If you want fantastic beaches for you and your family, gorgeous weather and amazing food, you may well be setting your sights on a European break. But before you dismiss the idea as too expensive, take a closer look at some of the more popular European holiday destinations: plenty offer family-oriented fun, some with surprisingly affordable packages. Here are a few ideas for your next European trip with the kids.
Holidays on a tight budget
With recent economic hardship, Spain is actively enticing holidaymakers in with low-cost accommodation and bargain packages at the moment, and the Balearic Islands is one of the more popular family hotspots for cheap holidays.
For example, in northern Menorca, you will find Arenal d’en Castell. The beach is horseshoe shaped and there are a mixture of family friendly hotels, holiday resorts and apartment complexes nearby. The beach of Arenal d’en Castell is ideally suited to families with small children because of its fine golden sands and gently sloping shallows into warm, turquoise, clean waters. On the eastern side, known as Punta Grossa, are sand dunes and wooded areas, lending itself to secluded sunbathing and swimming should you wish.
In the larger Balearic island of Majorca is Alcudia. Inland and it is a historic old town, where behind the ancient city walls you will find hundreds of shops and welcoming cafes. Head to the nature reserve area of Playa de Muro and the resort of Ca’n Picafort, where seven kilometers of Blue Flag sands line the coast with clear and calm waters. These waters are perfect for swimming, snorkelling and general splashing around.
Greece is another value-for-money destination at the moment. Halkidiki is situated in the north east of Greece on the Aegean Sea with three peninsulas: Athos in the east, Sithonia in the centre and Kassandra in the west. Halkidiki enjoys miles of white sand beaches as well as pine studded headland. There’s also plenty of tavernas too, who’s owners are sure to welcome you and children with huge smiles and open arms!
Vacation on a mid-range budget
If you have a little more money to spare, you might want to try Italy’s family resorts. Take Calabria, for example, nestling in the extreme south of Italy. Show your kids on the map where it is and they’ll be more than excited at the prospect of vacationing in ‘the toe of the boot’. They’ll be amazed when they get there too; Calabria is separated from Sicily by the Strait of Messina and the inviting crystal waters of the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas just beg to be swam. With alternating rocky coastlines and sandy beaches, the Southern tip of Italy is a firm family favourite.
Elsewhere, the Cap d’Antibes peninsula between Cannes and Nice in the South of France is also a landscape of contrasts. Cap d’Antibes consists of Antibes and Juan les Pins and, although they are neighbours, they differ in both appearance and atmosphere. Ancient Antibes is home to 16th century ramparts with its Greek origins in evidence, meanwhile Juan les Pins is more buzzing and enjoys some outstanding art deco buildings. Both of them have miles of sandy beaches and warm waters.
There’s plenty of choice in Europe, whatever your spending limits. So grab those beach towels and head for the airport; with flights landing practically next to the sands in places like Majorca and Zante, you could be playing in the surf with the kids within a matter of hours…
Images by Paul Stephenson and Uncle Catherine, used under Creative Comms license.
Charlie West writes for several travel blogs and keeps her bargain-hunting hat on whenever she goes abroad. She juggles working trips with looking after her six-year-old daughter.