Sometimes I just need a little nudge to open my eyes up to different experiences. A glamping and surfing holiday in Spain with a toddler was suggested by a friend. This is something even I didn’t think would be possible. Initially I thought it sounded like it’s more about the adults. What was there for Esmé to do? What would I do with her when I was surfing and taking a yoga lesson? Obviously Shaun and I can take turns like we usually do but it’s also nice to do things together.
Once all my concerns about Esmé had been put to rest, we booked to go to the Dreamsea Surf Camp in Northern Spain for a week.
The experience we had staying in woodlands in the most amazing bamboo eco-structures, only metres from the beach was truly amazing. I never come back from a holiday feeling rejuvenated like I did. I am usually more tired than before I leave. The whole experience is the perfect balance of relaxation, good quality healthy food, activities and of course it’s not a holiday without a drop of wine. Northern Spain is well-known for their good Rioja, needless to say we had a few glasses of that in the evenings.
I fear it sounds slightly like a ‘package holiday’ because the experience does come as one. But let me tell you it is not at all like that, in fact, quite the opposite.
Let me break it down for you …
The beautiful long bamboo hut decked out with shabby chic furniture is where everybody in the camp has their meals. Breakfast, a light lunch and dinner come as part of the overall price. All the food is made freshly on site daily. The beautiful breakfasts of freshly baked warm bread and croissants, freshly chopped fruit skewers, a selection of cheeses and more is to die for! The chef is really flexible with different diets and is happy to cater if you let them know.
We made them fully aware Esmé is fussy and may not necessarily eat what they make. The chef personally came and asked me what she could do to help. I told her what she likes and she made separate things for her. The chef was also really obliging when we told her the dinner time was a little late for Esmé so she kindly made her food an hour earlier. They also have a little high chair so no need to bring one.
Lunches are light it may be a fruit salad or some fresh vegetable cous cous. They encourage guests to make sandwiches at breakfast time to take to the beach and give tin foil to pack it all away. Not sure about you but more often than not you have to sneak things from breakfast in hotels? I love how they actively encourage it.
When dinner time comes around it’s another spread of fresh vegetable dishes, salads and there is always a vege and meat option. I love the atmosphere how everyone sits together encouraging socialising and getting to know each other, especially as you spend time with everyone learning to surf and other activities.
Within the local area I can’t say I found any amazing restaurants so its pretty lucky the camp do have such good food. However if you fancy something a little more at lunch, the best place we found was in the next camp ‘El Rosal Restaurant and Cafe’.
Imagine it: waking up to the birds singing in the tall pine trees above the tent? Fully equipped with a double bed and a cot for Esmé, we were super cozy. All three of us really struggled with morning motivation, we were so comfortable and enjoyed sleeping in the outdoors. The tents themselves are very spacious and luxurious. It wouldn’t be glamping without all the very thoughtful decor inside the tent. I love how they carry the forest theme throughout. The best clothes hanging rack I have ever seen made of tree branches and the shabby chic light made from twine.
We had a table and chairs on our little grassed area that faces away from the rest of the camp so it was perfect for Esmé to hang out and play when we weren’t busy.
The only issue with sleeping in tents, as with any camping style situation, is everyone can hear a tantrum. So I felt obliged to deal with it in a more timely fashion for the sake of other guests. Luckily it seemed everyone was quite understanding of our nearly ‘terribly independent two-year old’.
The activities were endless for both Esmé and us.
What did Esmé do?
Conveniently there is an outdoor playground where there were plenty of other little ones that she played with. It’s not the most extensive playground but it was perfect for her age. Next door there is also a small indoor play area which was perfect for when it was raining.
The camp provided arts and crafts and many of the staff sat with Esmé to do them. It was a relatively informal arrangement but all the same entertaining, relaxed and perfect to keep her busy.
She spent ages exploring the camp. You know how kids are, they play with everything that isn’t toys. She loved checking out everything nature like all the flowers, the pine cones that are all around the camp, the surf boards and so on.
What we did as a family?
We went for bike rides to the local town exploring. Mountain bikes are provided by the camp inclusive of a child seat and helmets for the family. They were a perfect way of seeing the local area. The cycle to town across the bridge has picturesque scenery.
On one evening the camp organised a mountain bike tour which we joined. At the end, they set up a red wine and cheese picnic to watch the sunset. It was really special. I tied Esmé to me with a blanket and she went to sleep. Kindly the staff took us home in the van so we didn’t have to wake her to go back on the bike.
We had hours of fun with Esmé building sand castles on the beach with the bucket and spades provided by the camp.
What did we do on our own?
The obvious and main activity on the camp is daily surf lessons. I had about three in total and I am very happy to say I was just about standing up by the time I left. I felt immensely proud of myself. Why? Well because it’s just another one of those things I never thought I would do once I was a mum. The staff were really accommodating and planned my lessons for when Esmé was having her nap. Not only that but they also offer a babysitting service at an additional cost. Although Shaun didn’t need lessons, it was really nice he could come to the water with me. On the days when there were no lessons, we surfed together on Esmé’s nap time for an hour.
There are also yoga classes usually on at 8.30am or in the evening. I wanted to go to more but as I said we were really lazy in the mornings. I know….yes… my child does sleep until 9am…. sometimes! When I did go, Shaun minded Esmé.
The camp generally arrange evening activities whether it involves live music or a table tennis tournament, everyone hangs out together. It’s not at all rowdy and our tent was literally next to the main hang out area so Esmé was safe in the tent once she went down for the night. We just chilled with a nice glass of local Rioja and chatted with people.
In comparison to other holidays I really loved this experience for a few reasons:
- We were constantly outside, which Esmé just loved!
- This type of trip forced us to relax which we really needed. Our lives are constantly 100 miles an hour.
- We had decent quality time together.
- I learnt how to surf!!
Have you ever been on a glamping and surfing holiday in Spain with a toddler? Or somewhere else? How was it?