Family holidays are an especially great way for kids and parents (and also relatives) to spend some quality time and bond together after the hustle and bustle of jobs, daily responsibilities and the school year. It makes for great memories that must be treasured, and allows time away for everyone to collect their thoughts and enjoy each other’s company. However it may be hard sometimes to unite everyone’s schedule for a proper holiday that lasts as long as you would like it to. Often you may only be able to get a week off, and of course you must find a way to manage your budget effectively. Here are some great European destinations that will allow to you enjoy even luxurious retreats at a low budget and are perfect for adventure or relaxation…
Spain is renowned for being one of the top family-friendly countries to visit for a family holiday, and life there is cheap! It’s not unusual to see kids running around in local piazzas unsupervised, because children are considered a vital part of every community. This is why it is a major spot for expatriates to relocate from all over the world. The moderate, mostly sunny climate only adds to the experience and even in winter the Canary Islands— famous for their sandy beaches, yearlong sunny weather, water sports and plush resorts—are warmer than in the mainland or the rest of the Mediterranean. Villages retain the rustic character and heritage of Spanish tradition, and if you fancy a hike in the woods or a walk in the local towns’ historic centres this is the perfect place to visit for families. The islands of Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca have an exciting nightlife and come recommended for young people and adults who love romantic dinners and walks along the beach at night.
Sicily is one of the most famous—if not the top destination for families and one of my personal favourites having lived there for 3 years. From adventure parks for kids with hike trails, tree climbing, and acrobatics courses to water and theme parks like Etnaland, local puppet theatres like Teatro dei Pupi, the multi-millennial island in the south of Italy is the place for you and your kids. Add to that its history- wonderfully preserved 5th Century BC Greco-Roman temples and amphitheatres in Agrigento and Taormina, Norman Byzantine cathedrals, Churches with the best collection of mosaics in the world, medieval villages and castles (the list goes on). Sicily also offers incredible beaches with crystal blue warm waters, great food and wine. Some of the best perks of a vacation in Sicily are the many local villas that you can rent from locals at great budget prices. You can get a wonderful beachfront holiday villa through sites like Wishsicily who offer locally owned homes often with pools and other perks. Best of all, you can experience the way locals live and at the same time have all the comforts of your home—with added luxuries—at your fingertips.
Greece is another family-friendly country with lots of relaxation! Like Sicily it will also provide an educational experience for all family members, and a walk among the ruins of the Athenian Acropolis will take you back through millennia of conquests and cross-cultural interaction with many civilizations. The local folklore is still alive and well, and a virtual reality tour of Ancient Greece at the Hellenic Cosmos or the Planetarium is well worth the time for your kids, not to mention the many islands like the Cyclades where water sports and beach fun (kite flying!) is the norm.
Ultimately preparing in advance and booking early for flights and accommodation is always the best strategy to save for a fixed budget, and there are plenty of resources online that will help you with the task. Make sure you choose the right destination that everyone will be excited about, because everyone including the kids must be involved in the planning; it is after all, a family holiday where everyone’s input must be welcomed and which everyone can look forward to.
In collaboration with Emily J.