Holidaying with children is not easy. That perfect picture of a sun kissed child being flung high in the air by a toned dad whilst mum’s elegant beach shawl flows gracefully in the evening breeze is best left to those glossy Instagram feeds flaunting dreamy lifestyles, (air)-miles away from real life.
We’ve previously experienced the logistical holiday bothers of buggies, car seats, feeds and bath time, time zones and just not knowing what to expect. Things that are second nature at home become a minor disquiet if attempted in an alien setting. And above all else, with a child, holidays are bloomin’ expensive.
But this summer all those worries were blown away by the Mediterranean air as I became that toned* dad gliding an olive skinned Edie in my arms and George dazzled as that super-cool mum** on beaches not enhanced by the slightest of photographic filter. And this all happened on the reputedly affluent island of Corsica…
*This bit did not happen **She's always super-cool.
Corsica might not spring to mind as a family holiday destination, but after a glowing review from George’s boss (who has two young children) we decided to explore the possibilities of visiting this hub for island hopping super yachts. And having returned from what was probably the best holiday ever, I’m happy to report there are ways to enjoy Corsica without owning a 50-foot boat or similar sized wallet.
Here’s how we did it:
Camping! Ok, maybe not your classic camping but we did stay on a campsite called Camping La Vetta. We rented a three bed cabin/chalet type-thing which was perfect - one double room for me and George, one double for Edie, a spare single bunk room, kitchen, lounge, shower room and outside decked area. For a week it only came to about £700 - a bargain for its size, cleanliness and location. We paid around £400 for the three of us to fly with easyJet and our car hire for the week was around £100. Everything was booked months in advance to keep the costs down, so all in all, just over £1000 for the most incredible holiday. If we'd stayed in a hotel we would have been looking at maybe three times the cost. Obviously eating out needs to be added to this, but having spent so little getting there, we were happy to enjoy our lunch and supper out every day.
La Vetta is minutes from a supermarket, 8 minutes to the closest beach, 10 minutes to the historic town or Porto Vechio and 20 minutes to more stunning beaches. All journeys need to be made by car but there is literally one road that goes from north to south and everything comes off that road - so easy to get around. To break from the beach, one day we drove 45 minutes into the mountains to go wild river swimming - more amazement that Corsica sprung at us.
But it's the beaches and sea that really stand out on this French island. Edie was in her element playing in the shallow waters and it was rewarding to see how happy and grown up she was becoming with each dogged doggy-paddle. Not wanting to disturb her aquatics or sandcastle construction too much, we managed to squeeze in a bit of grown-up touristy stuff by convincing her the wonderful hilltop town of Bonafacio (45 mins away) was actually Arendelle (where Elsa and Anna live in Frozen - come on, keep up).
Corsica is a foolproof destination for anyone - you could be 8 months old or 80 years old, single or a family, everything you could want from a summer holiday is on this lovely island. The flight is less than two hours from Gatwick, the food is great, the weather is amazing, the beaches are spotless, the sea is crystal clear and there are plenty of towns and mountains to explore. But what really stood out for me about this holiday was the absolute ease of it all. Everything was so darn effortless and straightforward -.from getting around to getting your morning croissants. And this laid-back spirit rubbed off on Edie as she shone in the Corsican sun. I could rave on about this holiday all day and really hope to return - who knows, perhaps we'll be back next year and I'll be able to sway two kids in the air exhibiting my Instagram-ready chiseled* physique.