You may be thinking “What the heck is a Holiday Park?”. Not to worry, we stayed at 3 of the Center Parc Holiday Parks and tell all. We think they are a wonderful family holiday option.
When planning our European summer road trip through the Netherlands, France and Belgium, I researched many options for accommodation. Our road trip was 3 1/2 weeks long and with that length of a trip, I know my family can’t spend that much time sight-seeing and living in hotels. We would need some down time, as well as a place to burn some of the kids’ energy. We also prefer to book apartments to avoid having to eat every meal out and get a little extra space.
Last summer we found that balance, when we went camping in Rome. The kids requested I find something similar to that experience, for our adventures this summer. The hunt was on and of course I couldn’t do it without Google to lead the way. When searching for campgrounds, I kept seeing the term “holiday park” as well. Of course, I just had to check it out. I quickly found that there was a difference between a campsite and a holiday park. At least there was a difference between a Center Parc holiday park and camping.
What is a Holiday Park?
This may not be true for all holiday parks, as some use the term but also have camping. We have found the campgrounds in Europe to be exceptional and full of amenities. But we were in for a real treat with a holiday park. For those of you used to the all-inclusive resorts, full of amenities, restaurants and nice accommodation, then a holiday park is pretty similar.
With Center Parcs we found that there was no camping. All accommodation was in either a free-standing building, cottage, apartment or condo. We slept in real beds and cooked in our own kitchen. Not to worry, if you don’t want to cook, there are plenty of restaurants and eating options within or outside of the holiday park. You even have the option of booking your accommodation with meals included, so you don’t need to worry at all.
Our experience with Center Parcs Europe (Holiday Park)
During our summer 2014 road trip, we were fortunate enough to spend a total of 10 nights in 3 different holiday parks with Center Parcs Europe (consisting of both Center Parcs and Sunparks properties). Their accommodation and holiday parks (holiday villages) meet all budgets from basic to luxury.
Follow the links below for our detailed review on each of the Center Parcs locations.
- Sunparks De Haan aan zee Belgium –
Accommodation Spotlight: Sunparks De Haan aan zee Belgium
- Center Parcs Het Meerdal Netherlands –
Wildlife, Bike Trails, And Family Fun! – Accommodation Spotlight
- Center Parcs De Eemhof Netherlands –
Luxury, Spectacular Sunsets, Activities Galore: Accommodation Spotlight
What to expect with Center Parcs Europe
- Service – We stayed at a range of their parks and found the service was excellent at all of them. It is obvious they have high standards with their staff and they are all well-trained with customer service.
- Amenities – Each park is rated with their rating system and the more *** the more amenities and services are offered. They offer bikes, indoor water parks, kids klub, mini golf, evening entertainment, restaurants, shops, hiking, game rooms, volley ball, basket ball, playgrounds, petting zoo, cool factor challenges for kids, and much more.
- Comfort – All holiday cottages are fully equipped and therefore ideal for self-catering holidays. It is perfect for family holidays as you have space to enjoy and not be cramped in a hotel. Each place we stayed was very comfortable. We even upgraded to the comfort package, so we didn’t have to bring linens and kitchen soap.
- Safety – All of the Center Parcs Europe holiday parks are car free! This was extra nice when it came to the safety of the kids riding bikes, going for walks and running around to play. There is a gated entrance, with security present at all times. Only guests of the park are allowed to enter or day visitors to the water park.
Arrival/Departure days -They have specific check in and check out days and times where cars are allowed in the park, typically Monday and Friday. In general your booking options are:
- Monday – Friday (4 nights)
- Monday – Monday (7 nights)
- Friday – Monday (3 nights)
- Friday – Friday (7 nights)
- Or any combination for a longer stay.
What is the Environment like?
Each of the holiday parks are really large private villages. They are completely surrounded by natural wood like setting and you feel as if you are a million miles away from stress. That said, you are very close to many points of interest in cities, towns and villages too. It is a great way to be in touch with nature and have so much available to you as well. Each park was very conscientious of recycling and made it very easy for us to sort our things and recycle properly.
Where are their Holiday Parks located?
Sunparks has 4 locations within Belgium.
Center Parcs Europe offers over 20 locations within France, Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany.
When is the best time to visit?
They are open year round! Don’t think you can only go for a summer holiday. Most of their amenities are located both indoors and out, so not to worry if it is in the dead of winter. You will still get that tropical fun experience in the Water Park!
Like we said at the beginning you must experience a holiday park in Europe. When planning your next vacation, don’t rule out Europe. You may find that it is quite affordable, especially if you keep your eye out for their offers and deals.
Watch the video for a little taste of Center Parcs – Holiday Parks and Villages
Have you experience a holiday park in Europe? Please share your thoughts with us.