Disclosure: Our accommodation and travel to La Brasilia were paid for by Al Fresco for the purposes of this review.
This half-term we were invited to review the Camping La Brasilia campsite in the South of France with Al Fresco Holidays.
La Brasilia is a brilliant location for a family holiday, with an almost endless number of activities for children of all ages, particularly if you’re a fan of outdoor adventures. This is a sleepy corner of France, where the focus is on food, nature and outdoor adventures.
I was travelling with Flea, 15, and her friend Charlotte. Could Camping La Brasilia entertain a single Mum travelling with two teenagers? Read our Camping La Brasilia review to find out! Or check out our video highlights, below:
Camping La Brasilia is a Yelloh campsite, about 20 minutes outside the town of Perpignan.
You can fly direct to Perpignan, or the city of Beziers, which is about an hour up the coast. Or if you prefer not to fly, you could take a ferry to Bilbao or Santander, and then drive. If you’ve not driven in France before, here are some really handy tips. We flew to Perpignan from Manchester and it was around an hour’s drive to the campsite.
La Brasilia is in the Roussillon region of France. Perpignan is the last major town in French before you reach the Spanish border. This part of France is sometimes known as French Catalonia, because so many locals identify as Catalonian. For visitors this means lots of Catalan flags, and plenty of tapas!
What makes this part of France so special is its geography. The coastline is dotted with tiny harbours and historic villages, with occasional wide, sandy beaches. Many are backed by the Pyrenees mountains, providing fabulous scenery. If you’re looking for big cities and restaurants or high-end shopping this is not the spot for you!
La Brasilia Facilities
The La Brasilia campsite is a great base to explore the region.
The campsite is large, with 700 pitches, including chalets, mobile homes and tent pitches. However, the site is very spacious so we definitely didn’t feel crowded. There’s enough room outside each mobile home for a good sized car, and you don’t feel like your neighbours can overhear your conversations, as with some sites.
Being a larger site means there are more facilities, and the site is well laid out with plenty of different play, pool and eating areas. For me, the big selling point of Camping La Brasilia is its direct beach access.
There’s a lifeguard, and a small sandy beach that can be accessed from multiple points around the campsite. At the far end of the beach is a hut where you can rent paddle boards and canoes. There are also windsurfing lessons available, although you will need to pay for these activities.
We had a lovely time watching the sun set at the beach here, and on our last morning two of us even managed to get up to catch the sun rising over the ocean.
Don’t fancy the beach?
The joy of a big site is that while it can be noisy and a bit hectic there is always something to do at La Brasilia. There are two heated outdoor swimming pools, a jacuzzi pool and a water park with slides (although most of these are geared towards slightly younger children).
I think the pools are really thoughtfully designed, with the swimming pools separate to the water park, which is itself split into different areas for younger and older guests. There is a snack bar at the pool complex, so you can grab a bite to eat if you’re spending the day here.
The spa is located right next to the pool complex. Although the Al Fresco website says the spa is for those aged 15+, the spa offers a range of teen treatments for guests aged 11-15. Flea and her friend Charlotte both had facials at the spa, which they really enjoyed. I thought prices were reasonable, at 30 euros for a facial and manicure.
Next to the pool and spa there’s a large stage for evening entertainment and a games room, with video games and football tables. There’s also a hair salon, laundrette, multi-sports pitch, and even a fitness room. These seem to be pretty well maintained and well used, compared to other sites we’ve visited.
La Brasilia organises a range of activities through the day which are mostly free – Flea and her friend Charlotte almost thought about joining the early morning jog, but, well, teenagers.
Al Fresco Accommodation at Camping La Brasilia – Review
We arrived at La Brasilia late in the day, but were welcomed by two really friendly reps, who settled us into our accommodation.
We were in a brand new Toscanini mobile home, which had 3 bedrooms, 1 shower room, a separate w/c, and open plan living space. There’s also a large outside deck with table and chairs for 4, plus 2 sun loungers.
If you’ve stayed in this sort of mobile home before it will be very familiar. The bedrooms are small, the showers are a bit cramped, and the noise insulation is not amazing. But it’s clean, well thought out and makes the most of the space available (except for the kitchen, which sorely needs more room to store food).
But in exciting NEW news, there are now USB chargers! There are 2 in the bedroom and 2 in the lounge, which makes charging phones a lot simpler. There are also pull-down black-out blinds, which makes sleeping in the morning a lot easier!
Our accommodation at La Brasilia had air conditioning, which is available for a small weekly supplement.
We were kindly given linen packs and beach towels as part of our Camping La Brasilia review.
This meant we received four beach towels, and each bed had two sheets, two pillow cases and a fleece blanket. There is a fan and a heater in each bedroom in case you need it.
The real bonus is the large outdoor space which makes it possible to have meals outside every day. Isn’t that just the best feeling? (especially when you know it’s raining in England..)
What to Bring to Camping La Brasilia
Different holiday operators have different welcome items included when you arrive on this sort of holiday.
With Al Fresco you can expect one beer per adult, plus bottled water for kids, and one toilet roll. Anything else you need, you’ll need to purchase locally, or bring with you. Key things I’d suggest picking up before you arrive would include:
- A dish cloth or sponge
- Oven glove
- Tea Towel (or just a thick tea towel that can double as an oven glove)
- Hand towels
- A small bottle of washing up liquid
Food & Drink at Camping La Brasilia Review
The joy of this sort of holiday is that you can be really relaxed about eating. We went for a mixture of eating at our mobile home, eating at the on-site restaurant and eating out in the local area.
The on-site supermarket sells most of the basics, and it’s only a short 5 minute drive to the local supermarkets. I was travelling with teens so I can also report that it’s a five-minute drive to the local McDonald’s, which has a drive-thru and free WiFi. Truly, you’ve never known trauma until you’ve spent 10 minutes in a car with a teen who has just run out of mobile data.
La Brasilia also has its own patisserie, rotisserie, bakery, ice cream stand and fruit and vegetable stall. The girls quickly discovered that while they were on the hunt for baguettes they could also pick up freshly-made cookies!
Our Al Fresco mobile home had an oven, microwave, fridge and freezer. There was also a gas barbecue which we used during the week.
The rotisserie does good take-out food including hot dogs, roasted chickens and other items that vary throughout the week.
If you prefer not to cook, the on-site restaurant has a small but good menu, and there is a lovely outside terrace for dining. Flea and her friend Charlotte loved the duck, and I found the range of salads to be excellent (and enormous).
Best Things to do with Kids Around La Brasilia
In some ways, this part of France reminded me a lot of being in British Columbia. When you have lakes and beaches and mountains, nature creates its own playground. It makes for a fab holiday destination.
Within an hour’s drive of the La Brasilia, you can take part in almost any outdoor water or land-based adventure sport you can think of.
Want to get on the water? There are schools for kite-surfing, paddle boarding, surfing and more in the local area. How about canyoning, gorge walking or canoeing? Do check out the leaflets in the Al Fresco reception, and be sure to make the most of this beautiful part of the world.
During our week in Canet Plage, the girls first wanted to visit one of the many “parcour” sites. These are high-ropes courses similar to a Go Ape in the UK. We ended up at Argeles Adventure, where the girls were set loose on a series of courses. What I loved about this site was that the girls could do multiple obstacles, with a colour coding system to indicate how difficult each mini course would be.
The cost of this activity was 25 euros per person (over 12s are classed as adults).
Our next big adventure was the Drop In Water Parc, which was a site in Argeles devoted to enormous water slides. There were ramps that flung the girls into the air, or slides that you travelled down on a boogie board, or in a donut.
We paid for two hours, which was MORE than enough. The girls were a bit bruised and exhausted by this point, but they both had lots of fun. Prices are 20 euros for kids under 14, and 25 euros for over 14s. It’s worth noting that under 14s cannot go on ALL the slides.
My third recommended excursion is a day trip to Castelnou. This is OFFICIALLY one of the 12 most beautiful villages in France. Seriously. That’s a real thing.
This tiny walled town dates back to the 10th Century. It’s nestled in the mountains above Canet Plage, and is only accessible by car (which stops it from getting too crowded). You can park just below the city, and it costs three euros for the whole day. Do be prepared to spend a lot of time walking up and down steep, cobbled passageways. This is not the day for heels!
The girls had a fabulous time exploring the ancient stone buildings and cobbled streets. There are flowers and paintings everywhere, and tucked in the little buildings you’ll find lots of artists and studios to browse. We stopped in a beautiful restaurant perched on the very edge of the mountain, and had fabulous tapas for lunch here.
We also took an afternoon trip to the pretty town of Collioure, which is famous for being home to some of the 20th Century’s most famous artists. The likes of Matisse, Picasso, Dali and Charles Rennie Mackintosh all spent time here, and there are still loads of galleries and art shops around town.
Fun fact: if you find the Les Templiers bar, you can see original art works on the walls. It’s how some of the artists paid their drinks bills, back in the day.
Collioure also has a pretty little beach with beautiful views of the historic buildings around the port. We had a gorgeous hour sitting in the sun here, eating freshly made ice cream.
On our last day in France, we were going to visit Carcassonne. However, our Al Fresco rep suggested we skip the town as it’s a bit crowded on weekends. She advised heading to Narbonne instead, which is just as pretty and far more chilled out.
And that’s how we found ourselves on the most gorgeous beach watching a kite ballet tournament. It was absolutely fascinating, super emotional and brilliantly bonkers. Quite the best end to our trip that I could imagine!
Overall Camping La Brasilia Review
Our Camping La Brasilia review was created in partnership with Al Fresco Holidays.
Our flights, car hire and accommodation were paid for as part of this review (but all opinions are our own). We flew to Beziers from Manchester with Ryanair, but flights to Perpignan are a little closer, and depart from other regional airports.
Seven nights at La Brasilia in July 2019 costs from £850-£1850 for 2 adults and 2 children, plus flights or ferry crossings. For more information about Camping La Brasilia, check out the Al Fresco website.