Traveling anytime soon? Don’t worry about leaving the kids behind and especially if you have young kids. Lately, luxury clubs for kids are rising up everywhere. Here are a few mentions that will make your summer vacation a real hit.
talian charm, Sardinia
A good place to start our search for the top beach holidays for families that doesn’t bust the budget is on the island of Sardinia. Yes, Sardinia! It might not be the first place you think of when planning your family getaway but this Italian island offers the ideal setting for young families, with its laid-back atmosphere, child-friendly beaches and cosy resorts. As you drive west from Cagliari, the beaches just get better and better. Cruise past the famous Forte Village resort (nice, but the sand is not world-class) and follow the signpost to Chia, where you’ll find several stretches of soft sand, with pine trees, rolling dunes and some of the clearest seas in the Mediterranean. The best to stay is the Chia Laguna, a four-star resort hotel that is geared to families. It’s not right on the beach – the coastline has been protected from developers – but you can get there in five minutes on a miniature train. It offers supervised clubs for children aged four months and up, as well as tennis, water sports and three swimming pools.
Off the beaten family track, Turkey
If you want the facilities and convenience of a hotel but not the stress of having to keep the kids on a tight rein, the Hotel Azur might just fit the bill. A two-hour drive south-east of Antalya, this low-key spot is popular with families looking for a laid-back relaxing beach holiday. Here you can choose between bungalows or wooden lodges set in shady gardens of pomegranate, lemon and fig trees, where chickens, cats and rabbits roam freely. The kids will love it! You can spend the mornings swimming, kayaking or snoozing on the pebbly beach just 200 metres away, which is a nesting site for loggerhead turtles; then laze away the afternoons in a hammock in the orchard, or be more active with a jeep safari into the surroundings hills.
Active family, Brittany, France
If you’re looking to combine an active adult break with a family holiday, Brittany could very well be your ideal destination. And if it’s rock pools, foaming surf and acres of white sand you ache for, then point yourself towards this French region. One of the prize spots is Pentrez Plage, on the huge, sweeping Baie de Douarnenez – the kind of beach where you can kick footballs, hunt for crabs and fly kites. Backed by high cliffs pockmarked with caves, Pentrez has safe shallows for tots, as well as high-adrenaline sports such as sand-yachting and speed-sailing. Perfect for families, the holiday village Les Terrasses de Pentrez Plage, connected by footpath to the beach nearby, and made up of Breton-style cottages, a heated covered pool and children’s play area. It is perfect for young families on a budget!
Green holiday, Halkidiki
Tourism is frequently blamed for destroying natural environments, but the west coast of Halkidiki is a different story. Sani has been developed into one of Greece’s most attractive resort complexes, an ecological reserve of pine forests, jagged cliffs and a long, sandy Blue Flag beach. Here you’ll find four hotels, a camp site and a marina packed with luxury yachts. Purists might regard Sani as a sanitised version of Greece. In fact, it has the feel of an authentic village, albeit one where children can run around without fear of being mown down by motorbikes. Throw in a few Greek tavernas, hiking trails, an outdoor cinema, a couple of spas and a new British-run crèche for children aged six months and up, and you have something close to family-holiday heaven. The four-star Sani Beach Club hits the right note for parents and children, and has the best beachfront. Don’t forget to pack a bucket and spade…there are plenty of sandy shores for the kids to enjoy.
An old favourite, Majorca
Puerto Soller is one of Mallorca’s prettiest and most popular beach resorts. Fringed by forested mountains, it has a sheltered, child-friendly beach, some excellent seafood restaurants and a toytown tram that runs into the neighbouring town of Soller. If you want your beach holiday with a sprinkling of traditional charm, holidays in Puerto de Soller will win both you and your family’s heart. And there is good news for the kids too! For a family-friendly resort, check in to Hotel Marina Soller, which is a family-run hotel right on the sea front, only the pedestrianized walkway and the sand come between the hotel and the sea. The shallow waters make this is an ideal holiday location for families.
Island idyll, Croatia
The land of 1,000 islands, Croatia is a popular summer destination with its beautiful coastline, tranquil mountains and national parks. Ecologically one of Europe’s best-preserved countries, exploring it takes you on a thousand-year journey through history, which has been turbulent, exciting and glorious. Lie on golden sandy beaches and swim in romantic coves that are but a stone’s throw from ancient Roman monuments and streets as old as the emperor Diocletian himself. Sounds too good to be true? Well, it gets even better. Last year, Hotel Vespera on the island of Losinj re-opened as 400-room, state-of-the-art hotel complex. It is 50 metres from the beach and outdoor pools cascade towards the sea. Children can enjoy the huge water slides, tobogganing, wave pools and waterfalls. The large Club Funimation Borik complex in Zadar is another geared towards family entertainment, with swimming courses for kids, fun sports, children’s olympics, children’s cinema and mini disco. And don’t forget that Croatia’s shores are the hidden garden of the Mediterranean!