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TRAVEL GUIDE: Cambrils Park, Salou

Camping and mobile home holidays are becoming more popular as each year passes because they offer the perfect antidote to our usual regimented lives.

Mobile home holidays now have a growing number of celebrity converts such as model Kate Moss, actors Will Smith and Matthew McConaughey, actress Pamela Anderson, chef Jamie Oliver and pop star Robbie Williams. After a 10-night break with Keycamp, the European mobile home specialists, in the heart of Spain’s Costa Dorada, it is easy to see why more and more of us are opting for this ‘free range’ kind of holiday.

I have loved all of the Keycamp parcs I have been to over the years because of this sense of independence — the freedom to come and go as you please. There are always a great range of activities and facilities and Cambrils Park at Salou was no different.This parc offers great value for money with sunshine and is near some of Spain's top tourist attractions, including the brilliant PortAventura theme park, so Cambrils Park is the perfect base to explore this area.

We stayed in a spacious Aloha bungalow. The bungalows have two bedrooms, plus comfortable seating in the open-plan lounge that can be easily converted into two additional single beds. There is also a bathroom and fully equipped kitchen.

Our bungalow break was a first for us as at every other parc we have holidayed in across Europe we have stayed in mobile homes — which have been equally spacious, comfortable and modern.The swimming pool complex on the site is very impressive. There's a large pool with slides complete with sunken bar where you can sit on stools in the water and have a drink. Overlooking this pool is a stage where entertainment is laid on at night and there is a kiddies' paddling pool alongside.

As well as the main pool, there is also a family pool with slides, including elephant and a dragon figures, for kids.

Around the main pool you will find a few restaurants, a bar, supermarket, Internet cafe, bakery, pizzeria and takeaway and a children’s playground. If that isn’t enough for you and your children there are also five-a-side football pitches, basketball, mini-golf, trampolines and table tennis. Cambrils Park is a 10-minute walk from the seafront, across a main road dotted with a mixture of gift shops, bars, small hotels and restaurants.The beach itself stretches along the coast from Cambrils to Salou. Salou is a 30-minute walk from the campsite but buses to and from Cambrils and Salou run throughout the day.The old port is packed with fishing boats, emphasising its reputation for seafood — hence the title Gastronomic Capital of the Costa Dorada. As my son is a huge football fan and my wife a huge shopping fan we headed by train for the 100km trip to the Catalonian capital Barcelona. The second largest city in Spain boasts tourist sites such as architect Antoni Gaudi's unfinished Catholic church, the Sagrada Familia.

However as we had seen all of that on a trip to the city before we headed to FC Barcelona's Camp Nou Stadium (pronounced New Camp), one of the world's greatest football venues, where my son and I got our hands on the Champions League trophy for a photo. The Costa Dorada is sometimes known as Spain's Florida because of the PortAventura theme park complex. It comprises the theme park and the Costa Caribe Aquatic Water Park, which boasts an array of huge water slides and super swimming pools. The theme park, spread over 117 hectares, has some very impressive rides including the eight loop Dragon Khan rollercoaster, which, as I can testify, literally takes your breath away. Another adrenaline highlight is the Furius Baco ride, which roars from zero to 80mph in three seconds — equivalent to a space shuttle at take off.

PortAventura offers rides and shows for people of all ages and is divided into four separate themed areas from all corners of the globe: imperial China, the wild Far West, exotic Polynesia, Aztec México and the mellow Mediterrània.There are also several water rides at PortAventura which have all the thrills and spills including the Tukuti Splash. While getting soaked to the skin doesn’t sound so tempting given our recent weather here, it was a welcome relief to get drenched on the log flume by a tidal wave in last summer’s soaring Spanish sun. Be warned though , if you don't have fast track tickets the queues for the big rides were 90 minutes in July. The larger rides do seem to be worth the wait but, with so much to do at Cambrils Park and in the locality, you won’t want to be wasting lots of time queueing.

Belfast Telegraph