If you are making plans for your holiday this year, then there are plenty of possibilities. Of course, the best family holidays differ according to personal taste. Nevertheless, there are some holidays that stand out from the rest, whether you like to go for a package deal or make individual bookings yourself. Assuming your have reasonable access to one of the UK’s international airport hubs, foreign travel has never been so easy to organise. And with the Pound doing better against the Euro than three or four years ago, a holiday in Europe offers better and better value. Whatever your family’s tastes, you are bound to find the right sort of holiday for you.
If you want a traditional beach holiday, then one of the best places you can head for this year is one of the Greek islands. Every year millions of tourists head for a little island life on one of Greece’s many islands. Islands like Rhodes, Cyprus, Kos and Crete are ideal destinations in the Aegean Sea whilst Corfu and Zante are popular choices to the west of the mainland. Unless you deliberately pick a resort with a reputation for a younger clientele, with a pulsating nightlife, the pace of life is likely to be slow. You will always find something more to do, but if the idea of a week or with nothing other than a beach to play on appeals to you, a Greek island is the place to go.
Many of the Greek islands are blessed with wonderfully sandy beaches. The temperatures are fine for beach holidays from springtime through to early autumn. Every island has a range of accommodation that will suit a variety of budgets. From 5 star luxury hotels and spas to two star self catering apartments, the charm of a Greek island holiday is maintained. Most resorts have mini complexes based around a swimming pool. Greek food and hospitality is legendary. For the perfect beach family holiday it is hard to go wrong.
For those holidaymakers who want more entertainment laid on, there is a wide selection of theme parks to choose from. A consistent favourite among UK tourists, Disneyland Paris offers something for all members of the family, regardless of age. For toddlers, there are of course the Disney cartoon characters to interact with. Older kids will probably get more thrills from the rides. The resort is quite easily accessed and once the main park closes the Disney Village remains open, providing entertainment such as the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, featuring none other than Mickey Mouse.
In terms of accommodation, the resort boasts plenty of hotels, some of which are owned by the Disney brand. However, if you want to escape the Disney style at the end of the day it is quite easy to find other places to stay nearby. There are plenty of restaurants in the main park serving the 50,000 or so daily visitors.
If you prefer to camp, then Italy is great destinations for a family. Kids love the idea of holidaying under canvas. In high summer there are just no drawbacks with a family camping holiday, south of the Alps. A treat for the senses in every respect, a camping holiday in Tuscany, in central Italy offers families access to rolling hills, splendid views and some of Europe’s most historic cities. Florence, for instance, is a wonderful city, famous for the Uffizi art gallery.
Tuscany has a good number of high quality camping parks that you can book from the UK. This is advisable during the summer holidays, but not necessary at other times. Like other campsites in Europe, you don’t always need lots of equipment with you when you arrive. The camp sites are set up and ready to go. You can even hire the tent itself. Most of the larger, family focused, camping parks provide other holiday essentials, like kids clubs and swimming pools.
For the more energetic family, a cycling holiday is hard to beat. Spain is criss-crossed with cycle routes that avoid the dangers presented by road traffic. An ideal destination for a family cycle trip, for example, is one that follows the Camino de Santiago. An old pilgrimage route that ends in Galicia, you can pick your own pace along the route as accommodation hostels regularly line the way. The hostels are relatively cheap to stay in overnight and some work on a voluntary payment basis. Bicycles can be hired, so you don’t need to transport your own, and they are usually supplied with an extensive repair kit in case you pick up a puncture.
If you have children with some experience on horseback, a riding holiday in Germany may be the best choice. Even for those with no prior experience holidays that are designed for absolute beginners are available. Southern Germany is packed with stunning meadowland, forests and lakes. Exploring the beautiful landscape on horseback is the best way of gaining confidence with riding. Most holidays of this type will provide self catering accommodation on the site of the riding school, though some provide meals as well. Trekking through the countryside on horseback is fast becoming an eco-holiday trend, so don’t be surprised if your kids mention it before you do.
Greg Beck is a travel specialist who writes for direct-travel.co.uk