Are you planning an unforgettable family holiday? We have a couple of ideas for you. In this article, we've compiled a list of the best family holiday destinations around the world. These destinations will offer something for every member of the family to enjoy.
The information in this article is inspired by The Rough Guides guidebooks — your essential guides for visiting the world.
A dip in the ecological lake at Combloux, with Mont Blanc in sight, is about as far away from school swimming lessons as you can get. No whiff of chlorine here – aquatic plants keep the water crystal clear and pure, and the natural temperature can reach 26°C. After a hike through alpine pastures and mountain forests, nothing could be better.
New Forest, England
Challenge your little ones to perfect their den-making skills in the New Forest (but reserve a campsite pitch or bijou B&B as backup). England’s smallest national park has something for everyone, with 3000 resident ponies, a deer sanctuary and countless walking and cycling. Not to mention horse-riding, tracks – plus welcoming pubs a-plenty and the dubious delights of Peppa Pig World close by.
Barcelona has it all, and much of it can be soaked up for free. Wander through the Gothic Quarter, laze around the city beaches, marvelling at the modernist architecture or practice for that imminent GCSE Spanish at La Boqueria food market. All this means you might have saved enough Euros for a family ticket to Camp Nou (for the stadium and museum tour at least, if not an actual game).
Our The Tale of Two Cities tailor-made trip is a perfect combination of exploring two stunning cities, Madrid and Barcelona.
- For modern stays: Hotel Paxton Barcelona
- For luxury beach holiday: Sofitel Barcelona Skipper
Where to stay in Barcelona
Find more accommodation options to stay in Barcelona.
Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland
Take to the Wild Atlantic Way (on four wheels or two, or secure the roof rack and use both) and experience Ireland’s west coast drama. The surfers, if not the Fairy Bridge, at Bundoran, will leave the kids awestruck. Meanwhile, the rugged north Donegal coast and Achill Island’s Blue Flag beaches are one of the best family holiday destinations for a beach break.
Isla de la Graciosa, Canary Islands
Escaping the winter gloom doesn’t have to mean following the crowds. One of the best Canary Islands, minuscule Isla de la Graciosa is a short boat ride from Lanzarote but feels much further away.
No cars clog up the sandy tracks here, there are only a handful of shops and restaurants around the main harbour, Caleto del Sebo. The landscape beyond is stark and striking, a reminder of the islands’ volcanic origins, and ripe for exploration on foot or mountain bike.
Find accommodation options to stay on Isla de la Graciosa.
City breaks can be exhausting at the best of times, but with kids in tow it’s guaranteed. That is, unless you pick one of the best family holiday destinations and adjust your pace. Try Berlin.
Rent an apartment in Prenzlauer Berg and enjoy rifling through the Mauerpark flea market, strolls across Kollwitzplatz, cycling along the river Spree and hanging out in cafés. Some eateries, like Goodies, will go out of their way to welcome families – no disapproving looks or lack of high chairs here.
- For price and quality: Classik Hotel Alexander Plaza
- For stylish stays: SANA Berlin Hotel
Where to stay in Berlin
Find more accommodation options to stay in Berlin.
The many steps down to breathtaking Rhossili Bay make take little legs a while, but the descent is worth it. Here you'll find a three-mile mile curve of golden sand, blessed with the fabled Gower microclimate and a destination for surfers, sandcastle-makers and sun-worshippers alike. If you can bag a stay at the National Trust’s Old Rectory right in the middle of the bay, you could be lucky enough to be waking up to this sensational view.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Most treks around Chiang Mai will be more than suitable for older kids or teenagers. Memories of the adrenaline rush of a bamboo raft trip through (relatively gentle) river rapids, with monkeys calling in the lush forest on either side, are sure to stick with them for years to come. Travel in the cool season and your trip may coincide with January’s National Children’s Day.
This is a perfect tailor-made Family Time in Thailand trip for the whole family to enjoy. Explore the incredible Bangkok city before heading to the verdant Chiang Mai area to meet elephants in their natural habitat.
- For budget stays: POR Daowadung
- For luxury: The Empress Premier Chiang Mai
Where to stay in Chiang Mai
Find more accommodation options to stay in Chiang Mai.
Camping is deservedly popular in Croatia, especially on the coast, but head inland and you won’t feel like quite such a sardine. Pitch up in Krka National Park and get close to the torrents of the River Krka, as it cascades towards the Adriatic Sea, and closer still to all sorts of butterflies, beasts and birds.
Our tailor-made Adventure in Croatia trip is perfect for exploring the surroundings, including Krka National Park, rafting on the Cetina River, Zadar, kayaking and more.
Olhão, Portugal- one of the best family holiday destinations for a beach break
Not such an obvious Algarve base, but stay in bustling Olhão and you have the choice of two unspoilt islands on which to while away your days. The glorious beaches of sandbank islands Armona and Culatra being a short boat ride away only adds to the sense of anticipation and discovery – and the further along the coastlines you wander, the more deserted they become.
Find accommodation options to stay in Olhão.
Make green-living Burlington your base for exploring Vermont. Scoot, Segway or cycle around Lake Champlain, take a cruise – little ones can look out for Champy, the Loch Ness monster equivalent – or simply relax on one of the lakeside swing seats.
The nearby Shelburne Museum could keep families entertained for days, with an impressive collection ranging from a 4000-piece model circus to the steamboat Ticonderoga. Round off your trip on a sweet note at the local Ben & Jerry's factory.
Find accommodation options to stay in Vermont.
Slow down in rural Normandy, enjoying the picture-perfect forests, orchards and meadows. While here, fill your picnic basket with delicious local apples, cheese and perhaps a sneaky flask of cider for the grown-ups.
One way to work up an appetite is aboard the vélorail, riding a special four-person contraption along a disused railway line from Pont-Erambourg, south of Caen. Kids will relish the novel form of transport, and the fact that they sit back while parents pedal!
A fun boat-taxi ride from riverside Dalyan, İztuzu beach is famous for its nesting loggerhead turtles. Tread carefully (between May and October) and deliver a real-life lesson in the challenges of balancing ecology with tourism. On a less serious note, Dalyan is also handy for some pampering or mess-making – whichever way you look at it, a visit to the sulphur mud baths is a must.
- For price and quality: Hotel Happy Caretta
- For budget stays: Dalyan Terrace Hotel
Where to stay in Dalyan
Find more accommodation options to stay in Dalyan.
Algonquin Provincial Park, Canada
Let the kids be your guides on one of several trails around the rolling expanse of Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario. Younger children will love looking out for the blue arrows marking the way, not to mention chipmunks and beavers. Intrepid teenagers might be more tempted to explore by kayak, reaching parts of the park otherwise inaccessible.
Create your own Canterbury Tales with a holiday in Kent. With England’s oldest cathedral and a Norman castle, not to mention a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Canterbury is one of the best family holiday destinations. And with the history lessons ticked off you can head to Herne Bay for fish ‘n’ chips, or to Diggerland, for construction-machinery-based fun, with a clear conscience.
Lake Iseo, Italy
Experience the famously warm welcome Italians grant to bambini in the breathtaking surroundings of Lake Iseo, less overwhelmed by visitors than its neighbours Como and Garda. You can explore the shore by road or (on the eastern shore) rail, or hop on and off the regular ferries.
Monte Isola, Europe’s largest lake island, is a unique stop – no cars are allowed here so discover its winding roads on two wheels, cooling off with a plunge or paddle when needs be.
Explore the picturesque lakes of Northern Italy with our tailor-made trip to Enchanting Italian Lakes.
Lake Bohinj, Slovenia
If bracing family walks are your thing, try stretching your legs in northwest Slovenia. Surrounded by the majestic Julian Alps, Lake Bohinj has an otherworldly calm.
Walking trails lead you around the 4km lake circumference or on various routes up into the mountains, where your efforts are rewarded with magnificent views. Alternatively, you can opt to canoe across the tranquil water instead.
This tailor-made trip Between the Lakes - Bled & Bohinj is unmissable for free-spirited travellers and those who love green tourism. This area is one of the greenest destinations in Europe, boasting enchanted lakes surrounded by splendid spruce forests and sunny Alpine pastures.
One of the Greek Islands
It would take a lifetime of island-hopping to fully appreciate the 227 Greek islands scattered across the Aegean and Ionian seas. With sapphire water lapping at rocky coastlines sprinkled with secret coves and sandy beaches, these are one of the best family holiday destinations.
Easy as it is to wax lyrical in general terms, however, the islands are by no means a homogeneous holiday cluster – no Bahamas or Seychelles here. Each one has its distinctive personality, architecture and flora as well as its own loyal tourist base.
To start your Greek Island exploration, try our tailor-made trip to The Historical and Mythological Cyclades Islands.
Riviera Maya, Mexico
The stretch of coast between Cancún and Tulum, known as the Riviera Maya and including Playa del Carmen and Isla Cozumel, is one of Mexico’s best family holiday destinations. South of Tulum, the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, encompassing mangroves thick with birdlife and coral reefs offshore, briefly slows the march of progress.
The coast south of the biosphere – dubbed the Costa Maya – is on its own development trajectory, but it’s still your best bet for hammock camping. The vast, beautiful Laguna de Bacalar is a crystal-clear lake that’s rich in wildlife and an affordable alternative to the beaches.
Explore the magic of the Yucatan Peninsula with our tailor-made trip to The Magic of the Yucatan and Mexico City.
Travelling with the family creates life-long memories for all to enjoy. Feel inspired? Check out our Rough Guides books and start planning your perfect trip.
If you prefer to plan and book your trip without any effort and hassle, use the expertise of our local travel experts to make sure your trip will be just like you dream it to be.
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