When the annual holiday needs to please adults and kids alike, the pressure is on to find the perfect place. Whether your kids are toddlers, tweens, or teenagers, we’ve got destinations that your whole family will love. From waterpark hotels in family-focused resorts to beach retreats where you can spend all day building sandcastles, paddling in calm waters, and catching up on your holiday reading – there’s bound to be something that matches your family’s needs.
Treating the whole family to a break abroad needn’t cost the earth. If you’re looking for a destination that’s friendly on your budget, look to Bulgaria. Expect all the sun, sea, and sand you’d get on your usual Mediterranean holiday, but with a more wallet-friendly price tag. Sunny Beach is the country’s main tourist hotspot, so come here if you want everything within easy reach. Zoom down every sort of water slide imaginable at Action Aquapark, explore the Unesco World Heritage site of Nessebar just south of Sunny Beach, or simply kick back on the sands – head for Cacao Beach if you want one that’s Blue Flag-rated.
Portugal does family holidays brilliantly, and it all starts with a kid-friendly flight time of under three hours. With a mixture of small and sizeable resorts, plenty to see and do, and a string of gorgeous beaches to its name, the Algarve is the country’s main family-friendly destination. Thrills come courtesy of Slide and Splash waterpark and the treetop course at Parque Aventura. For something a little calmer, spend your days at one of the many Blue Flag beaches here. Camilo Beach and Odeceixe Beach are two popular choices.
If you prefer holidays based more around exploring the local area than on the beach or by the pool, then consider the island of Madeira. Here it’s less about the beach scene and more about swimming in natural pools formed by volcanic lava at Porto Moniz, whooshing through the Funchal streets on a toboggan ride, and riding the cable car to The Monte Gardens.
For a holiday that the kids will love, make it Cancun or the Riviera Maya in Mexico. Base yourself in Cancun and you can explore ancient Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza, spend long lazy days on the paradise-style beaches, or take a ferry trip to Isla Mujeres. Here you’ll find Playa Norte Beach. With calm, crystal-clear waters and sugar-soft sand, it’s perfect for kids of all ages.
The best way to explore the island is by golf buggy – which, let’s face it, the kids are seriously going to love. At Riviera Maya, meanwhile, you can build holidays centred entirely around your hotel. This area has a quieter vibe, but you’ve got your pick of beachfront all inclusive hotels. Laze at the pool, wander along white sandy beaches, and enjoy a bit of quiet time while the kids burn off some energy in a hotel-run kids’ club.
For a family holiday destination that’s close to home, Spain is a wise choice. Whether you choose to holiday on one of the family-friendly islands like Menorca, or you stick to mainland Spain, this country serves up plenty for kids to enjoy. With its gorgeous sandy beaches, Fuengirola in the Costa del Sol is a permanent favourite with families looking for chilled-out days by the sea. Benalmadena, meanwhile, takes things up a notch. With a cable car and Aqualand waterpark to explore, it caters to kids looking for adventure.
Holidays don’t get more magical than a trip to Lapland. Whether you want to treat little ones to a visit to Santa’s village, or you’re here for the skiing, Lapland holidays are something special. Meet reindeer, attend Elf School, and greet Father Christmas himself at Santa Claus Village on the edge of the Arctic Circle.
Kids will love zipping through the snow on husky-pulled sledge rides, steering mini snowmobiles, and ice skating with snowmen at Snowman World. If it’s skiing you’re here for, Yllas is the place to be. It’s Finland’s largest ski centre and has ski slopes for all abilities. But the best bit is the fact it’s one of the places you’re most likely to set eyes on the mesmerising Northern Lights.
Keeping the kids happy and occupied at home may be a constant battle, but on holiday it’s a different matter. When you choose a holiday destination that’s geared up to keeping all ages happy, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your time together, too. From the simplest pleasures like building sandcastles to sledge rides with reindeers, kid-friendly holidays are about making the most of your time with each other.
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