I remember the days when I first met my husband. What a jet-set lifestyle we used to lead, before we had the ravaging little monsters (er, the kids). America one week, Australia the next, and then Japan every summer without fail. As every parent knows, however, such destinations often fly out the window (pun definitely intended) when the children arrive.
Of course, we tried. We took our eldest to Tokyo when she was just three. Never again. Quite apart from anything else, it’s just not fair to expect them to sit through a twelve-hour flight, especially when there are equally suitable destinations much closer to home when you have little ones.
For the past few years, we’ve fallen into a routine of choosing a European destination at random – no more than four hours away flight-wise – and finding a good villa. Quite apart from anything, it’s convenient for the entire family and you’ll find some simply magnificent destinations. Check below for a few of my favourites then book the one that most suits you.
Grab a villa on a Greek island for the ultimate in relaxation. There are plenty of potential destinations on offer – we’ve been to Crete and Kos and they were great ‘all-rounder’ holidays. Whether we wanted to lie on the beach, paddle in the pool or try our hands at some watersports, there was plenty of choice within easy access of the villa. Both islands have portside communities which are great for food, wine and fun. I recommend sitting on the jetty with your legs dangling off the side at sunset, watching the sails on the horizon.
Whether you’re going for a weekend, a week or a fortnight, Spain never disappoints. We took the kids to Costa Blanca (literally White Coast) and had a whale of a time. Like the Greek islands, I recommend getting a coastal villa with easy access to the local portside communities
There’s plenty to do in the area, whether you opt for an easy walk, a lie on the beach or something a little more exciting. My overly-ambitious husband took us on a boating adventure when we hired a small yacht for the afternoon with the local club. While things didn’t go exactly to plan, we did enjoy four hours cruising up and down with our youngest screaming ‘Man overboard!’ everytime we hit a wave. Great family fun.
Turkey is a fascinating place for a holiday, particularly if you’re keen to experience something a little different to Europe without venturing too far. A four-hour flight and you can be lying on a beach on the aptly-named Turquoise Coast with a book, an ice-cream and sticky fingers from the suncream. (Or is that the ice-cream? Hmm). Featuring some of the most stunning beaches imaginable, you’ll be spoilt for choice if you’re a sun worshipper. Keep the children occupied with sandcastles and you’re sorted.
Alternatively, the area is also known for its vibrant and exciting history and is often regarded as the home of scholars, saints, warriors, kings, and heroes thanks to a number of local myths. Take the kids to soak up some of this history if you’re in the mood for education.