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Reviewed June 7, 2013

Our holiday was booked through Thomson Al Fresco staying in their Bellini mobiles during May 2013. This review also includes a more detailed explanation about the check-in and check-out procedures not mentioned in Thomson’s Departure Leaflet - we hope this will be useful.

GETTING THERE
Bi Village (pronounced Bee Village) is an easy destination to get to from the UK.
Flying with Jet2 from Manchester to Pula Airport is around 2 hours 15 minutes (Local time in Croatia is one hour ahead of UK). Pula Airport is small so is quick to get out of and it’s then around a 15 - 20 minute drive to the Bi Village resort.
Taxis are prevalent around the airport. As there were six of us we decided to pre-book one with Taxi Edi (or one of his colleagues) as mentioned by an earlier reviewer. (Just e-mail him editaxi@net.hr to confirm price and arrival time so they can meet you at arrivals). We were told by locals that a taxi ride should cost 150 – 200 Kuna + 10% tip (at time of writing 1 Kuna is approximately 12p – Bear in mind Croatia is joining Eurozone soon).

ARRIVAL AT SITE
Check-in at the main Reception area by the entrance gates. All staff are friendly and speak English. You will need to show your Thomson booking details. You also need to leave a passport / driving licence / card as security until departure. You are then given Bi Village guest passes and instructions on how to find our mobile home. They also explain that you have to pay a small tourist tax for each day you stay (kids are free or half price depending on age). You settle this at the end of the holiday.
Thomson have a couple of reps on-site (shared with other tour operators) and are available at specific times during the day at a tent near the first swimming pool and children’s activity / animations area.
Unfortunately with yet another late running Jet2 flight we arrived after 8pm so there was a little note from the rep saying to go straight to our mobile home.
If arriving late you just meet up with the rep the following morning to pay a 60 Euro or £50 cleaning deposit – refundable on departure.

MOBILE HOME
The Thomson mobile homes are located on two small rows at the south-east corner of the camp – near the harbour. This is a 5 – 10 minute walk from reception. Sadly this seemed a lot longer in the pouring rain pulling suitcases through muddy puddles. It would be good idea if the site staff were able to offer one of their buggies to help in these circumstances.
The mobile homes are quite close together with little privacy compared to other sites we have stopped on but the pine wood location is a great shield from the hot sun that Croatia is usually blessed with.

The grass around the Thomson homes was overgrown with quite a few brambles over the decking too. The rest of the site is very well kept so I think, being the start of season the workmen had not got down to that area of the site yet.
The Bellini mobile homes are on the functional side – fine for a family of four and do benefit from air conditioning and excellent power shower. The layout is as per the Thomson website but the interior was a little older than the brochure photos. Some of the basic utensils were missing so it was a case of speaking to the rep to replace the ones that were really needed such as a kettle.
Beds were comfy and a pillow and modern quilted blanket are provided for each person (you will need to choose to hire sheets, pillow cases etc. when booking with Thomson or take your own)
As with most self-catering mobile home holidays, basics such as washing up liquid and bin liners are not provided. This was the first one we had stopped though where toilet paper was not provided. This was a bit of a shock having arrived after the shop had shut on site too – so perhaps remember to take some with you!
Pack UK to Euro socket adapters too. The pre-arrival letter from Thomson and on-site inventory mention they are included but were missing from ours.
Oh – nearly forgot – tap water is fine for drinking. No problems with this all week.

SITE FACILITIES
The Bi Village complex is large and is split into areas for mobile homes, apartments & beach rooms and also touring pitches. The site and facilities are very well kept and clean. There is a reasonably well stocked supermarket on site with fresh fruit and veg, deli and bakery. There are a number of small gift / beachwear shops, a doctors, a beauty salon and hairdressers as well as a Vinoteka (selling local wine on-draught).
There are two or three bars around the site and an ice-cream parlour. Food-wise there is a Pizzeria near reception and a good restaurant towards the beach. Both are reasonably priced.
There are a range of kids and sporting activities on offer too. The site also has two swimming and splash pools open to guests. The heated one is fairly close to the mobile homes.
You can purchase a Wi-fi pass from the Information office which can span one day through to a week. The weekly pass is approx. £15 (which they add to your account for payment on departure). Bear in mind the wi-fi signal is only available in the main public bars, restaurants and does not reach as far as the mobile homes. Once used – the one pass will work on one device only.

BEACH
The great plus for Bi Village is the direct access to the beach. There are several gates onto the beach with the nearest about 5 – 10 minute stroll from the Thomson mobile homes.
The beach and surrounding area are very pretty with views across the Adriatic to a series of small islands. The beach is clean with changing booths, showers and beach bars dotted around. It is stony and quite painful walking barefoot here and in the sea. Flip flops or waterproof beach shoes can be purchased from the on-site shop if needed. I would say the Adriatic sea is similar to the Med further south. There’s hardly any tidal movement or waves making it great for kids. Although we went quite early in the season, the water was still ok for a quick dip. Definitely a couple of degrees warmer than our UK seas!

LOCAL AREA
Bi Village is on the outskirts of Fazana (Fashana). It takes about 10 – 15 minutes to walk along the footpath / cycle way next to the beach or there is a good footpath along the road too.
Fazana is a picturesque village with lots of restaurants and bars dotted around the harbourside.
The ones we sampled the food was good and reasonably priced, staff friendly and very importantly for the mother-in-law – loos ultra-modern and clean  (putting some other mainland European destinations to shame) Fazana has a series of gift shops, banks, post office and a couple of ice-cream parlours too offering ice-cream for just 60p a scoop!
There is a small supermarket away from the harbourside but for a more substantial and cheaper food shop it would be worth going into Pula which has a range of larger supermarkets such as Lidl.

THINGS TO DO
Taking a short taxi or bus ride from the site to Pula you can visit the striking Roman Amphitheatre – then take refreshments at one of the cafes in the square overlooking the Roman Temple of Augustus.
The Istrian coast and islands are truly beautiful and there are a number of boat trips you can take to experience this closer.
A popular day out locally is the 3km boat trip from Fazana harbour across to the island of Brujini – a national park and small wildlife park / zoo. This can be booked at their information office next to the harbour in Fazana.
One trip we did, organised by our rep, was a day long boat tour from Pula along the coast to Rovinj (Roeveen) and Porec (Porrech). The tour includes freshly cooked meal and wine on board. Porec is a smart Riviera resort with lots of hotels, shops and restaurants dotted though little streets. Despite being flanked by some very expensive yachts and cruisers, it’s still only £2.20 for a coffee and croissant or beer at one of the waterfront hotel café terraces. Rovinj is a great place for exploring the narrow streets and visiting one of its most prominent features St. Euphemia's Basilica, the bell tower of which resembles St Marks in Venice.
Talking of Venice, if you don’t mind an early start (or the cost) you can do a day trip there from the site. We booked through Atlas who have a tourist booking office in Fazana (just back from the harbour near the old church). You get picked up from the site reception at 6:45AM then taken to Rovijn where you board the Jetboat to Venice (passports essential). The Jetboat takes around 2 and 1/2 hours. You have 10.30AM – 5:00PM in Venice. There are lots of optional guided tours, gondola trips etc you can add on. You arrive back at the site around 8:30PM. The Atlas guides are again very friendly and knowledgeable. At this time of year (weather permitting) the trips are Tuesday and Friday. There are more trips to Venice as the season progresses going from Pula too.

DEPARTURE
When it is time to leave, you need be out of your mobile home by 10am and visit the main Information office before 12 noon where you settle your account (for sporting activities, wifi etc) and also pay the tourist taxes. You can pay by cash or credit card. The Info Office also has a currency exchange, bank and cash machine if you need it. Once paid, you then take your receipt to Reception where you can claim back the passport you left as security. If you don’t fly home until late evening you can ask to leave suitcases with reception and stay on site or on the beach all day if you like.

LANGUAGE
Istria is very popular for German family holidays so if you don’t speak Croatian most Croatians in the resort areas seem to speak German. Although most speak English too and were very happy to welcome English tourists. It’s always good to have a go yourself though so here are some useful words to use out of courtesy (they are not spelt correctly in Croatian – just written how you would speak them)
Hwala – thank you
Mollim Vass – please
Dah – yes
Ney – No
Rachoon – Bill
Dobber Dan – Hello/Good Day
Bohg – Hi
Dovvijenya – Good Bye
Most importantly……. Peevo – Beer!

IN SUMMARY
Bi Village is a pleasant well-kept family site with lovely beaches on the doorstep. Our memories of Croatia are of the great coastal scenery and genuinely friendly people (weather was not too bad either). The message from Croatians we met was “please tell your friends to come and visit Croatia!”
Well, this is certainly a country we would visit again another year.

Date of stay: May 2013
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
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24  Thank TheMysteryShoppers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 7, 2012

I liked everything this campsite had to offer....fantastic beaches,great swimming pools and evening entertainment.

My teenage daughter also had a fabulous time with all the water activities the beach offered.

Date of stay: September 2012
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5  Thank jthts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 17, 2012

This is a very well organized camping combined with the possiblity to rent bungalows and mobile homes. It is fairly large, there is even a doctor available daytime every day. Generally the standard in the mobile homes (where we stayed) is quite good. 30 m2 is not much, but if you are at the seaside you spend most of the time at the beach anyway. Most of the mobile homes also have a veranda which adds an outdoor living room. The beach and the water is ok. If you want really nice water to swim and dive in you will have to go to one of the islands in the national part just outside the village (Fasana), Staff is really helpful and have a good working knowledge of several languages. Supermarket inside the complex, where you f ex can buy freshly baked bred in the mornings.

Room tip: If you stay in the camping part make sure you choose a place that has shadow. Same thing if you rent a mobile home. Not all mobile homes are sheltered by trees that give shadow, and then it can get really hot inside.
Date of stay: July 2012
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
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1  Thank Ivve
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 17, 2012

situated directly on the sea, under pine trees a quuiet large camping with international quests, mainly german, dutch and italians. we rented a ready camping trailer which was clean, nicely situated and equipped with everything you need. 5 min to the pebble beach, in the evenings enough restaurants around or a 15 min walk in the town of Fazana. really enjoyed it

Date of stay: August 2012
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
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1  Thank vonHeimendahl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 25, 2012

Booked with Thomson Al Fresco to stay at Bi Village as we had such a great time before. We arrived very early at 10am and were allowed to stow our bags and were in our caravan for midday which was great. We have 6 people and had 2 bedrooms and a a large pull-out settee bed thing in the front room. The balcony had large table 4 chairs plus 2 adjustable chairs and 2 sun loungers and was all very clean and fresh. Al fresco caravans are 5 mins walk to both pool, shops and beach and the supermarket is well stocked as well as shops offering the normal inflatables, beach shoes and gifts to take back. There is a flinky club for the kids but our kids were happy to go to beach and pool mostly or it's a short walk into Fazana town to the best pizza restaurant ever the Grande Piazza and very reasonable. Most of our evenings were spent in the wonderful beachside restaurant with dance floor for the kids and the menu is fantastic and the the food was fantastic with lovely eyecandy waiters! For 6 people all having drinks mains and dessert it was around 600kuna so roughly 60 quid so bargain and sitting on the beach watching the sun going down is priceless.

The beach is extremely stony and so beach shoes are needed and the tree bugs make a really lous noise but thats the only negatives I can think of. All staff were very nice and spoke good english and we never had a problem with anyone in Bi Village or Fazana. We visited Brijuni island for 6 was 1400kuna (140quid) for the morning which was well worth it with boat trip, then tour guide around on a train through the safari park, Titu museum and church. It was interesting but you could wander off with small children.

I can't praise Bi Village enough for families with teens and young children as we have both and really enjoyed our second time there. I can also recommend TAXI Edi for picking us up info@taxipula.com and ferrying us around for little cost. We will be back!!

Date of stay: July 2012
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
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6  Thank tempesta74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Al_Fresco_11, Al Fresco Holidays Customer Service Team at Holiday Centre Bi Village, responded to this reviewResponded March 28, 2013

We're glad you enjoyed your holiday with us to Bi Village, thank you for the feedback you have provided. We hope to see you again this summer, Kind Regards Al Fresco Holidays

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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