Best family holiday destinations   

When sunshine is elusive and days are short, thoughts turn to family holidays. Finding the perfect getaways with kids, however, can be a challenge. The trick is finding a destination that entertains the whole family. To help you, we've put together 13 of our favourite family holiday destinations. As children are impatient travellers, most of our destinations are just a short flight away but even the most reluctant travellers will happily head to Disney World in Florida! 

  1. Tenerife
  2. Crete
  3. Lanzarote
  4. Majorca
  5. Cyprus
  6. Malta
  7. Algarve
  8. Costa del Sol
  9. Gran Canaria
  10. Paris
  11. Florida
  12. Turkish Riviera
  13. Egypt 

1. Tenerife

With year-round sunshine, gorgeous beaches and kid-friendly resorts such as Playa de las Americas, Tenerife is a firm family favourite. Children love bathing in the warm natural pools on the north coast of Tenerife while the Hija Cambada trail is just the right length for young legs. It finishes with a fairy-tale forest to explore. Take kids on a jeep ride up volcanic Mount Teide or treat them with a boat trip – if you’re lucky, you might even see a few dolphins.  

Don't miss: Siam Water Park. The Tower of Power challenges teens while Lost City is perfect for novice swimmers. 

2. Crete

With its hot sunny climate, tempting beaches and kid-friendly attractions, Crete makes the perfect getaway. Introduce teenagers to scuba diving at spots around the coast such as Chania and Agios Nikolaos in Lasithi. Acqua Creta Limnoupolis, a 65,000 sqm water park, delivers more fun in the water, while the Greek myths of Daedalus and Icarus come alive at the sprawling archaeological site of Knossos near Crete's capital, Heraklion. 

Don't miss: Dinosauria Park with its animatronic dinosaurs and interactive displays. You can even dig for fossils. 

3. Lanzarote

Lanzarote is known as ‘the island of eternal spring’ and holidays here are all about enjoying the great outdoors. The capital Arrecife buzzes but away from this, Lanzarote has volcanic landscapes, hiking and cycling trails and extensive beaches with world-class surfing. Some of Europe's best kids' surfing schools, such as the Red Star at Caleta de Famara, are here. Alternatively enjoy snorkelling at Playa del Papagayo, one of Lanzarote's loveliest beaches or go underground on a lava tunnel tour at Cueva de los Verdes.

Don't miss: Timanfaya National Park, a wild lava-strewn landscape created when 100 volcanoes erupted in the 18th-century. 

4. Majorca

Majorca features a diverse landscape of forests, mountains, beaches and secluded villages while its capital Palma has plenty of history and things to do. Waterparks, snorkelling, banana boats and paddle boarding provide fun in the water for kids while Karting Magaluf delivers adrenaline-fuelled activities with everything from mini-karts for tots to races for mums and dads. Pack a picnic and spend a day enjoying Majorca's wild side in La Reserva Puig de Galatzó. Follow a kid-friendly trail and enjoy exploring grottoes and waterfalls. 

Don't miss: The Cuevas del Drach, home to Europe's largest underground lake. Live classical music plays as you explore on a boat. 

5. Cyprus

While beaches such as Ayia Napa and Limassol are perfect for lazy days, don't miss the UNESCO-protected Tombs of the Kings in Paphos, an archaeological site that any budding historian would enjoy. If you’re after some play time, Paphos is also home to Aphrodite Waterpark, complete with slides, a wave pool and an adventure playground for kids. For unspoilt nature explore the Cape Greco Nature Park or the dramatic coastline of the Akamas Peninsula.

Don't miss: Lara Beach with its crystal waters and golden sands. You might even catch a glimpse of a loggerhead turtle. 

6. Malta

With guaranteed sun, Malta's beaches can be enjoyed all year round, making it a perfect spot for families looking for a beach holiday. There are also plenty of fun activities for children away from the sand. As well as all the prehistoric temples, medieval castles and fantastic forts to explore, there’s also Esplora, an interactive science museum in the south of the island, complete with a planetarium, that is perfect for curious little ones. The famous Popeye Village is also a must. This theme park village, once a movie set, brings the beloved retro cartoon character to life and offers mini-golf, water trampolines and boat rides.   

Don't miss: Playmobil FunPark where rides and activities are themed around favourite Playmobil characters. 

7. Algarve

With golden beaches and Mediterranean climate, the Algarve is a truly family-friendly destination. At Praia de Salema keen-eyed snorkelers may spot the wreck of an old French warship while Lagao's beautiful Marinha Beach has safe shallow waters. The Algarve is famous for world-class golf but youngsters aren't forgotten. Adventure Golf Alvor is dinosaur-themed while the Family Golf Park near Vilamoura takes them on a tour of Ancient Rome. 

Don't miss: Slide & Splash. This huge park has water adventures for all ages as well as a relaxing spa for mums and dads. 

8. Costa del Sol

Costa del Sol's long coastline takes in traditional resort towns such as Marbella, Torremolinos, Malaga and Nerja while inland, the hilltop town of Ronda, the mountains of Malaga and traditional white villages such as Frigiliana are within easy reach. Tiny tots and young children always have fun at Aquamijas Waterpark while thrill-seeking teens can tackle 80 treetop challenges at Costa del Sol's Aventura Amazonia. Butterfly Park in Benalmadena is also a great experience for the whole family – this tropical paradise is home to 1,500 butterflies! 

Don't miss: El Torcal Nature Reserve. Imaginations run riot as kids enjoy this fossilised nature park. 

9. Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria has such a diverse landscape it's often referred to as a mini-continent. The island may be tiny but it's big on sunshine, making it a popular winter destination for families. Gran Canaria's 82 beaches give the children a typical bucket and spade holiday. Our favourites are Las Canteras and Playa de Mogan. The Timanfaya Pirate Ship is great fun while submarine and glass-bottomed boat trips can also be great fun for all the family.

Don't miss: Maspalomas. A visit to these photogenic dunes that stretch for over 100 acres is like having a desert adventure. 

10. Paris

To many Paris equals romance but it's also a place where kids can have fun, especially if the holiday includes a visit to Disneyland Paris. This giant park features themed rides, shows, shops, restaurants and a golf course. In the city itself, reaching the top of the Eiffel Tower is always an adventure while older children can be introduced to world-class art at the Louvre or the Centre Pompidou. Families have also been enjoying the puppet shows and carousels of the Jardin du Luxembourg for centuries.

Don't miss: Musée de la Magie, an interactive museum that is perfect for kids interested in magic and optical illusions. 

11. Florida

Florida is the ultimate, once-in-a-lifetime family holiday. Spend a few days enjoying Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. Magic Kingdom World and Epcot are definitely Disney World highlights. Universal Orlando Resort is also a must, particularly for Harry Potter fans. Take budding astronauts to the Kennedy Space Center or take a leisurely drive through the Everglades National Park looking out for alligators hiding in the swamps. Head down to Miami's beaches and the Biscayne National Park before taking a road trip to soak up the amazing sunsets at Key West.

Don't miss: The hands-on National Aviation Museum in Pensacola. It's the largest in the world (and it's free for kids). 

12. Turkish Riviera

The Turkish Riviera is perfect for young families wanting to enjoy lazy days by the sea. The golden sands of Konyaalti and Lara are backed by snow-capped mountains, promising a picture-perfect experience. There's also a year-round display of sand sculptures to admire on Lara Beach. If you want to escape the sun, Antalya even has an indoor snow park! The Mausoleum of Maussollos also gives budding historians a fascinating day out.

Don't miss: The Land of Legends Theme Park. This magical kingdom brings young children's favourite characters to life. 

13. Egypt

Sharm el Sheikh, Marsa Alam and Hurghada are the perfect spots for a family beach holiday, promising glorious weather and pristine white sand. Kids will also love learning more about the Egyptians and bringing their school history books to life. King Tut Museum in Sharm el Sheikh is a must, as is Mini Egypt near Hurghada. Naama Bay and Mangroovy Beach have great water-based activities while visitors of all ages are awestruck on a visit to the Valley of Kings.

Don't miss: A lazy day sailing the Nile on a wooden felucca. You'll get a glimpse of traditional Nubian life and cuisine. 

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