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Abruzzo Family Holidays & Breaks

Village sceneVillage scene
Flying Time 2.5hrs
Carbon Footprint 1.32 CO2
Timezone GMT +1
Currency Euro

Today

Overview

Italy’s spectacular, 'undiscovered' region of Abruzzo south-east of the better-known areas of Umbria and the Marche, stretching from the mountainous Apennines to the Adriatic coast, is great place for low-key, off-the-beaten-track family holidays, with beautiful and varied landscapes including mountains teeming with wildlife, rolling meadowland and crystal-clear streams. In winter the Abruzzo is cloaked in snow, and there are a number of ski resorts popular with locals, while in summer you might head to the developed Adriatic coast. Year-round, medieval towns and villages, many with castles, beg to be explored.

The Abruzzese are friendly and welcoming and adore children, although don't expect English to be spoken much outside the main tourist offices and larger hotels.

Things to do with kids in Abruzzo

Head for Abruzzo's mountains – divided into several National Park areas and great for spotting wildlife, including deer, chamois, wild-boar, wolves and even a small number of bears. High barren peaks rise from slopes cloaked in beech-woods, and within gorges, cliff-sides hide ancient hermitages hewn from the rock, which make for great exploring. There are also masses of wonderful walks through meadows of wildflowers or deep gorges, with picnicking by sparkling streams.

Discover the medieval towns of L’Aquila and Sulmona with their beautiful architecture, churches and museums, restaurants and shopping, both set in spectacular mountain scenery, with plenty to keep kids entertained and interested. L’Aquila the regional capital has a great castle to visit, and a spooky connection with the number 99: there is a fountain with 99 spouts (or almost), there used to be 99 churches and 99 piazzas, and the town-hall bell still chimes 99 times each evening. The smaller but very pretty town of Sulmona is crowded with shops selling colourful displays of floral arrangements made entirely from confetti (sugared almonds) . 

Visit the Adriatic coast's seemingly endless strip of clean sandy beaches. The seafood here is delicious, and just a little way inland there are some interesting towns and villages to visit. But do beware that Italians flock here masse in July and August.

Eat

Abruzzo has two very different cuisines. The Adriatic coast offers excellent seafood, while in the mountains you'll find wonderful venison and wild boar dishes, plus an abundance of fresh veg, grains and pulses. Vegetarians are well catered for with pasta sauces of tomatoes, asparagus, artichoke or porcini mushrooms, but little seafood reaches the mountain regions.

Fresh cheeses are particularly good in Abruzzo, and naturally, delicious bread, pizza, ice cream and wine is available throughout the region. The medieval town of Sulmona is known for its sugared almonds.

When to go to Abruzzo

May and June are beautiful months for a family holiday in the Abruzzo, with snow lingering picturesquely on the peaks (inland in the mountains, winter lingers on until March/April) and the lush meadows thick with wildflowers – perfect for picnicking.

July and August are hot and crowded on the coast but blissfully refreshing for strolling in the mountains. In autumn the wooded slopes are a riot of colour, with many fabulous clear days of sunshine.

Cost

Abruzzo is a relatively inexpensive region for a family holiday. Accommodation is reasonably priced and the excellent restaurants will feed you full to bursting and then present you with a pleasingly small bill. Flights to Pescara can be a real bargain, especially mid-week and if you book well in advance.

By Rhonda Carrier

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