Family huddled together on the beach watching the beautiful sunset over the ocean

The 5 Best Family Holidays in Europe

11 Feb 2019 By Adele Grant
Family huddled together on the beach watching the beautiful sunset over the ocean

Planning a getaway for the full family can prove a difficult task! Not only have you got to consider everyone’s preferences, but you’ve also got to make sure the destination of your choosing is accommodating.

Need some inspiration? Then, take look at the best family holidays in Europe and enjoy the perks of short flight times and a fantastic selection of attractions.

Algarve, Portugal

A beautiful beach in Portugal's Algarve with a wide stretch of golden sand and cliffside houses looking over the Atlantic Ocean

Flight time: 2 hours 45 minutes

Home to some of Europe’s, if not the world’s best beaches, Portugal’s Algarve region is a hotspot for families. Known for its hot summers with temperatures averaging a comfortable 28°C and home to a string of family-focused hotels, get ready to make memories in the sun.

There are tons of resorts to choose from too, from the the attraction-filled Albufeira to a lengthy beach in Praia da Rocha and a relaxed restaurant scene in Lagos. Plus, Portugal remains one of the cheapest countries to holiday in, a bonus for large families.

Where to stay? Grande Real Santa Eulalia Resort is a top choice when it comes to family getaways. Just inches away from the beach with seven pool areas, three of which are for children, this 5-star hotel is filled with modern amenities suitable for all ages.

Family-friendly beaches: Filled with Blue Flag shores, the Algarve is known for its endless sand with beaches decorated with limestone cliffs, concealed caves, and breathtaking viewpoints. Praia da Marinha in the low-key resort of Carvoeiro gets the thumbs up from families with its soft, white blanket of sand and calm waters.

The beach at Praia Da Rocha is another favourite due to its size. Its lengthy expanse means it never feels overcrowded, so more space for building that perfect sandcastle.

Things to do as a family:

  • Zoomarine
  • Slide and Splash
  • Dolphins Driven
  • Family Golf Park
  • Aqualand
  • Karting Almancil
  • Parque Aventura
  • Lagos Zoo
  • Krazy World

Best for: All ages

Need to know: Albufeira’s hilly, uneven streets can prove difficult for those with pushchairs, so we suggest you bear this in mind when choosing your location.

Crete, Greece

Coastal village in the Greek Island of Crete lined surrounded by traditional whitewashed buildings and beautiful azure waters

Flight time: 3 hours 45 minutes

As the largest Greek Island, finding a resort to suit your needs is pretty straightforward. Like the rest of the country, children are welcomed with open arms here, in restaurants, bars and a wide range of hotels. Of course some resorts are more suitable than others, but on a whole Crete caters to a range of ages.

Whether you opt for lively resorts like Chania and Hersonissos, or you prefer more peaceful spots such as Stalis, where you can enjoy some bonding time without a constant stream of tourists, you can always count on this Grecian charmer. In terms of attractions, you’ve got some of the best beaches in the world on your doorstep, significant landmarks dating back to the Bronze Age and a choice of waterparks.

Where to stay? Hotel Lyttos Beach has everyone covered with its onsite waterpark with slides for both small children and older kids. While the wet rides are the main draw, little ones are also catered for at the buffet and the mini-club.

Family-friendly beaches: You’ll find Elafonisi, Crete’s most famous beach close to Chania, where you’ll be greeted by toe-sinking white sand and waters which wouldn’t look out of place in the Caribbean. Ammoudara Beach, not far from Heraklion, is another popular choice with its fantastic set of amenities and lifeguard supervision.

Things to do as a family:

  • The Palace of Knossos
  • Cretaquarium
  • Samaria Gorge National Park
  • The Natural History Museum of Crete
  • Aqua Plus
  • Dinosauria park
  • Cretan Caves

Best for: Teenagers

Top tip: With temperatures exceeding 30 °C in the summer months, you may want to avoid July and August if you’re travelling with babies or toddlers.

Costa Del Sol, Spain

The striking Nerja Beach with a backing off hotels in Spain's beautiful Costa Del Sol region

Flight time: 2 hours 30 minutes

The Costa Del Sol is more popular than ever before! Welcoming a constant stream of holidaymakers to its 150-kilometre-long coastline, its charms are universal. With the weather on its side and a short flight from the UK, it’s the full family package. Bursting with fun-filled activities, children won’t know what to do first.

Benalmadena remains a top choice for all generations with its fantastic attractions including a theme park, dolphin shows, an aquarium and themed mini golf. Meanwhile, Torremolinos is your go-to for safe beaches. When it comes to day trips, you can’t miss out on a chance to visit Gibraltar, where the children will love spotting the wild apes which call this headland home.

Where to stay? If you’re looking for the ultimate family accommodation, Holiday Palace Hotel is just the place. With heaps of activities and facilities geared towards children, from a splashpark to dino-themed rooms and a kids club, sit back and relax among 4 star surroundings as your little ones make friends.

Family-friendly beaches: Home to a staggering 22 Blue Flag beaches, the Costa Del Sol has a range of shores from lengthy, golden stretches to idyllic coves. The family-sized Burriana in Nerja is a great pick with its 800 metres of sand and children’s play area.

Over in Torremolinos, it’s all about Playa La Carihuela, the resort’s largest stretch which comes equipped with shallow, clear waters ideal for mini paddlers.

Things to do as a family in Costa del Sol:

  • Aquamijas Waterpark
  • Crocodile Park
  • BioParc Zoo
  • Butterfly Park
  • Cable Car
  • Sea Life Aquarium
  • Gibraltar
  • Aqualand Waterpark
  • Adventure Golf
  • Molino de Inca Botanical Gardens
  • Selwo Marina Delfinarium
  • Mini Train City Tour
  • Tivoli World

Best for: Small children

Top tip: If you’re planning a trip to the popular Tivoli World, this can be an expensive day out if you have a large family.

There are two ticket prices, basic entrance costs 8 euros, or you can opt for a Supertivolino ticket, which is 15 euros for unlimited access to all the park’s rides with the exception of three.

We suggest only paying full price if you have smaller kids as you’ll get more for your money.

Majorca, Balearic Islands

The Idyllic Cala Gat Beach with stunning scenery and shallow, azure waters on the island of Majorca, Spain

Flight time: 2 hours 15 minutes

This much-loved Balearic Island has something for every member of the family. Compact in size, Majorca is easy to navigate too, so hopping from resort to resort is simple. As for beaches, it’s got 31 Blue Flag shores to shout about, most offering a combination of white sand and stretched shallows.

Resorts like Magaluf and Alcudia are great for older kids with their lively atmosphere and fantastic attractions. Parents holidaying with little ones may prefer Majorca’s tranquil spots such as Cala D’or, where you’ll find a choice of petite shores and boat trips. While, Puerto Pollensa is much more traditional with an old square lined with restaurants and a laid-back waterfront, but is equally as popular with families.

Where to stay? We can’t recommend Club Mac Alcudia & Waterpark enough! This giant complex offers All Inclusive as standard and a whole host of facilities from eight pools to a jam-packed activity programme and access to its neighbouring waterpark.

Family-friendly beaches: Alcudia Bay remains a favourite with families thanks to its lengthy stretch and tame shallow waters. Alternatively, Playa de Muro comes with 6 kilometres of delicate sand and is a little more secluded. Older kids will love the ample choice of watersports here, while little ones paddle for miles in its extended shallow waters.

Things to do as a family:

  • Marineland
  • Karting Magaluf
  • La Reserva Galatzo
  • Caves del Drach
  • Caves dels Hams
  • Palma Aquarium
  • Katmandu Park
  • Aqualand
  • Western Water Park
  • Hidropark
  • Parc Natural de S’Albufera
  • Safari-Zoo
  • Pirates Adventure Show

Best for: All ages

Top tip: If you’re travelling with children under the age of 12, keep your eyes peeled for discounts on public transport or attraction tickets. This is quite common across the island.

Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

A sunset view showing the sweeping sand dunes of Maspalomas with a glimpse of the sea in the distance on the island of Gran Canaria, Spain

Flight time: 4 hours

Often overlooked by its family-focused neighbours Tenerife and Lanzarote, Gran Canaria is a great destination for a peaceful getaway with your nearest and dearest. Adored for its year-round sunshine and fantastic attractions, this Canary Island hotspot is so much more than a beach holiday!

Maspalomas and Playa Del Ingles are two of the island’s most popular resorts, but Puerto Rico tends to attract the most families due to its relaxed days in the sun. Its beaches come with countless amenities and it’s also home to one of the island’s most unique attractions, a park based on the famous app, Angry Birds.

For lesser-known, child-friendly resorts, you can always head for Puerto de Mogán or San Agustín.

Where to stay? H10 Playa Meloneras Palace comes with 5 star interiors and non-stop activities, making it the perfect choice for both adults seeking luxury and children with bags of energy. There’s never a dull day in this fun-time hotel, take advantage of four pools, all offering a lively atmosphere.

Family-friendly beaches: Home to a 60-kilometre coastline, you’ve got a real mix of sandy stretches. Little ones will love the golden dunes of Maspalomas, while the volcanic sands of Arguineguin will appeal to watersport-obsessed teens. Puerto Rico also comes with two fantastic beaches, where the sand is clean and the waters are calm.

Things to do as a family:

  • Camel Safari
  • Jeep Safari
  • Angry Birds Activity Park
  • Cocodrilo Park
  • Aqualand
  • Elder Museum of Science and Technology
  • Dolphin and Whale Watching
  • The Moonlight Cinema
  • Palmitos Park
  • Sioux City park
  • Mini train Playa del Ingles

Best for: Pre-teens

Top tip: Planning on booking your holiday during the winter months? Despite enjoying a warm climate all year round, the south side of the island tends to get the most sunshine.

So if you want to avoid the rain, we suggest you opt for resorts such as Maspalomas, Playa Del Inglés or San Agustín.

Still haven’t booked your family holiday, then what are you waiting for? With these child-friendly and teenager-approved hotspots, you’re in for an unforgettable time.

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