With an uncomfortable exchange rate, it’s getting harder to find a good value family holiday abroad. You can make good savings by shopping around and using travel hacks such as: Finding the cheapest times to fly, booking family travel insurance and setting up Google alerts for favourable exchange rates to buy your currency. But which destinations offer your family the best experience for great times and many happy memories?
If it’s a beach holiday you fancy then Spain is the obvious choice. And the destination popular with UK holiday makers since the advent of the affordable foreign holiday: the Costa del Sol. Fun and excitement for the adventurous kids (and the daring adults!) can be had at the many water parks such as Torremolinos and Mijaz where the water slides are up to 100m high. The 22m drop for the highest Kamikaze in Europe certainly makes you giddy. If water sports aren’t your thing then don’t worry as there many multi-adventure parks and amusement parks. Experience thrills on the zip wires and a canter on one of the many horse riding tours. An added benefit is that, despite the Costa’s popularity, it doesn’t feel overcrowded due to the parks being well laid out. The miles and miles of sun-kissed sandy beaches are great for relaxing after all that excitement.
Marbella, Costa del Sol, image credit
The famous Greek island of Corfu has been a popular family destination for many years and offers many activities from exploring the fabulous architecture of Corfu Old Town, Sissi’s Palace, the Church of Saint Spiridon to the coastal delights of Kassiopi and Paleokastritsa Beach. The rocky coastlines and inlets lead down to beaches where more family activities take place. Children love going for rides in the glass-bottomed boats where they can see shoals of fish swimming by. It’s also an opportunity to see the fascinating underwater environment with its reefs and outcrops.
The Old Fortress, image credit
Travel broadens the mind so why not treat your family to a wallet/purse-friendly trip to Agadir, Morocco? The seafront promenade with its camel rides, the bustling Souk el Had with its 6,000 shops and not forgetting the famous Crocoparc. Education has never been as much fun: learn about the crocodiles, their behaviour and how they live in their environment. If you are lucky you may also be introduced to their family in the crocodiles’ nursery.
If you’re looking for a more relaxing family break then Nessebar could be for you. It’s a traditional Balkan city awash with historical atmosphere. Ideal for photography, painting and crafting, the Old Quarter is preserved as a living museum (think of the UK’s Beamish on a larger scale!) – with UNESCO World Heritage site status. This city is just right for soaking up culture and getting away from the hustle and bustle of other resorts. Rila Monastery located in the mountains is a bit of a climb but the architecture is breathtaking. Oh, and there’s a cave, too.
Rila Monastery, image credit
Bodrum is a city on a south-western peninsula of Turkey surrounded by the Aegean Sea. Its historically fascinating fortress is built of stone from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Apart from the ruins of the Mausoleum there is more for sightseers: the windmills leading you to the neighbouring village of Gumbet or a quiet walk along the esplanade taking in views of the working fishermen. Going from the city to the beach is an eye-opening experience where the deep blue of the sea is truly spectacular. You can charter a boat – a traditional two-masted gulet – and sail around the coastal waters for a tranquil ‘blue cruise’.
The southern coast of Portugal is known for its Mediterranean climate, beaches and golf courses. There are a lot of activities specially designed for keeping your kids happy which ensures you enjoy the holiday too! The golfing aspect has translated to mini-golf resorts themed around the ancient Roman ruins of nearby Vilamoura. Water parks are popular – the Aqualand has a wave pool, the giddying Kamikaze and Banzai slides and, of course, the new red, green and blue Hydra slides. The Algarve is the host of the world famous FIESA International Sand Sculpture Festival that runs from May to October. This is well worth a visit, the sculptures are always fantastic and will give your kids inspiration for when they’re on the beach.
Brittany is a coastal region in the north-west of France whose climate is generally warmer than ours but not uncomfortably so. It is steeped in history and is intrinsically linked to our own mediaeval legends of King Arthur. Interestingly Brittany can be translated as ‘Little Britain’. The expansive sandy beaches are great for sunbathing, sandcastle-building and being buried by your little darlings. The resorts of Saint Malo to La Baule are particularly child friendly; youngsters are made very welcome here. Just off the coast is Mont St Michel, a stunning walled monastery and the sister of St Michael’s Mount off the Cornish coast. To pique the curiosity of your kids, idly mention that the monastery was featured in the video game ‘Assassins Creed: Brotherhood’.
Mont St. Michel, image credit
Alnwick is a beautiful town on the north east coast of England. There are plenty of activities for all the family including visiting Alnwick Castle that was featured as Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Harry Potter films. Go for hilarious broomstick training sessions in the very place where Harry first learned to fly. And it’s not just for kids; adults are invited to try their hand passing a flying test too! The castle also gained televisual fame for the final episode of Downton Abbey where it starred as Brancaster Castle and now runs an exhibition for the series. Alnwick Gardens is a modern garden location described as magical and unique. It features rope bridges, woodland trails and treasure hunts.
Dumbledore and Hagrid at Alnwick Castle, image credit
So, even if you are on a budget, there are myriad family holiday destinations to choose from whether you are after culture, adventure, sun or sea. You can have a trip without breaking the bank and make lots of joyful memories along the way.