Are you wondering where to go for holidays this summer? Europe has plenty of beautiful places, historically important towns, and wild nature parks. Europe has also gorgeous beaches, striking mountains, art galleries and fascinating museums. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? It does, but if you tell your children you’re going for holidays to learn about the European history and climb a mountain, they might not be as excited as you’d expect. Luckily, there’s also a variety of destinations that both children and adults can enjoy. We’ve got three proposals for you: Italy, Portugal, and Croatia. Take a look at the list below and find out why visiting these places is a good idea for child friendly holidays.
1. Tuscany, Italy
The picturesque Tuscany is, with no doubt, one of the top destinations in Europe. Breathtaking landscapes and tons of art guarantee fascinating holidays. Olive groves, cypress trees, dramatic mountains, rolling hills and other wonders of nature combine with charming houses, beautiful churches, and historical monuments. Everything’s pretty in Tuscany, from the private, delightfully decorated yards, to the famous architectonic gems. Add the delicious cuisine with a variety of healthy dishes based on local products, and you get a full package of attractions.
What to do: Visiting Florence and Siena is a must. Both of these towns are simply enchanting, each one in its own way. Florence, all painted in white and blue, is no other place when it comes to the abundance of art. Siena, Gothic and cozy, is the kind of place you enter and want to stay there as long as possible. Educational tours are great; you can discover churches and museums and afterwards, take the children for a perfect gelato. It’s quite possible after going back home kids will mostly remember the yummy Italian ice-cream.
You should also visit the Collodi, a village where Carlo Collodi, the author of Pinocchio was born. There’s now the Pinocchio Park with interesting exhibitions, green areas, and puppet-making workshops. Pistoia Zoo is a fun attraction too, as well as the Acqua Villages (one of them located in Follonica and the second in Livorno). In Viareggio, you can take a catamaran tour and see dolphins.
Where to stay: There are lots of lovely villas and traditional farmhouses all across Tuscany. Villa Papale, located in a small town of Mascalucia and built in typical rustic Tuscan style, is a great example. In Barberino Val d’Elsa you can find Al Gelso Bianco, apartments with lots of space to run around. You will also find a gated pool, a farm, winery and children’s pasta- and pizza-making classes.
2. Algarve, Portugal
Algarve is one of Portugal’s most famous regions and no wonder it allures visitors so successfully: dramatic cliffs, crystal-blue water, sandy islands and golden beaches, enchanting little towns, traditional music, pretty castles and endless sunshine, that’s mainly what makes people fall in love with Algarve. Tourism is booming and so are the hillside flowers. Locals smile to the tourists and tourists smile back. How not to smile, when the weather is perfect, food delicious and landscapes fantastic? Algarve is especially famous among beach enthusiasts and party-animals, but there’s much more to this area than just sunbathing and sipping colorful drinks in front of the ocean. You can easily organize active, child friendly holidays to Algarve; just choose the right spots and activities.
What to do: A mecca for water sports enthusiasts, Algarve is a perfect place to try out some surfing. You can sign up older children for a course; it’ll be an amazing adventure. There are also world-renowned golf courses and several places where you can practice karting. One of the popular indoor karting tracks, Hot Wheels Raceway, is situated in Albufeira.
Cycling is fabulous, all around the region you can find lots of scenic trails. There’s nothing lovelier than cycling up into the hills and across traditional villages, stopping once in a while to buy juicy oranges at the roadside stalls. Since most of the children love water parks, you can also consider visiting the Aqualand Algarve. For a bit of an educational experience, go to Faro or Lagos and pay a visit in one of the Centros de Ciências Vivas, science centers. A star attraction you really shouldn’t miss is the Zoomarine in Albufeira. It’s a unique chance for the children to actually meet the animals they’ve probably only seen in their school books. Seals, sea lions, dolphins and tropical birds are waiting there.
Where to stay: Algarve has lots of luxurious resorts; one of them is Belmar Spa & Beach Resort, a family-friendly place with fun pools and all sorts of amenities. If you prefer something a bit simpler (still chic and cozy, but not in the way resorts are), you can choose Casa do Canal, self-catering apartments near Aljezur. Babysitting and surf lessons are available.
The magical coastline of Croatia is breathtaking. It’ll astonish you no matter how many wonders you’ve already seen in your life. Blue waters paired with ancient towns make a beautiful landscape, and that’s already enough of a reason to visit this lovely country. But then, when you move away from the coast and head to the central part of Croatia, you discover there’s even more of awe-inspiring sights: mountains, waterfalls, gorgeous lakes, underground caverns and green rolling farmlands. Looking around is an activity in itself, but, of course, Croatia has much more to offer. Exploring many islands, sight-seeing in historic towns, eating out in traditional restaurants, these are just a few of many entertainment options available in Croatia. Adults have more than enough to do in Croatia, but so do children. It’s one of the places you can definitely choose for a child friendly holiday, and you won’t regret.
What to do: What about a ferry ride? You can travel from the mainland to one of Croatia’s numerous islands. If you have more time, sailing is an option too; you can rent a boat and travel from one island to another. One more adventurous thing to do is windsurfing, perfect for adults and older children. All along the coast, there are many windsurfing schools providing lessons and equipment.
A day-trip to the Krka National Park is also a good idea too; you can swim under waterfalls or make a picnic. Building sand castles on Croatia’s lovely beaches, sunbathing and playing volleyball are a great way to rest after the venturesome activities. When you already feel it’s been enough of the beach (well, it’s hard to have enough of Croatian beaches, but children might need some variety), head to Aquapark Istralandia. It’s a huge water park with multiple slides, swimming pools, and volleyball & badminton courts.
Where to stay: Finding a family resort in Croatia is not a problem at all. Sol Garden Istra in Umag is one of the best family-friendly hotels. It features a gym, swimming pool and lots of other amenities. If you prefer more of an independent accommodation, rent a family villa, like Melia Istrian Villas with private beaches, Jacuzzi, and swimming pools.