Just returned from a grand tour of Europe covering 7 countries and 3000 miles. Of all the campsites visited, this is the first one I an inclined to review for reasons I will now explain.
Firstly, I would like to just say that this website was a life saver, all overnight locations were found and organised through this site so if you are reading this then you have come to the right place. On the most part, we agreed completely with the reviews, that is apart from this campsite.
We arrived late afternoon having contacted the campsite the day before via email and were greeted on arrival. Bar area looked great and staff seemed friendly and welcoming. So much so we paid up front for 4 nights. We given the freedom of choosing a space and letting them know. Plenty to choose from, all pitches separated by lovely flowering hedgerows but on the downside, specifically for those travelling by tent, the ground is covered in gravel. It actually punctured our ground sheet.
In terms of the location, the campsite does back onto a gravelly beach but we did not find it inviting enough to stroll along it. You are far better off travelling 10 mins south to Peniscola where there is more your typical Spanish holiday resort beach. The road in to the campsite off the highway was also a bit of an eye opener, I have never seen so many ladies sat under parasols in lay-bys during the day. The town 5 mins north had metal bars on every window and very sturdy shutters, looked something akin to South Central LA.
In terms of facilities, toilets and showers were above average but it is the location of them I had an issue with. The doors to the showers open into the bar/restaurant area. A couple of times the door was left open and I came out of the shower cubicle half dressed to be greeted by diners.
All this aside, the evenings entertainment kicked in which, as it turned out, was a party for one of the many English static caravan residents. An evening meal for us was out of the question as we were told there would be an extremely long wait, the bar area was packed. We went off site for some diner and tired from the days travelling returned to soak up some more of the atmosphere. A very good singer was entertaining the crowd on our return, but it was quite loud and with the tourers being in close proximity to the bar we had little choice but to sit and watch. It finished sometime after 2300hrs but just as we were thinking about turning in, the karaoke kicked in. We stuck it out for as long as we could and even though it looked like it would have been a great laugh if you were actually part of the family, we decided we needed to try and get some sleep. A very sleepless night followed.
The following night was much of the same. We came to the conclusion, this was a site geared towards those that own their own static home, rent one or maybe bring a motorhome or caravan. I would not recommend camping here under canvas, you will not get much sleep.
We toured around Europe chasing the sun and the forecast changed on the second day with storms closing in on our route. Travelling by motorbike is no fun in thunderstorms. For this reason coupled with the niggles we experienced we asked if it would be possible to get a refund on the last 2 days. I must stress, this was based solely on the weather because we were quite happy to stick it out as we had discovered some nice places to visit during the day.
Our request for a refund was turned down and the atmosphere towards us from the point on seemed to changed. We were no longer served as quickly and the welcoming atmosphere soon started to dissipate. We stayed one more night then chose to forgo the fee for the final night and left.
In fairness, the site had some good points. It depends on what you are expecting. The campsite was more like a self contained holiday park like a version of butlins but on a much smaller scale. Entertainment is great but very loud and not so good if you are in a tent. The pool is ok, small but adequate, it has an adequately stocked small shop, cheap wine and beer. I like the layout of the pitches, nice and private but not so keen on the gravel flooring.
We would not stay here again and would not recommend this to any of our friends.
Location - 1/10 - Lay-by ladies!
Facilities - 7/10 - Good clean toilets and showers, location was a little odd.
Customer - 5/10 - Initially very friendly but our personal experience did go down hill.
Child Friendliness - 8/10 - Pool, and entertainment great for kids but noisy for them at night.
Value for Money - 7/10 - Down to personal preference, average for most sites.
Overall Rating - 4/10 - Again, personal preference but for us, camping is supposed to be peaceful and relaxing, if I wanted this type of package I would book go for a package deal.
We have stayed at Camping Alegria Del Mar since 2002. Each winter we look forward to returning and over the years have been very pleasantly surprised at the improvements they have made.
The new toilet and shower blocks, the extensions to the bar. As the girls have grown up and now got families of their own they are all involved in the site making it a truly family owned site. We always get a very warm welcome and nothing is too much trouble for them. Sadly we couldn't make it last winter but we are counting the days to our next visit.
Their Christmas and New year package is excellent value for money. The long stay discount prices are the best we have found through Spain.
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