Costa Calida our family holiday. Best bits…

If you have read our previous blogs on our family holiday to Murcia and the Costa Calida region of Spain then you have already heard about the child friendly holiday villa we stayed in and a little about our initial journey. We spent a week in October in this lovely region of Spain with the family who range in age from 4 to 48, the weather was fabulous and so was the company.

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Here are a few places we visited while we were on holiday.

L’Airemar restaurant

If you are staying at the El Valle golf resort there is a fabulous restaurant, L’Airemar, within a few minutes drive. Don’t be put off by its exterior (it has a motorway cafe resemblance) as inside it offers the most amazing Spanish food! It is a shop/restaurant combined and offers tasty fresh meat, vegetables and cheeses to eat in the restaurant or buy and cook on the BBQ and is a must!

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Murcia

Murcia itself is a wonderful town with so much history. The cathedral is beautiful, when we were there the locals were marching through the street accompanied by some dramatic drummers we think they were celebrating St Mary of Murcia, the buildings really amplified the sound. We finished in the lovely Plaza de Las Flores where we had Tapas and watched the world go by…

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Cartagena

We had a lovely day out in the historical town of Cartagena. There are lots of things to do here, shop, visit the Roman theatre, take an open top bus tour or boat ride around the coast. We hopped on the ‘Ole’ a Catamaran trip that was perfect for our four year old. It lasted just 45 minutes around the coastline he loved it! Under 5s go free too!

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Catamaran boat trip

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Statue at the port in Cartegena

Lo Pagan/San Pedro Del Pinatar

There are plenty of great beaches in the region and we visited Lo Pagan/San Pedro Del Pinatar. This beach is located in the Mar Menor (Little Sea) the largest salt water lagoon in Europe. Here the waters are beautifully clear and shallow, and the sand perfect for sand castles so ideal for toddlers and young children. We were told that there were mud baths, walkways to the sea and Flamingos. We actually didn’t see any but think we may have been in the wrong place!

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Cabo De Palos

If you are looking for a traditional Spanish Sunday market visit Cabo De Palos. Here you will be able to pick up some fresh fruit, veg and local fish as well as lots of clothes, toys and general market products. Locals and tourists travel from far and wide to this market which is held on Sunday mornings and there is also a lovely marina to have a spot of lunch after shopping.

Carroscoy Nature reserve

Just 15 minutes from the El Valle is the Carroscoy Nature reserve. Take a walk through the beautiful mountain paths, visit the museum of light or animal sanctuary or just sit and have a coffee while the kids play in the park. If you fancy a spot of lunch why not join the local families cooking up a feast on one of the concrete BBQs.

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For more ideas of what to do in the Costa Calida with the family on holiday take a look at our family friendly guide to the Costa Calida.

Child-friendly holiday accommodation

There are some lovely places to stay in the Costa Calida region here are two we have seen.

El Valle

If staying in a villa at the El Valle, the clubhouse, gold course and swimming pools are great for all ages. Our four year old loved riding the golf buggies! The villa we stayed in has a private pool which is fully fenced so you van really relax with toddlers and crawlers!

Mar Menor

While there I also visited a two bedroom villa in the Mar Menor golf resort. The villa is perfect for a small family, it has two bedrooms, en-suite and second bathroom, a fully enclosed lawned garden and only a couple of minutes walk from the swimming pools and restaurants.

Our visit to El Valle Villa

El Valle villa is a 3 bedroom villa with two bathrooms and a private swimming pool on the Polaris El Valle Golf Resort in the Costa Colida region of Spain.

This villa has been listed on Holiday Tots for three years  and gets regular good reviews, so I was really looking forward to visiting.

El Valle is a luxury golf resort about 20 minutes north of Murcia. As well as a Jack Nicklaus golf course, it has a mixture of apartments and villas of varying sizes. The resort is set well back from the main highway and totally secure (with 24 hour security) so it offers families a safe and relaxing environment to holiday.. There are three community swimming pools (as well as the villa’s private pool) and a club house with restaurant, bar and supermarket.

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The villa is owned by an English family who have young children so everything you need for your holiday with a baby, toddler or pre-schooler is available. The owners have a holiday lettings manager who will meet you and is on call 24 hours a day should you need any help.

We were a large party of 6 adults and one four year old. We had an extra bed put in the master bedroom which worked well. This bedroom also has an ensuite with bath and over bath shower, toilet, bidet and double sinks  The other two bedrooms share a bathroom with toilet and shower and can be set up as double or twin with cot. The bed linen was crisp and white, something that is really important for us.

The twin bedroom has a fab selection of baby and preschool toys and a wooden cot and changing mat.

The open plan living dining area is well laid out with dining table, sofas, high chair, wooden toddler table and chairs, tv, dvd (selection of children’s and adults dvds) and side board with a selection of books and a few games. The double doors open onto the patio/pool area.

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The kitchen is separate and has oven, microwave, fridge freezer etc and has a handy door leading out to the BBQ area and outside dining table. There is also an outside room with sink and washing machine.

The outside area is laid out with terracotta tiles and is fully enclosed: the swimming pool has a removable fence that we kept in place. Freddie (my 4 year old) loves running and the pool fence meant we could really relax. It has a clever design whereby you can open certain parts when using the pool.

Private pool

The most noticeable thing for us was the silence. The villa pool and patio area overlooks hole number five on the golf course and aside from the odd ball being hit the silence was immense! It did take us a few days to really appreciate it!

The quiet residential streets are clean and safe, the nearest play park with a slide, couple of swings and see saw is just 60 seconds walk. The clubhouse is a 10 minute walk and has a bar, restaurant, lounge area, small sports clothes shop and a supermarket. We had dinner here one evening and was a little disappointed but it is a nice place to sit and have a glass of wine early evening.

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The nearest communal swimming pool is about a 7 minute walk. We didn’t visit until our last day but wish we had done so earlier as it was clean, spacious and great for the whole family. It provides a good alternative to the private pool at the villa, it has grassy areas outside the fencing with a few apartments as a backdrop.

If you are looking for a comfortable safe base to explore the Murcia region and relax then you won’t get much better than this child-friendly villa.  A car is definitely a must and we visited some fantastic places including a really lovely beach ideal for babies, toddlers, children and adults due to its clear warm waters and gradual beach which has no hidden drops. You can read about the places we found best for families on holiday on our blog.

We would love to hear if you have any experiences on your family holiday in the Costa Calida region. If you would like to see where we went while on holiday in the Costa Calida read our family holiday post here

A family holiday in Murcia, Costa Calida, Spain – on our way…

So it is October and we are jetting off to the El Valle Golf resort in Spain for a last minute bit of sunshine and to see what this region has to offer. The Costa Calida is easy to get to with airports such as Alicante and San Javier(El Valle is located about an hour from the former and 20 minutes from the latter).

Both airports are serviced by budget airlines Easyjet and Ryanair and also British Airways if you prefer. I regularly use Skyscanner as my first port of call to get a guide to times and cost. All of the airlines, at the time of writing this, will let you take a car seat for the hold and pushchairs if your destination doesn’t have one.

This time we flew from Luton, my least preferred airport 😦 but actually it was a breeze, well kind of… First the security team thought there was a bomb in our hand luggage putting my 23 year old daughter into a mild panic, then I lost my phone, found by the kind man at Pret, then we had to identify our bags on the tarmac as the systems had crashed and finally my 20 year old son misplaced his passport on the plane before take off! Well actually he had given it to me and I had put it in our food bag, thankfully spotted by an eagle eyed fellow passenger. Oops.

Landing in Alicante was fairly unadventurous with absolutely no queue at customs and a quick luggage turn around.

We were met by my oldest son who had arrived a little earlier and we headed off in the direction of Murcia in glorious sunshine hurrah!

It took us just under an hour to arrive at El Valle and we were greeted by the villa manager Tina who showed us around before we started our family holiday of sunshine and fun!

So was our villa truly family friendly? See our next entry…