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Europe Family Tours & Vacation Packages

  • Ireland Family
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250+ Europe Family trips with 62,967 reviews

Amalfi Coast: Pompeii & Pizza Family Holiday Tour

  • Food & Culinary

Amalfi Coast: Pompeii & Pizza Family Holiday

Exodus travel had everything planed out perfectly. It was the right blend of incredible activity and free time.

3 Day Family Package Iceland Tour

  • Christmas & New Year

3 Day Family Package Iceland

The two tours we had were complete and accurate to the description.

Finnish Winter Adventure Family Holiday Tour

  • Northern Lights
  • Ski, Snowboard & Snow

Finnish Winter Adventure Family Holiday

France Family Journey: From Paris to Normandy and Beyond Tour

  • In-depth Cultural

France Family Journey: From Paris to Normandy and Beyond

The tour was interesting, fun, and just the right balance of group and independent activities.

Iceland Family Journey: Geysers, Glaciers, and Fjords Tour

Iceland Family Journey: Geysers, Glaciers, and Fjords

Family Pyrenees Multi-Activity Adventure Tour

Family Pyrenees Multi-Activity Adventure

  • 10% deposit on some dates Some departure dates offer you the chance to book this tour with a lower deposit.

Family Turkey Coastal Active Adventure Tour

  • Walking Adventure
  • Sightseeing

Family Turkey Coastal Active Adventure

Summer Pyrenees Family Holiday with teenagers Tour

Summer Pyrenees Family Holiday with teenagers

Croatia Family Island Hopping, 11 Days Tour

Croatia Family Island Hopping, 11 Days

Turkey Family Holiday with Teenagers Tour

Turkey Family Holiday with Teenagers

Britain and Ireland Delight (Summer, 8 Days) Tour

  • Coach / Bus

Britain and Ireland Delight (Summer, 8 Days)

We had an awesome experience. Damian's knowledge was exceptional and Dave was an amazing driver.

Best of Ireland and Scotland (15 Days) Tour

Best of Ireland and Scotland (15 Days)

This made our experience wonderful. He went above and beyond.
  • €100 deposit on some dates Some departure dates offer you the chance to book this tour with a lower deposit.

European Cavalcade (End Paris, 18 Days) Tour

European Cavalcade (End Paris, 18 Days)

The older people were exhausted by the end.

7 Day - Iceland Ring Road & Snæfellsnes Peninsula Small-Group Tour Tour

7 Day - Iceland Ring Road & Snæfellsnes Peninsula Small-Group Tour

This tour of Icelandic highlights was great. A relaxed itinerary made it all that more enjoyable.

European Whirl (Summer, End Paris, 12 Days) Tour

European Whirl (Summer, End Paris, 12 Days)

The European wirl was amazing. It was my trip of a lifetime.

What people love about Family Tours in Europe

I wouldn’t change a thing. This was our first overseas trip with kids (8 &11) so we were a little trepidatious. Exodus travel had everything planed out perfectly. It was the right blend of incredible activity and free time. Our guide Savy always had an amazing 6th sense for just when the kids needed an ice cream recharge. 2 Tori in Agerola was a great place to stay and beautiful. It’s just above all the craziness of the coast but still very convenient. Not having to drive in Naples and the Amalfi coast yourself is probably worth the cost lol.
Great experience in Xmas . Good service when I checked orders
The tour was interesting, fun, and just the right balance of group and independent activities. The tour guides were knowledgeable, helpful, and very organized!

Top operators

Europamundo

"Los pueblos son bonitos, viendo el Mar Adriático y a veces el mar Jónico. Mis pueblos favoritos Alberobello, Matera , Capri, Naples y Pompeya. Esas puestas de sol en el Adriático espectaculares

Europamundo is an expert in:

  • River Cruise

Expat Explore Travel

"Very rigorous schedule, but we saw and did a lot. Hotels were extremely hit or miss. Really need to consider quality control. I wasn’t expecting the Ritz, but hot water is a must. Spending the night an hour outside of the city/town we’re scheduled to visit is also pretty unacceptable. Food was also hit or miss, but that wasn’t as important as the accommodations. Just please be attentive, especially with such a busy schedule. Everyone needed their rest and sometimes the hotels didn’t allow for much of that.

Expat Explore Travel is an expert in:

Contiki

"One of the best experiences I have had to date. The guide Ri was extremely enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and helpful! She really made her best efforts to make us feel comfortable and feel welcome in the group. She is also always smiling which is a huge positive! Couldn’t rate my experience enough :)

Contiki is an expert in:

  • Festival & Events

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7 Companies You Can Trust for Great Family Vacation Packages

Updated January 9, 2023

Planning a successful family vacation is work—but not if you let a packager do the work for you. Buying a vacation through a tour operator frees you from the tedious details of deciding where to stay, what to eat, when to visit each attraction, and how to get to each place. Travel packagers take care of all the logistics, and truly expert ones know their destinations deeply, so their inside knowledge may even be able to provide you with special perks. We like these seven tour operators’ family trips—they cover a variety of destinations, styles, group sizes, and prices, and they have proven themselves with families over the years.

Great Tour Companies for Family Vacation Packages: Austin Adventures

Austin Adventures keeps groups small: It aims for a 6:1 guest-to-guide ratio and vets those guides for charisma, making sure the leader has a personality kids will want to follow. Family groups explore Europe, New Zealand , Latin America, and North American national parks (a company specialty). Austin excels in outdoorsy outings such as horseback riding, glacier trekking, kayaking, and bicycling (always on trails, never on highways). The company strives to add excitement with what it calls unexpected “wow moments”—like the reward of ice cream and brownies served after a hike to the top of Angels Landing in Bryce National Park. Many trips follow a 6-day/5-night schedule plan, although international tours are longer. On departures for families with teens, expect more pedaling, paddling, and hiking to panoramic views, such as in the San Juan Islands , Yellowstone National Park , and the Kenai Fjords region. 

Kids’ ages:  6–12 (Alaska: min. age 7); 13+ for family teen trips Group size: 12–18

Great Tour Companies for Family Vacation Packages: Tauck Bridges

Tauck , founded in 1925, launched Bridges in 2004 to cater to the family market through deeper cultural experiences. In Rome , visit the Sistine Chapel after hours without herds of tourists (pictured); in Cusco , Peru, make chocolate; and in London , zoom along the Thames in a speedboat. On Tauck’s increasingly popular European river boat family departures (the company owns its own vessels), visit multiple destinations but unpack only once. In port, you and your kids bike through the countryside, learn to make marzipan, and visit a Camargue ranch to meet cowboys and their legendary white horses. On board, kids fly kites, cook with the chef, and learn local phrases. For cruises, Tauck adds three guides and a family host to the ship’s standard staff. For land trips, one driver/escort leads. 

Kids’ ages: 8–17 Group size: 40 (up to 130 on river cruises)

Great Tour Companies for Family Vacation Packages: R Family Vacations & Olivia Travel

Originally known as R Family Vacations and rebranded as KelliGregg Travel in 2022, this inclusive company gears trips toward LGBTQ+ travelers and their kids, friends, relatives, and allies. In addition to expanding its offerings for grown-ups, KelliGregg continues to organize its summer highlight under the R Family banner: a big cruise featuring show tunes, LGBTQ+ comedy acts, family dance parties, theater camp, outdoor adventures, and a lot more. 

Kids’ ages: any age Group size: varies per trip type

Great Tour Companies for Family Vacation Packages: Thomson Family Adventures

There’s something special about having a friend in a foreign destination. Thomson Family Adventures creates that connection with Friends Across Borders, a digital pen pal initiative available for families who book many of its trips. Your kids correspond ahead of time with local children whom they then meet during the journey. In places with scarce internet and computer access, ground partners personally print and deliver messages. The goal is to immerse kids in the culture, whether it's through activities such as swimming with whale sharks in Baja , sailing in Ireland , or hiking in the Andes (pictured). Some trips cater to families with teens or multigenerational participants. On departures with more than eight people, a Rafiki (Swahili for friend) travels along to keep the kids engaged. Trips always have one driver and one guide.   

Kids’ ages: 8–16 typically (some trips accept younger kids) Group size: 8–12

Great Tour Companies for Family Vacation Packages: Adventures by Disney

Among the more than 50 itineraries in over 40 countries visited by  Adventures by Disney , you can count on getting hands-on local experiences, guides with a gift for storytelling, and time built into the schedule for parents and kids to be both together and apart. You and your children might craft bento boxes at a Japanese cooking school, try archery at a Scottish estate, and learn hurling in Ireland. At other times, adults might sample wines at a vineyard in Tuscany while kids are taken to pick herbs for infusing olive oil. During adults-only dinner nights, kids grab a meal and watch a Disney movie. Daily activities are focused on local culture, not Disney characters—although you may expect a few surprise appearances from those along the way. Tours of Southern California grant private access to the Walt Disney Studios & Archives and Jim Henson Studios, which are normally closed to the public. In Europe, Disney partners with AmaWaterways for river cruises. Overall, many ABD trips are 8 days/7 nights, but the company also operates shorter Escapes that can be booked on their own or added to an itinerary. 

Kids’ ages: 6+ (though kids as young as 4 may be allowed depending on the trip) Group size: 38–40

Great Tour Companies for Family Vacation Packages: Sierra Club Outings

The Sierra Club , one of the oldest U.S. conservation organizations, calls its trips “adventures for a cause.” By leading organized rafting, hiking, canoeing, and volunteering vacations for families, the Sierra Club connects kids to the outdoors, hoping to turn them into future protectors of the environment. Family excursions explore the United States: Wind down rivers in Utah, Oregon, and Idaho (pictured); or base your brood at an Adirondacks’ lodge for hiking, canoeing, swimming, and mountain biking. On service trips you might do things like clearing trails in the Tahoe National Forest or working with animals on a Pennsylvania farm. On Sierra Club Outings, the naturalist leaders are volunteers. 

Kids’ ages: 6+, depending on the trip Group size: 12–15 (up to 24 for raft trips)

Great Tour Companies for Family Vacation Packages: National Geographic Journeys

National Geographic Family Journeys (in partnership with G Adventures) were launched in 2020 as a subset of Nat Geo's 300 or so vacations for a general audience. These family-specific itineraries are developed alongside experts such as scientists and researchers, who emphasize sustainability and supporting local culture. On these trips, you and your kids might taste-test noodles cooked by teens learning culinary arts in Hoi An, Vietnam (pictured); plant seedlings at a tree nursery in Costa Rica; or fashion your own Carnival mask in Venice . Pre-departure, parents receive field guides with advice on sparking children’s interest in the area, and kids get tips on photographic storytelling. Two “Chief Experience Officers” (aka enthusiastic guides) lead families through the 8- to 13-day itineraries in Vietnam, Cambodia, Iceland, France, Costa Rica, Peru, Alaska, and other adventurous places. 

Kids’ ages: 7–17 Group size: 20 

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The best family holidays in Europe to take in 2024

By Lauren Burvill

The best family holidays in Europe to take in 2024

A well executed family holiday can be difficult to get right. With adults seeking a rejuvenating escape, and children craving a dynamic adventure; trying to strike the balance can leave either party feeling short-changed and frustrated. Thankfully, there are a number of mesmerising hotels peppered throughout Europe that have mastered the art of family-holidaying. From providing all the practical equipment needed to keep tiny tots happy to creating moments of actual relaxation for exhausted parents, Condé Nast Traveller have selected the most idyllic stays that will satiate the travel-bug in all members of the family.

For more family-friendly stays in Europe, see our related guides:

  • The best family friendly hotels in Greece
  • The best family friendly hotels in Portugal
  • The best family friendly hotels in Mallorca
  • The best family friendly hotels in Ibiza
  • The best family friendly hotels in Turkey
  • The best family friendly hotels in Paris
  • The best family ski resorts in Europe

La Pandilla hotel in ibiza

La Pandilla

Ibiza, Spain

Something about the pool  and  beach combo ticks all the right boxes, so when chic French hotelier Sophie Berdah, of  Paris ’s hip Le Citizen, stumbled across a rough Salinas diamond – formerly Fred’s Finca – she pounced. La Pandilla (‘the gang’, in Spanish) is a clutch of 10 whitewashed casitas clustered around an oval pool just ten minutes from the ice-white slick of Salinas. The creamy, curvaceous casitas sleep from two to 10 (or rent the whole lot and bring 65 mates) and have been designed with extended families in mind and can be as private or as communal as you like. Terraces open onto lush tropical gardens stashed with mango, fig and lemon trees and the pool bar, with its all-day, local-produce menu and roster of visiting DJs, is the heart of the whole affair. The standout at La Pandilla, however, is the cult of creativity – regular workshops range from the artistic to avant-garde, with local experts shipped in to teach theatre, flamenco, knitting, painting, photography, cooking and ceramics in the two stylish studios. If games are more your thing, there are giant quoits and board games by the pool, or else hotfoot it down to Las Salinas itself for sailing, paddleboarding and kayaking for the kids, followed by cocktails and DJs for the grown-ups at newly revived ‘90s beachside icon, Hostal Mar y Sal. Maya Boyd

Price: Doubles from about £170

Zakynthos Greece  The promise of a villa that has all the bells and whistles of a hotel is pretty irresistible. The...

Porto Zante

Zakynthos, Greece

The promise of a villa that has all the bells and whistles of a hotel is pretty irresistible. The space, yes, the privacy too, but also the bed-making in your wake, the sweeping up of toys and trails of crumbs. So it’s surprising that this tucked-away spot on Zakynthos ’s green east coast, with its nine houses on a hillside above an immaculate bay, remains so under the radar. This is not driftwood, sun-faded, rustic Greece. Rooms are decked out in Armani Casa and Bang & Olufsen, with Bulgari soaps and lotions (and special kids’ versions) in the bathrooms, while outside teak sunbeds shaded by zingy, canary-yellow umbrellas surround each pool (stocked with a menagerie of inflatables plus baby pool seats and armbands). It’s the kind of supremely well-thought-out place that means for once there isn’t more luggage than people travelling. Cots, stairgates, pushchairs, highchairs are already there. Down on the beach are buckets, spades, diggers and wheelbarrows, with pedalos, paddle boards and sea canoes on standby for the energetic. The kids’ club is filled with craft materials and table-football games, and offers treasure hunts, mini zumba classes and smoothie-and-dance parties. In the evening, the lovely Vasiliki Bekioti can babysit while you slip down paths lined with bougainvillaea and giant geranium to Maya, the Asian restaurant with a terrace that juts out over the Ionian. But a restaurant that comes to you is much easier. Course after course can be set up at a white-linen-covered table under the pergola, the baby monitor still in range as you sip buttery Greek Chardonnay. Everything is seamless, in part because the owner is a perfectionist. Are the tempura oysters at Maya just-so crisp? Is the Roots Rakomelo, a honeyed digestif that tastes of Christmas, served at the ideal temperature? Is the sand on the beach swept in perpendicular lines? The answer here appears always to be yes.

Insider Tip: Being a parent is often backbreaking work, so book and have it tended to by masseuse Artemis Karavata in the open-sided spa room.

Price: Villas from about £2000 per night.

Marbella Spain  Wander out to the balcony around sunrise and beyond the bougainvillaea and ceiba flowers rustling in the...

Puente Romano Beach Resort

Marbella, Spain

Wander out to the balcony around sunrise and beyond the bougainvillaea and ceiba flowers rustling in the breeze you’ll hear the Mediterranean rolling in. Built like a traditional Andalucian village with whitewashed walls, sky-blue ceramic tiles and winding terracotta pathways, Puente Romano opened in the late 1970s just down the Golden Mile from its older sister The Marbella Club. And after a series of refurbishments and embellishments – including a Six Senses spa, Nobu outpost and turbo-charged tennis club where Marko Djokovic (Novak's brother) is available for children’s coaching – it may even have the edge now. That's not to mention La Casita Club, a villa renovated and relaunched in 2022 to cater for five to 12-year-olds, offering events run by experts Sharky and George, an immersive escape room, cinema, Spanish lessons, pool and rooftop yoga classes. It joins the mini club for under fives and teen lounge, where adolescents can learn to DJ at the nightclub, take a sushi masterclass with Nobu’s Executive Chef Eleni Manousou or choreograph their own TikTok. While most of the best hotels in Marbella shout about their seclusion, this hotel is firmly rooted as a local hub – there will be a gang of cocktail-sipping marbellís and weekending madrileño couples strolling on the silver-sand beach. It is a busy machine of a place veiled as a laidback hangout.

Dawn beach yoga gives way to lazy breakfasts of mushroom omelettes, just-cut jamón and freshly squeezed orange juice at Bali -feel Sea Grill before a dip in one of the pools. The spa gets crazy booked up for its new CBD-based treatments (due to its new partnership with leading CBD brand Kloris), as do martial-arts sessions in the gym (the wellness and fitness programme is ever-changing). In the evening, as the sky swirls dusty pink, everyone gathers by the first-century Roman bridge at buzzy La Plaza. Punchy chilli-coconut Mojitos do the rounds; superstar Dani García’s team delivers wood-fired tapas, succulent steaks and now French dishes from his latest restaurant addition, Babette; and Nobu chef Eleni Manousou works magic with market-fresh produce in spinach and miso salads or spicy salmon maki. The sun-baked Costa del Sol sometimes gets short shrift, but for an all-singing, all-dancing, everything-at-your- fingertips break, this is about as reliable as it gets.

Insider tip: The surrounding landscape is spectacular: hike into the wild Sierra Blanca mountains, or escape to the deliciously quiet Sierra de las Nieves, set to become Spain’s 16th national park. It’s also perfectly placed for adventures around Andalucía – head to olive-growing Ronda, beachy barefoot Tarifa or arty Málaga.

Price: Junior Suites at Puente Romano Beach Resort start from about £351 per night for a family of three (two adults and one child aged four to 12-years-old), with breakfast included

Hillside Beach Club

Hillside Beach Club

Fethiye, Turkey

On a private cove of white sand, lapped by turquoise water and bookended by pine-forested cliffs, Hillside Beach Club is a completely dreamy beach hideaway designed with families in mind. Suites have adjoining rooms with shared terraces; there are six restaurants and bars, three beaches (one adults-only), and two spas, and the whole spot is utterly sublime… but the stand-out is the innovative roster of workshops and events for children and adults, among them BFI screenings, drumming workshops, silk painting, jazz yoga, live music on the beach and on a floating stage, while three kids clubs offer ents as diverse as DJing sessions for tweens, piano lessons for primary schoolers, plus sailing, diving, ebiking and tennis. A great option for only children who can meet new friends easily. Fethiye and all its outdoorsy diversions (hiking, paragliding, diving, ruins) are nearby. Laura Fowler

Price: Family rooms from £998 for three nights

Crete Greece  A considered boho revamp has given this classic Crete hotel on the northeast shore of the island a second...

Cretan Malia Park

Crete, Greece

A considered boho revamp has given this classic Crete hotel on the north-east shore of the island a second wind. Opened by the Sbokou family in the 1980s, with low-rise buildings set in tropical gardens of banana trees, palms and cacti, it is now drawing in a curious Euro crowd. On the private beach, Italian couples kick back and sunbathe, a bookish Parisian flicks through the latest Prix Goncourt-winning novel and a group of Germans order a round of Negronis. Little ones come out of the kids’ club giggling before splashing into the river-like swimming pool, racing for the pink-flamingo and crocodile inflatables. Teens hang out at The Place, with its hammock-strung outdoor cinema where parents are kindly invited not to come. The modernist spaces were cleverly designed more than three decades ago – despite having 204 rooms the property never feels overcrowded. Nature envelops it all: the many trees provide shade throughout the grounds and the grassy lawn makes everything smell cool and fresh even in the searing summer heat.

When Agapi and Costantza Sbokou undertook the complete renovation in 2019, they focused on sustainability and the Cretan soul of the place. Designer Vana Pernari opted for knocked-back tonal textures for the interiors with lots of ceramics, wood and stone, plus nature-inspired jungle green and Aegean blue alongside works by urban artists Thanassis and Dimitris Kretsis. Make a beeline for the deluxe family bungalows – with their built-in bunks and separate bedrooms for the grown-ups, they get snapped up early. At Mouries restaurant, the large open kitchen with a huge fireplace hosts cooking lessons using vegetables from the garden during the day and becomes a farm-to-table taverna after sunset. It’s lovely to feast on local flavours under the starry sky listening to the sound of the lyre. This is definitely an elegant new look for Malia.

Insider tip: Take your little Robinson Crusoes out to discover the secret gorges of Sarakina or trace the path of Victoria Hislop’s bestseller The Island , set on Spinalonga.

Price: Junior suites (sleeping 4) from about £245 per night.

Paphos Cyprus  Paphos city and its melee may be moments from Almyra but youll be hardpressed to drag yourself from the...

Paphos, Cyprus

Paphos city and its melee may be moments from Almyra, but you’ll be hard-pressed to drag yourself from the hotel’s family comforts. Every age group is catered for, from the five freshwater pools – including one for kids, heated and partially shaded by a beautiful olive tree, and one sleek adults’-only option, some distance away – to tennis and swimming lessons for the easily bored, and the mighty, multi-spaced kids’ club. Split into groups from four months to teens, it guarantees the most attention-grabbing activities – from rather impressive art projects to exploring the nearby harbour and castle. It comes armed with every piece of kit a young human could possibly need, including the space-saving Baby Go Lightly service (also on offer at Anassa, which is owned by the same family), enabling you to pre-order most paraphernalia ahead, from car seats to swim nappies.

Parents can therefore shoot off stress-free to the adults’-only wellness spa for a spot of sage-smudging, meditation and massage. You actually want to spend time all together? Book an experience: maybe picking and pressing olive oil, or trekking to where Aphrodite met Adonis. The ultimate highlight here, however, is the food. From heavenly sushi and miso cod at cool Japanese-Mediterranean fusion spot Notios, to super-fresh fish and salads served with a serenade at beachside Cypriot restaurant Ouzeri, all dishes are wonderfully distant from nuggets. Somehow this reasonably priced family-owned hotel manages to be laidback enough for rambunctious crews, yet smart enough for grown-ups after a real escape.

Insider tip: Book a recently renovated, slick but simple sea-facing Kyma (or ‘wave’) room, and bring the monitor so you can disappear to its iconic white rooftop with a bottle of the local red during naptime. Becky Lucas

Price: Rooms from about £142

Villa Kyano Zakynthos

The Peligoni Club

You’d have heard the whispers from well-heeled SW families, the fact that a holiday with children can actually be fun and relaxing at The Peligoni Club. It’s because this place has everything you’d ever want for a multi-generational family trip - sprawling, souped-up villas where everyone can have their own rooms, with space to waft and throng around the pool, no set times for breakfast and dinner (you’ll want Villa Kyanos , a five-bedroomed linen-draped, driftwood-bedecked vision of muted, soothing tones with a view so mesmerising, it feels as if it floats above the water). Then there’s the actual club, wrapped in cypress and ancient olives with a laidback, easy-come-easy-go vibe that will see you and your gang realising this is the best break you’ve had in a long time, the little ones doing Nasa obstacle courses at the crèche and teens busily competing on the water and flirting on the pontoon, while you flop on a supersized sunlounger, toes tickling the turquoise Ionian as you peer over your paperback with a glass of the crispest Rosé de Léoube. It’s all so deliciously chilled, with sun-kissed staff catering to your every whim - but do head out to explore the famous shipwreck and eat in local tavernas such as La Storia in the port overlooking the sea, and the club’s sister restaurant, Mikro Nisi, a 15-minute salty-sea-in-the-hair boat ride away, which serves some of the freshest grilled octopus and prawns you’ll ever eat. Annabelle Spranklen

Price: Membership from £185 per person in low season to £525 in high season. Accommodation rates vary, from £620 per week ( Mimi’s B&B ) to £14,500 per week at villa Figari .

Sonnwies Dolomites

Bolzano, Italy

You sense a unique vibe at Sonnwies, an exclusively family-only wellness, ski and farm hotel when you first arrive. Perhaps it’s down to the mutual understanding shared by all the adults-with-hangers-on here. It’s a place for parents who want to enjoy the finer things in life no matter how many boundary-pushing blow-ups their toddlers or teens may have in store, such as the slopes of UNESCO World Heritage Site the Dolomites, organic fine dining and drinking, and luxurious but eco-friendly design. Fortunately, the many creative activities on offer in the phenomenal Kids’ and Babies’ clubs are likely to stop oncoming tantrums in their tracks, from pony rides and alpaca-patting to finding breakfast eggs at the little farm and taking part in productions in the huge theatre. Access to a 900m-long slope and lift comes included, with private ski lessons easily arranged for those aged two-and-a-half and up. Besides the farm fare, wine, fruit and cheese rooms, the daily afternoon tea, cakes and soft-scoop ice cream on tap, Sonnwies’ very highest highlight is its five pools, including a shallow option with cinema screen, speedy, screamy slides and an indoor-outdoor heated pool from which steam dreamily wafts, ideally situated for swimmers to marvel at the snow-capped mountains nearby, or fire-pit come nightfall. Becky Lucas

Price: Family rooms from about £530 per night based on two adults and two children sharing a Double Room on a half-board basis

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While Sani Resort as a whole, with its stellar reputation, is a failsafe option for exhausted parents any time between May and October (and even better for those with under-fours who can avoid school holidays), picking which part of the sprawling set-up to stay in is trickier. Look to Porto Sani, tucked away in the lush manicured grounds like a secret hangout. What it lacks in beach frontage it more than makes up for with bobbing-boat views and finger-clicking-quick access to the shops and restaurants of the marina. Following a recent refurb of the hotel – rooms now channel a stripped-back, sun-bleached palette with pale duck-egg blues, abstract seascapes on the walls, and hessian and rattan making an appearance in the sitting rooms. And while that all sounds nerve-rackingly easy for children to trash, this is actually one of the most family-friendly parts of the complex.

Kids go wild for the looping, lagoon-like swimming pools; there is a mass of choice when it comes to rooms (suites, extra bedrooms, interconnecting, with a garden, with a pool); and Annabel Karmel makes a starry appearance on all the menus. The gelateria is a 30-second scoot away, as is a brilliant supermarket for picking up any forgotten essentials – although you’ll find practically everything you need in your room. There is a kind of village vibe here, with children forming little tribes, ordering their own juices from the bar, plotting and planning to go into the kids’ club at the same time. It’s hard to ask for more than that.

Insider Tip: Do pre-book dinner reservations before you even get on the plane. It sounds nuts, but if you want that sunset slot at gorgeous sushi restaurant Katsu or at the pretty taverna Ouzerie in Sani Club, you need to be on the ball.

Price: Doubles from about £295

OneOnly Portonovi Montenegro

One&Only Portonovi

Portonovi, Montenegro

Mountains, pine forests and preserved medieval villages ring the sumptuous, fjord-like Bay of Kotor. More recently, slick superyacht marinas have been popping up along the shore. The latest is Portonovi Village, home to the first European outpost of the glossy One&Only marque that is more often seen on the beaches of Mauritius and the Maldives . It has pulled out all the stops here. Children start the day devouring doughnuts at breakfast before joining the melée at KidsOnly, a club for treasure hunts and telescope making, science labs, and stick-raft building.

Parents lurk by the pool in Chanel beachwear, ordering Veuve Clicquot by 11am. The most health-conscious focus on recalibration in the heavyweight Chenot Espace, which offers medical-grade diagnostics and transformative treatments from wellness pioneer Henri Chenot. While the Chenot diet is legendary, and effective, it would be a shame to miss out on all the other sensational food (and perhaps foolish to attempt a detox on a family holiday). Sabia turns out the best Italian dishes this side of the Adriatic – don’t skip pizza-making in the kitchen. In summer, the kids’ club is open for movie nights on request, meaning parents can slip off to sushi suppers at the Tapasake Club. It’s not often that indulgence can be this family-friendly.

Price Doubles from about £315

Sicily Italy  An evergreen beachside hangout this hotel in Sicily was a labour of love for Rocco Forte and his sister...

Sicily, Italy

An evergreen beachside hangout, this hotel in Sicily was a labour of love for Rocco Forte and his sister Olga Polizzi when it opened more than a decade ago on the south-west coast. The huge estate between the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento and the fishing village of Sciacca remains as slick as ever. Its architecture, a pared-back, modernist affair, has stood the test of time, the whitewashed buildings sitting strong in the rugged landscape dotted with olive groves and fragrant citrus trees. New this summer are 20 Hollywood Hills-style villas with private pools, and while they might look terribly grown-up, with earthy tones of terracotta and ochre and handcrafted ceramics, they come kitted out with night lights, safety plugs, baby baths and other crucial paraphernalia. The whole place is subtly but deftly geared towards the smaller members of the family.

Fussy eaters won’t have anything to complain about, feasting on spaghetti al pomodoro on colourful, unsmashable plates at Liolà trattoria. Food miles are minimal – the fish at all four restaurants is fresh from the sea. Extra energy is burnt off in the sports clubs where professionals train in everything from football to windsurfing, on the tennis courts, dive-bombing into the indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and cycling around the 230-hectare grounds, which are flat enough to navigate with a buggy. The kids’ club is full of singing-and-dancing Sicilian Mary Poppins organising fun and games. Toddlers can take naps in a cool sleep room while parents have theirs under the parasols on the sandy beach or on a treatment bed in the state-of-the-art spa. Smart, easy to get to and high-octane, this may be where Diane von Furstenberg, Leonardo DiCaprio and Bradley Cooper come to attend Google Camp, but it’s also a laidback refuge for those looking for some vitamin D-fuelled downtime and to feel the sea breeze on the whole family’s skin.

Insider Tip: Carve out at least a few wellness-focused hours – the spa is quietly up there with the very best in Italy . Alongside serious results-driven programmes Rocco’s daughter Irene Forte has created a menu of facials using her own natural skincare line made with olive oil, nuts and herbs grown on Verdura’s farm.

Price: Doubles from about £385

Santorini Greece  Much of the whitewashed hotels on Santorini are confined to honeymoonworthy adultonly stays which is...

Andronis Arcadia

Santorini, Greece

Much of the whitewashed hotels on Santorini are confined to honeymoon-worthy adult-only stays, which is why Andronis Arcadia – one of five Andronis properties on the island – is a real find for families. There's no scrimping regarding swoon-worthy good looks – suites here retain the island's authenticity, with bright-white-meets-earthy-neutral interiors composed as if they've been carved out of the rock itself. With only suites and villas, there's room for the whole crew – the largest villa sleeps up to 12. All open out onto private infinity pools. There are three more sweeping pools on the property (including one for kids) to choose from, each cascading down the caldera and offering a unique perspective. Activities for tinies are in keeping with the hotel's nature-loving ethos – yoga, family cooking classes and a kid's club with a considered focus on holistic learning. Dining options include the Pacman Sunset Restaurant, where the sushi menu is a standout, and the Beef Bar, which, as the name suggests, specialises in carnivorous street food, plus a decent selection of vegetarian options. The staff here are what really brings the magic to life, though. Ever accommodating, especially to our son, knowledgeable and passionate about making your stay peaceful and personal. Tanya Fernandes

Airelles StTropez France

Saint-Tropez, France

The hedonistic charms in this part of France are particularly famous, and this glorious Saint Tropez hotel offers the perfect invitation to flop beneath olive trees amid the soothing peace of a 30-acre estate away from the main event. The fairy-tale château, the latest Mediterranean opening from the group behind Le Grand Contrôle in Versailles, is all turrets and cupolas with a sun-blazed ochre façade.

The suites spoil with sea or pool views, Ralph Lauren homewares and citrus products from Parisian perfumer Blaise Mautin. Creative dining panders to every tantrum and tiredness level: Italian in the Carrara bistro, real McCoy Provençal at the Thirties L’Auberge des Maures (which moved here from downtown St Tropez last year) or pan-Asian at Nobu-partnered Matsuhisa (kudos for the DJ and itinerant magician). Seafood and cocktails with lavender, thyme and other local herbs seduce guests in the superlative beach club on A-lister Plage de Pampelonne. But where are all les enfants? Having a ball at the kids’ club extraordinaire, a palatial villa with activity rooms (Lego kingdom, arcade games, art studio, pottery workshop, cinema, you name it), trampolines, tennis courts, a treehouse, pirate-ship playground and smart outdoor pool.

Price: Doubles from about £361

Oasyhotel in Tuscany Italy

Tuscany, Italy

“There will be wolves,” was all the incentive needed to stir enthusiasm in my perma-wired boys, aged 10 and 13, for a few nights at Oasyhotel, a new collection of sixteen Scandinavian-inspired wooden lodges perched 3,600 feet up a mountain in the Tuscan Apennines. As we sat around a campfire on our first evening, mesmerised by the crystal-clear sky, the wolves felt tantalisingly close, even if seeing these elusive animals in daylight is rare. Wolves spotted: zero, but the deep nature immersion had a magnetic pull regardless. The entire site is a World Wide Fund for Nature reserve, with regenerative principles at its core, so wildlife, including deer, wild boar and foxes, roams free. But the real magic was the thrill of whizzing up and down mountain trails at speed: we were kitted out with electric bikes on arrival.

This former hunting estate is set in more than 2,470 acres of wild-flower meadows and beech and pine forests. We visited in deepest autumn, but in the summer a lake offers swimming, paddleboarding and kayaking. For grateful parents, there is yoga and an on-site spa offering transportative massages. And for kids, the young and utterly charming staff brought a relaxed and fun energy, even during the swanky dinners in Le Felci, one of two restaurants. The ecological ethos extends to the food: 70 per cent of the produce used at the hotel comes from the mountain, so breakfast included the estate’s own organic yoghurts, cheeses, jams and juices, while dinners were mostly rich, hearty and meaty Tuscan dishes of pork, rabbit and beef. The younger and pickier guests among us were plied with fantastic burgers, cotoletta cutlets and fries on repeat. Less popular with my snowflakes was a morning spent making caciotta cheese in the dairy (my idea of heaven), but feeding the farm’s Limousin cattle next door distracted them. It’s hard to imagine cows having this transfixing effect at home, but on the mountain, nature wove its magic. Clare Coulson

Price: Doubles from £370

Praia da Canal Portugal

Praia do Canal

Aljezur, Portugal

You’ll find Praia do Canal where the drama of the Atlantic pounds limestone cliffs and surfers dot the waves. This is Portugal’s wild west coast , and the resort sits just inland on its own 500 acres, in a protected spot with scope for exploring. Praia do Canal’s particular beauty lies in its privileged sense of space. There are paths to follow through the forest; bicycles to ride down bumpy tracks to a pebbled beach; and expanses of verdant lawns beyond the seemingly never-ending infinity pool.

The subtle kasbah aesthetic that pervades the airy, modern and somewhat minimalist rooms is a nod to the Algarve’s Moorish heritage. Two-bedroom family suites lead to lawns inset with private pools so parents can keep a close eye on splashing children. Regional dishes such as codfish and chickpea purée and veal with sweet-potato chips blend vague familiarity with new tastes for young palates (or there’s always wood-fired pizzas), while local products are to the fore for parents: cheeses from Odemira, Serpa and Evora; the black pork of Barrancos and Estremoz; fish from the sea at the end of the gardens.

Cocktails made with fruit from a strawberry tree at the Medronho Bar and an Elemis-stocked spa with glass walls that appear to melt into the leafy landscape complete the parent-pleasing picture. All together, this is one of the best family hotels in Portugal .

Price: Doubles from about £155

Kimpton Aysla Mallorca in Spain

Kimpton Aysla Mallorca

Mallorca, Spain

One of Aysla’s key attractions isn’t mentioned on the website or by the concierge. Each morning, on the golf driving range adjoining the Mallorca hotel , a teenager trundles a buggy up and down, arms outstretched to scoop up golf balls. The Pac-Man-esque diligence becomes a daily fixture for me and my son, watching from the balcony sunbeds. “Yes,” we agree, “that would be an excellent job to have.” We’re on the southern side of Mallorca here, but not directly on the coast; instead tucked away on a residential hillside enclave beloved of local families, with the busy sands of Santa Ponsa just five minutes’ drive away. Aysla is American group Kimpton’s debut opening in Spain , and the branding is subtle: designed by Mallorcan architect Guillermo Reynés, both the main hub (in the former hacienda-style golf club) and the clean-cut, modernist bedroom wing act as showcases for the island’s artisans.

Hammock chairs and bulbous ceramics here, geometric tiles and woven lampshades there, and a curiously feminine installation with layers of silk like an oyster shell sitting above the check-in desk. Outside, little paths wind past pomegranate and olive trees, punctuated by wicker seats and benches so that, at night, the garden resembles a fairy grotto. You can venture out on the hotel’s e-bikes to experience the cheap thrills of Santa Ponsa and the smart marina at Puerto Portals, where there’s a quieter beach, but mainly this is a place to lie back and let the island do its thing. Aysla opened last autumn, and this season will bring T-shirt-painting and ceramics sessions, along with a Mediterranean grill, though the Asian restaurant is great for sushi-curious teens (there are seats at the counter where we watch chefs slice tuna and stir-fry bibimbap). We’ve never been to a small hotel with so many pools – two outside and one inside – which we hop between like Burt Lancaster in The Swimmer, playing skimball and reading books in our cabana. Surprisingly for Mallorca , the island where modern tourism was invented, there are few other resorts open year-round, making this a no-brainer for quick-fix, out-of-season holidays. Rick Jordan

Price: Doubles from £250

MarBella Elix Greece

Elix, part of Mar-Bella Collection

Igoumenitsa, Greece

You should choose to arrive at Elix by private boat transfer from Corfu . Even the surliest adolescent will be exhilarated by the Mediterranean breeze, the coves and caves and secluded beaches. Like a hidden Bond villain’s lair, the hotel, opened in 2021, emerges from the pine-covered hillside, with a funicular running down to the cream-coloured sands of Karavostasi beach. In another life, this was a favourite hangout of German campervanners. Today it’s one of the best beach hotels in Europe , home to inviting sunbeds and a slick beach restaurant and bar, Azure.

Helping to cut down the list of what to pack when travelling with a baby , the hotel provides strollers and baby monitors, plus has a well-stocked shop and heated and shaded children’s pool. The hotel draws on its surroundings, with complimentary sailing tasters and snorkelling around underwater meadows, hiking, yoga and mountain biking on land. A London creative events company organises everything from star gazing to Greek mythology games for children come summer. Choose from nine family-room options, some with panoramic private pools or two storeys – all of them, like the rest of the hotel, comfortable but super smart; beachy but beautifully pared back. Becky Lucas

Ikos Andalucia Spain

Ikos Andalusia

Málaga, Spain

As you cycle along the boardwalk that leads to Estepona, it’s fun to peek over walls at the other hotels and villas – a Malibu-like jumble of architectural styles that track Marbella ’s evolution. Ikos arrived in 2021 with a fresh approach and an aquatic symmetry – buildings are set either side of four main swimming pools, leading down to the beach – that would have the designers of the Alhambra tipping their hat. Dolphin inflatables and pool-side rosé appear throughout the day, the day’s newsletter perused – aqua aerobics at 9am, perhaps, with football for teens before lunch.

This is the brand’s first hotel outside Greece, but it’s the smartest, an Ibizan-style chiringuito writ large in white walls, rattan and straw lampshades. Ikos’s great idea was to redefine the all-inclusive concept for those who’d never normally consider it. Room service and bottles of Taittinger are covered, as is a round of golf if desired, and there’s an urban buzz to the many restaurants, mostly devised by Michelin-grade chefs (try the Spanish and Greek first), and bars (cocktails by Shoreditch-based Marian Beke). What’s more, guests are encouraged to connect with the region. A day’s Mini Cooper rental is thrown in and the all-inclusive perks are extended to local restaurants, meaning you never feel hemmed in. The only downside is the Melissa Odabash kaftans in the pool shop are not included.

Price: Garden view room (sleeps 4), from £1,082 per night all inclusive. Minimum 5 night stay.

Anassa Cyprus exterior

Anassa is supremely beautiful. A glossy supermodel of an estate and one of the best hotels in Cyprus , it cascades down the Paphos hillside like flowing golden Champagne, a mirage of effortlessly chic, traditional white buildings with blue shutters and terracotta roofs, manicured gardens and gently swaying trees, infinity pools, lush lawns and cappuccino-shade sands. But your kid doesn’t care about any of that. What they do care about is the daily breakfast and supper banquets, where tribes of children dart excitedly between buffet tables, wondering how long they have to wait before they can hit the spectacular spread of kids’ puddings (so good the adults go in for its ice cream with all the toppings too). They care about the toys magicked up on the beach, the zoo trips, pottery lessons and baking at the excellent kids’ club open to babies from just four months, or the self-captained boat trips they can paddle off on (along with their adults), out into the serene, memory-forming Mediterranean blue.

Parents, meanwhile, are passionate about the hotel’s suitcase-saving Baby Go Lightly service, which ensures all holiday-changing essentials, from baby wipes to buggies, are on-hand upon arrival, the early restaurant sittings, evening kids’ activities and babysitting options. It’s no wonder so many families return year after year to this now decades’-old dream of a destination, until one generation slides into another. By Becky Lucas

Price: Rooms from about £450

Villa Ines

Corfu, Greece

If you tremble at the thought of battling families at a heaving resort of buffets and evening cabaret, this private Greek Island villa experience has all the perks of a hotel with none of the crowds. Nestled in the quiet hillside of North East Corfu ’s undiscovered San Stefano region, the Villa Ines boasts a stunning infinity pool overlooking the Ionian Sea. A short and windy drive down the mountain lands you in a charming fishing village, where cafes serve up plates of fresh seafood and homemade delicacies while the waves lap at your feet.

The villa itself features five modern bedrooms, seven bathrooms and an outhouse – perfect for grandparents – and is ideal for families with older children who don’t need to be watched around the pool, or teenagers looking for the perfect Instagram shot. A chef is on hand to provide breakfast and a main meal from an impressive menu designed for you each day, leaving you and the crew to truly unwind and spend quality time together.

Insider tip: The villa is remote, so for anyone with itchy feet – a rental car to take you to nearby villages and hiking trails is essential.

Prices: From £8,750 per week including a private chef and a cleaning service

Amara Cyprus

Limassol, Cyprus

If you’re the sort of parent who likes to be reminded that you’re still cool, you’ve probably had one beady eye on this hotel opening. Nobu Matsuhisa chose its designers – New York’s Rockwell Group, along with SB Architects and WA Interiors – as one of his conditions before agreeing to open his restaurant, Matsuhisa Limassol, here.

Everything is contemporary and subtly masculine. However, the stylish aesthetic doesn’t render the place child-repellent. The hotel is shrewdly divided into two wings. One is adults-only with a spa. The other, open to families, has a cosy crèche and shiny, well-stocked kids’ club. There are separate infinity-pool areas for grown-ups and children, while baby bathtubs and bottle warmers can be borrowed free of charge. Excellent babysitters can also be arranged should you wish to reclaim your evenings. Amara has two big-gun restaurants: Michelin- grade Ristorante Locatelli, with possibly the best beach views in all of Cyprus, and Nobu’s ultra-cool Japanese-Peruvian outpost. Believe it or not, children are made to feel extremely welcome at both, no matter how much food they may be splattering, with the friendly team happy to cater to any whims. By Becky Lucas

Price: Doubles from about £251

Six Senses Ibiza Spain

Six Senses Ibiza

The understated, haute-bohemian Six Senses was the most significant Ibiza hotel opening of last year, and it raises the game for the entire Balearics with its legions of staff, immaculate interiors and impossibly cerulean views. Set in the far north, it is not just physically removed from the action, but feels a world away from the posadas that pump out poolside techno. Merging with lush gardens bursting with pomegranate, pomelo and quince trees, the family-friendly junior suites (which can fit up to two children) are prepped with bespoke mid-century-modern furniture to please the adults and a fenced terrace that will contain crawling babies.

While grown-ups are enjoying the contemporary Middle Eastern cooking at the open-air HaSalon or sushi at BondSt, the kids’ club offers the earthy activities one might expect from Six Senses, such as yoga and art made from recycled food, while older children can join apothecary classes where fragrant lotions are mixed from their home-grown herbs, or have a junior reflexology treatment in the spa. Hotel cars are available for safe passage to that first trip to Pacha. No, you are not invited. Just cross your fingers and hold on till dawn.

Price: Doubles from about £300

Ostergotland Sweden  Ulrika Krynitz and Håkan Strotz have been running a farm here at Odeshög since 1993 and their...

Ostergotland, Sweden

Ulrika Krynitz and Håkan Strotz have been running a farm here at Odeshög since 1993 and their extraordinary hideaway, three hours east of Gothenburg , is bound up in their love of the environment. Meaning ‘inspired by nature’, the eco -lodge takes you right to the heart of it, with 10 fairy-tale treehouses and turf-roofed wooden huts buried deep in the forest. The handbuilt cabins are cosy and – most importantly – have no electricity. The idea is to embrace a stripped-back existence in all its simplicity: if it’s dark, light a candle; if it’s cold, start the fire. That simplicity is a guiding factor, with composting loos, resident chickens and a complete lack of screens, but that’s not to say this spot isn’t special or delightful. It has all the best elements of nature right here: clear water to swim in, a marked trail lined with wild strawberries, the sound of birds to wake you up. For city dwellers needing a biophilic lift, this is it.

The main clubhouse, where breakfast is served, is a two-minute walk past horse paddocks and sheep pastures. Beyond, Lake Visjö glitters in the early-morning light, waiting to be explored with canoes and paddleboards. The sauna is ready, piping hot, on your return. Vegetarian food is included on a cook-it-yourself basis, much of it grown in the nearby vegetable patch by Krynitz and her gang; local meat, beers and wine are also available. In the evening, a medley of adults stir pots over crackling fires and share cooking tips in the semi-open kitchen barn while children tumble in hammocks and make new friends. Occasional activities might involve Strotz gathering the kids to pick wild cherries or collect eggs, but overall everyone’s free to roam and enjoy the Scandinavian landscape in a relaxed and thoughtful way. It’s a true rewilding experience.

Insider Tip: Swedish midges can be fierce and ticks are prevalent in this part of the country, so pack insect repellent and long-sleeved T-shirts.

Price: Cabins for a family of four from about £232 per night, full board (minimum two nights)

Stari Grad Croatia  One of last years most interesting but undertheradar openings in the Med is this hideout on the...

Stari Grad, Croatia

One of last year’s most interesting but under-the-radar openings in the Med is this hideout on the rocky coastline of Hvar . Not one of Dubrovnik ’s grandes dames, or the more barefoot lo-fi hotels that dot the islands, but something in between. The positioning is high end, high level, high expectations, but with a 21st-century spin and sustainability at the forefront. From a distance, the low-rise wood-clad buildings are barely distinguishable from the earthy green of the Aleppo pine and olive trees – natural building materials were integral to architect Tomislav Alujević’s design. Inside, everything is open and minimal: sheer linen curtains divide the lobby and library, and a huge slab of Brać stone makes up the reception desk. Interiors don’t distract from the sea outside; the hypnotically blue swipe of Adriatic is glimpsed through every window. It’s this water you will be drawn to for snorkelling, kayaking and exploring the many swimming spots.

For those happier on dry land, the kids’ club hosts cooking classes and climbing-wall sessions, plus farm tours and tree planting. During the day, everyone pads around in their swimsuits, wandering up from sunbathing decks or the saltwater pool for a long lunch. Local ingredients are given an Asian edge; if the menu begins to feel a little limited after a few days, stroll to town for a hearty supper. There are cycling and trekking routes through lavender fields, as well as wine and olive-oil tastings at nearby producers, but if you’d rather stay horizontal the spa treatments incorporating sound healing and reiki are very good. Come nightfall, the vibe turns sultry; cocktails served in golden glasses, dinner by candlelight. If you’re staying in one of the villas, definitely book the babysitter and room service for the children.

Insider tip: Try guided meditation for the whole family in the organic garden to the soothing soundtrack of cicadas and rolling waves.

Price: Doubles from about £365

Amsterdam The Netherlands  This is where the cool Dutch crew pop to for a countryside blast but amazingly its only a...

The Unbound

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

This is where the cool Dutch crew pop to for a countryside blast, but amazingly it’s only a 30-minute cycle ride from the capital’s central Grachtengordel neighbourhood. Another world appears at the outskirts of Amsterdam -West as the landscape changes from canals, bikes and medieval architecture to green polders, ever-changing widescreen skies and fresh breezes blowing in off the North Sea. At The Unbound young families rent a cabin for the weekend to unwind. Children quickly clamber straight to the natural playground and forget that thing called the iPad ever existed while their parents sink glasses of wine on the sunny deck or nip between the barrel sauna and the dip bath overlooking the pond. Don’t come expecting the pizzazz of Soho Farmhouse – things are pretty relaxed but incredibly comfortable.

The forward-thinking, architect-designed free-standing cabins, made from sustainable European wood, sit on stilts and are linked by boardwalks. Interiors are stylishly pulled together by Studio Pistache, with a vintage Ligne Roset Togo sofa, exclusively designed fabrics and merino-wool blankets. The family-friendly lodges include The Lighthouse, which has its own hot tub, The Barn, modelled on traditional farm buildings, and The Wikkel, partially constructed from cardboard. There is cabin service, which means it’s possible to order in for breakfast, lunch and supper, or pootle to The Daily shop, fully stocked with wine and food, for supplies to bake your own margheritas in the outdoor pizza ovens. But the hub of the place is The Unbound restaurant. Devised by Swiss chef Ralph Schelling, who has worked for big names such as Ferran Adrià and Heston Blumenthal, dishes are inspired by the produce from the organic vegetable fields. Yet there’s no need to dress for dinner. Kick back, relax and no one will bat an eyelid at muddy wellies under the table.

Insider tip: Visit the neighbouring farm, Fruittuin van West, where the bounty of fruit takes pick-your-own to the next level.

Price: Cabins for a family of four from about £225 per night

Landes France  Life is sweet on the shores of Lake Hossegor a few hundred yards from the rollers that draw surfers from...

Les Hortensias Du Lac

Landes, France

Life is sweet on the shores of Lake Hossegor, a few hundred yards from the rollers that draw surfers from around the world to this south-west corner. Both rugged and cool, the Landes region is usurping the nearby Basque Country in the hearts of Parisians. They come here with their children for August holidays to sidestep the chi-chi hotspots of Ile de Ré and Juan-les-Pins, to roam the countryside and have space to plant their parasols on the beach. This classic hotel, tucked into the pines, was taken over and transformed by the Domaines de Fontenille group: after a top-to-toe renovation it now looks like a kind of mid-century-modern Hamptons surf lodge. The restaurant with its bulb-string-lit terrace serves up a sunny menu of pan-fried squid, mussels and hay-roasted chicken.

Bedrooms are light and bright, and downstairs whisky decanters and loose-covered sofas have made way for jute rugs on polished-concrete floors, decorative surfboards stacked in a corner, cane benches and velvet footstools. It feels smart, but also somewhere for wet footprints coming in from the pool or sandy toes from the beach. And the real focus is the sea. The surf clubs that run along La Côte d’Argent offer lessons to everyone from first-timers to near-pros, and there are all sorts of surf competitions and festivals to watch, as well as paddle-boarding on the lake and yoga back at the hotel. A fresh way to tap into the salty-haired vibe of the area, but without the villa hassle of having to cook supper or make the beds.

Insider tip: The hotel rents out electric bikes that are great fun to take on the 25-mile cycle track that runs up to Seignosse, and back round via Capbreton – a top spot to grab a café au lait or fresh juice.

Price: Doubles from about £234

IledeFrance France  The fairytale Château de VilliersleMahieu looks on first appearance like any other obscenely...

Les Maisons de Campagne

Ile-de-France, France The fairy-tale Château de Villiers-le-Mahieu looks on first appearance like any other obscenely romantic, 17th-century French country house: clipped yew trees, a glassy moat and a portico with pretty turrets peeking out. But inside, the atmosphere is more hip house party with pops of kitsch; industrial-look lighting and wild wallpapers lend style. Here, paying upfront and not sweating the small stuff is done the slick way, designed to appeal to Parisian families for whom it’s just an hour’s journey. Previous creator Guillaume Multrier has form with this variety of fun-luxe, opening the first Folie Douce après-ski hotel in 2019 in Chamonix, where acrobats twirl on rings in the lobby. Though it’s not quite so ‘extra’ here, trampolines on the lawn demonstrate that a similar sense of merry-making pervades. But the focus is on unfussy pleasures: rowing on the moat and borrowing bicycles to explore nearby towns. At the pool, baskets of armbands are one of many thoughtful touches that act as analgesics on stressed parents. Food is of course a self-serve affair, but very nicely done with colourful salads, rich dauphinoise, and dorada sizzled on the barbecue out back. Then, as the shadows lengthen, grown-ups retreat to the pétanque pitch. Everything is chilled, and life is sweet. Insider tip: Babysitting services are available

Price: Doubles from about £277

Bonnelles France  French country hotels have traditionally tended to be standonceremony châteaugrand or heavily...

Bonnelles, France

French country hotels have traditionally tended to be stand-on-ceremony château-grand or heavily upholstered floral-chintz classics. Not places, really, for those prone to tantrums. Which is why this laid-back spot – a cluster of reimagined old barns, like a stripped-back Soho Farmhouse or countrified Hoxton, on the 200-hectare Le Haras de La Cense equestrian estate 40 minutes outside Paris – was such an exciting opening. It seems the boho Marais folk agree: on weekends it’s packed out with couples in matching Ray-Bans soaking in the Nordic baths and Carven-clad parents with artful tattoos chasing toddlers around the lobby. Franco-American owner William Kriegel teamed up with two clever collaborators to make Le Barn’s studied ease so on point: Edouard Daehn of the Marugal hotel group (Cap Rocat, Mallorca ; Gecko, Formentera) and Paris design agency Be-Pôles, which had a hand in The NoMad hotels in New York and LA , and the French Riviera hotel Les Roches Rouges. Rooms have a Shakerist, functional minimalist design: Barbour-fabric curtains, enamel mugs and plates, retro camping chairs. Activities are an all-get-stuck-in affair: bikes with child seats already installed are propped outside the front door, guarded by hotel dog Clark. There’s a rowing boat on the little lake, mini orange life jackets flung over the bench next to it, plus a pirate-and-princess-filled dressing-up box and plenty of paths for rambles through the surrounding forest. Saturdays see more planned events, from mural workshops to archery trials. Naturally, horses are a big part of the action: the smallest riders (from age three) bob along on mini Shetland ponies, and graceful shire horses take the whole gang out for a carriage ride before supper at La Serre greenhouse restaurant. This is the rural good life, with a hefty dose of nonchalant Parisian cool.

Insider Tip: Babysitting can be arranged, but no one bats an eyelid at kids doing sticker books under the table past 10pm.

Price Doubles from about £175

Mykonos Greece  Remember announcing preparenthood that having children wouldnt change your holidays This could be as...

Santa Marina

Mykonos, Greece

Remember announcing pre-parenthood that having children wouldn’t change your holidays? This could be as close as you’ll ever get to realising that statement, without actually leaving the little ones at home. Looking out from the deck of the bar across the water, the DJ’s house music playing discreetly in the background, it feels like you might just have beaten the system. The hotel sums up Greek chic. A family-run classic hideout, it was treated to a full refurbishment a few years ago by the owner, Christiana Papageorgiou. Out went the traditional taupe and in came coral artwork, bamboo furniture, basket lamps and vintage-style travelling trunks. Unlike the town’s party beaches and narrow streets, it is not short on space. Tiny tantrums are easily hidden; there is room to run around. Vast rattan day beds with hoods are great for lunchtime snoozes under super-size beach towels. Lunch is served as early as you want, and there’s a constant stream of fruit smoothies and ice cream by the pool. Forget bringing the buggy: there is a lift to all levels of the estate, which is cut rather impressively into the rocks. There is also a sleek boat that zips around the island to the beach clubs, so no time is wasted on winding roads in Greek taxis. Not that there is any reason to leave. This is the only private stretch of sand on Mykonos , and it’s all yours. Beach attendants are incredibly friendly and attentive, despite the obligatory dark glasses and swagger, and there is no shortage of sunbeds, front row or otherwise. The sceney Buddha-Bar attracts plenty of private yachters coming ashore, so parents more accustomed to spooning lobster spaghetti into kids’ mouths can still get a small hit of the party vibe.

Insider Tip: If you have pre-school children go in September just after the new term has started. The island itself will still be in full flow but it will be much easier to make reservations at beach-club restaurants.

Price Doubles from about £445

Co Cavan Ireland  It is fair to say that this is one of Irelands undiscovered counties. The lakestrewn swathe of...

Cabu by the Lakes

Co Cavan, Ireland

It is fair to say that this is one of Ireland ’s undiscovered counties. The lake-strewn swathe of countryside always seemed to be on the way to somewhere else. Not so any more – the recent arrival of Cabü by the Lakes has put its tranquil charms firmly on the map. Surrounded by the bosky beauty of the Killykeen Forest Park and overlooking Lough Oughter, this cluster of hipster hideaways embraces the great outdoors with its riff on the rustic retreat. A two-hour drive from both Dublin and Belfast , this is where you will find clued-up Irish families eager to immerse themselves in nature. Its wooden huts, loft and lake houses are dotted among trees and a wildflower meadow, and interiors tap into the cabin-in-the-woods trope with kilims, woollen blankets and vintage botanical prints. There are fully stocked kitchens, wood-burning stoves and barbecues, but also Netflix- enabled TVs and Wi-Fi for rainy days. Children can run wild in the 100-acre, car-free grounds and there is direct access to the hiking and biking trails of the forest park. The jetty by the lake has boats and fishing rods for hire to explore the waterlogged landscape of islands, lakes and channels that teem with swans, ducks and fish. Given the unpredictability of the weather, The Sitooterie is a clever call – an inside-outside space with twinkling fairy lights, cosy blankets, comfy chairs and a blazing fire to keep chills at bay. The snappily curated Cabü Corner sells coffee and groceries, as well as homeware, gifts and books. Drop into the Cabin Club for an Aperol Spritz or eat every meal there, taking advantage of the all-day menu and Argentine-style night-time grills. There are also hot tubs and saunas, or steal into the woods for Japanese -style forest bathing surrounded by the swaying trees. This is a Swallows and Amazons fantasy but with all the frills.

Insider tip: Rent kayaks and paddle out to the romantic Clough Oughter, a ruined 13th-century castle on a tiny artificial island known as a crannóg in the middle of the lake.

Price: Cabins from about £370 for two nights

Cdiz  Spain  Arriving here with children feels akin to smuggling a toddler into a nightclub very much not the done...

Casa la Siesta

Cádiz , Spain

Arriving here with children feels akin to smuggling a toddler into a nightclub: very much not the done thing. The hotel is a grown-up hideaway of stepped lawns and terraces, winding paths and olive and citrus trees sunk into a cleft between dusty hills. Tables for two sit beneath draped vines, and garden nooks are set with day beds for afternoon snoozing. In other words, a retreat where wheeling swifts are the only thing dive-bombing the saltwater pool. For a few weeks a year, however, they elbow out the couples to let families in, with activities that stretch from circus skills and mobile-making to trampolining and pool games, all overseen by a tomboyish childcare whizz and her team. There’s an imaginative children’s menu plus all the pool inflatables, bubbles and glitter they could ever want (and someone else to clear it up). Complimentary babysitters will relieve you of your charges for an hour or two so you can drink wine and read a sentence of your book before dozing off in the shade. These weeks are the brainchild of the hotel’s owners, Lee and Amelia Thornley, who run the design studio Bert & May and, being parents themselves, are well-versed in the challenges of family holidays. The nine-room finca has been deliciously restored in a restrained, rustic style, with tactile plaster walls, antique dressers, stone arches, iron balustrades, and airy rooms with balconies and bathtubs. For larger families there’s the new two-bedroom villa, The Stables, set away from the hotel but with a direct phone line to reception, so room service can be ordered. Or there’s a three-bedroom casita with its own pool and terrace, and – better yet – a yurt for grumpy teens. This is a supremely clever choice for anyone with a phobia of big, all-singing-all-dancing resorts.

Insider tip: Baby monitors reach the courtyard, so you can eat under the stars without having to troop back to the room to check on little ones.

Price: Doubles from about £156

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Highlights of central europe.

An excellent introduction to the countries visited. The tour leader, Peter, plying and explaining the flute. Very pleasant knowledgeable man, with a good sense of ...

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Expand your family’s horizons with an immersive exploration of Europe. From the iconic Eiffel Tower and Roman Colosseum to a personal introduction to local cultures and authentic cuisine, a European family vacation from Zicasso will create a journey perfectly suited for any member of the family. Discover the wide range of tours you can personalize for the ultimate experience.

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Family on vacation in Salzburg, Austria posing with Hohensalzburg in the background

9  Day Custom Tour

Dynamic pricing from  $3,064

Your custom family vacation to Central Europe takes your family through the storybook villages and majestic landscapes from Prague to Vienna, where fairy tales were created, castles are real, and the majesty of daily life continues to grow. You feel the soft dough between your fingers, before twisting it into a pretzel and placing it on a sheet. The cave walls around you are covered in ice, and it looks like you have stepped inside a glacier.  The kids marvel at the grand armory decorating historic castles and highlighting the medieval history of the encompassing mountains.

Young girl enjoying a gelato in Rome, Italy

10  Day Custom Tour

Dynamic pricing from  $3,575

Become gladiators, search for priceless paintings, and indulge in unforgettable adventures with a custom tailored family-friendly Italy itinerary. Relish a chance to blend fun and education with culture that the kids can touch. Knead handmade pasta dough under the guidance of a private chef and then wander through hidden corridors and along the labyrinthine Hypogeum in the Colosseum. Explore extinct volcanic craters and learn the art of making fresh gelato in a medieval town. Your private family Italy tour itinerary will offer flavorful delights, ancient marvels, and secret catacombs to create memories that will last a lifetime.

Family boating in the canal at Plaza de Espana in Seville, Spain

Dynamic pricing from  $3,115

Take your entire family on an unforgettable, 10-day excursion to Spain’s sunny Andalucia. Ornate palaces and beautiful cathedrals line the quaint, cobblestone streets.  Flamenco dancers throw up their arms in a passionate display as they stomp their feet to the staccato beats of clapping castanets. Nearby cafes entice patrons with jamon iberico and other delectable, local flavors. Located a stone’s throw away, crowds cheer as bullfighters twirl their capes and tease their four-legged counterparts with a boastful Ole! In no time, you and your family will be immersed in local history and culture while falling in love with this enchanting, Spanish paradise.

Family on ATV tour in Greece

8  Day Custom Tour

Dynamic pricing from  $2,595

Picturesque islands and ancient ruins cradle hidden adventures during your handcrafted Greece family vacation. Treasure time in Athens and island hop from Mykonos to Santorini for an immersive discovery of breathtaking religious sites and enchanting scenery, preserved culture and exciting museums. Your active exploration lets the family hike an active volcano rising out of Santorini’s caldera and uncovers the ruins of Athens on the Acropolis’s summit. Find grandeur in the remains of Apollo’s birthplace and sample the simple flavors of homemade tzatziki. Kayak, sail, trek, and rejuvenate on quiet beaches during your perfect family adventure in Greece. Click here for additional Greece family vacation ideas available on Zicasso.

View of São Jorge Castle in Lisbon, Portugal

Dynamic pricing from  $6,755

On this 10-day adventure through Spain and Portugal, experience some of the very best that these countries have to offer. Wander through the charming streets of Sintra and stop to listen to the melodies of Fado music as it drifts through the air. In Barcelona, gape in amazement at the glorious church of La Sagrada Familia. From the beaches of southern Portugal to the traditional Spanish center of Madrid, on this tour, your family is sure to make memories that you will cherish forever.

Split Beach Bacvice, Croatia

Croatia is a country that checks every box on even the pickiest person’s must-have list. Not only is Croatia aesthetically beautiful and rich with historical sites and fascinating culture, which will surely please the adults of the entourage, but this gem of a country also offers a wealth of family-friendly destinations and excursions that will keep your whole family thoroughly entertained on this once-in-a-lifetime trip. Taking your family from Dubrovnik and Split to Plitvice National Park and even the capital city of Zagreb, this 10-day luxury tour is filled with perfectly curated adventures that have been specially chosen for you and your family’s utmost enjoyment.

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Northern lights over Bergen, Norway

Dynamic pricing from  $4,419

Mystical fjords, charming villages, and enchanting hills that are blanketed with snow will bring the majesty of Arendelle to life during your family-friendly tour of Norway, which will celebrate the release of Frozen 2 and the adventures of Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, and Sven. Bask in a captivating winter wonderland on a scenic train ride through mountains, where Elsa could have built her secluded castle, and wander alongside colorful homes that are reminiscent of images of Anna’s kingdom. Visit with fun-loving reindeer that are far above the Arctic Circle before meeting a traditional Sami community and searching for the flickering glow of the Northern Lights. Your Norwegian vacation combines customary culture and folklore with the natural beauty that has inspired the story and landscape of Frozen.

Mother and daughter walk in Paris Tuileries Garden, France

Dynamic pricing from  $2,859

The aroma of fresh macaroons entices the family closer to the artisan bakery. Classic blue and white umbrellas decorate the beach with 1920’s fashion. The gardens that inspired Monet come to life with impressionistic enchantment. Experience France with the wonderment of a child, in both your eyes and your child’s eyes on your handmade tailored family getaway to France tour. Whether discovering the majesty of Normandy or rediscovering the beauty of Paris, your family will absorb the artistry of Parisian museums and architecture, and delight in the marvels of a mysterious island, play in the lavishness of palaces and enjoy one another’s company.

Skyline of Florence, Italy with the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore Dome

13  Day Custom Tour

Dynamic pricing from  $5,065

Family time is as precious as gold, which makes custom family vacations priceless. Your custom tailored family vacation to England, France, and Italy offers you marvels of which the entire family will enjoy, from the storybook villages of the French countryside to the trotting horses along the lush plateau of the Swiss Alps. Castles overlook the historic waterways in London. Bakeries and boutique shops line the wide avenues of Paris. Renaissance statues decorate the public squares of Florence. Hike along the Mediterranean coast and create everlasting memories that the entire family will treasure for a lifetime.

Family hiking in the Swiss Alps

Dynamic pricing from  $3,507

The more time you spend with your kids, the more your imagination runs wild. You picture snow white peacocks roaming an opulent garden, men dressed in traditional Swiss outfits playing the alphorn against the backdrop of rugged snowcapped mountains, or the tip of the Matterhorn visible from the enchanting town on the foothills. On this 8-day active family vacation to Italy and the Swiss Alps, neither you, nor your children, will have to imagine any longer.

Palacio de Cristal in Madrid's Buen Retiro Park

Dynamic pricing from  $2,803

Instead of settling for a beach vacation or a journey through the mountains, you can have it all on this custom tailored Spain family vacation to Madrid and Barcelona. Give the entire family a chance to indulge in the golden sands of Barcelona. Let them wander around the lavish décor of the Royal Palace. The kids will delight in the artistry and learn about history without ever knowing. Spend your time enjoying the scenery and indulging in your family’s excitement. Taste traditional dishes and stroll along medieval cobblestone streets. Let this unique family getaway give you luxury and landscape, culture, and memories.

Gondolas on Venice canal at sunset

Dynamic pricing from  $7,015

Give the gift of togetherness on a handcrafted family vacation tour to Rome, Tuscany, and Venice. The kids will delight in following in the footsteps of Roman emperors onto the grounds of the mighty Colosseum. The family will bond together mixing flour and eggs to create traditional Tuscan pasta. The scent of pizza and melted cheese drifts from hidden trattoria doorways. You can marvel at priceless art emblematic of masterpieces, from the David to the La Primavera. Introduce the kids to unparalleled culture and indulge in the distinctive splendor of Italy.

14  Day Custom Tour

Dynamic pricing from  $10,005

The best education is the kind that children don’t even know they are receiving. Capture the beauty of Spain on this vacation tailored to your family’s desires and the wealth of history that sweeps across the landscape. Witness the charming white villages of Andalusia and stroll along the hilly cobblestone streets of Toledo. Admire the fairytale architecture of Gaudi and explore the storybook castle in Segovia. The wonders of Spain will captivate the entire family, filled with treasured palaces and prancing horses, historic battles and fabulous flavors.

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On your eight-day family getaway vacation to Italy, your kids wake up with a view of coastal cliffs and the looming summit of historic Mount Vesuvius in the distance. The ancient city of Pompeii expands before your eyes, and you have never seen your kids so excited to learn about history. Visit the wonderment of coastal towns and breathtaking Renaissance cities during your handcrafted family tour of Italy.

History is filled with noble families rising in power and class, spanning time to protect one another against the outside world.  This 8-day kid-friendly Italy vacation teaches you about Roman mythology, medieval history, and masterworks of art. Follow the noble route of a family adventure by discovering the hidden underbelly of the Colosseum and learning the depths to which the food culture runs. Each moment will build treasured memories in the surrounding, timeless world.

Dynamic pricing from  $3,217

France is filled with a world of wonder that will inspire the entire family on your custom tailored France Tour for families. The gargoyles of Notre Dame de Paris decorate the rooftops and watch over the banks of the Seine River. Parisians lounge at café tables, enjoying the small pleasures of the day. The gardens at Giverny erupt with colors, immaculately captured by Monet. Turquoise water brushes against the shores of Omaha Beach in Normandy. The sensational history of France created a world famous culture that decorates the streets of Paris and the natural beauty of Normandy.

21  Day Custom Tour

Dynamic pricing from  $7,639

Intrigue and excitement will guide you through your customizable Italy family tour that will immerse you in the majesty of the ancient world and marvels of the Renaissance. Traverse the grandeur of Venice on the canals and explore the distinctive ambiance of Rome. Uncover the fascinating flavors of handmade pasta in Bologna, and then learn the art of crafting homemade pizza in Naples. Family comes first in Italy, and your kid-friendly tour will embrace the fun of discovery with custom-tailored scavenger hunts and picturesque views, the thrill of climbing a leaning tower and the magic of bringing rich history and tangible heritage to life.

Natural wonders and ancient history mark this delightfully filled region with enchantments at every corner. Stupendous feats of nature stand alongside century-refined traditions in this land that occupies Northern Spain. Behold sights atop sky scraping mountains, gaze onward at breathtaking seas, and marvel at millennia-old cave paintings in this family-friendly excursion that is sure to open your imagination. Uncover hidden gems that will leave you ready to discover more in this fun-filled and time-defying extravaganza.

Dynamic pricing from  $5,845

See a different side of the scenery and country during your active 9-day family Croatia tour. Rush down thundering whitewater and bask in medieval drama. Cycle across rolling hills and discover island beauty. From an ancient Roman palace to sunset cast over soaring town walls, you can balance adventure and relaxation, cultural heritage, and historical exploration as you plunge into Croatia’s captivating depths.

Dynamic pricing from  $3,245

The gorgeous islands of Greece are known for its pristine beaches, delicious food, iconic landmarks, and more, making them the ideal destination for a family vacation. Begin your luxurious, 10-day adventure in the capital city of Athens before, traveling in luxury across the Aegean Sea in a private speed boat to discover the islands of Mykonos, Paros, and Santorini. Stunning beaches and memorable attractions can be found on every island. Immerse yourself in the culture of Greece through private tours and exclusive family experiences, and create memories that will last a lifetime during this family trip to the idyllic islands of Greece.

Magnificent marble columns and powerful seaside castles inspire the entire family, keeping the kids engaged and creating unparalleled memories on your custom-tailored Sicily tour for families. Gold sand beaches line the shores. Vibrant markets fill the cities with the aroma of refreshing citrus. Ancient temples rise over olive trees. Baroque palaces decorate inviting squares. Mosaics create layers of opulence in chapel and cathedral naves, and the towering summit of Mount Etna is a constant promise of adventure. The family will feel inspired during your unforgettable time in the Mediterranean island charms of Sicily.

7  Day Custom Tour

Dynamic pricing from  $2,179

Barcelona excites and enthralls, and it is a city that makes cultural adventure accessible for all ages. These seven handcrafted days offer the best of Barcelona for your family. Think a treasure hunt through Spanish eras, an art nouveau swimming pool next to Gaudi’s casas , riding the tram to a charming amusement park, and a zipline through an urban jungle park. Beaches and parks provide space for children to let off some steam before historical neighborhoods envelop you in the city’s atmosphere.

Dynamic pricing from  $2,491

This 8-day Portugal tour leads you on an immersive journey from Lisbon to Lagos. Along the way, you will witness iconic landmarks, learn about Portugal’s storied history, uncover the local culture, and partake in some of the best experiences and activities that this country has to offer. Explore the Benagil Caves, snorkel in the Arrabida Nature Reserve, and mountain bike on Mount Foia.

Dynamic pricing from  $6,235

Transport your family to a magical world and experience a life-changing adventure amongst the mystical landscapes of Iceland on this 8-day tour. Explore the stunning waterfalls of the country, discover the infamous plane wreck on the black sands, and head for the skies in a helicopter to view powerful geysers. Saunter into the earth’s core in a lava tube, marvel at the icy blue insides of a glacier, spy the other-worldly worm monster for a reward, then dine on fresh succulent seafood. Customize the tour for your family’s desires and create memories of a lifetime on this exploration of Iceland.

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More Family Vacations in Europe

Steam train on the Glenfinnan Viaduct, made famous as the Hogwarts Express, in Scotland

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Best Family-Friendly Resorts in Europe to Book This Summer

By Issy von Simson and CNT Editors

Image may contain Housing Building Wood Furniture Indoors Plywood Hardwood and Flooring

A well-executed family vacation can be difficult to get right. With adults seeking a rejuvenating escape and children craving a dynamic adventure, trying to strike the balance can leave either party feeling short-changed and frustrated. Thankfully, there are a number of mesmerizing hotels peppered throughout Europe that have mastered the art of family vacationing.

From a hill-side stay in Cyprus and a getaway on Portugal's wild West oast to a peaceful retreat in rural France, we've has selected the most idyllic stays that will satiate the travel-bug in all members of the family.

This article was originally published on Condé Nast Traveller U.K.

All listings featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. If you book something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Kimpton Aysla Mallorca room

Kimpton Aysla Mallorca

Mallorca, Spain

Hammock chairs and bulbous ceramics, geometric tiles and woven lampshades, are just a few of the standout design features at Kimpton Aysla Mallorca. Outside, little paths wind past pomegranate and olive trees, punctuated by wicker seats and benches so that, at night, the garden resembles a fairy grotto. You can venture out on the hotel’s e-bikes to experience the cheap thrills of Santa Ponsa and the smart marina at Puerto Portals, where there’s a quieter beach, but mainly this is a place to lie back and let the island do its thing. Aysla opened last autumn, and this season will bring T-shirt-painting and ceramics sessions, along with a Mediterranean grill, and the Asian restaurant is great for sushi-loving teens (there are seats at the counter where we watch chefs slice tuna and stir-fry bibimbap). We’ve never been to a small hotel with so many pools—two outside and one inside. Surprisingly for Mallorca, the island where modern tourism was invented, there are few other resorts open year-round, making this a no-brainer for quick-fix, out-of-season holidays. —Rick Jordan

Price: Rooms from around $394

Oasyhotel bedroom

Tuscany, Italy

This former hunting estate is set in more than 2,470 acres of wild-flower meadows and beech and pine forests. We visited in deepest autumn, but in the summer a lake offers swimming, paddleboarding, and kayaking. For grateful parents, there is yoga and an on-site spa offering massages. And for kids, the utterly charming staff brought a relaxed and fun energy, even during the swanky dinners in Le Felci, one of two restaurants. The ecological ethos extends to the food: 70 percent of the produce used at the hotel comes from the mountain, so breakfast included the estate’s own organic yogurts, cheeses, jams, and juices, while dinners were mostly rich, hearty, and meaty Tuscan dishes of pork, rabbit, and beef. The younger and pickier guests among us were plied with fantastic burgers, cotoletta cutlets, and fries on repeat. —Clare Coulson

Price: Rooms from around $465

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Paphos, Cyprus

Anassa is supremely beautiful. A glossy supermodel of an estate and one of the best hotels in Cyprus , it cascades down the Paphos hillside like flowing golden Champagne, a mirage of effortlessly chic, traditional white buildings with blue shutters and terracotta roofs, manicured gardens and gently swaying trees, infinity pools, lush lawns, and cappuccino-shade sands. But your kid doesn’t care about any of that. What they do care about is the daily breakfast and supper banquets, where tribes of children dart excitedly between buffet tables, wondering how long they have to wait before they can hit the spectacular spread of kids’ desserts (so good the adults go in for its ice cream with all the toppings too). They care about the toys magicked up on the beach, the zoo trips, pottery lessons and baking at the excellent kids’ club open to babies from just four months, or the self-captained boat trips they can paddle off on (along with their adults), out into the serene, memory-forming Mediterranean blue. Parents, meanwhile, are passionate about the hotel’s suitcase-saving Baby Go Lightly service, which ensures all vacation-changing essentials, from baby wipes to strollers, are on-hand upon arrival, the early restaurant sittings, evening kids’ activities and babysitting options. It’s no wonder so many families return year after year to this now decades’-old dream of a destination, until one generation slides into another. — Becky Lucas

Price: Rooms from around $516

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MarBella Elix

Igoumenitsa, Greece

You should choose to arrive at MarBella Elix by private boat transfer from Corfu. Even the surliest adolescent will be exhilarated by the Mediterranean breeze, the coves and caves, and secluded beaches. Like a hidden Bond villain’s lair, the hotel, opened in May 2021, emerges from the pine-covered hillside, with a funicular running down to the cream-colored sands of Karavostasi beach. In another life this was a favorite hangout of German campervanners. Today it’s one of the best beach hotels in Europe , home to inviting sunbeds and a smart beach restaurant and bar, Azure. From strollers and baby monitors to the well-stocked shop and the heated and shaded children’s pool, all the key ingredients are here. The hotel draws on its surroundings, with complimentary sailing tasters and snorkeling around underwater meadows, hiking, yoga, and mountain biking on land. A London creative events company organizes everything from stargazing to Greek-mythology games for children come summer. Choose from nine family-room options, some with panoramic private pools or two stories—all of them, like the rest of the hotel, comfortable but super smart; beachy but beautifully pared back. — B.L.

Price: Doubles from around $388

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Airelles Château de la Messardière

St. Tropez, France

St. Tropez’s hedonistic charms are famous, and this is a glorious invitation to flop beneath olive trees amid the soothing peace of a 30-acre estate away from the main event. The fairy-tale château , the latest Mediterranean opening from the group behind Le Grand Contrôle in Versailles, is all turrets and cupolas with a sun-blazed ochre façade. The suites spoil with sea or pool views, Ralph Lauren homewares and citrus products from Parisian perfumer Blaise Mautin. Creative dining panders to every tantrum and tiredness level: Italian in the Carrara bistro, real McCoy Provençal at the Thirties L’Auberge des Maures (which moved here from downtown St. Tropez last year) or pan-Asian at Nobu-partnered Matsuhisa (kudos for the DJ and itinerant magician). Seafood and cocktails with lavender, thyme, and other local herbs seduce guests in the superlative beach club on A-lister Plage de Pampelonne. But where are all les enfants? Having a ball at the kids’ club extraordinaire, a palatial villa with activity rooms (Lego kingdom, arcade games, art studio, pottery workshop, cinema, you name it), trampolines, tennis courts, a treehouse, pirate-ship playground, and smart outdoor pool.

Price: Doubles from around $844

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Paphos city and its melee may be moments from Almyra, but you’ll be hard-pressed to drag yourself from the hotel’s family comforts. Every age group is catered for, from the five freshwater pools—including one for kids, heated and partially shaded by a beautiful olive tree, and one sleek adults’-only option, some distance away—to tennis and swimming lessons for the easily bored, and the mighty, multi-spaced kids’ club. Split into groups from four months to teens, it guarantees the most attention-grabbing activities—from rather impressive art projects to exploring the nearby harbor and castle. It comes armed with every piece of kit a young human could possibly need, including the space-saving Baby Go Lightly service (also on offer at Anassa , which is owned by the same family), enabling you to pre-order most paraphernalia ahead, from car seats to swim diapers.

Parents can therefore shoot off stress-free to the adults’-only wellness spa for a spot of sage-smudging, meditation and massage. You actually want to spend time all together? Book an experience: maybe picking and pressing olive oil, or trekking to where Aphrodite met Adonis. The ultimate highlight here, however, is the food. From heavenly sushi and miso cod at cool Japanese-Mediterranean fusion spot Notios, to super-fresh fish and salads served with a serenade at beachside Cypriot restaurant Ouzeri, all dishes are wonderfully distant from chicken nuggets. Somehow this reasonably priced family-owned hotel manages to be laidback enough for rambunctious crews, yet smart enough for grown-ups after a real escape. —B.L.

Price: Rooms from around $253

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Ikos Andalusia

Málaga, Spain

As you cycle along the boardwalk that leads to Estepona, it’s fun to peek over walls at the other hotels and villas—a Malibu-like jumble of architectural styles that track Marbella’s evolution. Ikos arrived in 2021 with a fresh approach and an aquatic symmetry—buildings are set either side of four main swimming pools, leading down to the beach—that would have the designers of the Alhambra tipping their hat. Dolphin inflatables and pool-side rosé appear throughout the day, the day’s newsletter perused—aqua aerobics at 9 a.m., perhaps, with football for teens before lunch.

This is the brand’s first hotel outside Greece , but it’s the smartest, an Ibizan-style chiringuito writ large in white walls, rattan, and straw lampshades. Ikos’s great idea was to redefine the all-inclusive concept for those who’d never normally consider it. Room service and bottles of Taittinger are covered, as is a round of golf if desired, and there’s an urban buzz to the many restaurants, mostly devised by Michelin-grade chefs (try the Spanish and Greek first), and bars (cocktails by Shoreditch-based Marian Beke). What’s more, guests are encouraged to connect with the region. A day’s Mini Cooper rental is thrown in and the all-inclusive perks are extended to local restaurants, meaning you never feel hemmed in. The only downside is the Melissa Odabash kaftans in the pool shop are not included.

Price: Doubles from around $716

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Praia do Canal

Aljezur, Portugal

You’ll find Praia do Canal where the drama of the Atlantic pounds limestone cliffs and surfers dot the waves. This is Portugal ’s wild west coast, and the resort sits just inland on its own 500 acres, in a protected spot with scope for exploring. Praia do Canal’s particular beauty lies in its privileged sense of space. There are paths to follow through the forest; bicycles to ride down bumpy tracks to a pebbled beach; and expanses of verdant lawns beyond the seemingly never-ending infinity pool.

The subtle kasbah aesthetic that pervades the airy, modern, and somewhat minimalist rooms is a nod to the Algarve’s Moorish heritage. Two-bedroom family suites lead to lawns inset with private pools so parents can keep a close eye on splashing children. Regional dishes such as codfish and chickpea purée and veal with sweet-potato chips blend vague familiarity with new tastes for young palates (or there’s always wood-fired pizzas), while local products are to the fore for parents: cheeses from Odemira, Serpa, and Evora; the black pork of Barrancos and Estremoz; fish from the sea at the end of the gardens.

Cocktails made with fruit from a strawberry tree at the Medronho Bar and an Elemis-stocked spa with glass walls that appear to melt into the leafy landscape complete the parent-pleasing picture.

Price: Doubles from around $275

Amara

Limassol, Cyprus

If you’re the sort of parent who likes to be reminded that you’re still cool, you’ve probably had one beady eye on this hotel opening. Nobu Matsuhisa chose its designers—New York’s Rockwell Group, along with SB Architects and WA Interiors—as one of his conditions before agreeing to open his restaurant, Matsuhisa Limassol, here.

Everything is contemporary and subtly masculine. However, the stylish aesthetic doesn’t render the place child-repellent. The hotel is shrewdly divided into two wings. One is adults-only with a spa. The other, open to families, has a cozy crèche and shiny, well-stocked kids’ club. There are separate infinity-pool areas for grown-ups and children, while baby bathtubs and bottle warmers can be borrowed free of charge. Excellent babysitters can also be arranged should you wish to reclaim your evenings. Amara has two big-gun restaurants: Michelin-grade Ristorante Locatelli, with possibly the best beach views in all of Cyprus , and Nobu’s ultra-cool Japanese-Peruvian outpost. Believe it or not, children are made to feel extremely welcome at both, no matter how much food they may be splattering, with the friendly team happy to cater to any whims. —B.L.

Price: Doubles from around $564

OneOnly Portonovi

One&Only Portonovi

Portonovi, Montenegro

Mountains, pine forests and preserved medieval villages ring the sumptuous, fjord-like Bay of Kotor. More recently, slick superyacht marinas have been popping up along the shore. The latest is Portonovi Village, home to the first European outpost of the glossy One&Only marque that is more often seen on the beaches of Mauritius and the Maldives . It has pulled out all the stops here. Children start the day devouring doughnuts at breakfast before joining the melée at KidsOnly, a club for treasure hunts and telescope making, science labs, and stick-raft building.

Parents lurk by the pool in Chanel beachwear, ordering Veuve Clicquot by 11 a.m. The most health-conscious focus on recalibration in the heavyweight Chenot Espace, which offers medical-grade diagnostics and transformative treatments from wellness pioneer Henri Chenot. While the Chenot diet is legendary, and effective, it would be a shame to miss out on all the other sensational food (and perhaps foolish to attempt a detox on a family holiday). Sabia turns out the best Italian dishes this side of the Adriatic—don’t skip pizza-making in the kitchen. In summer, the kids’ club is open for movie nights on request, meaning parents can slip off to sushi suppers at the Tapasake Club. It’s not often that indulgence can be this family-friendly.

Price: Doubles from around $881

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Six Senses Ibiza

Ibiza, Spain

The understated, haute-bohemian Six Senses was the most significant Ibiza hotel opening of last year, and it raises the game for the entire Balearics with its legions of staff, immaculate interiors and impossibly cerulean views. Set in the far north, it is not just physically removed from the action, but feels a world away from the posadas that pump out poolside techno. Merging with lush gardens bursting with pomegranate, pomelo and quince trees, the family-friendly junior suites (which can fit up to two children) are prepped with bespoke midcentury-modern furniture to please the adults and a fenced terrace that will contain crawling babies.

While grown-ups are enjoying the contemporary Middle Eastern cooking at the open-air HaSalon or sushi at BondSt, the kids’ club offers the earthy activities one might expect from Six Senses, such as yoga and art made from recycled food, while older children can join apothecary classes where fragrant lotions are mixed from their home-grown herbs, or have a junior reflexology treatment in the spa. Hotel cars are available for safe passage to that first trip to Pacha. No, you are not invited. Just cross your fingers and hold on till dawn.

Price: Doubles from about $415

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Cretan Malia Park

Crete, Greece

A considered boho revamp has given this classic Greek Islands hotel on the northeast shore of the island a second wind. Opened by the Sbokou family in the 1980s, with low-rise buildings set in tropical gardens of banana trees, palms, and cacti, it is now drawing in a curious Euro crowd. On the private beach, Italian couples kick back and sunbathe, a bookish Parisian flicks through the latest Prix Goncourt-winning novel, and a group of Germans order a round of Negronis. Little ones come out of the kids’ club giggling before splashing into the river-like swimming pool, racing for the pink-flamingo and crocodile inflatables. Teens hang out at The Place, with its hammock-strung outdoor cinema where parents are kindly invited not to come. The modernist spaces were cleverly designed more than three decades ago—despite having 204 rooms the property never feels overcrowded. Nature envelops it all: the many trees provide shade throughout the grounds and the grassy lawn makes everything smell cool and fresh even in the searing summer heat.

When Agapi and Costantza Sbokou undertook the complete renovation in 2019, they focused on sustainability and the Cretan soul of the place. Designer Vana Pernari opted for knocked-back tonal textures for the interiors with lots of ceramics, wood and stone, plus nature-inspired jungle green and Aegean blue alongside works by urban artists Thanassis and Dimitris Kretsis. Make a beeline for the deluxe family bungalows—with their built-in bunks and separate bedrooms for the grown-ups, they get snapped up early. At Mouries restaurant, the large open kitchen with a huge fireplace hosts cooking lessons using vegetables from the garden during the day and becomes a farm-to-table taverna after sunset. It’s lovely to feast on local flavors under the starry sky listening to the sound of the lyre. This is definitely an elegant new look for Malia.

Price: Family bungalows from about $323 per night

Puente Romano Beach Resort Spain

Puente Romano

Marbella, Spain

Wander out to the balcony around sunrise and beyond the bougainvillea and ceiba flowers rustling in the breeze you’ll hear the Mediterranean rolling in. Built like a traditional Andalucian village with whitewashed walls, sky-blue ceramic tiles and winding terra-cotta pathways, Puente Romano opened in the late 1970s just down the Golden Mile from its older sister The Marbella Club . And after a series of refurbishments and embellishments—including a Six Senses spa, Nobu outpost and turbo-charged tennis club where Novak Djokovic’s coaches Pepe Imaz and Marko Djokovic give lessons to guests—it may even have the edge now. While most of southern Spain’s smartest stays shout about their seclusion, this hotel is firmly rooted as a local hub—there will be a gang of cocktail-sipping marbellís at Ibiza offshoot El Chiringuito, weekending madrileño couples strolling on the silver-sand beach, and Valencian children trotting to cooking classes in the dynamic kids’ club. It is a busy machine of a place veiled as a laidback hangout.

Dawn beach yoga gives way to lazy breakfasts of mushroom omelettes, just-cut jamón, and freshly squeezed orange juice at Bali-feel Sea Grill before a dip in one of the pools. The spa gets crazy booked up for its new CBD-oil massages, as do martial-arts sessions in the just-revamped gym (the wellness and fitness program is ever-changing). In the evening, as the sky swirls dusty pink, everyone gathers by the first-century Roman bridge at buzzy La Plaza. Punchy chili-coconut Mojitos do the rounds; superstar Dani García’s team delivers wood-fired tapas and succulent steaks; and Nobu chef Eleni Manousou works magic with market-fresh produce in spinach and miso salads or spicy salmon maki. The sun-baked Costa del Sol sometimes gets short shrift, but for an all-singing, all-dancing, everything-at-your-fingertips break, this is about as reliable as it gets.

Price: Junior suites start at $918 per night for a family of three

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Halkidiki, Greece

While Sani Resort as a whole, with its stellar reputation, is a failsafe option for exhausted parents any time between May and October (and even better for those with under-fours who can avoid school holidays), picking which part of the sprawling set-up to stay in is trickier. But this year the focus is on Porto Sani, tucked away in the lush manicured grounds like a secret hangout. What it lacks in beach frontage it more than makes up for with bobbing-boat views and finger-clicking-quick access to the shops and restaurants of the marina. Last year saw a good, thorough refurb of the hotel—rooms now channel a stripped-back, sun-bleached palette with pale duck-egg blues, abstract seascapes on the walls, and hessian and rattan making an appearance in the sitting rooms. And while that all sounds nerve-rackingly easy for children to trash, this is actually one of the most family-friendly parts of the complex.

Kids go wild for the looping, lagoon-like swimming pools; there is a mass of choice when it comes to rooms (suites, extra bedrooms, interconnecting, with a garden, with a pool); and Annabel Karmel makes a starry appearance on all the menus. The gelateria is a 30-second scoot away, as is a brilliant supermarket for picking up any forgotten essentials—although you’ll find practically everything you need in your room. There is a kind of village vibe here, with children forming little tribes, ordering their own juices from the bar, plotting and planning to go into the kids’ club at the same time. It’s hard to ask for more than that. Be sure to pre-book dinner reservations before you even get on the plane. It sounds nuts, but if you want that sunset slot at gorgeous sushi restaurant Katsu or at the pretty taverna Ouzerie in Sani Club, you need to be on the ball.

Price: Rooms from around $719

tree house

Ostergotland, Sweden

Ulrika Krynitz and Håkan Strotz have been running a farm here at Odeshög since 1993 and their extraordinary hideaway, three hours east of Gothenburg , is bound up in their love of the environment. Meaning ‘inspired by nature’, the eco-lodge takes you right to the heart of it, with 10 fairy tale treehouses and turf-roofed wooden huts buried deep in the forest. The hand-built cabins are cozy and—most importantly—have no electricity. The idea is to embrace a stripped-back existence in all its simplicity: if it’s dark, light a candle; if it’s cold, start the fire. That simplicity is a guiding factor, with composting loos, resident chickens, and a complete lack of screens, but that’s not to say this spot isn’t special or delightful. It has all the best elements of nature right here: clear water to swim in, a marked trail lined with wild strawberries, the sound of birds to wake you up. For city dwellers needing a biophilic lift, this is it.

The main clubhouse, where breakfast is served, is a two-minute walk past horse paddocks and sheep pastures. Beyond, Lake Visjö glitters in the early-morning light, waiting to be explored with canoes and paddleboards. The sauna is ready, piping hot, on your return. Vegetarian food is included on a cook-it-yourself basis, much of it grown in the nearby vegetable patch by Krynitz and her gang; local meat, beers, and wine are also available. In the evening, a medley of adults stir pots over crackling fires and share cooking tips in the semi-open kitchen barn while children tumble in hammocks and make new friends. Occasional activities might involve Strotz gathering the kids to pick wild cherries or collect eggs, but overall everyone’s free to roam and enjoy the Scandinavian landscape in a relaxed and thoughtful way. It’s a true rewilding experience.

Price: Cabins for a family of four from around $489 per night, full board (minimum two nights)

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Stari Grad, Croatia

One of last year’s most interesting but under-the-radar openings in the Med is Maslina , a hideout on the rocky coastline of Hvar. Not one of Dubrovnik’s grandes dames, or the more barefoot lo-fi hotels that dot the islands, but something in between. The positioning is high end, high level, high expectations, but with a 21st-century spin and sustainability at the forefront. From a distance, the low-rise wood-clad buildings are barely distinguishable from the earthy green of the Aleppo pine and olive trees—natural building materials were integral to architect Tomislav Alujević’s design. Inside, everything is open and minimal: sheer linen curtains divide the lobby and library, and a huge slab of Brać stone makes up the reception desk. Interiors don’t distract from the sea outside; the hypnotically blue swipe of Adriatic is glimpsed through every window. It’s this water you will be drawn to for snorkeling, kayaking and exploring the many swimming spots.

For those happier on dry land, the kids’ club hosts cooking classes and climbing-wall sessions, plus farm tours and tree planting. During the day, everyone pads around in their swimsuits, wandering up from sunbathing decks or the saltwater pool for a long lunch. There are cycling and trekking routes through lavender fields, as well as wine and olive-oil tastings at nearby producers, but if you’d rather stay horizontal the spa treatments incorporating sound healing and reiki are very good. Come nightfall, the vibe turns sultry; cocktails served in golden glasses, dinner by candlelight. If you’re staying in one of the villas, definitely book the babysitter and room service for the children.

Price: Doubles from around $443

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The Unbound

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

This is where the cool Dutch crew pop to for a countryside blast, but amazingly it’s only a 30-minute cycle ride from the capital’s central Grachtengordel neighborhood. Another world appears at the outskirts of Amsterdam -West as the landscape changes from canals, bikes, and medieval architecture to green polders, ever-changing widescreen skies and fresh breezes blowing in off the North Sea. At The Unbound, young families rent a cabin for the weekend to unwind. Children quickly clamber straight to the natural playground and forget that thing called the iPad ever existed while their parents sink glasses of wine on the sunny deck or nip between the barrel sauna and the dip bath overlooking the pond. Don’t come expecting the pizzazz of Soho Farmhous — things are pretty relaxed but incredibly comfortable.

The forward-thinking, architect-designed free-standing cabins, made from sustainable European wood, sit on stilts and are linked by boardwalks. Interiors are stylishly pulled together by Studio Pistache, with a vintage Ligne Roset Togo sofa, exclusively designed fabrics, and merino-wool blankets. The family-friendly lodges include The Lighthouse, which has its own hot tub, The Barn, modeled on traditional farm buildings, and The Wikkel, partially constructed from cardboard. There is cabin service, which means it’s possible to order in for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, or wander to The Daily shop, fully stocked with wine and food, for supplies to bake your own margherita pizza in the outdoor ovens. But the hub of the place is The Unbound restaurant. Devised by Swiss chef Ralph Schelling, who has worked for big names such as Ferran Adrià and Heston Blumenthal, dishes are inspired by the produce from the organic vegetable fields. Yet there’s no need to dress for dinner. Kick back, relax and no one will bat an eyelid at muddy wellies under the table.

Price: Cabins for a family of four from around $225 per night

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Cabü by the Lake

Co Cavan, Ireland

It is fair to say that this is one of Ireland’s undiscovered counties. The lake-strewn swath of countryside always seemed to be on the way to somewhere else. Not so any more—the recent arrival of Cabü by the Lakes has put its tranquil charms firmly on the map. Surrounded by the bosky beauty of the Killykeen Forest Park and overlooking Lough Oughter, this cluster of hipster hideaways embraces the great outdoors with its riff on the rustic retreat. A two-hour drive from both Dublin and Belfast, this is where you will find clued-up Irish families eager to immerse themselves in nature. Its wooden huts, loft, and lake houses are dotted among trees and a wildflower meadow, and interiors tap into the cabin-in-the-woods trope with kilims, woolen blankets, and vintage botanical prints. There are fully stocked kitchens, wood-burning stoves, and barbecues, but also Netflix-enabled TVs and Wi-Fi for rainy days. Children can run wild in the 100-acre, car-free grounds and there is direct access to the hiking and biking trails of the forest park. The jetty by the lake has boats and fishing rods for hire to explore the waterlogged landscape of islands, lakes and channels that teem with swans, ducks, and fish. Given the unpredictability of the weather, The Sitooterie is a clever call—an inside-outside space with twinkling fairy lights, cozy blankets, comfy chairs, and a blazing fire to keep chills at bay. The snappily curated Cabü Corner sells coffee and groceries, as well as homeware, gifts, and books. Drop into the Cabin Club for an Aperol Spritz or eat every meal there, taking advantage of the all-day menu and Argentine-style night-time grills. There are also hot tubs and saunas, or steal into the woods for Japanese-style forest bathing surrounded by the swaying trees. This is a Swallows and Amazons fantasy but with all the frills.

Price: Cabins from around $250 per night (minimum two nights)

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Les Hortensias du Lac

Landes, France

Life is sweet on the shores of Lake Hossegor, a few hundred yards from the rollers that draw surfers from around the world to this southwest corner. Both rugged and cool, the Landes region is usurping the nearby Basque Country in the hearts of Parisians. They come here with their children for August holidays to sidestep the chi-chi hotspots of Ile de Ré and Juan-les-Pins, to roam the countryside and have space to plant their parasols on the beach. Most families hole up in the wooden-shuttered houses between the lake and the sea, but this summer they’ll be clambering for rooms here. This classic hotel, tucked into the pines, was taken over and transformed by the Domaines de Fontenille group: after a top-to-toe renovation it now looks like a kind of midcentury-modern Hamptons surf lodge. The restaurant with its bulb-string-lit terrace serves up a sunny menu of pan-fried squid, mussels, and hay-roasted chicken.

Bedrooms are light and bright, and downstairs whisky decanters and loose-covered sofas have made way for jute rugs on polished-concrete floors, decorative surfboards stacked in a corner, cane benches, and velvet footstools. It feels smart, but also somewhere for wet footprints coming in from the pool or sandy toes from the beach. And the real focus is the sea. The surf clubs that run along La Côte d’Argent offer lessons to everyone from first-timers to near-pros, and there are all sorts of surf competitions and festivals to watch, as well as paddle-boarding on the lake and yoga back at the hotel. A fresh way to tap into the salty-haired vibe of the area, but without the villa hassle of having to cook supper or make the beds.

Price: Rooms from around $297

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Les Maisons de Campagne

Ile-de-France, France

The fairy-tale Château de Villiers-le-Mahieu looks on first appearance like any other obscenely romantic, 17th-century French country house: clipped yew trees, a glassy moat, and a portico with pretty turrets peeking out. But inside, the atmosphere is more hip house party with pops of kitsch. Where once might have stood suits of armor there’s an old-school popcorn trolley outside a cinema room, and a big screen displaying the day’s activities, such as yoga and karaoke. Industrial-look lighting and wild wallpapers lend style, and every living space has a help-yourself beer fridge. Help yourself is a running theme at this spot, for not only does it represent a fresh spin on the château, but a reinvention of the all-inclusive, too.

Here, paying upfront and not sweating the small stuff is done the slick way, designed to appeal to Parisian families for whom it’s just an hour’s journey. The focus is on unfussy pleasures: rowing on the moat and borrowing scooters to explore nearby towns. At the pool, baskets of armbands are one of many thoughtful touches that act as analgesics on stressed parents. Food is of course a self-serve affair, but very nicely done with colorful salads, rich dauphinoise, and dorada sizzled on the barbecue out back. Then, as the shadows lengthen, grown-ups retreat to the pétanque pitch with wine. Everything is chilled, and life is sweet.

Price: Rooms from around $182 per night

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Casa Das Arribas, Portugal

Built for a wealthy family in the 1940s by influential Portuguese architect Raul Lino, this white-on-white estate—high on a cliff in the old seaside village of Azenhas do Mar—lay abandoned for 15 years until it was modishly revived by its German owner Chris Kraus two years ago. Outpost is now a collection of six cool, clean-lined apartments set in a tropical garden staring vertiginously down to the Atlantic Ocean, while the midnight-green forests of Sintra-Cascais Natural Park creep up behind. They showcase Lino’s pared-down vision and love of space and simplicity. Most have views on at least two sides, plus polished-concrete worktops and exposed ceiling joists. Original terra-cotta tiles, stone fireplaces, and robust, locally made wooden furniture give the place an air of rugged refinement (and parents a sense of relief that there’s nothing too obvious for the children to smash). The Ocean Saloon is the pick of the bunch, with glass doors looking out to a private terrace and roaring, in-your-face sea views. Wool rugs in block-colored stripes, an oval ceramic bath and a swirling sculptural pendant lamp—designed by Kraus in the style of Le Klint—add character.

In summer, the hotel is filled with fresh-faced, outdoorsy European families. A shared tennis and basketball court, gym, swimming pool, spa, and store cupboard stocked with skateboards, games, and yoga mats keep everyone on their toes, meaning young ones are adequately exhausted by bedtime. Surfing is a way of life in these parts, and the practically private beach—a minute’s walk from the garden gate—offers sheltered waves suitable for the youngest budding boarders. Massages and fitness classes can be arranged, as can childcare—especially useful for a quick grown-ups-only day trip to Lisbon (about 45 minutes away). But with its hypnotic scenery and soothing, stripped-back interiors, it’s easy to stay put at this crazy–good-value hangout.

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Noah Surf House

Casa de Prata, Portugal

A sleepy village overlooking a beach pounded by Atlantic waves doesn’t scream child-friendly destination. Yet under-the-radar Santa Cruz, north of Lisbon , has quickly established itself among in-the-know parents. That’s in no small part due to this hip eco-hotel designed by the couple behind gorgeous Areias do Seixo a few miles away. Noah exhibits the same artistic flair but with a more industrial aesthetic. Rooms are in the main house or boxy wood-clad bungalows, their roofs tufted with grass, and kids love the bunks suspended by cables with rope ladders. Teens roam between the skatepark and chill-out room with its table football, or commandeer the hot tub while adults take a deep inhale of salty air from the daybeds around the pool. The ocean beckons as soon as the sun rises but only the most dedicated surfer would miss breakfast with eggs from the resident chickens.

If conditions are too rough off Santa Cruz’s 11 beaches, head north to buzzing Peniche or south to pretty Ericeira, some of the best beaches in Portugal. For dinner there are two options: the restaurant offers twists on local classics such as Ibérico pork pica pau with spices, and Noah Beach House, right on the sand, is big on seafood. In terms of design, bare bricks and chunky furniture are offset by fishing nets, octopus traps, even an upturned boat—this artful flotsam and jetsam reflects a determination to repurpose. Sustainability extends beyond the styling: instead of air-conditioning, thick walls keep rooms cool; rain water is collected and food composted; 70 per cent of energy for hot water is generated by solar power; and everyone is given metal water bottles to reuse. This is somewhere to teach kids good environmental practice, as well as surfing. The modern way to holiday.

Price: Rooms from around $206 per night

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Sciacca, Sicily

An evergreen beachside hangout, this hotel was a labor of love for Rocco Forte and his sister Olga Polizzi when it opened more than a decade ago on the southwest coast of Sicily. The huge estate between the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento and the fishing village of Sciacca remains as slick as ever. Its architecture, a pared-back, modernist affair, has stood the test of time, the whitewashed buildings sitting strong in the rugged landscape dotted with olive groves and fragrant citrus trees. New this summer are 20 Hollywood Hills-style villas with private pools, and while they might look terribly grown-up, with earthy tones of terracotta and ochre and handcrafted ceramics, they come kitted out with night lights, safety plugs, baby baths and other crucial paraphernalia. The whole place is subtly but deftly geared towards the smaller members of the family.

Fussy eaters won’t have anything to complain about, feasting on spaghetti al pomodoro on colorful plates at Liolà trattoria. Food miles are minimal—the fish at all four restaurants is fresh from the sea. Extra energy is burnt off in the sports clubs where professionals train in everything from football to windsurfing, on the tennis courts, dive-bombing into the indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and cycling around the 230-hectare grounds, which are flat enough to navigate with a buggy. The kids’ club is full of singing-and-dancing Sicilian Mary Poppins organizing fun and games. Toddlers can take naps in a cool sleep room while parents have theirs under the parasols on the sandy beach or on a treatment bed in the state-of-the-art spa. Smart, easy to get to and high-octane, this may be where Diane von Furstenberg, Leonardo DiCaprio and Bradley Cooper come to attend Google Camp, but it’s also a laidback refuge for those looking for some vitamin D–fueled downtime and to feel the sea breeze on the whole family’s skin.

Price: Rooms from around $633 per night

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Craveiral Farmhouse

Alentejo, Portugal

Eight years in the making, this project—a self-sustaining quinta set in the dusty hills of Odemira in the Alentejo—has finally come to fruition. The founders became fixated with the idea of communal living; of forging a place where families could get up close to nature and experience the workings of a modern-day farm—and their rambling, village-like set-up offers exactly that. Whitewashed houses are clustered around courtyards, with simple wooden terraces for watching fiery sunsets; inside, they’re light and bright, with jolts of color (a mustard armchair, a navy Hästens bedframe) and slate kitchens for stashing eggs fresh from the hen coop. Rooms are just a bicycle-pedal from the main house, with its curving walls that offer shelter from the Atlantic breeze and a huge pool where children can splash and parents can snooze on loungers. Interiors are cool and contemporary: beneath undulating ceilings are Nordic-style tables, on which breakfasts of charcuterie and soft cheeses, lemon cake and sun-sweetened nectarines are served next to the open fireplace. The buttery suede sofas are less forgiving of sticky fingers, but once the kids are in bed, it’s a great spot for a nightcap, in reach of the help-yourself bar and some very drinkable honey liqueur. Supper is pulled straight from the vegetable patch and whipped up by Portuguese grandmothers: chilled melon and garlic soup, black pork with tangy tomato bread, rice pudding sprinkled with cinnamon. Even the Vicentino Alvarinho, from the nearby winery, is a love affair with local living. As is the cork that lines the sauna—the sleek concrete spa is a beauty, with a hammam lit by burnished copper lanterns—and the logs that carpet the entrance. Sustainability runs through Craveiral’s veins: rainwater is collected and filtered; old trees become fuel for wood-burning stoves. A stay here is delightful—a place where children can ride horses by day, and then sleep with nothing but an open door and a billowing curtain between them and the great outdoors.

Price: Rooms from around $219 per night

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Beach House

Antiparos, Greece

Greece is a shoo-in when it comes to a sure-fire, happiness-through-the-ranks holiday. Turbo hotels, with kids’ clubs, a clutch of restaurants, and private beaches, are dotted across the direct-flight islands and throughout Halkidiki on the mainland; unsurprisingly they come with crowds of repeat guests. For those seeking a slower pace, a simpler barefoot offering in the harder-to-reach parts of the Aegean scratches a more adventurous itch. Antiparos is barely more than a dusty islet, half an hour by ferry from Paros. It’s the antithesis of Crete’s package trips, Mykonos’s party-hard beach clubs, or the teenage rite-of-passage scene in Corfu’s Kassiopi. In fact, there’s very little going on. Opened six years ago, Beach House is a Cycladic villa right on a sheltered bay on the south-east coast—a rustic set-up where good vibes rule. The nine rooms are simple, with blue shutters and bougainvillaea-framed terraces, and the three family suites are the ones to book. Mornings on the beach are especially lovely. Breakfast on wooden tables, cats weaving in and out of chair legs, is a feast of any-way eggs, thick yogurt, honey, and spanakopita. Kids can mess about in the playground, where activities are laid on during most of July and August, while grown-ups stay horizontal on sunbeds. The beachfront bar plays trip hop, and the rosé is ice cold. Lunches and suppers showcase authentic food with a deft hand: catch of the day, octopus risotto, seafood spaghetti, plus a marginally less fishy children’s menu. Yoga sessions and boat rides are available; the clear sea is great for swimming and snorkeling (there’s no pool). It feels like a mini Formentera. Supremely low-key but nails all you really need: good food and good wine, lots of fussing over the children, charming staff, and comfortable beds.

Price: Family suites from around $419 per night

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Bonnelles, France

French country hotels have traditionally tended to be stand-on-ceremony château-grand or heavily upholstered floral-chintz classics. Not places, really, for those prone to tantrums. Which is why this laid-back spot —a cluster of reimagined old barns, like a stripped-back Soho Farmhouse or countrified Hoxton, on the 200-hectare Le Haras de La Cense equestrian estate 40 minutes outside Paris—was such an exciting opening. It seems the boho Marais folk agree: on weekends it’s packed out with couples in matching Ray-Bans soaking in the Nordic baths and Carven-clad parents with artful tattoos chasing toddlers around the lobby. Franco-American owner William Kriegel teamed up with two clever collaborators to make Le Barn’s studied ease so on point: Edouard Daehn and Paris design agency Be-Pôles, which had a hand in The NoMad hotels in New York and L.A. , and the Côte d’Azur’s Les Roches Rouges . Rooms have a Shakerist, functional minimalist design: Barbour-fabric curtains, enamel mugs and plates, retro camping chairs. Activities are an all-get-stuck-in affair: bikes with child seats already installed are propped outside the front door, guarded by hotel dog Clark. There’s a rowing boat on the little lake, mini orange life jackets flung over the bench next to it, plus a pirate-and-princess-filled dressing-up box and plenty of paths for rambles through the surrounding forest. Saturdays see more planned events, from mural workshops to archery trials. Naturally, horses are a big part of the action: the smallest riders (from age three) bob along on mini Shetland ponies, and graceful shire horses take the whole gang out for a carriage ride before supper at La Serre greenhouse restaurant. This is the rural good life, with a hefty dose of nonchalant Parisian cool.

Price: Rooms from around $248

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Vila Monte Farm House

Algarve, Portugal

Most people flying to Faro rush straight to the coast, to the clipped golf courses of Quinta do Lago, the wide beaches of Vale do Lobo, the hit of dark, chilly Atlantic blue on the horizon of any of the seaside sunspots. It’s a well-trodden path. More interesting, though, is to look the other way, back at the hills, to the farmland, where the manicured lawns and indentikit villas make way for scrubby olive groves and crumbling villages. Moncarapacho is less than half an hour from the airport but a million miles away in essence. Vila Monte has somehow managed to remain a bit of a secret, a mini estate of whitewashed buildings that blend Moorish architecture with Andalusian hacienda style. The grounds are exquisitely pretty: lush gardens, aromatic cypress trees, thick herbaceous borders, orange and fig trees, ripe fruit weighing down the branches. Inside, the look is Comporta-cool, thanks to Portuguese design maven Vera Iachia: rattan headboards, sisal rugs on stone floors, pergola-shaded terraces casting shadows on day beds. It’s a big enough place that staying put is perfectly possible—there are terrapin-filled ponds, a chef’s table set in the kitchen garden, two pools, a tennis court, a kids’ club, and film nights with popcorn. But there are also trips with a local fisherman to harvest razor clams and oysters (eaten straight away on the boat, washed down with chilled white wine), and adventures exploring the wilder beaches east of Tavira, with their white sand dunes and warm water. At night, after wood-fired thin-crust pizzas and chocolate mousse served from a giant sharing bowl, children run wild across the fairy-lit lawn, collecting carob pods. Back in the room, a plate of freshly baked warm cookies awaits by the bed—a gesture that defines the place rather well.

Price: Rooms from around $295 per night

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São Lourenço Do Barrocal

Alentejano, Portugal

The Alentejo in Portugal has long been a weekend escape for Lisbonites lucky enough to have farms there. A land of horses and cows, cork and olive trees, its plains stretch under a vast blue sky. This is the Pampas of Europe. When José António Uva inherited his family’s 780-hectare estate at just 26, he devoted the next 14 years to remodeling its ancient village as a hotel. Opened in 2016, it has a barefaced beauty: the whitewashed, brick-floored cottages (with Gaggenau kitchens and bright living rooms), the charming restaurant and Susanne Kaufmann spa are simply dressed with local textiles and crafts. The feel is refined yet relaxed farmhouse. But it’s the mementos displayed—black-and-white photographs, a child’s shoe, a skipping-rope—that give the place a kick of whimsical nostalgia.

Fun and games are cheerfully retro: from treasure hunts to horse-and-trap rides. And all around is this natural playground, with neolithic monumental stones to clamber over, meadows to picnic in, and vineyard trails to explore by bike. Children can dip their toes into their own pool (there is a separate, deeply tranquil one for adults). Fish-finger fanatics will be inspired to try the field-to-fork traditional dishes once they’ve helped chef pluck carrots from the organic vegetable garden. Meanwhile, grown-ups can get a taste of the terroir with the estate’s own wines. Barrocal has been home to tight-knit clans for literally ages—prehistoric tribes, Roman settlers, 19th-century farmers, and now, in José António’s two small children, ninth-generation Uvas. Here is somewhere for families to spend proper time together and get a bit dirty in the dusty earth of one of Portugal’s best-kept secrets. A future classic.

Price: Rooms from around $594 per night

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Huus Gstaad

Saanen, Switzerland

While Gstaad’s still an old-school place with long-etched family connections, fresh arrivals can scrape their boots on the welcome mat. And in a town where, until recently, diners could be admonished for wearing shirt-sleeves, a new informality has been embraced. The Huus (not in Gstaad, actually, but in neighboring Saanen) opened at the end of 2016, a chalet-style huus of the type insisted upon in these parts; but inside there’s a refreshingly open-plan frame of mind. A hodgepodge of sofas, chairs, and stools create little islets of sociability in the sprawling lobby-living space, with a well-stocked bar on one side and box-shelves of interesting books and objects rising up on the other. Bright pendants give pops of color, as do fabrics in heathery purples and oranges, while river stone, slate, and pebbles add more texture to the ubiquitous wooden panelling. Family suites are kitted out with cool Mammut rucksacks and hiking blankets, with balconies for mountain gazing—the view, across rooftops to the snaggle-toothed, Eiger-like peak, private planes buzzing down on the valley airstrip, should come with its own string-soaring John Barry theme.

Switzerland is flat-out expensive, so the sheer amount of complimentary activities here is a massive draw: from e-bike tours (actually cycling up the hill will make your calves bulge like Popeye’s), abseiling and sledding to fondue parties, swimming, and, amazingly, ski tuition and kit for the under 10s, making this a great choice for those first, faltering lessons. At the very least swing in the gondola up the flanks of Rellerli, where there’s a trampoline, curious cows, and a metal-sided luge snaking down the mountainside—a whole lot of fun. Back at the hotel, small feet will soon learn to navigate from the pool and junior spa to the games room or play-chalet. Food is taken seriously here, with cloches removed to reveal lavender-smoked veal or red mullet, and arancini or sole fillet for kids (there’s also a separate dining space for younger, messier ones). This is a generous, ready-for-all-occasions den for a summer or winter Alpine fix.

Price: Rooms from around $526 per night

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Costa Navarino

Peloponnese, Greece

Vassilis Constantakopoulos, aka The Captain, was a man with a vision. Having made his billions in shipping, he dedicated his life to regenerating Messinia, the Peloponnese peninsula where he grew up, and the result was this estate of hotels and villas, golf courses, and restaurants, all with a committed eco punch. It sounds vast and unwieldy, but the design is clever, the landscape swallows up the buildings, the stone echoes the surrounding villages, and the dunes still have a feeling of wildness. Environmental awareness and conservation are all encompassing—rainwater reservoirs keep the rolling fourways a vibrant green, waste water irrigates plants, and the beaches are protected because of the sea turtles who lay their eggs there (the Barbouni beach club even closes at 5 p.m. so as not to disturb them).

Pick between the Romanos and Westin hotels. The former is more reserved, the latter more obviously family friendly, though they share everything—the restaurants, sunbeds on the beaches, swimming pools and spas. Two kids’ clubs come with an army of dedicated local teachers to entertain their charges, and a long-as-your-arm menu of activities including Young Gardeners, which takes them out to the hotels’ vegetable patch to sow and harvest. After a busy morning of gardening, children squeeze onto benches under an ancient olive tree to tuck into Greek salad drizzled with local olive oil. Older children can launch themselves at the climbing wall, bowling alley, tennis courts, water slides, or movie theater, or sign up for football coaching, while parents munch on Kalamata olives and taste wine from the hotel vineyards. For more adventurous guests, there are 10 major sites on the doorstep, including the Palace of Nestor, which was, fittingly, renowned for its hospitality.

Price: Rooms from around $229 per night

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Santa Marina

Mykonos, Greece

Remember announcing pre-parenthood that having children wouldn’t change your holidays? This could be as close as you’ll ever get to realising that statement, without actually leaving the little ones at home. Looking out from the deck of the bar across the water, the DJ’s house music playing discreetly in the background, it feels like you might just have beaten the system. The hotel sums up Greek chic. A family-run classic hideout, it was treated to a full refurbishment a few years ago by the owner, Christiana Papageorgiou. Out went the traditional taupe and in came coral artwork, bamboo furniture, basket lamps and vintage-style travelling trunks. Unlike the town’s party beaches and narrow streets, it is not short on space. Tiny tantrums are easily hidden; there is room to run around. Vast rattan day beds with hoods are great for lunchtime snoozes under super-size beach towels. Lunch is served as early as you want, and there’s a constant stream of fruit smoothies and ice cream by the pool. Forget bringing the buggy: there is a lift to all levels of the estate, which is cut rather impressively into the rocks. There is also a sleek boat that zips around the island to the beach clubs, so no time is wasted on winding roads in Greek taxis. Not that there is any reason to leave. This is the only private stretch of sand on Mykonos, and it’s all yours. Beach attendants are incredibly friendly and attentive, despite the obligatory dark glasses and swagger, and there is no shortage of sunbeds, front row or otherwise. The sceney Buddha-Bar attracts plenty of private yachters coming ashore, so parents more accustomed to spooning lobster spaghetti into kids’ mouths can still get a small hit of the party vibe.

Price: Rooms from around $524 per night

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Six Senses Corchevel

Courchevel, France

Here is a snowy village with more Michelin-star restaurants than anywhere in the Alps, more five-star hotels than anywhere in France except Paris. It is ritzy, over-the-top, fur-draped, diamond-bright... but not necessarily easy to navigate with small people. But now Six Senses has teamed up with family-holiday masterminds Scott Dunn to offer smart smoked-oak apartments in a sprawling chalet, complete with massages and herbal scrubs in the spa, and game-changing childcare. It’s a package as delicious as a hot chocolate up the mountains, and all just a two-minute walk from the Croisette. This is something new for Courchevel. And while there may be stellar hotels among the trees and beside the pistes, an apartment is heaven when you have children who need feeding at antisocial hours. A fridge, a microwave, a proper oven! There’s also a Scott Dunn hamper with all the basics—milk, teabags, butter—along with the good stuff, such as a bottle of Laurent-Perrier, olives, and thick salty potato chips. The hand-holding extends to ski passes (waiting for guests on the dining table), boots and skis, a children’s club, and transfers up and down the mountain. A concierge will make reservations at La Cave des Creux, a nanny will do the ski-school pick-up, and a therapist will treat wind-whipped skin with an Organic Pharmacy facial. This is a go-big-or-go-home kind of trip that makes the thought of organizing the next one yourself rather unpalatable.

Price: Three-bedroom family apartment from around $4,610 per night

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Porto Zante

Zakynthos, Greece

The promise of a villa that has all the bells and whistles of a hotel is pretty irresistible. The space, yes, the privacy too, but also the bed-making in your wake, the sweeping up of toys and trails of crumbs. So it’s surprising that this tucked-away spot on Zakynthos ’s green east coast, with its nine houses on a hillside above an immaculate bay, remains so under the radar. This is not driftwood, sun-faded, rustic Greece . Rooms are decked out in Armani Casa and Bang & Olufsen, with Bulgari soaps and lotions (and special kids’ versions) in the bathrooms, while outside teak sunbeds shaded by zingy, canary-yellow umbrellas surround each pool (stocked with a menagerie of inflatables plus baby pool seats and armbands). It’s the kind of supremely well-thought-out place that means for once there isn’t more luggage than people traveling. Cots, stair gates, strollers, and highchairs are already there. Down on the beach are buckets, shovels, and wheelbarrows, with paddle boats, paddleboards, and sea kayaks on standby for the energetic. The kids’ club is filled with craft materials and table-football games, and offers treasure hunts, mini zumba classes, and smoothie-and-dance parties. In the evening, the lovely Vasiliki Bekioti can babysit while you slip down paths lined with bougainvillaea and giant geranium to Maya, the Asian restaurant with a terrace that juts out over the Ionian. But a restaurant that comes to you is much easier. Course after course can be set up at a white-linen-covered table under the pergola, the baby monitor still in range as you sip buttery Greek Chardonnay. Everything is seamless, in part because the owner is a perfectionist. Are the tempura oysters at Maya just-so crisp? Is the Roots Rakomelo, a honeyed digestif that tastes of Christmas, served at the ideal temperature? Is the sand on the beach swept in perpendicular lines? The answer here appears always to be yes.

Price: Two-bedroom villa from around $6,595 per night

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Casa la Siesta

Cádiz, Spain

Arriving here with children feels akin to smuggling a toddler into a nightclub: very much not the done thing. The hotel is a grown-up hideaway of stepped lawns and terraces, winding paths and olive and citrus trees sunk into a cleft between dusty hills. Tables for two sit beneath draped vines, and garden nooks are set with day beds for afternoon snoozing. In other words, a retreat where wheeling swifts are the only thing dive-bombing the saltwater pool. For a few weeks a year, however, they elbow out the couples to let families in, with activities that stretch from circus skills and mobile-making to trampolining and pool games, all overseen by a tomboyish childcare whizz and her team. There’s an imaginative children’s menu plus all the pool inflatables, bubbles, and glitter they could ever want (and someone else to clear it up). Complimentary babysitters will relieve you of your charges for an hour or two so you can drink wine and read a sentence of your book before dozing off in the shade. These weeks are the brainchild of the hotel’s owners, Lee and Amelia Thornley, who run the design studio Bert & May and, being parents themselves, are well-versed in the challenges of family vacations. The nine-room finca has been deliciously restored in a restrained, rustic style, with tactile plaster walls, antique dressers, stone arches, iron balustrades, and airy rooms with balconies and bathtubs. For larger families there’s the new two-bedroom villa, The Stables, set away from the hotel but with a direct phone line to reception, so room service can be ordered. Or there’s a three-bedroom casita with its own pool and terrace, and—better yet—a yurt for grumpy teens. This is a supremely clever choice for anyone with a phobia of big, all-singing-all-dancing resorts.

Price: Rooms from around $276 per night

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7 of the best European destinations for families

Lori Zaino

With travel springing back into action, Europe may be the perfect place to take your family on an international trip .

While you can't really go wrong with the classics, there are many amazing, family-friendly destinations to visit beyond iconic cities such as London or Paris .

In addition to focusing on choosing locations with activities for families , it's important to consider the distinct cultural aspects of each country in Europe.

Mediterranean cultures truly love kids and are used to having them running around everywhere, including in bars and restaurants. Other destinations have history and attractions that are particularly apt for teens or best for those with smaller babies . Many spots have plenty of wide-open space and fresh air for kids to run around or feature family-friendly beaches . Likewise, many European destinations are exceptionally welcoming for LGBTQ+ families .

best european travel companies for families

Whether you're traveling with teens, small children, your infant, grandma and grandpa or beyond, these are some of the best destinations to visit in Europe with your family.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter .

Edinburgh, Scotland

best european travel companies for families

Edinburgh has one of the most epic castles in all of Europe. It's practically a village complete with a royal palace, cathedral, war museum, one of Europe's largest cannons (Mons Meg) and of course, all the classic castle features that capture a child's imagination: turrets, dungeons and the like. Kids from little to old and even adults will love exploring all this massive castle has to offer.

Afterward, children will love running around the picturesque hills of Holyrood Park and Arthur's Seat (make sure to watch "Camelot" with the family before the trip). Arthur's Seat, which is actually an extinct volcano, is reachable via hikes of varying difficulty, including an easier, more child-friendly route that requires more driving and less walking. Those traveling with a stroller may want to skip this activity, though.

In general, Scotland is perfect for families coming from the U.S. or Canada that don't want to deal with a language barrier. Plus, the country has lots of open space where kids can breathe in fresh air throughout its 900 islands and two national parks. And, of course, the real Harry Potter train also operates in Scotland .

Related: Fun activities for families visiting Edinburgh

Madrid, Spain

best european travel companies for families

Taking your children to bars and restaurants in Madrid — actually, in all of Spain — is practically a national pastime, and no one will stare at you if little Liam has a meltdown or baby Becky is tired and won't stop crying for a bit. Just sip your beer and take it in stride like Spanish parents do.

Many of the capital's metro stations have elevators which make moving around with a baby easier. Madrid is extremely walkable (believe it or not, your stroller wheels buzzing over the cobblestones will lure your little angel right to sleep). If you're traveling with anyone older, you probably won't find ageism in Madrid. Everyone from babies to retirees hangs out in the squares till the wee hours of the night (or morning), especially during the summer months. Just note that July and August are very hot times to visit. (Here are some of the best times to visit Spain .)

A city that's also extremely welcoming to LGBTQ+ families (be sure to enjoy dining and shopping in the Chueca neighborhood), Madrid has plenty of activities that let families see the top attractions together.

Book guided child or family tours of some of the top art museums such as the Prado and the Reina Sofía, or simply enjoy wandering squares like Plaza Mayor or green spaces like Retiro Park.

Salzburg, Austria

best european travel companies for families

If your child's all-time favorite movie is "The Sound of Music," you should definitely plan to head to Salzburg , a charming city that's just as welcoming to children as it is to adults. From activities such as a Toy Museum to an interactive Water Museum, there's much for children to learn about while still having fun.

For those aforementioned "Sound of Music" fans, a walk around the Mirabell Palace Gardens might seem familiar, as several scenes from the movie were filmed there. Plus, the city's family-friendly beer halls and gardens will keep both the adults and the kids entertained.

Visiting the Hohensalzburg Fortress, perched on an overlook, is also fun with kids — they'll love its hilltop location and listening to the massive mechanical organ known as the "Salzburg Bull." But what they might love most about the adventure is the funicular ride on the way up, offering bird's-eye views of the palace and city down below.

Related: 11 good hotels for your next trip to Austria

Amsterdam, Netherlands

best european travel companies for families

Amsterdam might actually be best for toddlers or preschool-age kids, since you can strap your little one in a bike seat and roam the city.

Teens can enjoy the city's bike and canal culture as well as its compelling history. Many students read "The Diary of a Young Girl" by Anne Frank in middle school, making this the perfect age for your tweens to visit the Anne Frank House and connect it to what they've learned from the book.

You can also arrange countryside bike tours with your older kids, tweens and teens that take you through the flat, Amstel River area past windmills and to clog and cheese factories. For younger kids, consider a ride on the city's historical tram , which operates on Sundays. The city is particularly LGBTQ+ -friendly, too.

Related: 12 mistakes made by Amsterdam tourists

Crete, Greece

best european travel companies for families

With endless options for beach days, Crete is a laid-back island paradise for a relaxing family vacation. It's the largest Greek Island, meaning there are plenty of sandy shores for everyone. Children will have lots of space to run around and play without bothering other beachcombers.

Although there are many kid-friendly beaches on the island, the shallow waters of Elafonissi Beach are especially great for families, and the kids will love that the sand has a pinkish tone, too. Crete also has a few water parks that the whole family will enjoy.

For a sun-free day, Crete features Minoans World, a 3D museum and 9D cinema experience, as well as the CretAquarium and Natural History Museum. Teens can enjoy sailing lessons and food tours or wander the colorful, floral-lined streets of Chania.

The Dolomites, Italy

best european travel companies for families

While it is possible to enjoy spots like Rome and Florence with kids, a family trip to enjoy the great outdoors is also a great choice. The Dolomites, a mountain range in northern Italy , make for a nature-filled, enjoyable family getaway.

While there are plenty of difficult hikes, there also are many rural walks suitable for children, with beautiful scenery including resident goats, lakeside picnics, former war trench visits and waterfall adventures. With so much open space, there doesn't have to be much to "do" here — you can let your children run around and enjoy the rolling hills or many parks, especially ones close to the cable car exits, which boast pretty cool equipment such as towers, tunnels, huge slides and even zip lines.

Although this area is heavily influenced by its proximity to Austria, you can still find traditional Italian delights like pizza , pasta and gelato that will quickly cure your child's crankiness. And while this is a popular ski area in the winter, you may want to visit in the warmer spring, summer and early fall, especially if you have smaller kids or don't want to deal with snow.

best european travel companies for families

Ireland 's verdant landscape and rugged, open expanse make it the perfect destination for families with energetic kids. The country is small, around the same size as the state of Indiana. Since driving distances are short, it's easy to visit myriad destinations without too much car time, minimizing those "Are we there yets?" and bouts of carsickness.

Start in Dublin, checking out kid-friendly attractions like the Irish Emigration Museum and Phoenix Park, one of the largest enclosed parks in Europe. Many areas worth a visit are located within easy reach of Dublin, such as Glendalough, a monastic glacial valley home to the Wicklow Mountains National Park and the Blarney Castle, site of the famous Blarney Stone.

Kilkenny is a medieval town near Castlecomer Discovery Park, home to the longest zip line in Ireland. In Limerick, kids can even hunt for fairies along special trails. Just make sure to pack your raincoats and rain boots.

Related: Dublin and Edinburgh on points

Bottom line

The logistics of planning a family getaway to Europe may seem complicated — it's true that the continent has fewer family-friendly, larger hotel rooms . You may also be wondering how locals manage to get their strollers up to their apartments in capital cities.

best european travel companies for families

But Europe is generally extremely welcoming to traveling families. With just a little extra research and organization (and picking the right destination), families of all different shapes and sizes with kids of varying ages can have an incredible vacation.

Europe family holidays

Family hiking in Europe

Ah, Europe —the quintessential holiday spot—but also a challenging one for families with its myriad different languages, cuisines and currencies to juggle. Our kid-friendly Euro trips take the hassle and expense out of a whirlwind European adventure. All your chalets, guesthouses and alpine trains are booked and ready; we’ve got warm baguettes and Bolognese on standby and an action-packed, family-friendly itinerary with your name on it. Yep, it’s time to start dreaming Continental.

Our Europe family trips

Europe family highlights, why choose us.

The clue’s in the title. These trips are for families only (including any aunts, uncles or cousins who’d like to come along, of course). As long as you’re travelling with a child under the age of 18, you’re a family in our eyes. Plus, unlike other travel companies, children aged 17 years and younger receive a 10% discount off the price of their trip.

Travelling the Intrepid way is a bit like travelling with a group of friends. These trips are made up of 3–5 like-minded families, and the kids tend to hit it off straight away, allowing you to enjoy some well-earned R&R. We often find the whole family ends up making friendships with people from all over the world, staying in touch long after the adventure ends.

Intrepid’s family group sizes are small enough to avoid the crowds and reach some out-of-the-way places, but big enough for a good social mix. Our average group size of 10 allows us to hop aboard local boats, buses or trains, eat at friendly, family-run restaurants and kick back in traditional accommodation and homestays.

We know the biggest challenge on a family trip is keeping the kids entertained. So we’ve planned in advance. Nearly all of our hotels feature pools, and each day has a great mix of action-packed adventure and flexible free time. Your local leader can also suggest activities based on your kid’s hobbies or school curriculum.

Our leaders are specially trained to run family adventures, so you’re well taken care of. You can also rest easy knowing we conduct safety assessments on all our activities to meet local standards as well as our own comprehensive safety policy.

We strive to use travel as a force for good. That’s why we choose to give back to the communities we visit, carbon offset all our trips and take our social and environmental responsibilities seriously. We’ve been officially certified as the world’s largest travel B Corp, which means when you choose Intrepid Travel, you can rest assured you’re travelling to improve the planet.

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Frequently asked questions

Where do we stay.

For our continental adventures, we like to stay in small, locally run hotels where hospitality is key and family-friendly facilities are available. Fortunately Europe has plenty of beautiful old buildings and character-filled properties to choose from.

Where can I learn more about Intrepid's family holidays?

You can find information on everything relating to our family holidays, including average group sizes, food and dietary questions, health and safety, accommodation, trip activities and more on our family page.

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8 of the best family adventure holidays in Europe that adults, teens and kids will love

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With summer underway and the school holidays fast approaching, many parents will be planning family holidays across Europe .

The continent’s vast array of cities, areas of natural beauty and famous landmarks make it an ever-popular holiday destination. But it can still be challenging to find a getaway that will keep the entire family happy while abroad.

A world away from sightseeing and city dwelling, an adventure holiday is a great way to see some of Europe’s most captivating scenery while ensuring that all ages are catered for.

Activities from hiking and biking to white water rafting and kayaking provide entertainment during the days, with evenings spent among rolling hills, soaring mountains , quiet countryside or scenic stretches of coast.

With such a wide range of things to do and places to go, it can be difficult to know where to start when planning the perfect adventure holiday. Fortunately, several providers offer packages that take care of the planning for you; we’ve rounded up some of the best.

Find the Northern Lights in Rovaniemi

Rovaniemi is the capital of Finnish Lapland and the self-styled ‘Hometown of Santa Claus’, home to a Santa Claus Village that makes it a great option for younger kids (or anyone who particularly likes Christmas ). Perhaps even more alluring than the promise of visiting Saint Nick is the potential to see the Northern Lights ; with dark skies and lack of light pollution in the surrounding area, the ‘season’ in this Finnish town lasts from mid-August to early April.

A holiday in Lapland brings the opportunity to go on reindeer sleigh rides, husky adventures and snowmobile excursions, as well as ice fishing and Northern Lights expeditions. Activities Abroad offers trips across Lapland (including the Swedish part); its ‘Pick and Mix’ Rovaniemi package even includes a three-night stay in an Aurora Cabin at the Apukka resort. You can choose from a range of additional activities, while the package, starting from £1,115pp, incorporates airport transfers and six meals during the holiday.

An Alpine adventure in France

While the region is more famed for its winter ski offerings , the French Alps are a spectacular choice for an activity-filled summer holiday too. Among the best towns is Chamonix, where Alpine atmosphere meets more traditional architectural styles. Almost as popular in summer as it is winter, this busy town sits near the foot of Mont Blanc , the tallest mountain in Western Europe (standing at 4,809 metres). Surrounded by towering peaks, glassy lakes and extensive greenery, it is also home to over 217 miles of trails. Kids can be kept busy on gentle hikes and cycle rides, while the one of the world’s highest cable cars – the Aiguille du Midi – can take you up to 3,842 metres, with breathtaking views of the surrounding Alps.

Inghams offers a Chamonix package recommended for families with children and teens. Prices from £609pp for seven nights, B&B, including flights and transfers plus guided walks and a ‘Chamonix Valley Card’ that gives holders free travel and discounted rates at attractions. Additional optional excursions include e-biking, rafting, canyoning, rock climbing and even paragliding with a professional pilot.

Read more on Europe travel :

  • Best Europe river cruises for 2023
  • Europe’s best road trips to try in your lifetime
  • Best solo holiday destinations in Europe for 2023

Walking in Wales

If the family enjoy sweeping coastal views and long walks interrupted only by frequent beach visits , look no further than Pembrokeshire . This southwestern corner of Wales is home to the dazzling, 186-mile long Pembrokeshire Coast Path, which takes you along dramatic, rocky cliffs and stretches of fine golden sand. A closer-to-home alternative to other holidays, trips here offer a blend of adventure and the traditional British seaside resort holiday.

Celtic Trails provides several package walking holidays across the UK and Europe. Its Pembrokeshire Coast offerings cover various sections of the path, from the 110-mile section between Amroth and Herbrandston to the 15-mile stretch between Newport and St Dogmael’s. For a pleasant introduction to the area that won’t be too taxing, opt for the ‘Gateway to Pembrokeshire’ package ; it covers 15 miles from Tenby to the village of Manorbier, covering a quintessential British seaside town and pristine stretches of beach.

Watersports in Croatia

Emerald waters meet white sands and the waterfront promenades of cities such as Split on Croatia’s Dalmation coast, making it an idyllic setting for water sports. The sea plus the Cetina River are where you can try rafting, tubing, sea kayaking and wild swimming (be sure to check out the area around Gubavica Falls as well as the beaches). Land-based activities, meanwhile, include ziplining, canyoning, beach days and visits to places such as Split and Trogir.

Responsible Travel provides a Croatian adventure itinerary in Split, with all the above activities covered. From £995pp, for a four-night stay in a four-star property (excluding flights).

Island-hopping in Greece

For a slightly different adventure, take to the seas around the Greek islands of the Cyclades . Numerous days of sailing await you there, weaving in between islands such as Mykonos and Santorini while making daily stops for activities both on land and at sea, from island walking tours to snorkelling. Swimming, hiking and general ‘island exploration’ are the main activities here, complemented by the turquoise Aegean waters and rugged, sun-drenched islands as far as the eye can see.

For your own personal Odyssey, try Responsible Travel’s ‘Cyclades Sailing and Walking Holiday’ package. The seven-day tour starts in Naxos and takes you to islands including Amorous, Iraklia and Paros, with evening strolls, mountain hikes, bay-side swims and meze dinners galore. From £785pp for seven days’ accommodation on a yacht, B&B, plus a skipper and walking guide, and use of snorkelling equipment; flights excluded.

Camping in Spain

Stretching across a section of Spain’s northern coast, the province of Asturias contains rugged mountains, jagged cliffs, serene lakes and tranquil coast – the ideal backdrop for a camping trip. Common activities here include hiking, swimming, water sports, mountaneering, caving and canyoning. Places of interest include Ribadesella, Cudillero and Llanes on the coast, Cangas de Onis inland, the Picos de Europa National Park (some of which is located in the southeast of the region) and the Cabo Vidio cliffs.

There are numerous campsites in the Picos, near the coast and everywhere in-between, so it makes sense to do a tour of the towns and mountains mentioned above if you have the time. Camping Picos de Europa Avin offers camping and bungalows in the National Park near Cangas de Onis, while Camping Ribadesella , l’Almuravela and Camping Las Conchas are among some of the most popular campsites near the respective towns.

Cycling in the Austrian Lake District

Located just to the east of Salzburg , the Austrian Lake District – known as the Salzkammergut – is a land of calm blue waters and lush green hills punctuated by picturesque Alpine towns and villages. Taking in Alpine scenery, swimming in clear lakes and visiting places like the Unesco-listed Hallstatt would be great options for any holiday, but the region’s lakeside roads, country lanes and cycle paths perfectly lend themselves to trips by bike (with plenty that are suitable for the whole family).

Inntravel offers an Austrian Lake District package , comprising a week-long cycling circuit covering over 100 miles at a relaxed pace. You’ll begin with a 25-mile loop of St Gilgen, before making your way to Hallstatt via Mondsee, Seefeld and St Agatha, with a variety of distances covered each day. Other than the route, the daily itinerary is left up to you, but optional activities include boat rides, museum tours and spa visits. From £1,365pp for seven nights, B&B, including three dinners and bike hire; excludes flights.

Geographical gems in Iceland

Iceland ’s dizzying range of natural landmarks includes incredible waterfalls, vast glaciers, remarkably colourful lava fields and snow-capped mountains, all loosely linked together by an extremely convenient ring road around the country. The presence of this road means that, given sufficient time, you can see almost all the sights and cities in Iceland in one grand, sweeping trip.

This is exactly the idea on Regent Holidays’ ‘Full Circle Fly-Drive’ package – a 14-day tour of the country that begins and ends in the capital, Reykjavik . It takes in five waterfalls, two National Parks, Europe’s largest glacier and dozens of mountains and volcanoes, with walks, hikes, climbs, swims and other forms of exploration all encouraged. Prices start at £2,225pp for 13 nights’ accommodation, B&B, flights and car hire.

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Tour Companies in Europe: Adventures for All Budgets

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If Europe is at the top of your bucket list, you aren’t alone. The continent welcomed around 700 million tourists in 2023—a number that, surprisingly, hasn’t quite reached its pre-pandemic heights.

Most tourists stick to the same tried-and-true routes, jumping around a handful of countries before heading home. Still, despite the hype and sheer number of happy tourists, organizing a trip to Europe can be complicated.

Do you need to speak the local language? Which larger-than-life landmarks are actually worth seeing?

What happens if you miss your train? Are you really not supposed to tip?

As an American living in Europe, I could offer some helpful advice. But let me suggest something even better—

Join a tour and leave the worrying for someone else. That way, you can focus on what matters most: enjoying every single morsel Europe has to offer.

Tour companies in Europe: are they right for you?

It’s not absolutely necessary to go to Europe on an official tour. You can find day tours galore in every major European city. All you need to do is plan the big stuff, like where you’re going, where you’re staying, and how to get there. From there, you can book whichever tours pique your interest .

Not only is this a great way to experience a location, but it’s also a good way to make friends.

A few years back, my partner and I traveled to Poland during low season. Fewer tourists meant we were solo on one of our tours around Warsaw. We ended up becoming close friends with our tour guide (shout out to Art!). The next year, we were back in Warsaw celebrating my birthday at a cigar club with Art and his fiance.

So, opting for day tours is far from a bad idea.

That being said, if you’ve never left the US before, I recommend joining a tour that will take you across Europe. The primary reason is logistics. The second is ease of travel. (The third, which I’ll get to below, is specialized interests.)

When you’re on an official tour, you don’t need to think about museum tickets, meals, train schedules, translation errors, and so on. All you need to do is show up well-rested and full of curiosity. The older I get, the more attractive that offer is.

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More than meets the eye

For some, the idea of joining an official tour sounds too dry or basic. In reality, however, many European tours are highly specialized.

If you’re heading to Europe for a specific reason, then look into tours that meet your interests.

Here are a few examples of what I mean by specialized:

  • My Ireland tour was organized by Éamonn of ChaperoneVIP , who I’d highly recommend
  • Ancestry.com also has a solid list of European ancestry tours
  • Artur (my guide from Warsaw) offers specialized tours around Poland and Europe, which I highly recommend
  • Check out Taste & Slow Italy for in-depth tours of this legendary country
  • Intrepid (below) offers a range of women-only tours
  • Avalon Waterways (below)
  • Viking Cruises (a lot more affordable than Avalon)
  • Accessibility. I’ve even found a company that offers tours for deaf people around Europe (and other global locations). Check out Kerstin’s Deaf Travel to learn more.

Tour companies in Europe for all budgets

One of the biggest reasons travelers don’t look into tours is because they’re viewed as expensive. But I’ve taken a look at some of the highest-rated tour groups that trek across the continent, and I’ve got good news.

There’s a tour for every type of budget.

Here are a few options that I would personally join based on positive reviews, scope of travel, and experience:

  • Very affordable: G Adventures , Intrepid
  • Affordable: Contiki , Travel Talk
  • Pricey: Avalon Waterways , Jacada Travel

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Tay Belgeri is a content writer with global experience. She writes for brands like Santander Bank, PokerStars, DraftKings, and OddsChecker. Her affiliate posts have appeared on AP News, Ranker, Notion, OK! Magazine, and other major sites. She writes about a variety of cultural topics (from sports to high fashion) but specializes in travel. Originally from Missouri, she now lives in Spain. In a few years, she will have spent more time outside the US than inside it. Career highlights: • Selected to present research by the National Council of Undergraduate Research (2014) • Acquired grants for New York City’s first Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration (2015) • Joined OddsChecker’s US Launch team (2020) • Shortlisted for the Foreword INDIES (2021, 2023)

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From the spectacular Norwegian fjords and the idyllic French Riviera , to the vibrant streets of Barcelona and the charming Swiss Alps , fewer continents are as varied as Europe. Using our extensive travel knowledge, our mission at Lightfoot Travel is to bring you the finest luxury holiday experiences from all corners of this age-old, culture-rich, and enchanting region.

Ideal for couples and honeymooners are romantic escapes to Paris , where you can stroll the charming city streets; or Venice , where gondoliers serenade you as they meander through the city’s canals.

Feast on the region’s delicious cuisine as you embark on a French vineyard tour that will take you into the cellars of acclaimed chateaux, or immerse yourself in the relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle of Italy .

Go off-the-beaten-track and discover the hidden Adriatic gems of Croatia and Montenegro . Croatia’s historical treasures tell the story of Roman, medieval and Venetian eras; while its thousands of islands, mountains and national parks are perfect for intrepid explorations. Similarly, Montenegro combines stunning landscapes with history and a high-end Mediterranean yachting scene.

For something extraordinary, take an unforgettable voyage into the remote Arctic Circle . One of planet’s last great frontiers, this majestic icescape offers sublime wonders of nature from ice fjords and blue glaciers, to haunting ice fields and snow mountains.

Throughout your journeys across Europe, our handpicked luxury properties will make sure you stay in style. Take your pick from alpine chalets, boutique city hotels, a castle in the Scottish Highlands , or a Tuscan estate featuring a 300-year-old winery.

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Whether you're planning your first journey to "the Continent," or want to add a new set of European experiences to your collection, our "Yellow Roads" land journeys will take you to the Europe you want to see... in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Great Britain and Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Scandinavia, the Baltic States, Central Europe, the Balkans and Russia.

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If you've missed any of the features we've been running in Money this year, or want to check back on something you've previously seen in the blog, this archive of our most popular articles may help...

By Daniel Binns, business reporter

Pets At Home has reported a dip in profits – which it has partly blamed on owners spending less on toys and accessories for their animals.

The chain, which also provides vet services, said pre-tax profit for the year to March was £105.7m, down 13.7% on the same period the year before.

The retailer said on Wednesday that profitability had been "impacted by short-term availability issues as we transitioned to our new DC [distribution centre] and weaker performance of discretionary accessories".

However, the company also said it was confident in its growth strategy and insisted it was "not threatened" by a new watchdog investigation into the vet industry.

The Competition and Markets Authority recently launched the probe following concerns that pet owners could be paying too much for healthcare.

Pets At Home also reported that revenues for its vet business jumped 16.8% as it continued to expand into the sector.

It said total revenue grew by 5.2% to £1.5bn for the year.

Whoever wins the general election, one potential headache for the new administration will be Thames Water.

The current government has already drawn up contingency plans, known as Project Timber, for the possible collapse of a company currently saddled with debt of £15.4bn.

The scenario also features strongly on a dossier of potential crises compiled by Sue Gray, Sir Keir Starmer's chief of staff, that an incoming Labour government would face.

Talk of a potential collapse has moved up the agenda because Thames Water's owners, which include the Canadian pensions giant Omers, the Universities Superannuation Scheme, a unit of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and the China Investment Corporation, have declined to inject more equity into the business. They had previously offered to inject a further £3.25bn, on top of £500m last year, were Ofwat, the regulator, to support the company's plans.

But Ofwat is refusing to allow Thames to raise its levels of investment and customer bills to the extent that the company is proposing . 

Thames had asked Ofwat to approve an £18.7bn investment which would have entailed a 44% average increase in customer bills over the next regulatory period due to run from 2025-30. It tweaked this submission in April to raise investment to £19.8bn during the period with no extra increase in bills.

Ofwat was due to publish its "final deliberation" on investment plans and customer bills for the entire water industry, including Thames, on 12 June but has moved it back to 11 July due to the general election.

The Guardian reported earlier this week that Ofwat is set to refuse the requests of most water companies, including Thames, with some operators being allowed to raise bills by as little as half of what they had asked for.

Such an approach is consistent with Ofwat's historic approach of keeping water bills low as its main priority rather than, for example, permitting higher investment to tackle sewage spills.

However, there are signs that Ofwat may be prepared to compromise, at least to an extent.

The Financial Times reports today that the regulator is drawing up plans for a special "recovery regime" for Thames and other financially stressed UK water companies in a bid to avoid nationalisation.

It suggests that companies with "recovery regime" status could receive fewer or no regulatory penalties to encourage them to invest in infrastructure improvements instead, as well as being given more "realistic" targets for reducing sewage and water leaks and outages.

The regulator finds itself with a dilemma. Ofwat does not want Thames to collapse, not least because such an event would intensify criticism that the regulator allowed Thames's previous owners – most notably the Australian investment bank Macquarie – to load the company with debt while extracting enormous dividends (the current investors have received no dividends since 2017).

Ofwat's ministerial overlords – of both parties – will also be aware that an administration of Thames would deter the very international investors the UK desperately needs to attract to pay for infrastructure improvements.

On the other hand, though, Ofwat does not want to face accusations that it is being unduly lenient on a company that has been badly behaved in the past.

Now, it is fair to say that Ofwat is offering an olive branch here. Only two weeks ago, it said it was "minded" to punish Thames for breaching licence conditions over a £37.5m dividend paid to shareholders in October last year (Thames points out the payment was made to Kemble Water, its parent holding company, and was necessary to maintain the latter's solvency). That could result in another fine worth tens of millions of pounds.

The big question is whether this compromise will be enough to shore up Thames's financial situation. Ofwat has fined Thames £175m during the last three years which, while being a large sum, is a relatively trifling amount set against Thames's debts.

So it probably would not be enough, of itself, to persuade Thames's owner to pump more equity into the business. Omers, the biggest single shareholder in Thames, has already written down the entire value of its 31.7% stake in the company to nothing. USS, which has more than half a million scheme members in British universities and which owns nearly 20% of Thames, has written down the value of its shareholding from £956m at the end of 2022 to just £364.4m as at the end of last year.

What today's news reveals is that there is a compromise to be reached here. The extra month before Ofwat is due to publish its draft deliberation has bought both sides a little more time.

But it feels as if, with Ofwat in no mood to back down with Thames over its proposed increase in investment and customer bills, the latter's shareholders have run out of patience.

A "special administration" of Thames – something neither Rishi Sunak or Sir Keir Starmer would want to see – still feels like the way to be betting.

NOW Broadband is raising prices by an average of £3 a month from 5 July.

The company, owned by Sky, didn't raise prices in line with inflation in April - making it somewhat of an outlier.

But the summer raise will add an average of £36 a year to customer bills.

However, the company offers a no-penalty exit option.

Sabrina Hoque, telecoms expert at Uswitch.com, said: "Another mid-contract price increase unfortunately means bigger bills for already cash-strapped consumers. 

"However, it is encouraging that NOW Broadband customers have the option to leave penalty free if they don't want to accept this change."

By Sarah Taaffe-Maguire , business reporter

The pound reached a 19-month high against the euro this morning as £1 equalled €1.1784. 

Not since late August 2022 was sterling so strong against the currency of Eurozone states. 

So if you're going on holidays to somewhere using the euro, now would be a good time to exchange pounds as you'll be getting more for your money than you would have.

Rates have come down slightly this afternoon - though are still high at €1.1746.

The pound buying more euro will mean it's cheaper for UK importers to buy goods - so some prices could come down. 

It's happening because the interest rate-setters at the European Central Bank (ECB) look set to bring rates down at their meeting next week.

Manchester United staff have reportedly been given a week to decide whether to resign under Sir Jim Ratcliffe's plans to end working from home.

The club's non-football staff were invited to take redundancy by next Wednesday in an email sent on Tuesday, The Daily Telegraph reports .

Sir Jim has taken over the day-to-day running of the club and is making it compulsory for staff to work from their offices in Manchester or London from 1 June, the paper says.

Staff who do not wish to do so can quit and are being offered early payment of an annual bonus, it added.

A United spokesman told The Daily Telegraph the move "isn't a voluntary redundancy programme". 

They added: "The club recognises that not everyone wants to work from the office full-time so has provided options for staff who don't wish to return to the office to step away now."

Sky News has contacted Manchester United for comment.

Junior doctors in England are set to strike for five days starting next month - part of a long-running dispute over pay.

The strike is set to run from 7am on 27 June to 2 July.

It means the dispute clash with the  general election campaign, with polling day on 4 July.

Read the full story here ...

Parents see personal finance as a more important life skill than maths for schoolchildren, according to new research.

A poll by Nationwide suggests the majority (89%) of parents of children aged eight to 13 think finance education would help their kids understand the value of money.

The survey of 2,000 UK adults found that personal finance even ranked above maths, digital skills and cooking as vital skills for children - coming second only to literacy.

More than eight in 10 parents (84%) said their child hadn't had any finance education at school, despite the vast majority saying it was important for children to understand money.

The top subjects parents value at school are:

  • Literacy (66%)
  • Personal finance (59%)
  • Maths (51%)
  • Cooking (41%)
  • Digital skills (26%)

Personal finance was deemed the most important subject for children and young people among parents polled in Brighton, Belfast and Newcastle. 

Amanda Beech, director of retail services at Nationwide, said financial education can "help young people get to grips with the world of money". 

One of the big gainers on the stock market this morning is International Distributions Services, the owner of Royal Mail.

Shares in the company are up more than 3% on the FTSE 250 index after the company's board announced it had agreed to a takeover by "Czech Sphinx" Daniel Kretinsky.

Read more on that here...

While the deal is yet to be approved by shareholders and regulators, investors are clearly excited at the prospect of the £3.6bn agreement.

At the other end of the scale, online delivery firm Ocado has plunged more than 6% in early trading.

It comes after reports that it is a leading candidate to be relegated from the FTSE 100 - along with asset manager St James's Place, which is down 1.6%.

The FTSE 100 overall is down 0.2% this morning amid ongoing uncertainty over interest rate cuts in the US.

Gainers include mining firm Fresnillo and water firm United Utilities, which are both up more than 2.4%.

On the currency markets, £1 buys $1.27 US or €1.17 - similar to yesterday.

A barrel of benchmark Brent crude has climbed to almost $85 (£66.60) this morning, a rise of nearly 1%.

Spotify subscribers have the chance to nab a slightly cheaper deal after it quietly launched new plans - but you'll have to be willing to give up one thing.

If you pay for an individual, duo or family subscription, you can save up to £24 a year by switching to one of the music platform's new "basic" plans, according to Money Saving Expert .

The catch, though, is that you'll lose audiobooks. All the other benefits such as no ads, song downloads and higher-quality audio will remain for existing subscribers.

The "basic" plans are the same price as Spotify's premium options used to be before it hiked prices last month. Most of the premium plans include 15 hours a month of audiobook listening time.

Only existing Spotify subscribers can get the new basic option for now - there's no date set for when they'll become available to everyone, Money Saving Expert said.

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best european travel companies for families

IMAGES

  1. 12 Best Tour Operators & Travel Companies in Europe

    best european travel companies for families

  2. 18 Best Family Vacations in Europe for (2023) (All Ages Love!)

    best european travel companies for families

  3. The 9 Best European Travel Companies of 2020

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  4. Best European destinations for families

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  5. Best European Family Vacations To Take The Kids

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  6. 11 Best Travel Companies for Guided Tours

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  2. These European countries are considered the most affordable to visit this summer

  3. Top 10 The Best European Travel Destinations in 2024🛫🌍

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    Cretan Malia Park. Crete, Greece. A considered boho revamp has given this classic Crete hotel on the north-east shore of the island a second wind. Opened by the Sbokou family in the 1980s, with low-rise buildings set in tropical gardens of banana trees, palms and cacti, it is now drawing in a curious Euro crowd.

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    Likewise, many European destinations are exceptionally welcoming for LGBTQ+ families. South Tyrol, Italy. (Photo by Westend61/Getty) Whether you're traveling with teens, small children, your infant, grandma and grandpa or beyond, these are some of the best destinations to visit in Europe with your family.

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    If Europe is at the top of your bucket list, you aren't alone. The continent welcomed around 700 million tourists in 2023—a number that, surprisingly, hasn't quite reached its pre-pandemic heights.. Most tourists stick to the same tried-and-true routes, jumping around a handful of countries before heading home.

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    Sir Keir Starmer has denied Diane Abbott's claim that she's been banned from standing for Labour at the general election. It comes after she had the whip restored yesterday, more than a year after ...

  26. Money blog: UK's best pub chef shares amazing cheap pasta recipe; beach

    Families with children over five are likely to spend the most while on a short holiday, totalling £431. But the highest spend comes from travellers aged 55-64, who spend an average of £721.