For British families, Europe is a no-brainer for family holidays and breaks. You can either stay in the UK with its exciting cities and towns, beautiful, varied landscapes and wonderful seaside resorts or make the short, pain-free and usually relatively cheap journey to a large choice of other family-friendly destinations.
This is prime family holiday territory. France is the perennial favourite, especially among parents with younger children, for whom its many self-catering gites, holiday parks and campsites are perfect. As everywhere in the Eurozone, France is not as good value as it once was for British visitors. However, the short travelling time and the possibility of paying certain accommodation providers in sterling means it remains an affordable favourite. Also popular for family holidays are lovely, leisurely Ireland,the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Andorra.
If it’s beaches you’re after, France and Portugal have them in spades, but classic child-friendly destinations offering Mediterranean fun and lots more besides include Greece, particularly its islands, Cyprus and North Cyprus, Turkey (still outside the Eurozone), Italy, Malta, and Spain and the Canaries.
There are some great beaches in Scandinavia, too, as well as a whole range of exciting activities for lovers of the great outdoors. However, you’re more likely to head to Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Lapland and Iceland in the winter months, for skiing and other frosty frolics, from husky sledding to meeting Santa and his elves.
Much of Eastern Europe remains outside the Eurozone and so remains great value, whether you opt for a family holiday on the beaches of Lake Balaton in Hungary, a city break in the Czech capital Prague, or budget-conscious skiing in Bulgaria. Other destinations worth considering are Croatia and Romania with their good-value beach resorts, outdoorsy Slovenia, and Krakow in Poland, which sparkles at Christmas-time.
France and Italy are particularly famous for their food, closely followed by Turkey and Greece, but in most destinations around Europe it's easy to find something for all the family, whether you like to sample local dishes or stick to tried-and-tested international favourites. Eastern Europe can be a challenge for the unadventurous, but in major cities you'll generally be able to get by without too many tears and tantrums.
By Rhonda Carrier
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