Easter family holiday ideas

Easter family holiday ideas

Easter is a great time of year to take a family holiday in southern Europe. It’s generally warm enough for playing at the beach (and even a quick dip in the sea) but cool enough to make family sightseeing and hiking attractive propositions. Accommodation prices are lower than they would be in the summer and there are fewer crowds. Easter is full of ancient traditions in many European countries so there’s an interesting cultural angle to taking a holiday at this time of year.

IMG_3749 (2)

Wildflowers in Sicily

Landscapes are particularly attractive around Easter time: hillsides have yet to lose their fresh green hues and meadows are often carpeted with wild flowers. So if you want more than just a family beach holiday next spring, read on for my top 5 destinations for Easter 2018, tried and tested by some great family travel bloggers.

  1. Crete
    Great for: road trips, characterful family-friendly accommodation, attractive port cities, ancient history, mountain and gorge hiking, remote beaches.


    Chania, Crete

  2. Crete is my destination of choice for Easter 2018. We  have booked a mini road trip around Greece’s largest isle and I was delighted to discover that some of the properties we’re planning to stay at have great reports from Sarah Wikenczy at Globetotting.
  3. Cretan beach

    Crete has some great beaches

  4. Characterful accommodation is an important part of a holiday for me and Crete has a particularly appealing selection of rural and seaside places to stay. I’m looking forward to exploring the charming waterfront cities of Chania and Rethymno and hiking in the White Mountains.
  5. Mountain roads of Crete

    Mountain roads of Crete

  6. Crete offers that important blend of mountains, sea, culture and history along with good food and reasonable prices. It’s also large enough to feel like an adventure, with caves, gorges and historic sites hidden away in the interior waiting to be discovered.
  7. Cyprus
    Great for: amazing castles and archaeological sites, mountain villages, beaches and early summer sun.

    St Hilarion Cyprus

    St Hilarion Castle, Cyprus

  8. Probably the most reliable option for families looking for some early summer sun, Cyprus is eternally popular with beach-goers and swimming pool addicts. But as Karen from Mini Travellers can attest, away from the family-friendly hotels you’ll find a wealth of history and stunning landscapes.
  9. Troodos Mountains, Cyprus

    Vineyards, Troodos Mountains, Cyprus

  10. Cyprus came a close second when I was planing our 2018 trip as the Troodos Mountains with their welcoming guesthouses, vineyards, painted churches and peaceful walking trails sound really appealing.
  11. Salamis Cyprus

    Salamis, Cyprus

  12. Archaeological sites such as the ancient cities of Amathus and Salamis rub shoulders with beautiful beaches while the castles of northern Cyprus such as St Hilarion, are bound to appeal to young explorers. I’m also keen to visit Nicosia, the last divided capital in the world, to learn about the more recent history of the island.
  13. Sicily
    Great for: road tripping, child-friendly culture and food, volcanoes, puppet shows, farm stays, ancient history, castles, sandy beaches.


    Noto Cathedral, Sicily

  14. The ultimate family-friendly destination in my opinion, Sicily’s appeal is off the scale as we discovered on our trip there this year. The history is epic and will appeal to even the most reluctant scholar: invaded by everyone, you’ll find ancient Greek temples, Arabic arches, Norman churches and magnificent Baroque palazzos.
  15. IMG_1652

    Syracuse, Sicily

  16. Natural forces have come to bear on the island too with earthquakes and volcanoes leaving their mark on the cities and countryside. Accommodation is perfect for families: if you choose to stay in an agriturismo you can expect family-friendly apartments, delicious home cooking and plenty of space for the kids to unwind.
  17. IMG_4356

    South coast, Sicily

  18. There are some delightful seaside towns such as Taormina, Syracuse and Cefalu and much of the coastline is lined with sandy beaches. With pizza, pasta and gelato on tap, you’d be hard pushed to find a better place to take the family.
  19. Malta and Gozo
    Great for: museums, boat trips and water sports, rich architectural history, stunning rocky coastlines and beaches, family-friendly accommodation (on Gozo).

    Port Marsaxlokk, Malta.jpg

    Port Marsaxlokk, Malta

  20. These two isles easily warrant a holiday each as they’re both packed with history and culture. Gozo is often overlooked as just a day trip destination but Claire from Suitcases and Sandcastles discovered 17 must-see sights including the ancient temples at Ggantija and beautiful clifftop walks. Gozo offers a great range of family friendly converted stone farmhouses, some of them look incredible.
  21. Saluting Battery in Valletta Malta

    Saluting Battery, Valletta, Malta

  22. On Malta, I know my sons would love the daily canon fire of the Saluting Battery in Valletta and the Malta at War Museum sounds fascinating. Older kids would no doubt enjoy exploring the underground burial chambers of the neolithic Hypogeum (aged 5+). I haven’t mentioned to my kids that Malta, the place we are not going on holiday to, also boasts a Playmobil Fun Park: one of Playmobil’s main factories is located on the island.
  23. Coastline of Gozo

    Ideal for boat trips: the coastline of Gozo

  24. While much of Malta’s coastline is rocky, the north of the island has some great sandy beaches and diminutive Gozo has an even better selection. With the islands being so small, it’s easy to combine a bit of sightseeing and culture in the morning with time at the beach in the afternoon, not forgetting a long lunch to fully appreciate the blend of Italian and Arabic cuisines which the islands are famed for.
  25. Madeira
    Great for: outdoor pursuits, tropical gardens, cable cars and toboggans as modes of transport, child-friendly museums, boat trips.
    Easter family holiday ideas
  26. When I was a travel agent, Madeira only appealed to my more mature clients but after reading Nichola’s report on Global Mouse Travels, I now realise there is plenty of interest for younger visitors too. I like the idea of Madeira’s remote and tropical feel with lush foliage and steamy mountains. This is definitely one for families who enjoy the great outdoors, and the island is now starting to feature some seriously good accommodation so after a day hiking the island’s trails, you can return to a cottage or contemporary hotel to enjoy a hearty meal and a good bottle of wine.
  27. Santa Maria de Colombo

    Santa Maria de Colombo, Madeira

  28. Funchal’s cable cars and toboggan route look like great fun and I know my children would enjoy pretending to be pirates aboard the Santa Maria de Colombo, a replica of Christopher Coloumbus’s ship. Pirates were once a real threat to natives and the stunning but remote Curral das Freiras valley is named after a group of nuns who took shelter there.
  29. Levada hiking trail, Madeira

    Levada trail, Madeira

  30. Madeira’s levadas, water channels which crisscross the island, provide excellent walking routes through the mountainous landscapes. Back in civilisation, the Whale Museum looks incredibly interesting (if a little harrowing) and the CR7 Museum, all about Cristiano Ronaldo, should hold a certain appeal… I might skip that one though.

So, do you have any family travel plans for Easter 2018? Do you have any good recommendations for family holidays in springtime? Let me know in the comments below.

Images (except those of Sicily) courtesy of Pixabay.

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  1. 11/17/2017 / 9:27 pm

    This is a great list of destinations for an Easter holiday break. Unfortunately I never get to go on holiday then because I normally have special classes for students during that time of year 🙁 But usually try to go before or after which is probably better anyways than getting stuck in holiday traffic. Would like to make it to all of these though! Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard!

    • 11/17/2017 / 9:46 pm

      Ah to be able to avoid holiday traffic, I remember those days!

  2. Anisa
    11/17/2017 / 10:06 pm

    I haven’t been to any of these and they all look great. It’s nice that people here get a 4 day weekend for Easter, so I definitely want to take advantage of it. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard

    • 11/17/2017 / 10:59 pm

      Yes, the 4 day weekend is very handy!

  3. 11/18/2017 / 10:30 am

    We are going to Madeira for half term break in February but still undecided on spring break! All the places you mentioned are on my bucket list but we might head somewhere a bit further flung if I can get my planning act together! 😉

    • 11/18/2017 / 10:47 am

      Well, if you see half the stuff that Nichola recommends you’ll have a great time! Madeira sounds amazing.

    • 11/19/2017 / 10:33 am

      Great, I look forward to hearing your plans!

  4. Clare Thomson
    11/20/2017 / 11:29 am

    You’ve chosen some fantastic destinations here, Annabel – I’m tempted by all of them. It’s been a long time since we were in Sicily and I’d love to revisit with the boys. I’d thoroughly recommend Crete as we were there only this year and thank you so much for including my Gozo post – it’s a beautiful island with so much to see and explore with kids in tow.

    • 11/20/2017 / 12:11 pm

      Thanks. I’m sorely tempted by Gozo and Malta but might wait until my youngest is 5 so he can do the tour of the Playmobil factory!

  5. 11/20/2017 / 1:13 pm

    Some fantastic destinations. It is hard to choose one to visit. Madeira is high up on my travel wishlist. #MondayEscapes

    • 11/20/2017 / 5:55 pm

      I’m definitely going to try visiting them all over the next few years, great “shoulder season” destinations!

  6. 11/20/2017 / 5:21 pm

    Cyprus and Crete seem to make it onto my list of possible destinations every year – maybe 2018 will be the year we finally go to one of them! #MondayEscapes

  7. pigeonpairandme
    11/20/2017 / 8:59 pm

    I really want to visit Madeira! I like the sound of its more gentle pace of life, and I wouldn’t bebothered about being at the younger end of the spectrum there. Gozo’s pretty special, too. Some great ideas. #MondayEscapes

    • 11/20/2017 / 9:08 pm

      I was a bit indifferent about Madeira until I discovered some great properties through I Escape and read about all the cool stuff Nichola got up to! Now it’s definitely on my list too!

  8. 11/21/2017 / 8:17 am

    Wow, you’re planning really far ahead! I’m still trying to firm up a trip to Honduras early next year, so I doubt I’ll be able to travel during Easter – but all of these options look like great choices! Putting them on my list for future reference 🙂

    • 11/21/2017 / 9:01 am

      Honduras sounds really interesting. I’ll look out for your post on that next year!

  9. Trish @ Mum's Gone To
    11/23/2017 / 1:07 pm

    I loved Cyprus at Easter some years ago, plus a June holiday we had in Sicily. I really fancy Madeira and am tempted by the walking routes you’ve suggested.

    • 11/23/2017 / 2:03 pm

      Yes, the walking in Madeira sounds great. I might save it for when my boys are a bit older.

  10. 11/23/2017 / 9:59 pm

    Oh I think Crete needs to be on my list for 2018 too, that looks fab. Thanks for linking up.

  11. vdaltonbanks
    11/24/2017 / 10:56 am

    These all look like great destinations for an Easter break! I love the Mediterranean islands, each offer so much to do! #farawayfiles

  12. Clare Thomson
    11/24/2017 / 3:23 pm

    Great to re-read this for #FarawayFiles. Lots of inspiration here!

  13. We havent been to any of those places, they sound great. For Easter we have booked a week in the Scottish Highlands. Its been on our to do list for ages…and we live in Scotland! It will be good to explore our own “backyard” #MondayEscapes

    • 11/24/2017 / 10:24 pm

      That’s always the way isn’t it?! It’s great to holiday close to home sometimes.

  14. 11/25/2017 / 4:06 am

    I haven’t been to any of these but would particularly love to visit Crete and Malta. After our trip to Mallorca this summer, I’ve been asking myself why we don’t go to islands more often! All of these look special in their own way. Thanks for linking up with #farawayfiles

    • 11/25/2017 / 9:11 am

      I could happily return to Sicily every year but yes, there are so many amazing islands to explore.

  15. 11/26/2017 / 9:27 am

    We were in Sicily at Easter last year and loved it. Our relatives in Messina took us to one of the special Easter parades and explained all the local traditions. It was a very special trip. Thanks for reminding me of it. If we were still in Europe I would be chasing the sun too but I think Japan is topping our list for an Easter trip this year. Thanks for joining #FarawayFiles

  16. 12/03/2017 / 2:46 pm

    Great choices but for me it would be Sicily every time

    • 12/03/2017 / 3:08 pm

      I had to be persuaded not to go there next year!

  17. 02/07/2018 / 1:33 pm

    Fab list of sunny Easter destinations. We lucked out with amazing sunny, warm weather in the Dordogne last Easter. This year we’re taking our chances (and our raincoats) to North Yorkshire. I don’t think we’ll be dipping our toes in the sea!

    • 02/07/2018 / 1:51 pm

      You never know! The sun might decide to shine in Whitby…

  18. 02/21/2018 / 2:29 pm

    What a great list of destinations to travel with kids we really fancy Sicily as it just ticks all our boxes thanks for all the great tips. Mandyxxx #explorerkids

    • 02/21/2018 / 2:42 pm

      Glad you found it useful! Sicily is one of my favourite destinations!

  19. 02/22/2018 / 3:40 pm

    I would love to visit any of these places! I’ve never actually been to Europe, besides a plane stop over for a few hours in Madrid! #ExplorerKids

  20. rawsonjl
    02/22/2018 / 11:28 pm

    Oh my! So many wonderful and exotic looking locations. I think I would be pretty happy at any of those places. #ExplorerKids

  21. 02/23/2018 / 12:25 am

    Beautiful… I’ve got some fond memories of Crete, from many years ago 🙂x

  22. 02/26/2018 / 11:23 am

    Malta and Gozo are beautiful and I love the Greek islands too. We haven’t been abroad in almost 10 years now. Would love anywhere on this list. Sarah #ExplorerKids

  23. 02/26/2018 / 10:25 pm

    What a great list! I haven’t been to any of the above place! I feel rather ashamed of myself as these countries are virtually next door! I really like the sound of Sicily. You have sparks my interests! P.S. We are off to Rome this Easter. Finally! Since we were let down last October by Monarch Air! x

    Thank you very much for linking up with us on #ExplorerKids

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