Back to planning,
So far we have planned where we are going, and how we are going to get there. So what next?
Well what to do when we get there? Is there anything of special interest to see or do in the area? Is there something that we just can’t live without seeing, doing?
We have been twice before so we have a fair idea of what is in the area but it’s always worth doing your research. Ah research the stuff the planning nerd dreams of.
Where do you start to research an area’s attractions? I always like a map.
Just staring at a map for a while can give you a good idea of the area and it’s surroundings, how far you can travel with ease. There is no point planning to go see a quaint little village if it’s going to take five hours to get there. You’re just likely to be too tired and irritable to enjoy it when you eventually arrive. Of course there is always the exception, something that really is so special it is worth the long drive.
I usually try to limit any visits to a drive of around a couple of hours maximum each way. i.e. Barcelona is an easy 1h 45m drive from the campsite. Easy because it’s just a 10min drive to the motorway and then it’s straight into Barcelona all on the same road. Last year we took a drive to Montpellier and another up through the Pyrenees to the Principality of Andorra, a tax haven high in the mountains.
The main activity we plan to indulge in on this “BIG” holiday is relaxation drinking plenty of French Wine and lots of Sun!
Looking at a map can give you a great overview of an area but an online map like Google Maps will allow you to see buildings, beaches, campsites, fun fairs etc…. plus there is even a street view! WOW it’s almost like being there!
Then of course there are the old favourite, Guide Books. There are loads of guide books available. Lonely Planet, DK to name just a couple. There are guides to cities, countries, regions. All of them are a mine of information. We have tried quite a few and you will find your own preference as they all pretty much have the same information but it’s usually presented a little differently between the various books. All of this information is also available online of course but a book is always handy to have, you may not have internet access in the wilds of the Pyrenees. Always take a paper book just like a paper map, technology is great until you can’t use it for some reason, a dead battery, no signal etc…
Ask for recommendations, someone has almost certainly been before you. In mainland Europe you are not very likely to find a holiday spot that you are the first to visit, ever. Investigate your hosts website. They will usually give you some links and ideas of things to do, after all they have a lot invested in you having a good time. They want you to come back, they want you to tell your friends that you had a great time at their campsite.
At the end of the day it’s your holiday and you need to plan for what you want to do. Some people like to lay on a beach all day, some people like to climb a mountain every day whatever floats your boat. Ooh now there’s another idea a nice little boat trip. I seem to remember a taxi boat from Argeles Plage to Collioure. Hmmmm….. something else to research.