Blue Flag 2014 – Europe’s cleanest and safest beaches

Blue Flag LogoThere are many things that you need to weigh up when planning a holiday, including perhaps most importantly location. Many of us (most?) will want to spend at least a few days relaxing on a beach at some point, so the quality of the beach and it’s water are fundamental. Plus safety and cleanliness are considerations, especially for those with kids.

Blue Flag Award

That’s where the Blue Flag certification from the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) comes in which is an international, non-governmental, not-for-profit, organisation, promoting sustainable development through environmental education. The Blue Flag program was launched across in 5 European countries in 1987, the EU’s Year of the Environment, and has grown ever since. In 2014 a total of 48 countries have accredited beaches and marinas.

Blue Flag flagThe Blue Flag eco-label is awarded to beaches, both sea and lake, and marinas, on a yearly basis that achieve the necessary high environmental and quality standards in a number of categories including: water quality, safety, environmental education and information, the provision of services and general environmental management criteria. Each certified beach must have the blue flag flying (as seen here) at least every 500m.

Beaches with Blue Flag Award and Campsites

There are over 3200 beaches with the award, most of which in Europe, as you can see from the table below. Spain has the most awards, with 561, and an average of over 8 per 100km. The other Mediterranean countries with major coastlines are next in terms of total awards followed by Denmark. In Italy, Liguria is the best represented region with 38 beaches along its coast, followed by Tuscany with 33. In France, the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region has 91 awards, while Brittany has 37, and in Spain, Valencia has a huge 121 and Catalonia has 89 awards! All areas with great selections of campsites, so the choice is vast.

Country
Blue Flag Beaches (2014)
Blue Flag Beaches (2011)
Coastline (km) [5]
Blue Flag Beaches per 100 km coastline
Spain5614936,7778.3
Greece36042513,6762.6
France363285*4,6687.8
Italy2682257,6003.5
Portugal2982252,75310.8
Denmark2442097,3143.3
Croatia971145,8351.7
United Kingdom9910512,4290.8
Ireland76741,4485.2
Netherlands59418157.2
Germany41392,3891.7
Belgium1156716.4

Water Quality

  1. The beach must fully comply with the water quality sampling and frequency
    requirements.
  2. The beach must fully comply with the standards and requirements for water quality analysis.
  3. No industrial, waste-water or sewage-related discharges should affect the beach area.
  4. The beach must comply with the Blue Flag requirements for the microbiological parameter Escherichia coli (faecal coli bacteria) and intestinal enterococci
    (streptococci)
  5. The beach must comply with the Blue Flag requirements for the following physical parameters.

In the European Union, the water quality standards are incorporated in the EC Water Framework Directive. Water samples must be taken at least every 30 days  and analysed by an independent body.

Safety and Services

  1. Appropriate public safety control measures must be implemented.
  2. First aid equipment must be available on the beach.
  3. Emergency plans to cope with pollution risks must be in place.
  4. There must be management of different users and uses of the beach so as to prevent conflicts and accidents.
  5. There must be safety measures in place to protect users of the beach.
  6. A supply of drinking water should be available at the beach
  7. At least one Blue Flag beach in each municipality must have access and facilities provided for the physically disabled.

Environmental Management

  1. The local authority/beach operator should establish a beach management committee.
  2. The local authority/beach operator must comply with all regulations affecting the location and operation of the beach.
  3. Sensitive area management.
  4. The beach must be clean.
  5. Algae vegetation or natural debris should be left on the beach.
  6. Waste disposal bins/containers must be available at the beach in adequate numbers and they must be regularly maintained.
  7. Facilities for the separation of recyclable waste materials should be available at the beach.
  8. An adequate number of toilet or restroom facilities must be provided.
  9. The toilet or restroom facilities must be kept clean.
  10. The toilet or restroom facilities must have controlled sewage disposal.
  11. On the beach there will be no unauthorised camping or driving and no dumping.
  12. Access to the beach by dogs and other domestic animals must be strictly controlled.
  13. All buildings and beach equipment must be properly maintained.
  14. Marine and freshwater sensitive habitats (such as Coral reefs or sea grass beds) in the vicinity of the beach must be monitored.
  15. A sustainable means of transportation should be promoted in the beach area.

Environmental Education and Information

  1. Information about the Blue Flag programme and other FEE eco-label must be displayed.
  2. Environmental education activities must be offered and promoted to beach users.
  3. Information about bathing water quality must be displayed.
  4. Information relating to local eco-systems and environmental phenomena must be displayed.
  5. A map of the beach indicating different facilities must be displayed.
  6. A code of conduct that reflects appropriate laws governing the use of the beach and surrounding areas must be displayed.

Summary

The Blue Flag awards are not only important for your holiday, guaranteeing you clean sand and water, safe access and facilities such as washrooms, but also for the environment. This sustainable approach to tourism is clearly important and to be congratulated, so why not choose a Blue Flag area for your holiday to show your support?

To find out more see the links below.

Sources:
Federation for Environmental Education (FEE)
Blue Flag
Wikipedia

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged beaches, Blue Flag, campsites, europe, FEE | Leave a comment

Siblu: 2015 Early Booking Offer

Siblu LogoTake advantage of the Siblu Early Booking Offer to save up to £350 off your 2015 holiday!

Book your stay on any of the 14 Siblu owned holiday villages by the 31st October and quote the discont code NEW15 to take advantage of the offers and save as much as £350 per fortnight or £175 per week.

Returning customers who have holidayed with Siblu in the past 5 years can save even more, but booking can only be made by phone on 0871 911 2288.

Pierre CoucheesBy booking before 31st October 2014, Siblu customers can also save 10% on ferry crossings with Brittany Ferries. Follow the link indicated on the siblu.com special offers page.

Remember that Siblu sites are perfect for kids of all ages, with free children’s clubs, indoor and outdoor pool areas, splash zones, water slides and toddler pools!

Find out more on siblu.com or call 0871 911 2288.

Posted in Special Offers | Tagged 2015, camping holidays, early booking offer, siblu | Leave a comment

Eurocamp: Early Booking Offer 2015

Eurocamp LogoBook your 2015 Eurocamp holiday.

Book your 2015 holiday with Eurocamp by the 31st October to take advantage of some great early booking deals.

Eurocamp 25% offThe deals include 20% off outside of high season (10% during) and 5% for returning customers who have travelled with Eurocamp or Keycamp in the past, for a total of up to 25% off!!

Book now and pay only a £99 deposit.

 

Visit eurocamp.co.uk for more details, terms and conditions, and to book your holiday!

Offer Expires:
31st October 2014

 

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Al Fresco Holidays: 2015

Al Fresco LogoAl Fresco Holidays continues to go from strength to strength, offering great value holidays on many of Europes tops sites. In 2015 they will be present on 68 campsites across 6 countries (Italy, France, Spain, Austria, Croatia and the Netherlands) with a large choice of mobile homes, including the new 40m2 3 bedroom Verdi, with L-shaped terrace. The 2015 prices have been kept the same as in 2014, and there are a host of special offers available, for an even better deal. Check out some of the offers below and visit the Al Fresco website for more details:

Early Booking Offer

Save up to 30% by booking now your 2015 holiday with Al Fresco! The holiday must be booked by the 4th November to take advantage of the offer.

Loyalty Bonus

Customers who have holidayed with Al Fresco in the past save from £50 up to £100 for those who have enjoyed at least 5 Al Fresco holidays!

Free Nights

Stay for free with free nights, including 14 nights for the price of 12 across high season on selected sites. In low season all sites participate, with upto 7 nights free out of 14!

Free Ferry/Toddler Pack/Group bookings

Check out the Al Fresco website for further offers including free short ferry crossings, free baby and toddler packs, 2 mobiles for the price of 1 and more. Remember that most offers are valid until the 4th November.

Visit the EveryCAMP Al Fresco page for more information about which sites Al Fresco are on or visit their site directly.

Posted in Special Offers | Tagged 2015, Al Fresco, austria, camping holidays, campsites, croatia, france, holland, Italy, Spain | Leave a comment

Holiday Review: Campiente on Orbetello Camping Village

Campiente LogoWe have just returned from a well earned and much enjoyed week with Campiente on the Tuscan Coast at Orbetello Camping Village. The weather was good and while we spent most of the week at the beach or at the pool we also ventured out a couple of times to visit the picturesque town of Orbetello and the peninsular of Monte Argentario.

View from Monte Argentario

View of Orbetello Camping Village from Monte Argentario

Monte Argentario is  a mountain (635m) in the south of Tuscany connected to the mainland by three narrow strips of land which encapsulate two lagoons, in the middle of which lies Orbetello. The southern strip is a national park consisting of a pine forest and long wide sandy beach. The northern strip also contains a long sandy beach, but is more developed, with holiday homes and campsites.

Orbetello Camping Village is a medium sized campsite and lies on this northern strip and is only around 100m from the beach. The path does cross the main road to Argentario, so children must be accompanied, though at busy times of the day the crossing is staffed by local volunteers (acting much like lollipop ladies!).

Orbetello Beach

The Beach

Arriving at the beach there is an area on the left where you can rent sunloungers and umbrellas, whilst on the right the beach is free. We were there in mid July and there was no problem with space even though the beach is not the deepest. The sand is fine and more importantly clean and the water very shallow. The depth remains knee deep for a good twenty metres which is perfect for children. Obviously the shallow water combined with the fine sand and sun creamed people left the water a little murky but it seemed clean. The water quality is classed as excellent (as it is along 97% of the Tuscan coast) and close by on Argentario the water is crystal clear.

Orbetello Camping Village Beach

The Pool Complex

As an alternative to the beach the campsite has a very nice modern pool area with wooden decking, sunloungers (payment necessary) and plenty of grassy areas. There is a shallow kids pool as well as a 25m pool and  three jacuzzi pools! The pools opening hours are a bit restricted (10:00-19:00) and there is no swimming lane or hour, so actual swimming is difficult. It would be nice to see more time and space dedicated to people who actually want to swim, especially as the facilities are already there. This however is a common problem on many sites.

Orbetello Camping Village

The campsite entrance (and road!)

There is a multilingual animation team to entertain the kids, both on the beach and on the site, as well as aerobics in the sea, and other activites such as pool side yoga (payment required). The evening entertainment is more classic Italian campsite style: loud, cheesy and ends quite late (after 11pm). Our kids loved it and we didn’t find it too much, though if you are light sleepers and early to bed check that you aren’t too close to the centre of the site. The supermarket is well stocked is open till late (though does close twice during the day). The restaurant was fairly typical campsite fare, with friendly staff, but they were clearly overwhelmed on busy evenings. It’s best to avoid the busiest moments otherwise you may have to wait for your food.

Campiente Mobile Home

Campiente Mobile Home

We stayed in a Campiente Riviera mobile home booked directly through Campiente, which is one of the smaller and cheaper campsite holiday companies. They are based in the Veneto region and offer holidays on 22 campsites, mainly in Italy but also in Croatia, Austria and France. They have no staff on site so we checked in directly though the campsite reception (Note: armbands must be worn throughout the stay – a growing trend and another pet hate….. it’s one thing on the site, but when you go offsite you may as well stick a flashing “tourist” sign on your head).

The mobile itself seemed to be pretty new and in very good condition. The large covered terrace was great and everything was generally perfect for a family of five. We could have used a few more pots and pans, but nothing major was missing. The car must be left in the car park, but it was less than 50m away and to be honest, I prefer it when there are no cars around on campsites.

View from Monte Argentario

A Hidden Beach on Monte Argentario

Offsite we didn’t manage to visit anywhere near as much as we’d have liked, but we had too much fun relaxing. We did get out for a drive round Argentario though and the views from almost everywhere are spectacular, there are castles, islands (including the famous Giglio), bays, ports full of impressive yachts, with strips of beach heading of into the distance. We stopped for a while at small rocky sandy beach in a little hidden bay to relax for a while. The walk down (and back up) was quite hard work in the heat but the place was beautiful and the clear water amazing.

Sand Nymph!

Beach Nymph!!!!

We had a quick look at Orbetello which is a quaint little town, but a week wasn’t anywhere near enough to really explore the area. We had a great time though so will be happy to return to both the area and Orbetello Camping Village, and would holiday again with Campiente.

 

 

 

Posted in holiday review | Tagged argentario, beach, campiente, mobile home, orbetello | Leave a comment

Happy Birthday HAPPYCAMP!!!

Happycamp logoHappycamp is 15 years old, and to celebrate they are offering some last minute special offers for the week starting the 2nd August. The deals are particularly impressive with discounts of around 50%!

Just a couple of examples are:

Austria: Camping Bella Austria
1 week in a Happy Tent only €299 (reduced from €588)

Italy: Camping Vigna sul Mar
1 week in a Happy Standard mobile home only €529 (reduced from €1071)

Check out their Happy Week offers by visting happycamp.com.

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Eurocamp 2014: More sites, more offers, more choice.

There is a lot of exciting news in the Eurocamp world for the coming 2014, bring more offers and more choice for the summer holidays. Read on for details….

Eurocamp/Keycamp fusion

The big change is the integration of Keycamp into Eurocamp. The two have been sister companies within the large UK based travel group Holidaybreak, for many years, sharing some features such as the free kid’s clubs, whilst maintaining separate identities and different assortments of mobile homes and tents. Whilst they were both present on many of the same campsites, a large selection offered only one or the other.

This has all changed for 2014 with everything becoming Eurocamp. This rebranding includes a new logo, a new look website and a recategorising and renaming of the mobile homes. The old Keycamp only sites have been maintained thus increasing the choice of parcs, and being under one umbrella it is now easier to put together your favourite ones.

New Mobile Home – Aspect

What's New - Aspect accommodationThe brand new Aspect has been added to the Eurocamp range for 2014. This next generation holiday home  has been designed to give more space and modern comforts than ever before and includes a coffee machine, free Wi-Fi and extra-large decking. The Aspect is the largest Eurocamp holiday home on offer with the three bedroom version measuring a huge 40m2 and can be found on 26 campsites, mainly in France, though also on 4 in Italy and on 1 in Spain.

active_landing_header

Also brand new for 2014 is Eurocamp Active, dedicated to to the pursuit of your sporting passions on a choice of holiday destinations across Europe. For cycling enthusiasts there are parcs situated in excellent riding regions of France, while For those who like heights, there are some locations for climbers. If you prefer keeping your feet on the ground, there is also a choice of walking parcs in areas of natural outstanding beauty waiting to be explored and the alpine ski lover who can’t wait for the winter, Eurocamp has options located near ski resorts open across the summer.

Inclusive Options
In 2014 Eurocamp is bringing all-inclusive holidays to camping! Available on 12 campsites across Italy, France, Spain and Holland, you can choose between 3, 5 and 7 days and breakfast and dinner in the campsite restaurant are included as well as drinks with your meals, the campsite WiFi, bed linen and beach/pool towels. The offer starts from £75 per adult and £48 per child for 3 days and are available on some of the TOP sites including Duinrell, HollandPra’delle Torri, Caorle and Castell Montgri, Estartit.

Special Offers

overview-240x112_dealoftheweek

To tempt you further there are an array of special deals on offer including 50% off May Half Term breaks, Easter from just £245/wk,  May Half Term week from just £350/wk, and up to 20% off holidays in July & August and up to 25% off holidays in September & October.

There are also deals on long stays of over 17 nights and special discounts on Safari and Classic Tent holidays.  If you’re a previous Eurocamp or Keycamp customer you are entitled to a 5% loyalty bonus and if you travel twice with Eurocamp in 2014 you can save 40%! Visit the Eurocamp website for details or check the EveryCAMP page.

Posted in Features, Special Offers | Tagged 2014, en, Eurocamp, Keycamp | Leave a comment

AL Fresco Holidays 2014

Al Fresco LogoAl Fresco Holidays was born in 2004 as Thomson Al Fresco offering a wide range of mobile homes on some of the best campsites across Europe. This year the company celebrates it’s 10th birthday and continues to expand, giving it’s customers ever more choice. For 2014 they have added 12 new parcs and 3 new types of mobile home.

The company is now part of the large Homair group and beyond the general restyling, with the new Al Fresco Holidays name and the new logo, seen above,  the best Homair campsites have been integrated. These are bookable directly through the Al Fresco website further increasing the possibilities.

verdi-floorplan

The new mobile homes are the 2 bedroom Piccolo and Bellini Riviera and the larger luxury 3 bedroom Verdi. this last one is around 40m2 and has an en-suite master bedroom, oven, microwave, dishwasher and large L-shaped terrace.

Park Umag in CroatiaSome of the new campsites on offer are Camping Fabulous in Rome, Zaton Holiday Resort and Park Umag in Croatia, Tamarit Park in Spain, La Chappelle in France and Sole di Sari in Corsica. Plus there is the new Authentic & Value holiday range of parcs across France. These are all Homair owned sites and thus are able to offer low prices and have a more typically French ambiance.

The Verdi mobile homes on Park Umag in Istria share a private swimming pool!

If you book by the 2nd March you can secure your 2014 holiday with a just a £100 deposit and there are discounts available across the summer (up to 25% off) including July and August. There is also a £50 discount for returning customers and free nights on holidays of 10 nights or more.

Check out the EveryCAMP Al Fresco page for details and the full list of campsites, or visit the Al Fresco website for their latest offers. And remember that Al Fresco will always try to match any price offered by another leading UK competitor (Eurocamp, Canvas, Siblu), see the terms and conditions for details.

Posted in Special Offers | Tagged 2014, Al Fresco, en, Homair, Thomson Al Fresco | Leave a comment

EveryCAMP reaches 5000 campsites with the camping companies updated for 2014

You can now search through over 5000 campsites on EveryCAMP, with 300 in Belgium and nearly 500 in Denmark just this week. We have over a thousand Spanish sites listed and 1600 in Italy. They are all linked to their respective websites (where available) and you can quickly send them an email.

You can search through them via the Map Search page and filter by country, region and province.

The campsites can also be filtered by camping company, so if you are interested in Eurocamp, Vacansoleil, Canvas, etc, you can see which campsites they are present on and where they are.

The information regarding the main companies has been updated for 2014 including the texts, types of accommodation on offer and the opening period. Each campsite is directly linked to the companies website where you can find more information.

If you are the owner, manager etc of one of the campsites listed you can now fully edit the page, update it as required, add a photo, logo, campsite facilities and local attractions. Just go to your campsite on EveryCAMP and click on the link in the top right corner. Fill in the quick form and you’ll receive your log in details via email. If on the other hand you have a campsite that isn’t listed follow the relevant link in the footer and fill in your details.

Here’s to a good 2014 and Happy Camping everyone!

Posted in New Campsite | Tagged Belgium, Denmark, en, Eurocamp, Italy, Spain, Vacansoleil | 2 Comments

Thomson Al Fresco: Easter Sale

Thomson Al Fresco has some special deals on offer for the Summer holiday period, but hurry, the offers run out at midnight on the 1st April! Save an extra £200 in July and August in their School Summer Holidays Sale and the kids won’t be bored this May Half Term with 7 nights from just £247!

Offer terms and conditions:

Offer ends midnight 1st April. Prices could go up or down after the promotion has ended. Prices exclude insurance, travel supplementsand additional extras. Savings are offered on selected dates and parcs whilst promotional stocks last on holidays of 7 nights and over. May be combined with the loyalty bonus subject to a minimum spend of £199 inclusive of all offers and discounts. Applicable to new bookings only. Subject to availability.

Source: http://www.thomsonalfresco.co.uk/school-summer-holidays-sale

 

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