With a flight time of just over 2 hours and an airport transfer of just 45 minutes, from leaving our house at 1:30pm we had our swimming gear on and were poolside in Castell Montgri at 7pm (Note they are an hour ahead of Irish time!).
Castell Montgri (www.camping-castellmontgri.com) is a kids campsite located in the Costa Brava, just 45 minutes from Barcelona (Girona) Airport. There is no bus service between the airport and the campsite and the best option is to either hire a car or book a return transfer. The company we used and have done in the past is called ‘Taxi Estartit’ www.taxiestartit.com with a return transfer, including kids car seats, for €85 one way. They can cater for all family sizes and have nice air conditioned vehicles.
The campsite itself really is a kids paradise and perfect for a relaxing family holiday. Catering for kids of all ages, there is so much to do with something for all the family, with 3 large swimming pools, a kiddie’s pool, water polo, water slides and chutes, a multi surface pitch for football, basketball and handball, tennis courts, plus hill walking and cycling trails in abundance.
There are different types of accommodation, from fully-equipped traditional lodges and modern tented lodges to a variety of pitches for tents, caravans and motorhomes. We booked our stay with local Galway company, Kelair Campotel (www.campotel.com) a sister company of Keller Travel. We couldn’t compliment them enough, was so nice to arrive on site and be greeted by the onsite Kelair team who were Irish and straight away you felt at ease. We stayed in a 3 bed Cordelia Mobile Home, which can sleep up to six people. It was very spacious with two double bedrooms and a twin room and a nice size kitchenette and seating area. It was fully stocked with a full set of inventory, cooker, microwave and fridge freezer. It also has air conditioning, which is certainly a must, as temperatures can reach as high as 32 degrees during the summer! The best thing about mobile home living is the outdoor decking area which is well sized and comes complete with barbecue, perfect for rustling up dinner each day if this is your preference. There was a small playground and pet farm next to our accommodation, which was perfect for the kids to go off and explore and they spent hours between both over the course of the week – which meant more relaxation time for the parents!
The pools in Castell Montgri are excellent, with three different pool areas catering for all ages. Ombra pool, has two waterslides and a kiddes pool and is next to the open air cinema. Panorama pool, which is the main pool area, where the evening entertainment and daily activities take place, & La Bassa, which is up towards the top of the mountain with beautiful views. Every day at Panorama there is Aqua aerobics in the morning and once a week they bring out water inflatables which is really enjoyable and one of the highlights of the week for the kids.
Note: You must pay to hire sun loungers at the pool areas in the campsite, at a cost of €4 per day, but you can use your ticket and use loungers at any of the three pools throughout the day. There is also plenty of green areas close to the two main pool areas where you can set up your base at no cost!
One of the best things about Castell Montgri is the evening entertainment, which is simply top class. From June to September there is an action-packed entertainment programme at the main Panorama pool area from 8pm to 11pm, where all the family can enjoy different acts every evening from trapeze artists to illusionists, with the highlight of the week being the weekly foam party every Saturday night, which the kids (and some adults) absolutely love. For older teenagers there is a Seagull Disco/Pub for over 16’s right next to the Panorama area also as well as an arcade room with games.
Down at the Ombra pool there is a huge open-air cinema which shows the latest kids movies every evening and usually has a selection of live sports on also – we even got to watch the GAA when over there! The campsite has a big selection of facilities including bars, a restaurant, takeaway, supermarket (with delicious fresh bread and pastries every morning). There is the added bonus of a Lidl supermarket less than a ten minute walk from the campsite also.
The beautiful town of Estartit is only a 15 minute walk away and the campsite offers a free complimentary shuttle bus throughout the day. In Estartit you will find one of the most stunning beaches of the Costa Brava, in front of the Medes Islands. It is an open beach with fine sand and very shallow waters, ideal for children and families. There is a selection of excursions and water based sports for the kids to enjoy. Estartit is beautiful and is worth an evening stroll around the many quaint shops, whilst there is also plenty of restaurants to cater for all tastes, from fresh seafood to your traditional Irish stew or steak dinner in O’Reilly’s Irish bar and restaurant.
There are also three water parks within a 30 – 40 minute bus journey from Castell Montgri – we visited Aquadiver Waterpark (www.aquadiver.com) which is really good and has slides and rides to suit kids from as young as 5 up to 18 – it’s definitely worth a visit and can be arranged at the visitor information centre on site. Prices cost typically about €127 for a family of 2 adults and 2 kids.
There are also organized excursions to Barcelona from the campsite which include tours of the famous Nou Camp stadium – home to Barcelona FC!
Food and drink
The food on site is your typical campsite offering with burgers, pizza and chips most frequently on offer throughout the site. The pricing is in line with what you would expect in most campsites whilst the price of drinks on site is very reasonable, with the added bonus of a ‘Happy Hour’ each evening between 1 and 2 pm and 6 and 7pm, with all drinks ‘Buy one get one free’!
Wi-fi is free throughout the campsite and is pretty decent in most areas but can be patchy at night when the Panorama area gets very busy when the live entertainment starts.
Overall I would highly recommend Castell Montgri for a relaxing and fun family break – it’s got everything you need for the kids and the campsite is really safe and secure. We have been going there for 2-3 years and kids enjoy it more and more every year. The flight time is really short and it's so convenient flying from Ireland West Airport – hard to believe from leaving your house in the morning that you can be poolside in 28 degrees of heat by lunchtime!
Flights are every Monday, Wednesday and Friday with Ryanair and are usually very very reasonable (Travelling in the first week of June, we paid €800 for 2 adults and 3 kids which included a 20kg checked bag and also 2 x 10kg bags with priority boarding). Flights typically operate from April to October but note Castell Montgri does not open till the last weekend in May and most of the on-site entertainment and excursions typically start around the second week of June.