Chasing the sun

Long Stay Winter Sun holidays offer you the chance to join fellow Club members in warmer climes at attractive prices. Lee Davey travelled to Spain to find out more…

Explore Benidorm

Looking to escape the cold UK during the winter months? Want to treat yourself to a getaway following the traditional festive period? Fancy getting together with old friends or meeting new ones and taking part in a plethora of exciting activities? Like the idea of a hosted break where much of the stress is taken off your shoulders? Then one of the Club’s Long Stay Winter Sun holidays could be exactly what you need.

With sunshine often in short supply during winter in the UK, the Caravan and Motorhome Club offers members the opportunity to enjoy extended, hosted winter holidays (‘Long Stay Winter Sun’ breaks) on sites in Spain (Portugal was an option in 2023 but is not on offer during 2024).

The length of your stay can be anything from two to eleven weeks, from early January to the end of March. The Club’s travel team can arrange tunnel or ferry crossings (with a price guarantee on the crossing – see for information) as well as the campsite bookings. The pitch fees represent fantastic value for money, with prices starting from just £12 in 2023 per night for two people, including electric hook-up with a 6kW daily allowance.

Dedicated holiday hosts welcome you onto site and look after you during your stay. They will often organise events too - but the success of these holidays depends not only on members participating in the events, but also helping to run them. The group usually shares a multitude of common interests and it’s great when these can be enjoyed with others.

I have two children in full-time education, so I wasn’t able to fully immerse myself in a long-term stay. However, over the winter I did manage a seven-day break in Spain and visited two destinations - Alannia Costa Blanca and La Manga - for a taste of the Long Stay Winter Sun experience.   

Alannia Costa Blanca

Alannia Costa Blanca

Set near Crevillente in the province of Alicante, this is one of the largest campsites I’ve visited in Europe. Even during winter the impressive list of facilities includes a bar/restaurant, on-site mini-mart, padel tennis courts, outdoor pool tables and swimming pools (one outdoor and one indoor with a spa). The £14 per night pitch fee (2023 price) didn’t include use of the spa or courts, but it did cover one free session in the indoor pool per week and unlimited use of the outdoor pool. It’s worth noting that outdoor pool opening times are weather-dependent. 

Long Stay Winter Sun participants are grouped together at the end of the site, spread across an array of sizeable hardstanding pitches divided by small hedgerows. A large, dedicated building is used for group events and meetings, and this is where you’ll find details of future activities posted. Away from the group pursuits, the site is also a handy base for exploring Santa Pola, Benidorm or Jávea.

La Manga

Cabo de Palos Harbour

La Manga gets its name from La Manga del Mar Menor, a seaside spit in the Murcia region of Spain. The spit is approximately 13 miles long and 100m wide, and separates the Mediterranean Sea from the Mar Menor lagoon. The campsite sits inland of the lagoon, and views from the beach and restaurant stretch towards the spit.

Upon entry, you pass an eclectic mix of permanent static residences (very common in Spain) in varying states of repair, before looping back to enter the site’s dedicated Winter Sun section, which is divided by hedges that give it a self-contained feel. 

As with Alannia Costa Blanca, La Manga Winter Sun participants enjoy sole use of a dedicated room for running events. Additionally, a tent set up opposite the hosts’ pitch serves as an information hub, displaying upcoming events and other useful details.

Field report

Santa Pola

A surprising number of the attendees at both the sites I visited were first-timers. As you might expect from the touring community, camaraderie was very much in evidence. One couple at La Manga were on their first Winter Sun break and had no idea what to expect or what equipment to bring – but any gaps in their kit were filled by other Club members who were more than happy to help. This was just one example of the community spirit felt at La Manga and Alannia Costa Blanca.

If friendship is the backbone of the Winter Sun holiday, activities are the glue that binds everything together. Members can enjoy numerous activities, from golfing days and cycle excursions to movie nights and quizzes.

Valentine’s Day fell during our visit, so my wife, Helen, and I enjoyed a fantastic Cake & Cava afternoon with the lovely folks at La Manga and a Valentine’s evening with the fabulous Alannia team. During these events, I asked other attendees to sum up Long Stay Winter Sun breaks in just three words. “Truly fantastic hosts”, “best fun ever” and “back next year” were just three of the very positive responses I received.

I must say a huge thank you to hosts Bob and Lyn, Chris and Mary, and Jack and Rosina from Alannia Costa Blanca, and Sam and Judith from La Manga. They are all volunteers who work their socks off to ensure everyone has a great time. 

For more information about the Club’s Long Stay Winter Sun hosted breaks, please visit Details about 2024 breaks will be added to the website soon.

Member views

Alannia Costa Blanca

“Before Covid, I took the plunge and towed the caravan, on my own, from the UK to Alannia. I was alone, but thanks partly to the large tables in the hall, I instantly met five or six new friends. For me, as a solo traveller, it’s been great. I met Marian two years ago, and we’ve stayed in touch ever since, returning here for another winter sun break. 

It’s the camaraderie of camping. I’ve been on several hotel-based holidays, and you don’t get that same feeling of togetherness.”

Rosie Bryant (with Marian White)

La Manga

“Not only is this our first Winter Sun experience, but it’s also our first trip abroad with the camper. We had an email from the Caravan and Motorhome Club just as we were thinking about a trip abroad, and we thought we’d give it a go thanks to it being under the Club’s umbrella of protection. Mick is enjoying walking football, walking netball (having never played netball in his life!), cycling and hill walking. Another factor is Mick’s knees; rather than suffering during a UK winter, he can walk and cycle here thanks to the climate.”

Jane (and Mick) Faulkner

About the author

Long stay winter sun packages

For an easy getaway, we’ve bundled up two long stay holidays for you - ferry crossing and pitch price rolled into one, including on-site hosts and optional add-ons such as holiday insurance and day trips.

View packages