Over the past few years prices have been falling across much of Europe, making it a more attractive place than ever for family holidays. High-end destinations have become affordable for ordinary families and favourite beach resorts have started offering fantastic package deals. All this makes it easier to treat your family to an amazing holiday with something for everyone.
Dream destinations for kids
If you talk to children who have been on European holidays, you’ll find that these are some of the destinations they like best – and they all have something for grown-ups, too!
Salema, Portugal. This Algarve beauty spot may not be a big name but young children just love its long, golden beach, whilst clear, shallow waters make splashing around safer. It’s also great for finding shells. Stay in a local cottage and enjoy the unspoiled countryside.
Alghero, Sardinia. A mixture of sandy and pebbly beaches keeps things interesting and you can have a go at kayaking together. Stay at Monte Sixeri Farm where your kids can go wild in the playground or help feed the animals while you relax in the pool.
Arrieta, Lanzarote. Rugged countryside, a charming old town and secluded sandy beaches mean there’s a lot to explore. Stay in a yurt at Lanzarote Retreats where children will love the adventure playground, pool full of inflatable toys and friendly resident donkey.
Avoriaz, France. For something a bit different, check out this child-friendly ski resort that has some slopes safe enough for toddlers and horse-drawn sleighs to ride in. Stay in a spacious family chalet and take your kids to explore the Village des Enfants.
Devon, England. It may seem modest, but kids don’t care – they love fossil hunting on the beaches and exploring the souvenir shops in the villages, where there are many child-friendly eateries. Stay in a caravan at one of the many family-focused sites along the coast.
The dog comes too!
Recognising that your furry family members matter too, many of these locations are dog friendly. It’s increasingly easy to find pet-friendly hotels, some of which provide extras to make dogs feel welcome, and a high proportion of camping and caravan sites and rental cottages will let your pets stay too.
Make sure you take the time to prepare your pet for travelling. You’ll need to plan so you can find suitable food. Most basic medications like dog flea tablets, available from specialists such as Bob Martin Vetcare, are legal right across Europe but if your pet needs something more unusual then you should ask your vet for advice before you set off. Remember to pack familiar bedding and a few favourite toys to help your dog feel secure.
Planning your travel
Travelling with your children and the dog is always complicated. To cut down on the chaos it’s important to plan well around everything from rest stops (including ones where you can walk the dog) to packing snacks and water. You’ll need to check that your transport options can cater for everyone and you’ll need to find ways to make sure everyone has fun. Get it right, though, and nothing compares to the fun of being on holiday, all together.
Planning a last minute holiday in the sun? You have plenty of time to get it organised yet (it’s only July, after all)! If you’re travelling from the UK, you have the whole EU at your fingertips, only a few hours’ flight away. It’s easy to take the family along too, without it costing the earth. Here are some fantastic options that might just be what you’re looking for:
Tuscany is known for its beautiful climate and decadent wines. Stay at a stunning 18th century farmhouse, which has multiple apartments for other families lucky enough to be staying there. Your kids may find themselves playmates, which would give you an opportunity to truly relax, while they all have fun in the pool. Oh, and did we mention that this estate grows its own amazing wine on-site? Where do we sign up?
Cabins, South France
This characterful cabin is a little wonky around the edges, but you can tell that it was a real labour of love – the nearby owner made it himself, and he has a wealth of knowledge on the local area, so get in his good books and he will make your holiday easy. You have fantastic views of the lake and gardens, plus your own kitchen, so you won’t have to stray too far from your cabin, if you don’t want to! And who could blame you – with the amazing scenery and charming, raised decking, you won’t want to go anywhere else.
Green Holidays, Ireland
For an amazing variety of outdoor pursuits, The Three Towers is an eco lodge – with apartments and cottages – which offers pony riding, as well as donkey walking, in the verdant Irish countryside. There is more than 2,000 acres of woodland close to your holiday home, ripe for exploring. The owners have “enchanted” certain areas of forestry for the children, filling them with magical fairies and gnomes – endless hours of play for the little ones. Best of all, it’s a short plane or ferry ride away.
Have you always wanted to stay in a tipi, somewhere close to nature? Portugal has a great campsite called Tipis in the Algarve, where everything is brightly coloured and you even have access to a pool. On hand, you will have a small vegetable garden to explore, and a yoga platform perfect for your morning sun salutations. They run communal BBQ nights, so you can get some grub with other likeminded people and make new friends. Bonus: the beach is just a 15 minute drive away!
A Quick Note On Booking Your Flight…
If you are looking for flights to any of the above, be sure to book at the cheapest time as possible, to make sure that your family holiday stays affordable! Go with a cheap flights operator, but read the comments about their services for your next trip on an established site, such as these Bravofly reviews. Don’t accidentally spoil your holiday by going with the wrong travel agent, as hidden costs and poor customer service can really dampen the holiday – choose someone you know you can trust.