Escape the crowds and jet off towards some of the best short-haul European destinations for families, where discounted end of season rates and October mid-term deals allow you to enjoy sun-kissed beaches and entertainment-filled resorts at a fraction of the usual cost.
Read on to find out our top picks for destinations not to miss when planning a last-minute summer break before school season gets into full swing, escaping the unpredictable weather back home in swapping the dark nights and cooling temperatures for pristine coastal beauty and esteemed island getaways.
The stunning beach bound serenity of the Dalmatian Coast is becoming increasingly popular with families, due in part to its affordability in comparison to the sheer amount of cultural and historical activities on offer, alongside an enviable culinary scene featuring some of the finest seafood dishes in the region.
The ancient walls of small city Zadar are particularly inviting for families out of peak season, where splendid sunsets shimmer on an assorted provision of historic churches and Roman ruins fascinating for the whole family, while the Zadar Rivera is brilliant for long days on the beach as you relax on some of the best beaches in Croatia.
An array of inviting family-friendly hotels, many with dedicated kids’ clubs, sees Menorca’s tranquil setting in comparison to livelier sister island Majorca feature untouched coastlines known for being more secluded than the rest of the Balearics.
Son Bou is the island’s longest beach, with plenty of opportunities for watersports, and alongside the sandy coves of Cap Cap de Favártix in the north. Are reflective of Menorca’s magnificent beaches offering, safe, crystal clear waters for children to splash around, while a wide range of self-catering apartments and villas are particularly inviting as you experience Spanish island living in domesticated quarters.
A perfect destination for a last-minute family holiday, Corfu’s developed yet affordable family resort options and plentiful sheltered beaches reflect a beach bound paradise handily located just off the north-west of Greece’s mainland.
Dreamy villages and world class watersports await families seeking a convergence of activity and unwinding beach days, while the luscious vegetation and blossoming flowers covering interspersed with pastel-hued architecture make for the ideal backdrop for a memorable Ionian Sea escape.
With Italy widely regarded as one of the most child-friendly destinations in the world, booking a trip to the rustic charms of Tuscany as a family will likely be the start of a long-held love affair with the region. Luxurious villa retreats chime with elegant boutique stays among the likes of the aesthetically pleasing Renaissance throwback Florence, while pleasant summer seas and scattering of cypress and olive trees allude to the quintessential vision of Italy as a bucolic haven.
If you’re looking for a destination providing plenty of options for children to eat, Tuscany delivers in welcomingly laid-back droves, as slow-cooked meals found both in the city restaurants and the peaceful surrounding countryside help initiate younger family members into the delights of premium Italy cooking.
Uninterrupted family time and swift access to beach-based fun and a wealth of activities can all be ticked off the list when visiting the Algarve.
Child-focused accommodations include Pine Cliffs in Albufeira, where on-site child care is provided alongside a Pirate Club and Junior Club appealing to toddlers and teens respectively, where mini-golf, football, water ball and nine-hole golf course provide endless hours of fun. Adults are not forgotten however, as while the kids are occupied, this leaves you to take advantage of fantastic sporting facilities at the hotel, including a tennis academy hosting lessons from dawn until dusk, before heading to the dramatic beachside restaurant and clifftop champagne bar to unwind in romantically inclined style.