11 March 2022
The largest of the four main Balearics is packed with safe sandy beaches and stunning scenery. Fun on or by the water includes sailing, paragliding, waterskiing, bodysurfing, and glass-bottomed boat rides, and there are wonderful regattas to watch. When you’re not building your own sandcastles, head to Puerto Pollenca for the epic displays by professionals – everything from crocodiles to castles.
Mallorca’s historic capital Palma has labyrinthine alleys to explore and vintage trains to Sóller. Other ideas are horse-riding tours from the Rancho Grande working ranch, hot-air balloon rides and days out at water parks.
The largest Greek island offers natural and ancient wonders. This is the cradle of early Mediterranean civilisation, and kids’ adventurous imaginations will be fired up by the ruins of Minoan palaces, Byzantine churches, Venetian castles and Turkish minarets. Knossos is a must – this is the ancient palace around which the Minoan civilisation grew.
Of course Crete also has wonderful beaches and fishing villages to discover. One of the loveliest beaches is Váï (Finikodassos), a conservation area due to its being home to the largest natural palm grove in Europe, with great snorkelling, windsurfing and jet-skiing.
Turkey’s Mediterranean coast is a beguiling blend of child-friendly beaches, great sailing conditions, timeless inland villages and more Greek ruins than Greece. One of the best things to do is take a wooden boat ride from riverside Dalyan (which has dramatic Lycian tombs carved into is cliff-face, quayside restaurants, hot springs and mud baths) to Iztuzu Beach, a rare breeding ground for loggerhead turtles.
Other highlights are the the full-day ‘12 Island’ boat-trip from Fethiye, with slides into the water from many of the double-decker boats, and days at Olüdeniz beach with its cheap taxi-boats to Butterfly Valley with its Jersey tiger butterflies. There’s also canoeing over part of the sunken city of Kekova.
This Greek island is known for its beaches and resorts, but there are adventures in store off-the-beaten track – hiking Mount Pantokrator with older kids, for example, or hiring a motorboat to sound out the secret coves of the north-east. In Corfu town, meanwhile, the island’s rich history comes to life in the Museum of Archaeology with its menacing Gorgon Medusa sculpture, and at the Venetian fortress.
The Corfiot interior with its wildflowers, olive groves and cyprus and fig trees is a lovely horse-riding spot, while the coast beckons with scenic fishing harbours, safe shallow waters and water sports.
The Mediterranean coast of southeastern France, also known as the French Riviera, is known for the glitzy glamour of beach resorts such as Saint-Tropez and Cannes but has remarkable landscapes that provide the produce for some of best food you’ll ever eat. Great things to do here with food-loving kids include browsing (and tasting!) in Nice’s iconic Cours Saleya market and a trip to the inland foodie hotspot of Mougins.
To escape the crowds of the famous resorts, check out family-friendly seaside towns such as Menton and Antibes. For art-loving kids there are also amazing museums including Fondation Maeght in St-Paul de Vence and the Musée Marc Chagall in Nice.