The children are under school age or school is out, and it’s time to explore the best destinations for the whole family to enjoy a vacation in Europe. The following are some the very best locations where everyone can have a great time.
Obviously the family will have to skip the adult-only resorts and hotels, but there are many family-friendly places to stay, especially in the more popular European countries.
Heading to Spain is a great choice as this family-oriented country offers a lot of great opportunities. The Costa del Sol is one long endless seaside holiday resort in Andalucía, southern Spain, offering family-friendly hotels and apartments and many attractions for the kids, besides the never-ending beaches. Towns to bear in mind include Fuengirola, Benalmadena Costa, Torremolinos (pictured above) and Marbella.
Attractions along the way include Bioparc Fuengirola, where children can see many African and Asian animals, including endangered species, in attractive and natural surroundings.
Benalmadena Costa offers Sealife Benalmadena, where the family can see over 2,000 sea creatures, watch the sharks being fed or pet a crab or starfish.
Heading down to the community of Valencia offers great family-orientated resort towns like Alicante, Benidorm and others. The city of Valencia has its own Bioparc too, with lions, elephants and giraffes on view for the children.
The Balearic Islands off the Mediterranean coast and the Canary Islands off the shores of Africa have a lot to offer too with many beachfront family hotels or private apartments and villas to rent and pleasant temperatures virtually all year around.
Among other popular vacation destinations in Europe for the whole family, Spain’s neighbor, Portugal, has plenty to offer too, including the stunning Algarve, with its beautiful beaches. The family can partake in a cave and dolphin watching cruise from Albufeira or take a slow tour on donkey-back in Aljezur.
Exciting Lisbon, the country’s capital has a lot to offer, or there are the port wine producing areas in the north for a cooler and greener experience with the family. The beach is always within reasonably easy reach in this narrow land, so there is always plenty to do.
Sunny Greece is also a good bet for families and the many islands offer perfect spots for everyone to enjoy. Located in the Sporades group of the northwest Aegean Sea, Skiathos is a popular island for families with its many great beaches. While it is a very small island, it still has so much to offer. Skiathos is one of the least spoiled islands in Greece. Heavily protected against the never-ending construction of some locations in Greece, the island offers not only beaches, but beautiful and shaded forests to explore.
For almost all year around good weather, Crete is another great destination. There is a little of everything here, including visits to the old town of Chania, with its winding and attractive streets and the harbor with lots of boats and little cafes for the family to enjoy.
There are several water parks for the family to enjoy including AquaPlus and Star Beach in Hersonissos, Limnoupolis in Chania, WaterCity in Anopolis, Heraklion, the latter being the biggest in Crete. A video is included at the end of this article of the AquaPlus water park taken with a GoPro for the full effect.
For more family vacation fun, the AquaWorld Aquarium in Hersonnisos is great. While the aquarium is relatively small, the children can enjoy seeing a variety of species including alligators, eels, fish, lizards, snakes, stingrays and tortoises. This popular aquarium is the perfect option in the heat of midday, where children need a bit of respite from the hot sun.
There are many more great vacation destinations and options available for the whole family in and around Europe to choose from, where both the parents and children can have a great time.
By Anne Sewell