For part 2 of my holiday inspiration series, I am going to concentrate on holidays which appeal to families with young children. As with my previous post on good value holiday ideas, I have based all of the examples on peak season summer school holiday dates.
One of the keys to a successful family holiday with young children is keeping energetic little ones entertained with minimal effort; ideally, proximity to a sandy beach, an on-site shared pool for making friends and plenty of outdoor space. Of course, it also needs to be a holiday for you, the parents, which means accommodation big enough to give everyone a good night’s sleep along with the option of eating out in a child-friendly setting but ideally with the option of self catering too. And of course, you want all of this without spending a fortune. Sound familiar? When I worked as a travel agent, these were the usual requests for a family summer holiday. So in this post I have put together a selection of properties which I think fit the bill.
Holiday park in France
If you can’t face camping in a tent but you want the relaxing and family-friendly aspects of a campsite, staying in a static caravan or cabin is a great compromise. Much cheaper than a hotel but with similar facilities, this is also a cost-effective option for a family holiday. As you’re likely to be spending most of your day outside, there’s no great need for huge amounts of indoor space although you will get a proper cooker and a bathroom (with shower) as well as the crucial two bedrooms; and once the kids are in bed you can retire to the terrace with some local cheese and wine. France is drivable so you can bring everything you need in the car. The weather should be reliably warm once you reach the Vendee region (which is the location I’ve used here) but the Atlantic coastal location should be cooler than options in the Mediterranean.
Eurocamp Bel Campsite, Vendee, France
£3,155 for 2 weeks based on a classic 2 bedroom holiday home, peak season including ferry crossings (Saint Malo out and Caen back). There are cheaper Eurocamp sites, but this one on the Atlantic coast of France is within driving distance of the ferry ports (4.5-5.5 hours) and is within walking distance of a sandy beach and the attractive port town of La Tranche-sur-Mer. The site has a kids’ club, swimming pools, tennis courts and a gym as well as a shop, restaurant and bar.
Farm stay in Italy
If you want your children to be smiled at benignly by locals even when their behaviour is at its most testing, Italy is the place to go. Feeding fussy youngsters in a foreign country can leave you needing another holiday, but the Italian diet of pasta, pizza and ice cream is bound to placate even the most particular of children. While Italians are often happy to share a single hotel room with their offspring, British parents are less inclined to do so which is where farm holidays come into their own. Often, the set up includes self catering apartments, a share pool and sometimes an on-site restaurant. If beaches aren’t essential, there are endless possibilities in some fantastic inland locations but if you do want to be a short drive from that all important sandy beach, I would recommend Sicily, Le Marche or Puglia. It must be remembered that farm stays are exactly that, you are staying on a working farm and barking dogs, flies and rather basic accommodation are the norm. However, the incredible food (in my experience) and the open spaces make it ideal for a relaxing family break.
Agriturismo Torre Casciani, Puglia, Italy
£4,158 based on 14 nights in a 2 bedroom apartment (I’ve assumed £1=1 Euro), the price includes Ryanair flights (with seats and 15kg luggage per person) from Stansted to Brindisi (BA will be flying there from summer 2017 too) and car hire (estate size) with Hertz through Holiday Autos.
This agriturismo is well located just 2km from the coast towards the tip of Puglia’s heel. It has a mixture of bedrooms and apartments and if you don’t fancy making breakfast, you can pay for it locally at the restaurant. There is a swimming pool, football pitch and playground to keep the kids entertained or you can hop in the car and explore a string of excellent beaches including those at Torre San Giovanni and Marina di Pescoluse. For those seeking culture, the nearby towns of Gallipoli (which also has a lovely beach) and Nardo are worth a gentle wander. The airport of Brindisi is just over an hour away and the region’s capital, Lecce, is also within day trip distance although you may find it hard to leave the coast. I have particularly fond memories of the amazing seafood from my trips to Puglia.
Apartment complex in Greece
Greece is excellent value for money compared to much of Europe. The only drawback is the four hour flight but provided you come prepared this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. There are hundred of islands and a long coastal mainland to choose from depending on what you require: peaceful and traditional villages; bustling nightlife; extensive water sports; history and culture or, outside the hot summer months, dramatic landscapes to explore. I have suggested the island of Zakynthos as it has a short airport transfer and some fantastic sandy beaches.
Kyprianos Apartments (second on the list), Zakynthos, Greece
£3,600 total for 14 nights including flights and transfers
This collection of apartments has a shared pool set in spacious gardens, ideal for small children who like to run around. The beach (sand and pebbles) is within walking distance as are a variety of shops and eateries. The complex is located in the south of the island so as well as plenty of sandy beaches to explore, there are boat trips to caves and into the marine park where turtles nest.
Sunvil has yet to release its prices for 2017 but it is taking advance bookings with the assurance that if prices increase by more than 10% (which is unlikely) you have the right to cancel.