Travelling as a family is worth so much more than the money that is actually spent on going away. It allows for proper quality time together, without the distractions of daily life and routine back home, and travelling provides phenomenal opportunities for children to learn.
Visiting different places introduces children to new cultures, languages, histories, ideas, art, architecture and so much more. It allows them to look at the world with different perspectives and with open minds, which you quite literally can’t put a price tag on. The difficult part about family holidays, is knowing exactly where to go to make everyone happy! While big cities are exciting and make for a busy trip, sometimes, for children, they can be overwhelming and you have to have a greater level of vigilance in the bigger cities than the smaller destinations. Small, safe, quaint destinations ensure higher chances of a stress-free holiday. So, for some family holiday inspiration, we have compiled a short list of our top, smaller destinations in Europe ideal for memorable family holidays:
Cinque Terre, Italy
First on the list for some family holiday inspiration, is the phenomenal Cinque Terre along the gorgeous Italian Riviera in the Liguria region. The direct translation, ‘The Five Lands’, Cinque Terre consists of five colourful cliffside fishing towns that date back to medieval times — Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Having been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997, Cinque Terre has since found its way onto numerous bucket lists and while the five towns can’t exactly be deemed ‘secrets’, they are certainly great family holiday destinations not to be missed. Stay in one town and travel between them by foot along the cliffside path, or through the mountain by train on the 19th century railway line (cars were banned in Cinque Terre), or spend a night in each town to get a real sense of them individually. Food offerings are many and delicious. Sample the region’s famous sauce, pesto, or indulge in any of the fresh, delicious seafood dishes for an unforgettable culinary experience alongside the sea in the most delightful towns. Explore medieval castles and charming churches between trips to the beach where children can enjoy the sunshine and sea, embark on a hike in the hills with the children and get a little lost in tiny streets as you explore the towns. Don’t leave Cinque Terre, though, without really taking in how truly incredible the area is — hillside vineyards and all.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany
This incredible little town seems to have jumped to life from the pages of a fairytale. Enchanting, quaint and charming, it sits alongside the Tauber river in the Franconia region of Bavaria, Germany and has certainly earned its right to be on the family holiday inspiration list. An incredibly old town, Rothenburg is still surrounded by the medieval town wall, and has seen its fair share of wars, while the cobbled streets have seen over a thousand years of history. In fact, Rothenburg is so old, there was a time where it was considered the second largest town in Germany, with a then impressive 6,000 inhabitants. Take a walking tour through the town and allow yourself and your family to be transported to another time, take in the views from the Town Hall Tower at sunrise or sunset, visit St Jakob’s church and admire the woodcarvings, take pictures of the turrets and clock towers, bike through the surrounding areas and explore the neighbouring towns. While Rothenburg is worth a visit any time of the year, keep in mind that it is affectionately nicknamed the ‘Christmas town’, and visiting in December is extremely special for children. Allow them to be enchanted during a visit to the Christmas Museum and the famous Christmas shop Käthe Wohlfahrt. Besides, what better place to spend your Christmas than in a town that when it snows, transforms into a real life snow globe — it’s simply magical.
Any village in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur is bound to impress and dazzle, but this tiny village is definitely a diamond in the rough and perfect for some family bonding time overlooking vast purple fields of lavender. Bonnieux literally looks as if it were lifted from a painting. The idyllic french countryside encompasses this hilltop town littered with trees and should serve as some great family holiday inspiration. Enjoy the savoir vivre in their elegant and charming restaurants and cafes where you can indulge in the finest French cuisine. Shop like a local at the Friday morning market, learn how the French make their bread at the Bread Museum, admire the orchards and vineyards or even educate the children on the beauty of classical music at a concert in the town’s old church. A trip to this lovely town is definitely a perfect family holiday destination. Be sure to book a hotel with a pool in the summer where children can spend hours enjoying the sun, and where you can sip on a glass of the region’s best wine, with an unforgettable view.
Another top pick for your family holiday inspiration is Calpe in the gorgeous province of Alicante. Boasting 325 days of sunshine a year this destination is ideal for families who enjoy spending their holiday outside soaking up a healthy dose of vitamin D. Calpe has ample choice when it comes to activities: from traversing the Parque Natural de Penyal D'Ifach or enjoying gentle hikes in and around the area while birdwatching, to watersports, boat rides, a trip to the salt mine and so much more. Treat your family to delicious, yet healthy, Mediterranean cuisine and make the most of the Spanish laidback lifestyle (siestas perhaps?). Calpe has incredible stretches of white sandy beaches, awe-inspiring historical wonders, boutique stores and memorable resorts. There is no doubt that Calpe is a family vacation dream destination.
If a small hidden gem steeped in history with great activities is your idea of a perfect family holiday destination, then look no further than Calpe. With a little something for everyone and the most incredible weather in a postcard perfect location, you just can’t go wrong! Contact us for more information and to book a stay at one of our amazing family-friendly Costa Blanca resorts. Our children’s entertainment programmes will allow you a little R&R while your children enjoy all the wonderful activities on offer.