Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Our Family Holiday to Portofelice in Italy with Al Fresco Holidays

We have travelled with Al Fresco Holidays now on several occasions and they have quickly become a holiday brand that we know and trust. From the booking process to the return journey home, I can always be sure that we are in safe hands and that we are going to have a fantastic holiday.

Previously, we have visited two of their large and lively parks which were Sanguli and La Croix du Vieux Pont. This time however, we were staying on a medium sized park on the Venetian Riviera in Italy.

We chose this destination for our Al Fresco holiday due to its close proximity to Venice, which is somewhere that both my husband and I have always wanted to visit. It has also been quite some time since we last ventured to Italy, with our previous trips to both Rome and Genoa being over ten years ago. In all honesty, whilst I had often thought of returning to Italy, we hadn't actually considered it as a family holiday destination and it was only due to the fact that the Union Lido holiday park was mentioned to us during our trip to France, that we became aware of the possibility.

Once we began to look into a family holiday along the Venetian Riveria, we were actually surprised to find that Al Fresco Holidays have five parks based here. Whilst they all looked fantastic, it was Portofelice Camping Village that really stood out to us. This was due to its prime location, easy access to a beach and plenty of activities for the children. It also had some fantastic reviews and I often rely a lot on other peoples experiences of somewhere, when choosing where to stay.

About Al Fresco Holidays

Al Fresco Holidays specialise in mobile home holidays throughout Europe, with some fantastic family friendly parks on offer. Whether you are looking for a beach break, a peaceful countryside setting, or an action packed activity filled holiday, then Al Fresco Holidays is sure to have a site that will suit your needs.

Featuring 74 parks across Europe, Al Fresco Holidays can be enjoyed in France, Italy, Spain, Croatia, Holland and Austria and they have all been hand picked to ensure that they have everything you need to enjoy a memorable holiday.

They offer a variety of mobile home options, which are all well equipped, comfortable and modern. The mobile homes offer a fantastic solution for larger families as some of the accommodations can sleep up to 8 people, which makes them extremely cost effective. They offer more space than just an individual hotel room and some of the holiday homes also offer decking, outdoor seating and a barbecue, which all help you to make the most of the sunshine too.

This year has also seen the introduction of two new styles of mobile homes which are the Toscanini Lounge and the Da Vinci Lounge, with both featuring an extended decking area and canopy. They can sleep up to 6 people comfortably in their 3 bedroomed models and a 2 bedroom version of the Da Vinci can also be found at the Union Lido Holiday Park on the Venetian Riviera.

It is also worth noting that the Toscanini Lounge is available as a wheelchair adapted model at the Le Clarys Plage Holiday Park in France, which has easy access, lowered surfaces and an adapted shower room.

Their website is extremely easy to use and the added function of an online chat ensures that any enquiries can be dealt with promptly. If it is out of hours, or an online adviser is unavailable then you can simply leave a message and someone quickly gets back to you with a response. They can also be contacted by telephone, which makes dealing with any queries either before, during or after your booking really simple.

The Al Fresco Holidays website makes searching for your ideal holiday an enjoyable process and by using the search function you can refine your results to suit your particular needs and requirements. You can also make selections based on budget, location or facilities so using this can help you find your perfect destination.

There is also plenty of information available on travel options with choices such as flights, self-drive, the ferry or Eurotunnel all being something to consider. The detailed information on each park tells you where your nearest airport or port is, so if you are after somewhere with a short transfer, or would like to limit your driving time, then this information can come in very useful. If you are unable to decide which option would suit you best, then Al Fresco representatives are always happy to help and can provide recommendations.

Our Arrival at Portofelice Camping Village

We flew with Jet2 from Manchester to Venice Marco Polo Airport. We had no problems with the airline at all and everything ran to schedule. The flight time was only two hours which passed really quickly and we were transferred from the plane to the arrivals area by bus.

The airport was well organised and it only took five minutes to get through border control and to the luggage area. The children were amazed with how the airport looked, as all over the baggage collection area there was incredible art work everywhere, including the flooring and even on the grooves of the baggage carousel.

We had a transfer arranged with Sun Transfers and it was only a very short walk from meeting our driver in the arrivals hall to get to the actual vehicle. As we began to travel along the roads, we all enjoyed taking in our new surroundings and it took approximately 45 minutes in total to reach the site.

As we began to get closer to the holiday park, my son Ben noticed a sign for Portofelice at the side of the road. We were so excited to almost be there and it wasn't long before we could all see the entrance in the distance. It was time to let our holiday begin!


We arrived just before 1pm and the taxi driver parked up outside reception and helped us to unload our luggage. There were a couple of other guests in the queue, so we patiently waited for our turn to check in. The reception area has three service desks so we didn't have long to wait at all to be welcomed.

I had initially been a little concerned about the language barrier as all of my family can manage conversational Welsh, French or Spanish, certainly not at a fluent level, but enough to ask for directions, order items, general greetings or make a simple enquiry, However, we had no knowledge of the Italian language at all, so even simple words such as please or thank you were completely new to us. Fortunately the reception staff spoke extremely good English and we were able to check in without any issues. I did feel a little awkward not even being able to say thank you in the native language and wish I had learnt the basics prior to our trip, but we all made the effort throughout our stay to learn words from others and use them when we could.


The whole check in process took approximately five minutes and the receptionist provided us with a large envelope, booklet and sun lounger reservation board. She informed me that one of her colleagues would take us to our accommodation on a buggy, where we would be met by our Al Fresco representatives. I was already very impressed with the service and it was nice to be taken to our accommodation as opposed to us having to search for it whilst hauling our suitcases.

The buggy picked us up straight away and it was a short drive to the accommodation. During the journey we drove past the main entertainment area, stage and pool zone, so it was nice to instantly get a good idea as to where everything was situated.

As the buggy pulled up outside the accommodation, our Al Fresco representatives were there waiting for us and ready to show us around. As we had arrived a few hours before the official Al Fresco check in time, we hadn't expected our accommodation to be ready straight away. This was therefore a lovely surprise, as after a morning of travelling we just wanted to get changed, sit down and enjoy a drink outside.

Our representatives Michael and Kathryn were really welcoming and the accommodation was spotless. They showed us around each room and also how to work any items of equipment that we may need during our stay. As with all Al Fresco holidays, you are required to leave a housekeeping deposit on arrival of 60 euros, so I filled in a brief form confirming that the accommodation was clean and tidy on check in and handed over my deposit. I personally think that this is a really good system as it encourages all holiday makers to look after their accommodation which makes it beneficial not only for you whilst staying, but also future guests.

Accommodation

For the duration of our holiday, we were to be staying in a Da Vinci Mobile Home which is new to the Al Fresco Holidays accommodation range. Although visually it appeared quite compact on first glance, we soon found that it had more than enough space for our needs and suited us perfectly. It had been cleverly designed and made use of every square metre it had, with plenty of storage in every room.

Each mobile home on our road was nicely separated from the next and I liked how they had all been sited. On some sites we have stayed at, the mobile homes have been situated behind one another, so when sitting out on your decking you are simply staring at a wall, where as the layout of these meant that you were facing outwards and could see what was going on around you. This also meant that the children could play out with their friends and that we were able to supervise them from the comfort of our decking. There was plenty of space between each one which meant that there were no noise issues and we didn't feel too cramped in. The decking area created a lovely outdoor living space and our first impressions were great.


Although located by a road, this is used as more of a walkway and we very rarely saw vehicles on here, unless they had just arrived and were unloading their car. Once unpacked, cars would be moved to their designated parking space which was situated at the end of the road, so it was very safe for our children to play outside during our stay.

Inside our accommodation we were really pleased with both the space and the modern interior that ran throughout. The kitchen was well equipped with everything we could possibly need and due to our mobile home being a new Da Vinci model, we were actually only the second family to have stayed in it. This meant that all the items were practically brand new and some utensils hadn't been used at all. I did find that the kitchen was somewhat limited on storage areas for food as every drawer and cupboard was filled with equipment, however all the items can easily fit in one cupboard, so we simply moved some items which then gave us an empty cupboard for food.

The fridge freezer is the ideal size for a weeks stay and there was more than enough room for all our chilled items. We did a large food shop once we had settled in and despite purchasing a fair few things, there was still ample space for more and everything was kept nicely chilled during our stay.

Although equipment is plentiful, we found that there were two items that we would have also liked to have been available in the kitchen. These were a pizza cutter and oven gloves. Neither of these are provided as part of the standard inventory, however we mentioned this to our Al Fresco representatives and they came back to our accommodation within an hour to borrow us some. I felt that this was really great service, as they could have easily just told us to purchase them from the shop, so it was nice that they took the initiative to resolve this for us.


Our mobile home had three bedrooms which consisted of a double room and two twins. Our double room had a very comfy bed, overhead storage, full length mirror, wardrobe, shelves and bedside tables. It felt very spacious and there was plenty of room for us to unpack our belongings.

Emma and Riley shared one of the twin rooms and again there was overhead storage, shelving and a wardrobe. Ben had the second twin room, however one of the beds had been collapsed and stored under his bed. This gave him a lot of space and also gave us somewhere to place our suitcases once we had unpacked.

The indoor living area is relatively small, however we only ate in here for breakfast, as we utilised the outdoor space instead for the remainder of our time. The sofa was comfortable though and all five of us could sit around the table with ease. The decking area was our preferred place to relax though, as it was nice to be outdoors enjoying the weather and observing everything that was going on around us.

The outdoor dining table was a really good quality rattan and glass design, which is far better than some of the plastic tables we have experienced previously. It adds a bit of luxury to the accommodation and we enjoyed sitting out here to enjoy our lunch together. There are only four chairs, however there are also two fold away chairs stored in the double bedroom wardrobe for additional guests. As well as the dining table seating, there is also two comfortable loungers which the children in particular enjoyed relaxing on.

A large outdoor clothes airer was also provided which we found to be extremely useful for drying our swimwear and towels. We were very fortunate to have extremely good weather throughout the whole week, so we would place any wet items on there in the evening and they would be warm and dry by the morning.

A gas barbecue was also available for us to use and there were some bbq meat sets available to purchase in the shop, such as kebabs, burgers and chicken. We had planned to have a barbecue one evening, but had enjoyed our meals in the restaurant so much that we decided to continue dining there for the majority of our stay.


The Swimming Pool

The swimming pool area was absolutely fantastic and it was also where we spent the majority of our holiday. There are three pools in total which consist of a large shallow area for infants and toddlers, a medium depth pool for general fun, swimming and activities and then a larger pool that is suitable for full length swimming. The third pool is deep and from memory it is a consistent 1.4 metres throughout, with steps on either side for entry.


Riley absolutely loved the children's pool as this was a really large area and at its deepest point it only ever went up to his waist. The pool's aren't heated and do feel a little cool on entry, but it only takes a few minutes to get used to it before it feels fine. Located within this pool was also a small slide and a large mushroom shaped fountain.

Inflatables are not allowed in the pools, but you are welcome to play with small swimming toys and so we purchased some weighted sharks which I would throw into the pool and Riley would have to find them. There was a really lovely moment during one day of our holiday when Riley made friends with a young boy from Germany. Neither of them could understand what the other was saying, yet they played together beautifully for ages, taking it in turns to find the sharks. I loved the fact that they kept talking to each other and smiling and laughing, which just goes to show that language should not be a barrier to making friends.


As I research all my holiday destinations thoroughly before travelling, I knew that we needed to book our sun loungers for the pool on Portofelice's own website if we wanted to be sure of a lounger during our stay. I know that some people may not like the idea of having to pay for a lounger, but personally I absolutely loved it and think that the idea works really well.

Firstly we were able to choose from a map online where we would like our loungers to be, so we were able to get a fantastic location right by the toddler pool. This meant that when I wanted to have a rest away from the water, then I could sit down and relax whilst still being able to supervise Riley. The biggest plus point for me though was no early morning battles to reserve a lounger with your towel. This is one of my biggest annoyances on holiday, as in some places you have to get up really early just to go and join a queue to place a towel down.

Reserving your sun lounger by payment completely eradicates that problem and once you have booked, you know that those loungers are yours for the duration you have them reserved. In total we paid 42 euros for the week which gave us two sun loungers, a parasol and a table. On arrival we were provided with a reservation board which you then simply hang on your parasol to make other guests aware that the lounger is not available. It is also strictly enforced by the pool, so you don't need to worry about turning up and finding someone else on your loungers as the pool staff consistently monitor this extremely well. You can also reserve sun loungers on arrival, however this is subject to availability.

If you don't fancy parting with your cash though and you aren't too bothered about sun loungers, then there is also plenty of open space where you are welcome to lay your towel and sunbathe. The first of these areas is located adjacent to the main pool (pictured below) and consists of a large wooden decking area. Alternatively there is another area behind the water slides where towels may also be placed.


In addition to the pools, there is also a separate waterslide area that consists of two slides, one blue and one yellow. Depending on your age you can only use one of these slides which then takes you into a small separate pool away from the main swimming areas. They are only small slides, but they do still provide lots of fun. My children went on these a few times, but tended to spend most of their time in the medium pool, taking part in the organised activities.

The entertainment staff all work extremely hard, but a special mention has to be given to the gentleman who runs the Aquagym at 11:40 each day. Unfortunately I did not catch his name, but he is an incredibly enthusiastic individual, who made keeping fit and exercising so much fun! We all enjoyed taking part in his morning activity, even Riley, who could not help but join in and do the moves to the fabulous zumba sound track.

As well as Aquagym, there was also Pilates, Games and a Water Dance session that took place each day, which we all really enjoyed. The game changed each day and both Emma and Ben were lucky enough to win the final round in two of the challenges and both won a Portofelice cap for their efforts. We later found out that these were on sale for 11 euros in the shop, so the children were absolutely delighted to have won them.


The Beach

We visited the beach on six out of seven days during our stay and found it to be a lovely place to relax and enjoy a swim. The water is really shallow and very gentle for quite some distance out, so the children enjoyed being able to swim in the sea and play games, without being too scared of going deep or being caught in currents. There is a buoy system in place and plenty of lifeguards to help ensure guest safety. We also noticed that during the busier days, there was always a lifeguard in the water as well as on the beach.


The water was much clearer than I had expected and this meant that you could safely see where you were standing and also watch the small fish swim around your legs. My son Ben also enjoyed searching for crabs and found quite a few on the sea bed. Riley really enjoyed looking for shells and finding unusual colours or designs and he would walk around every day collecting them in his little bucket.

Another popular activity was digging holes and building sandcastles. There was a slight confusion over whether this was permitted, as in the booklet on arrival it states that digging holes on the beach is prohibited, but then states that they recognise it is a popular activity so they can be dug, but must be filled in afterwards, which obviously contradicts itself. Either way the majority of children seemed to enjoy this, so we allowed our children to do the same and just filled them in as requested before we left. It only takes a minute to push the sand back in, so this really wasn't a problem.

Al Fresco Holidays also have a great idea where you can borrow outdoor items from their hut and there is plenty of fun equipment to choose from including buckets, spades, toys and boogie boards. Both Emma and Ben decided to borrow a board each and they enjoyed paddling out to sea and allowing the gentle waves to carry them back to shore.


The beach was really busy each day that we visited, but it never felt too crowded. Just like at the pool, you could reserve and pay for sun loungers if you wished, but we chose to just use our towels on the sand here, just like we do at any other beach, so didn't feel that hiring a lounger was necessary.

There was an ice cream and drinks cart that would travel up and down the beach at regular intervals and the prices were very reasonable. With it being so hot during our stay, it was nice to be able to purchase a cold refreshing drink and ice creams for the kids without having to venture too far.


By the entrance to the beach there is also a bar and cafe, which again served a wide range of drinks and snacks at reasonable prices. An extensive menu was also available here with plenty of choice for hot or cold meals and there were numerous table and chairs under a shaded area for customers. It had been our intention to eat here one evening whilst overlooking the beach, however we were unaware that it closed at 7pm so missed the opportunity. When we return we will definitely dine here, though will most likely visit for lunch instead of evening meal.

The toilets and showers that are available are all really clean and despite the beach being extremely busy, the staff obviously work hard to ensure that the facilities are well maintained. We had seen a few pictures before our holiday that showed pedaloes being available for hire which also had slides on the front. We had been looking forward to using these, but unfortunately we couldn't find anyone renting these out during our stay. It is possible that these may only be available in the peak summer season, but with the water being so clear and calm, they would be a great activity to enjoy in the water along with some kayaks or paddleboards.


On the beach we were approached by a couple of local sellers. They sold a whole range of items from coconuts to kites and we found them all to be very polite with no hard sell. A simple no thank you would see them leave you alone immediately, but I must admit that we were all extremely tempted by the kites. They looked so fantastic against the blue sky background.

Activities

Activities at Portofelice are plentiful and there really is something for everyone. My children enjoyed the arcade most evenings before the mini disco and collected tickets throughout the week on the games, to exchange them for a prize. The arcade uses a token system, which makes it easy to manage a budget. Tokens are 50 cents each, but there is a deal where you can get 22 tokens for 10 euros, so we took advantage of this and shared the tokens between us. The arcade offered a great range of games that were suitable for all ages and the fishing game, air hockey and Sega Rally game were all popular choices with my children (and husband)!


Outside the main shopping area, there was a host of activities to enjoy, which all offered really good value for money. There were bungee trampolines, rickshaw hire, bike hire, go karts, coin operated rides and Happy Land. The bungee trampolines were only 3 euros a go and a large rickshaw only cost us 9 euros for half an hour. This was really enjoyable and we rode around the whole site together to have a look at all the areas we hadn't seen previously. It was funny trying to pedal over the speed bumps and manouvere the rickshaw around the roads and we saw lots of families and groups of children having a great time with them.

Happy Land is a young child's paradise and features a range of bouncy castles, outdoor toys, pedal cars, push along bikes, ball ponds, play equipment and a fun obstacle course. Riley absolutely loved it in here and was even brave enough to try the large inflatable drop slide by the end of the week. (Personally I think I was more scared watching him, than he was attempting it)! Entry to Happy Land cost 5 euros and paying guests receive a hand stamp. I couldn't see it advertised anywhere as to how long you were meant to have access for, so we just stayed for an hour each time we visited. The large inflatable obstacle course was Riley's favourite and he loved making his way through the challenges and sliding down at the end. Benches were also available for supervising adults, so it was also nice to be able to sit down and relax whilst watching Riley play.


Portofelice provides an excellent Mini Club for younger guests as well as organised sports games. The Mini Club programme was full of fun activities that included a Sandcastle building competition, Chocolate Party and Arts & Crafts. It is designed for children between the ages of 4 to 10 and during our stay there was a morning and afternoon session on each day, with each activity lasting two hours. We didn't use the services of the Mini Club as my children enjoyed the activities by the pool so much, but it was useful knowing that it was available for us, if the kids did want to participate.


Next to the Mini Club, there is a really nice park area for children, with plenty of equipment for them to play on. This is located adjacent to the beach walk entrance, so we stopped here on a couple of occasions on our way to or from the beach. All of my children really enjoyed it here and with beautiful woodland surroundings, it made it a really nice place to enjoy some play time.

A new addition to the Portofelice site for this season is a Mini Golf Course which is situated close to the reception area. Unfortunately we completely forgot that this existed as it is located in an area that we didn't need to pass during our stay, so didn't realise until the day of our departure that we had missed this out.

The coin operated rides were very popular with Riley and the costs varied between 50 cents and 1 euro. Located next to these rides was a large open space with astro turf grass that gave children somewhere nice to run around and play. We spotted a few geckos running by the trees and rocks here, so this also became a regular activity for the kids who found it quite a novelty to have little lizards running around near them.



Food & Restaurants

Our initial plan had been to cook meals in our accommodation most nights and enjoy a couple of evenings out. In reality we actually only ended up cooking on two occasions as the on site restaurant Burlina's offered really good value for money along with great service and food, so ultimately we ended up eating out during the majority of our stay.


We purchased some fresh buns, salad, cheese and some meats from the supermarket, so that we could enjoy some sandwiches at lunch time, then made the most of the on site dining in the evening. The food was absolutely fantastic and we were really surprised with how good the prices were. For our family of five with drinks, we paid between 30-50 euros each visit and felt that this was extremely good value for money, especially given the large portion sizes that were provided.


They also offer a range of deals such as early dining discounts, family meal deals and specials. In the welcome brochure we received on arrival, there was a voucher for a free round of aperitifs when dining in the restaurant, so on one evening we combined this with their 20% off early dining offer and received all the following for only 37 euros:

1 x Diavola Pizza (Pepperoni)  - 7.10 euros
1 x Proschiutto E Funghi Pizza (Ham & Mushroom pictured below) -  6.95 euros
1 x Patate Frite (Fries) - 3.90 euros
1 x Kung Fu Panda Pizza (Cheese, Tomato, Hotdog & Fries) -  5.90 euros
1 x Pikachu Pizza (Cheese, Tomato & Ham) - 5.90 euros
1 x Hamburger & Fries -  6.50 euros
2 x Spritzers - Free with voucher
3 x Fruit juice - Free with voucher
2 x Small Sprites - 5 euros
5 x 1 euro service charge - 5 euros

In total this came to 46.25 with a 20% discount for dining at 6pm which meant the total bill was only 37 euros. This was an absolutely delicious family meal at a bargain of a price and the pizzas were fantastic.

The meals are also available as a take out option and so on the day we returned from Venice, we purchased some pizzas to eat back at our accommodation. Again this was really good value and we purchased 3 Kung Fu Panda pizzas to share for only 17.70 euros.


Evening Entertainment

Another thing that Portofelice get absolutely perfect is the evening entertainment. They have a large outdoor stage with plenty of seating for guests. There is also ample space behind the seats so if you arrive a little too late to grab a chair, then you can easily stand behind the main seating area, or relax on one of the nearby benches.

Every night the entertainment would commence with a children's mini disco at 8:30pm where children (and adults too) could learn dance moves to some popular disco songs and also have the opportunity to go up on stage as well.

This would then be followed at 21:30 with "Show Time" and each night during our stay there was a different form of entertainment suitable for families of all ages. We really enjoyed the Variety Show on the first night of our stay, but our personal favourite was The Foam Party, which was absolutely fantastic. It was so much fun dancing along, whilst huge bursts of foam were sprayed into the air and onto the children and adults partying below. At one point there was so much foam it was up to our knees and we had the best time together enjoying all the fun.

Another highlight of our week was on the Saturday night before our departure, a professional Brazilian Circus team performed a wonderful show that was really spectacular and also a perfect way to end our holiday.


In the Local Area

We had initially planned to have several days out as there is plenty to do in the local area. On arrival I had mentioned to our Al Fresco representatives where we had planned to visit and they said that a lot of guests come with the same intentions, but end up staying on site for the majority of the holiday. Initially I didn't think that this would be the case with us, as we usually like to split our time on holiday both relaxing and enjoying the local attractions and so we will often alternate days on site with a day off exploring. However, the reps ended up being absolutely right and despite intending to visit numerous places, we ultimately only ended up having one day off the park, due to the fact that we loved it so much.

If you do want to enjoy some of the local attractions though, then there is an information office that provides lots of details and leaflets on where to visit. There is also a touch screen computer available that can tell you more about the local area and the upcoming weather to help you make an informed decision. Nearby attractions includes Aqualandia, the Sea Life Centre and Go Karting.


Of course we could not travel to the Venetian Riviera without visiting Venice and so we had one day out to explore this fascinating city. I purchased a Quickly Bus and Boat ticket for us all which cost a total of 107 euros for our family of five. Refunds cannot be given on these if you later decide not to go, so it is worth checking the weather before purchasing to make sure that you will be able to make the most of your visit.

The bus picks you up from outside the park on the opposite side of the road and then transports you to Punta Sabbioni where you then board a boat. The bus journey lasted approximately an hour and then it was a further half an hour on a boat to reach Venice.

We really enjoyed the boat trip and it was lovely to be able to take in all the scenery whilst gliding along the water and the seats were very comfortable. There was enough room for everyone and my children enjoyed waving out of the windows to the other boats as they passed.


I will be writing a separate blog post about our day in Venice, but in brief it was an incredible city packed full of interesting architecture and narrow streets. There was something quite soothing about watching the gondolas travel down the waterways, which made me forget all about the busy crowds around us. The first tourist hotspot we came across was the Bridge of Sighs which connects Doge's Palace to the Jail. It is constructed of white limestone and looks really beautiful and unique.


A short walk from the Bridge of Sighs led us to the bustling St Mark's Square, where we made our way to St Marks Basilica. This is an absolutely stunning and magnificent Cathedral and it can be entered free of charge. However there are very lengthy queues, so we took advantage of the Skip the Line system and purchased entry for 3 euros each, which meant we could enter straight away without the need to wait. There are a few rules that need to be observed when visiting St Mark's Basilica and they request that shoulders and knees remain covered at all times. You are also not permitted to film or take photographs inside, which is a shame as the interior is incredible. Bags are also not allowed to be taken in to the cathedral, but they do offer a free left luggage room just across the road.

The Bell Tower also looked fantastic, but since both Ben and I are scared of heights, we decided not to venture up and instead we began to explore the narrow streets. Some of the shops sold such beautiful items and I could have literally spent the whole day just window shopping. We found a lovely little bakery that sold tasty Ciabatta sandwiches for only 3.50 euros each, so we purchased some of these for lunch and went and sat on a bench near the waterfront to watch the boats go by.

Our time here literally flew and after having lots of fun exploring we caught our boat back to Punta Sabbioni. As it was so busy we decided to return slightly earlier, as I was worried that if the boat was full, then we would miss our bus. This actually ended up working out really well as Punta Sabbioni was extremely quiet when we returned and we enjoyed some food and drinks in one of the cafes whilst waiting for the bus.

I am so glad that we were able to visit one of my bucket list destinations and it was even more beautiful than I had expected. It was very hot and extremely busy, but what an amazing place it is. I would definitely recommend a day trip here if staying at Portofelice.

Hints and Tips

Whilst my review should give you a really good idea of what to expect at Portofelice Camping Village, I wanted to summarise some of my top tips for you, to help with planning your stay.
  • Book your pool sun lounger in advance - If you enjoy soaking up the rays by the pool or simply love to relax and read a good book, then make sure you visit the Portofelice website prior to your visit to reserve a sun lounger. There are only a limited amount and these have to be paid for if you wish to make use of them. Whilst this may seem strange, we absolutely loved it and felt that it worked really well. It prevented that really annoying early morning rush for sunbeds that you have in most places and each set of sunbeds was nicely spaced out ensuring that you weren't too crammed in. We paid 42 euros for two sunbeds, a parasol and table for our 7 day stay.
  • Plan your day visits - During the week that we stayed the buses only ran on certain days, this may increase as the summer season progresses, but is certainly worth checking if there is a particular place you are wanting to visit. For example the buses to Aqualandia ran on Tuesdays & Thursdays, whilst the Quickly Bus and Boat service ran on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
  • Read the booklet you are given on arrival - There is a voucher inside for a free round of aperitifs when ordering a main meal from the restaurant. Adults receive a spritzer and children receive a fruit juice. Alternatively, if you request a paper copy of the takeaway menu, there is a paper voucher attached to the bottom of this too.
  • Visiting Venice - If planning a day trip to Venice, then consider booking skip the line tickets for the most popular attractions. St Marks Basilica is free entry, but the queues are really long which is not ideal when travelling with children. We therefore booked skip the line entry which cost us 3 euros each and was definitely worth the money. Skip the Line can also be booked for The Bell Tower and the Doge's Palace.
  • Quiet Time - The site observes a quiet time in the afternoon between 1pm-3pm each day. During this time the pool, shops and activities are all closed. We chose to return to our accommodation for lunch and played some table games to keep the children entertained. However, the gate for the beach does remain open, so you are still able to access the beach front if you wish.
  • Take out some store cupboard essentials with you - Whilst the on-site shop is reasonably priced, the cost of cleaning products, condiments and snacks etc, can quickly add to your grocery bill. We therefore took tea towels, flash cleaning wipes, washing up sponges, pasta, savoury rice, crisps and biscuits out with us, which helped us save quite a few euros.
  • Inflatables cannot be used in the pool, but are extremely popular on the beach. The on-site shop sells a great range of both inflatables and beach toys at really reasonable prices. The Al Fresco representatives also have a great range of toys and boogie boards that you can borrow for the duration of your stay, which really helps if you are on a budget or worried about luggage allowance on the way home.
  • If you do purchase inflatables then don't struggle trying to blow these up. As you arrive at the beach, turn left and walk along the wooden walkway, pass the toilets and to the showers. On the wall of the end building right by the showers, there is a small air hose that can be used for inflating items free of charge.
  • The restaurant offers an early dining deal for guests that visit at 6pm. This gives you a reduction of 20% off your bill. In addition to this you can also save 10% in the takeaway restaurant between 12-2:30pm each day. These times and offers were available during our stay but are of course subject to change throughout the season, so would recommend checking that these deals are still available when you arrive.
  • Make a reservation for dinner if you wish to dine at a particular time - Whilst we had no difficulty in getting a table during our stay, we noticed that the restaurant became extremely busy at times. They do accept reservations, so if there is a particular time you are wanting to eat, or are dining as part of a large group, then I would definitely recommend arranging this with the restaurant in advance.

Our Overall Opinion

Our holiday to Portofelice Camping Village is definitely up there as one of the best we have ever had. The whole site is spotlessly clean, the staff are really helpful and the entertainment is first class. Although it is a relatively small park, this actually worked out really well for us, as everything was in easy reach of our accommodation. The site seemed very secure with the use of security barriers and wristbands for all guests, so this also allowed us to give my older children (Ben & Emma) a little bit of independence and we allowed them to go over to the main entertainment square with their new friends in the evening on a couple of occasions. We loved our holiday to Portofelice so much that we are going to book a return stay there in a couple of months as we literally cannot wait to go back. Overall the site truly offered us everything that we look for in a family holiday and much much more!

Al Fresco Holidays currently have some fantastic deals on 2018 holidays and bookings are now also being accepted for 2019. If you would like further information then please visit Al Fresco Holidays on the following channels:

Website: Al Fresco Holidays
Facebook: /AlFrescoHolidays
Twitter: @AlFrescoHols
Instagram: @AlFresco_Hols


Disclaimer: We stayed at Portofelice Camping Village as guests of Al Fresco Holidays for the purpose of providing an honest and informative review of our experience. All opinions and photographs are my own unless stated otherwise. This post contains affiliate links.

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