• A sense of freedom.

    Text and photos: Nuria Val and Coke Bartrina

The maximum degree of freedom.

We are still a bit tired as we climb into the Marco Polo. Last night, we went to bed late. What kept us awake were a few things left on our travel to-do list, but also the excitement for the three-day road trip we’re starting this morning. To be fully independent on our upcoming adventure on the road, we packed the Marco Polo with all the things we would need: water, groceries, cooking ware, bed sheets, clothes and, of course, the camera equipment.

After all, good preparation is half the work. Because that was our goal: we had decided not to make concrete plans regarding where our journey would actually take us. We feel like this uncertainty will give us the maximum degree of freedom. One thing is for certain though: we’re leaving Barcelona today and will head up north alongside the Catalonian coastline. We focus on the journey ahead and leave all the stress and the rush of the Barcelona streets behind.

Comfortable driving experience: Coke Bartrina steers the Marco Polo safely on the serpentine road.

Comfortable driving experience: Coke Bartrina steers the Marco Polo safely on the serpentine road.

Day 1: The Catalonian coast.

Once we have left the city, we drive on a winding road that goes along the coastline and climbs to the tops of marvellous cliffs. After a short while, we pull over to the side of the road to enjoy the view. We feel the breeze in our hair and the warm sun prickling on our skins. Taking deep breaths, we smell the sea – everything feels so right. As we continue our journey, we begin to think about finding a spot to sleep for the night. After some research, we discover a well-hidden site in Begur. We are avoiding camping sites because we want to create an experience like being anchored in a bay on a sailing boat: just the two of us, fully enclosed by nature.

We park the Marco Polo between two tall pine trees. It doesn’t need much space. After parking our tourer-camper van, we go for an evening stroll and find ourselves on top of a cliff with a stunning view of the sea. It’s the Camí de Ronda, a narrow path that follows the coastline from the north of Catalonia to the very south and beyond. When we return to the car, it’s getting dark. We are hungry. A quick salad and an omelette will do for tonight. We pull up the roof of the van and set up our bed. Luckily, this can be done in an instant, and we quickly drift off into our first night in the van’s cosy interior.

Windy roads: Each bend discloses a stunning view of the sea.

Windy roads: Each bend discloses a stunning view of the sea.

Day 2: Heaven on earth.

We get up early to see the sunrise, but it’s cloudy, so we decide to get a little bit more sleep. When we wake again, it’s cleared up and the sun warms the cool air. After breakfasting, we step out of the Marco Polo into the bright daylight, enjoying the warm sensation on our skins and looking onto the sea below us, the upheaving waves and the seagulls drifting through the air.

Where will we go today? We start to flesh out our plans following only one premise: keep going north. From a past visit to Catalonia, we recall a wonderful small bay called Sa Tuna in the municipality of Begur. So we pack up and head there. We are early. There aren’t many people around. The place is just as beautiful as we remembered it: small white houses looking out on blue-green crystal-clear water that’s inviting us to jump in. A couple of charming restaurants and their terraces tempt us, but we feel like we have to earn it.

So, we take a walk instead. And we think to ourselves: this is one of the most beautiful spots on earth. We realise how lucky we are to have it so close to our hometown of Barcelona. Somehow everybody has these hidden gems of destination around their hometown, we believe. Walking through Sa Tuna once again reminds us they are worth exploring. After dinner and a short rest, we continue walking south to get the beautiful view of Sa Tuna and sunbathe on a warm rock for a while. We’ve soaked this small piece of heaven in and feel the urge to move on to the next site.

We don’t feel like driving too far, so Pals seems like the perfect destination. Again, we’re lucky to get a nice and safe parking spot for the van. We lift the roof of the van to prepare the bed while we cook a light dinner. Sitting in front of the Marco Polo, we look above into the night sky crowded with shimmering stars. We end our day with this journal entry and by reliving the best moments of the day.

Day 3: We will do this again.

It’s 7:30 a.m. We’ve set an alarm to catch the sunrise. Yet again, when we roll up the screens of the van, all we see is thick mist. So, we go to the beach and see how the sea blends into the sky. It is almost like the horizon has disappeared. Back at the Marco Polo, we have breakfast and decide to stay a little longer, taking more notes on our experiences. At this moment, we are totally relaxed. No stress. No rush. It is amazing to just be spontaneous and go with the flow. But then reality strikes: this is our last day. Sure enough, all good things must come to an end. By tomorrow evening, we will have gone back to Barcelona. It’s time to wrap this trip up.

We arrive late at Cala s’Alguer and settle in at a nice spot to cook some pasta. After the meal, we go for a walk and catch a view of the old fishing houses set by the sea. This is probably one of the most picturesque sceneries in Catalonia and well worth visiting. We’ve saved this experience to make it one of our final impressions from Costa Brava to take home to Barcelona. It is time to return to the city. Of course, we could’ve well spent much longer than three days in this adventure. At the same time, it sparks excitement about our next trip. Because this also is for certain: we will do this again. Very soon. Just hop in a Marco Polo to leave the city behind, clear our minds and enjoy the pureness of nature for a little while. We can recommend this to everyone!

In the morning, Nuria relaxes inside the tourer-camper van while reading a book and contemplating what she’s experienced.

In the morning, Nuria relaxes inside the tourer-camper van while reading a book and contemplating what she’s experienced.

Make your move: the Marco Polo.

The Marco Polo is the best vehicle to chaperone you through your everyday life: it is so agile to drive that you hardly notice all the camping equipment it’s got on board. As a versatile all-rounder, the Marco Polo combines practicality and convenience. You can prepare fresh meals in the fully integrated kitchen and enjoy them together at the folding table. The vehicle still measures less than two metres high with the pop-up roof closed. High-quality assistance systems are there to support you when manoeuvring and parking – in everyday life as well as when travelling.

At night, the Mercedes-Benz Marco Polo changes into a cosy but spacious lodging.

At night, the Marco Polo changes into a cosy but spacious lodging.

More information.

Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert CO₂-Emissionen kombiniert Stromverbrauch im kombinierten Testzyklus

Product may vary after press date on 17.06.2021.

1 Die angegebenen Werte wurden nach dem vorgeschriebenen Messverfahren ermittelt. Es handelt sich um die „NEFZ-CO₂-Werte“ i. S. v. Art. 2 Nr. 1 Durchführungsverordnung (EU) 2017/1153. Die Kraftstoffverbrauchswerte wurden auf Basis dieser Werte errechnet. Der Stromverbrauch wurde auf der Grundlage der VO 692/2008/EG ermittelt. Weitere Informationen zum offiziellen Kraftstoffverbrauch und den offiziellen spezifischen CO₂-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen können dem „Leitfaden über den Kraftstoffverbrauch, die CO₂-Emissionen und den Stromverbrauch aller neuen Personenkraftwagenmodelle“ entnommen werden, der an allen Verkaufsstellen und bei der Deutschen Automobil Treuhand GmbH unter www.dat.de unentgeltlich erhältlich ist.

4 Angaben zu Kraftstoffverbrauch, Stromverbrauch und CO₂-Emissionen sind vorläufig und wurden vom Technischen Dienst für das Zertifizierungsverfahren nach Maßgabe des WLTP-Prüfverfahrens ermittelt und in NEFZ-Werte korreliert. Eine EG-Typgenehmigung und Konformitätsbescheinigung mit amtlichen Werten liegen noch nicht vor. Abweichungen zwischen den Angaben und den amtlichen Werten sind möglich.

6 Stromverbrauch und Reichweite wurden auf der Grundlage der VO 692/2008/EG ermittelt. Stromverbrauch und Reichweite sind abhängig von der Fahrzeugkonfiguration. Weitere Informationen zum offiziellen Kraftstoffverbrauch und den offiziellen spezifischen CO₂-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen können dem „Leitfaden über den Kraftstoffverbrauch, die CO₂-Emissionen und den Stromverbrauch aller neuen Personenkraftwagenmodelle“ entnommen werden, der an allen Verkaufsstellen und bei der Deutschen Automobil Treuhand GmbH unter www.dat.de unentgeltlich erhältlich ist.

8 Alle technischen Angaben sind vorläufig und wurden intern nach Maßgabe der jeweils anwendbaren Zertifizierungsmethode ermittelt. Es liegen bislang weder bestätigte Werte vom TÜV noch eine EG-Typgenehmigung noch eine Konformitätsbescheinigung mit amtlichen Werten vor. Abweichungen zwischen den Angaben und den amtlichen Werten sind möglich.