When all you hear from your kids is screams of joy, you know you have picked the right vacation place. And squeals of delight is exactly what we got when we arrived in Paradu, a family beach resort in Tuscany that recently hosted us for a couple of nights of relaxation and fun.
Paradu is an eco resort and holiday village located on the beautiful Etruscan Coast, in Southern Tuscany, and is the perfect spot for families with young children looking for a beach gateway in Italy.
Everything about the resort seems to be designed to accommodate families and our kids adored it: the private beach great to build sandcastles and learn to swim, the play areas with playgrounds and bouncy castles are an easy and fun way to spend an afternoon and us parents were partial to the poolside cafe that served delicious chilled beer!
[box] Paradu at a glance
- What is it: Tuscany all-inclusive resort on the beach
- Location: on the Etruscan Coast, close to Grosseto and not far from Pisa international airport
- Perfect for: families looking to relax in a safe and well-equipped resort, with access to the beach, pool, sports activities and children entertainment. The resort is fully accessible to buggies and most of the clients are families with young children
- Is the car needed? Yes, or at least it is preferable due to the many beautiful towns and attractions in the area
- More info: www.paraduresort.com (resort) and www.mytravelintuscany.com (info on the surrounding area) [/box]
A fantastic Tuscany beach resort for families
Paradu is a beach resort in Tuscany located right on the coast, a little over 60 km South of Pisa, between the cities of Piombino and Livorno. Unlike the surrounding countryside, beaten by the relentless Tuscan sun, the resort lies in the shade of a wide pine tree forest that offers shelter and a gorgeous backdrop for this little eco-village made of wooden cabins and flowers.
Paradu location and layout
We got to Paradu in the late afternoon in July, after a long drive from Rome. The lack of GPS had meant I got lost on the way out of Rome more times that I am happy to admit to, and we got to the entrance of the resort with the kids in a terrible mood: overly hot and tired, they had spent the last 30 minutes of our journey moaning and had that special determination about making you understand how much they hated the trip that I feared the evening might be well and truly ruined.
I needed, however, not to worry: as soon as we arrived at Paradu, two smiley members of staff greeted the kids offering them chilled juice and balloons in various shapes and the two little moaners regained all their energy and joy: I had hardly finished the check in procedures that they dashed ahead, excited to find our home for the night!
The resort is a beautiful and safe place for kids: accommodation is provided in lovely wooden cabins spread out under the pine trees and it stretches all the way from the back of the forest, where the entrance is located, to the sandy private beach.
The resort is a car free zone and you can walk from one end to the other in a matter of minutes, but if you are carrying heavy bags or are feeling the heat, you can use the efficient shuttle that crosses the resort at regular intervals (the shuttle is effectively a small train and our kids couldn’t have enough of it!)
Accommodation and facilities at Paradu Tuscany Resort
We spent in Paradu 2 nights in one of their comfortable chalets: ours had two rooms, one with a double bed and one with bunks, a private bathroom, a small but functional kitchen and a lovely terrace with a table and reclining chairs to sit and chill under the trees. The chalet, like everything in the resort, looks new and we cherished the comfort of our large beds and of the well-functioning air conditioning!
After leaving our bags in our new home, we went for a first exploration of the resort and soon discovered areas that became our favourite hang outs:
Paradu is located right on the coast and offers to its guests unlimited access to a beautiful sandy beach. This area of Tuscany is famous for having very clean shallow waters and golden sand and the beach at Paradu truly is beautiful: we had a firs glimpse of it the evening we arrived, when the sand was cooling down and the water still warm, and had a swim in the evening light.
I felt like we had landed in paradise and the kids ran in and out of the sea screaming with laughter safe in this calm, almost lake-like waters. Tuscany is not internationally famous for its beaches but I never understood why: the water here rivals much better known worldwide locations!
We spent part of the evening here and then came back for a large part of the following day, when we built sandcastles and watched the many water activities taking place nearby (if you are a guest of the resort, you can sign up for a variety of water sports: they take place close to the main beach, in a cordoned off area of the beach).
After the beach, the pool was, without a shadow of a doubt, our favourite part of the resort. Wide and perfectly kept, the pool is divided into two parts: one shallower, perfect even for babies and toddlers, and one deeper (about 1,50m max), ideal for budding swimmers and more adventurous kids accompanies by an adult.
The two sides are separated by a platform where lazy parents like me can sit in the water catching the sun while pretending to keep an eye on the kids – bliss!
The play areas and children entertainment
As well as water play, Paradu has several areas catering for children and many activities to keep them entertained. My son was the first to spot a play area with bouncy castles and large inflatable toys, while my daughter went straight to the smaller kids playground where she made the absolute most of the slides and climbing frames on offer.
Once the sun went down, for the delight of the kids, the resort had entertainment just for them in the outdoor theatre: under the energetic lead of the Paradu staff, kids of all ages were invited on stage to sing and dance, all together, for what they called a ‘baby dance’ – the kids of the resort were enthusiastic and even my two, typically too shy to take part, were enthralled: ‘I want to go to the baby dance’ was repeated over and over again over the course of our two days there!
Restaurants and food
Paradu is equipped with several food options. Depending on the formula you choose for your stay you can be independent and use the cooking facilities in your chalet (there is a shop on site for provisions), you can eat in the lovely pizzeria, dine a-la-carte at the beach restaurant or you can go for the all inclusive option, that gives you access to the generous buffet restaurant, where you have a good selection of foods both hot and cold. This time, we had the all inclusive formula, which is very convenient is you don’t want to cook or have kids who tend to be fussy eaters: the choice of food is wide and goes from a good pasta with tomato sauce to more elaborate seafood salads
We had a lovely couple of days here and I would recommend Paradu to families looking for a Tuscany resort where to have a no stress, all activities included fun holiday with children. The facilities are designed for families, the beach is wonderful and the entertainment so varied the kids are guaranteed to have fun, while parents can relax poolside. If you add to this the amazing historical villages in the area (I’ll publish a full post about them soon), you can easily see how Tuscany has something to offer to suit all tastes!
Disclaimer: we were guests of Parad resort for two nights during July 2016. All opinions expressed in this review are, as always, my own.