June 4, 2019
By Catherine Cooper
With almost year-round sunshine and sandy beaches, Tenerife is a long-standing hit with families. Playa de las Americas and Costa Adeje are the main resorts for plenty of beach fun and seaside activities.
Inland you’ll see more of the “real” Spain such as the almost tourist-free capital Santa Cruz de Tenerife and stunning national parks.
Kids will enjoy Loro Parque zoo in Puerto de la Cruz which has everything from alligators to tigers. Aqualand waterpark is nearby and suits all ages, offering high-adrenaline slides and well as a fairytale castle with gentle slides for little ones.
Majorca has a wealth of different styles of resort. Family favourites include Alcudia with a wide, gently-shelving sandy bay, plus a historic old town and a marina. Its five-mile beach has water sports for older kids and there’s also a waterpark, plus a toy museum not far away in Sa Pobla.
The port town of Puerto Pollensa with its pine-fringed shallow beaches and numerous cycle trails is also a good choice for families. Take a ride on the glass-bottomed boat which leaves from the port for the white sand of Formentor Beach – you can catch a bus back if you want to spend the day there.
The central section of the Algarve is ideal for families, with plenty going on and a wide range of accommodation. Alternatively, Praia de Luz in the west is popular for those with very young children as it has a sheltered, sandy beach with rock pools to explore at one end and water sports for teens.
A 20-minute walk takes you to the sheltered coves of Praia Dona Ana and the cobbled streets of Lagos are just a 15-minute drive away.
It’s also worth checking out the summer-long sand-sculpture festival in Pera, a 40-minute drive away and accessible by bus for just a few euros from Lagos.
This resort offers almost guaranteed sunshine and a touch of the exotic! A great place to snap up a bargain on a top-end hotel, many of which boast their own private stretch of white sand leading down to warm seas.
There are plenty of water sports available and many hotels have kids’ clubs. Other activities include jeep safaris and quad biking, and a visit to Hurghada historic old town where you can haggle for souvenirs.
Be prepared for very hot temperatures if you visit during July or August.
Greece’s largest island with fabulous beaches and historic sites, Crete is a great destination for families. Its third-largest town Rethymnon has a 12-kilometre beach plus a historic old quarter, a fortress and a Venetian harbour.
From here, you can explore the island on the various “Yellow Train” road train tours or take a “pirate ship” cruise. Heraklion and Chania are both around an hour’s drive away if you want to visit the cities (or the waterparks!).
The third-largest Balearic island is well–known as a clubbers’ venue – but it also has a great deal to offer families away from the hectic clubs of San Antonio.
Santa Eulalia, Ibiza’s third largest resort, is an established family favourite. It’s home to some of the island’s best restaurants and has a wide, sandy beach which is safe for kids backed by a seafront promenade with palm trees, a playground and a great ice cream parlour.
There’s also a cute road train which offers a 15-kilometre route to beaches and the pretty village of San Carlos.
Benidorm may be best known as a party resort, but there’s plenty on offer for families too. As well as three miles of sandy beach, family attractions include two animal parks.
Mundomar has dolphins, parrots and offers the chance to swim with sea lions, while Terra Nature has no (visible) barriers between you and 200 different species of animals and more than 160 different species of plants and trees.
There’s also Terra Mitica theme park (pictured), which has everything from white-knuckle rollercoasters to gentle rides designed for kids. That’s not to mention the two waterparks – so plenty to keep everyone happy!
Named after one of its white sandy beaches, Playa Blanca is arguably the best resort in Lanzarote for families. Playa Dorada is the main beach with sunbeds for hire and the place to go for watersports, and nearby are the town beach of Playa Blanca, backed by a promenade with plenty of places to eat and drink, and the quieter Playa Flamingo.
There are also stunning natural beaches at Papagayo on the outskirts of the resort. As the island is only 37 miles long and 12 miles wide, nothing is very far away!
Attractions suitable for families include the Cactus Garden with more than 1,000 species of cactus, camel safaris in the National Park of Timanfaya and Rancho Texas Park which offers everything from the chance to swim with sea lions to pony rides, canoeing, swimming pools and waterslides.
It’s no surprise that Orlando and Florida are hugely popular for UK families, even if they’re a little further away than many of the other favourites. Theme parks include Legoland, Universal Studios, SeaWorld and, of course, Walt Disney World and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Added to that are fabulous white-sand beaches and waterparks galore. Check out Lake Buena Vista Resort Village and Spa which has a life-size pirate ship in an infinity pool (for residents only) or if you’re staying elsewhere, you can swim in The Venetian Pool – at two hectares, it’s America’s largest freshwater pool.