Just 3km away, you could take a short taxi ride and enjoy an afternoon and evening of shopping, bars and restaurants. A little further still and you’re at the beach!

Find out more about holidays to Camping Village Fabulous >

6) Marina di Venezia, Italian Adriatic

Kids pool at Marina di Venezia

Marco Polo Airport to parc = 1h20

After landing at Marco Polo airport you’ve got a couple of options: you can take the bus or the waterbus to parc. The easiest option is the Alilaguna Waterbus service. Take this to Venice Lido then change lines for Punta Sabbioni. Alternatively there’s a ‘land’ bus into Jesolo where you can then change for Punta Sabbioni. This is often the busier of the 2 options – and is the longer journey at just over 1h40.

First-class facilities, first-class fun

This parc is huge; it’s like its own self-contained village! It’s also beautifully kept, with loads going on. You can find your way round on bikes, stopping off for a game of tennis or trying your hand at archery, before heading to the back of the parc for direct access to the beach, which is ideal for water sports, sunbathing and sand castle building. Or you could spend hours at the incredible pool complex, flying down the waterslides, splashing in the kids’ pool, learning to scuba dive…or simply  enjoy  a swim! As for food on parc, even the fussiest of palates will be satisfied with the choices available. In theory, you don’t actually have to leave the parc for anything since it’s all here.

Out and about

But you do have to leave the parc, don’t you…to go to Venice! You can hop on the ferry at the nearby port and spend the day at the city on the water, exploring the winding streets, sampling the cafés in the squares and riding the canals on a gondola…gorgeous! If you fancied a bit of island-hopping, nearby Murano is worth a visit for your very own unique glass souvenir, and the lace-making town of Burano to look at the colourful houses.

You’re spoilt for choice on the mainland too. Jesolo is buzzing with theme parks, a huge water park and aquariums, not forgetting brilliant shops, nightlife and places to eat.

Find out more about holidays to Marina di Venezia >

So there you have it: how to enjoy a family holiday in France, Italy or Spain without missing out on some of Europe’s most impressive sights or the most fun and action-packed attractions, despite not having the car with you.

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Dylan 9th July 2018 at 4:30 am

This is very informative, thank you!

Noelle Boylan 17th July 2018 at 1:32 pm

Hello I’m looking for the place that are car free, suitable for kids, not far from the town. Two Adults and three kids aged 13, 11 and 8 for July/Aug 2019.

Charlotte 28th July 2018 at 8:50 am

La Chanelle in south of France (flying to Perpignan) or Butterfly camp in lake Garda (flying to Verona) stayed at both and the both have dozens of beautiful restaurants within a 15 min walk! Also a lake or beach within 5 min walk! Beautiful camp sights

Miranda 18th July 2018 at 9:48 am

Nice places! This will be a great break from a hectic work schedule.

Shirley 27th July 2018 at 4:51 am

I and my family will travel to France next month for a vaca, I’ll surely come to Le Ruisseau, Gascony thanks to your post, Keep it up1

Lisa Smith 19th January 2020 at 8:46 am

Hi I’m looking for car free wanted to near by beach town and suitable for teenager too and bring one dog


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