We’ve just returned from five nights in Costa Brava and one of the highlights had to be Lake Banyoles, Catalonia’s largest natural lake. For starters it’s stupidly beautiful – it rivals Udaipur in India, which is stiff competition.
It has the quirkiest tourist information centre I’ve seen in a long time – rocking the crochet guys – where we found out the best places to swim with our toddlers.
It’s possible to take boat trips on the lake, hire rowing boats to explore it at your own pace,and there’s a small range of cafes and restaurants along a portion of the lake edge to enjoy a meal/drink with an unrivalled view.
In the August heat there was only one option for us – SWIMMING. We were pointed in the direction of three sites, all a short drive from the tourist information centre: the furthest one away, La Caseta de Fusta, was free. You had to park and then walk ten minutes to the water’s edge. The second option and closest to the TIC, Els Banys Vells, had a bar/restaurant and it was free to swim if you purchased food or drink from the establishment. We went for the third option which cost €11 and gained entry to the Club Natacion Banyoles, its changing rooms, swimming pool, cafe and wooden piers to dive and swim off. This swimming club has produced some of Spain’s great swimmers- hopefully some of the magic will rub off on young Mr Baby. We reckoned that if lake swimming didn’t work out for the kids at least we’d get them in a swimming pool with a beautiful lakeside backdrop, and use all the facilities too. We needn’t have worried.
The wooden pier, jutting out into the lake, was quiet as most people sunned themselves on the grass. It felt like we had the whole lake to ourselves. It doesn’t look especially safe for non-swimmers but every time our kids went near the edge we put them straight in the water with Mr Husband – Mr Baby decided very quickly to sit quietly with mummy when he didn’t genuinely want to take the plunge. As it was a lake, rather than the sea, the water was so warm – perfect for little ones and for me. This area was also great for adult non-swimmers as it was possible to stand in the water near the pier, so it would be possible for any adult to get in the water.
Between swimming, eating ice-cream, smearing sun lotion on the boys and enjoying the scenery an afternoon passed. It is one of the most beautiful swimming experiences I’ve ever had.
THE LOWDOWN – Tots2Travel stayed at Aparthotel Comtat Sant Jordi (post coming soon) in Platja d’Aro on the Costa Brava, a 1.5 hour drive from Barcelona airport. We drove from our apartment to Girona for the morning to see the city, from here we carried on to Lake Banyoles. It took an hour to return from Lake Banyoles to Platja d’Aro. Tots2Travel flew from Edinburgh airport to Barcelona with Norwegian.
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