Step away from the Equator. Easter is in April this year and it’s hot enough on many European beaches to shed your winter woollies and go frolicking in the sea without the pain of a long-haul flight. Here are eleven close and not too costly family trips perfect for an Easter holiday.
11 San Jose, Ibiza, Spain
The party doesn’t get started on Ibiza’s northwest coast until well into July. Turn up for Easter and the beaches are clear of clubbers sleeping it off; the weather’s 23°C and climbing; the sea’s safe for watersports and San Antonio is just lively enough to at this time of year for families.
Marina Palace Prestige, in the coastal region on Cala de Bou, has gorgeous Mediterranean Sea views and Port des Torrent Beach on its doorstep. Families are well set up in a choice of one to three bed stylish and contemporary apartments.
10 Qawra, St. Paul’s Bay, Malta
In high summer Malta’s the warmest country in Europe and it’s already starting to heat up nicely by mid-April, so expect temperatures of 22˚C and rising in Qawra, which overlooks St. Paul’s Bay on the island’s sunny northwest coast. This lively family resort is famous for watersports, good restaurants, shopping on Tourist Street and 16th century Qawra Fort – now a gorgeous, open air swimming pool.
Seashells Resort at Suncrest is a four-star seafront hotel situated by buzzy Qawra waterfront, with its many restaurants, bars and watersports facilities. Malta National Aquarium is also just a short walk away. The resort has five restaurants and two bars for dining and drinking. Outdoors, there are three swimming pools including a kids’ pool with waterslide and play area.
9 Playa Blanca, Lanzarote, Spain
Where better to spend Easter than the most easterly Canary Island? Lanzarote’s just 125km off the west coast of Africa and looking forward to temperatures of up to 24˚C this April. Perfect for a warm and sunny week in Playa Blanca, the pretty south coast resort is close to Papagaya Beach and, closer still, to volcanic Timanfaya National Park.
Elba Lanzarote Royal Village is a dream family resort, with fairytale-themed rooms, excellent baby facilities, Thalasso spa and gym, and a kids club packed full of innovative fun and games. The huge outdoor pool complex with pools connected by bridges should please water fans. The sea is only 10 minutes away too. This four-star resort is low-rise and more like a mini Canarian village, with white domed buildings and cobbled streets.
8 Puerto Rico, Gran Canaria, Spain
Puerto Rico is a much-loved family resort on Gran Canaria’s sunniest south coast. Tucked between Playa des Ingles and Puerto de Mogán, it’s famous for cliff-trimmed beaches, sailing, watersports and kids’ activities. The waterpark at Playa Taurito is just 20 minutes drive west and Easter isn’t too early for camel rides across Las Dunas de Maspalomas to the east. Temperatures of 24˚C in April are a welcome extra too.
Oceanfront Marina Suites Puerto Rico has both suites and apartments to suit different families’ needs, decorated in light and airy nautical colours. Some have views over the Atlantic Ocean. On site there is a stunning infinity pool to soak up the sun’s rays in and an outdoor hot tub, plus a kids’ pool for little ones to splash about in.
7 Paphos, Cyprus
Paphos, in the southwest of the island, enjoys an enviable climate all year round, though Easter is an ideal time to visit as the weather is not uncomfortable nor are the crowd levels. It’s the perfect holiday spot for history buffs and sun seekers as the sun-drenched landscape is filled with ancient castles, ruins and tombs.
At Annabelle there are 244 contemporary rooms and suites, each with a balcony or terrace and marble bathroom, set in lush gardens and minutes away from Paphos harbour. Families can now enjoy the new Ouranos rooftop pool, bar and restaurant and wellness centre, which overlook the Mediterranean.
6 Porto Colom, Mallorca, Spain
Think about a trip to Porto Colom for Easter, a traditional fishing village on the southeast coast of Mallorca. Pretty pastel-hued cottages lining the waterfront will please the eye and kids will love seeing the boats bobbing gently in the water. The nearby blue flag Cala Marsel beach is perfect for kids as it’s calm and shallow.
Hotel Vistamar by Pierre Vacance Mallorca is 800m from the beach, and 300m from the centre of town. Rooms have air-con and sea views. Sporty families will enjoy the range of watersports available including windsurfing, scuba diving, fishing and waterskiing. The hotel has two outdoor and one indoor pool plus fitness room, spa, mini golf, tennis courts (with racquet rental) and table tennis.
5 Praia de Rocha, Western Algarve, Portugal
Praia de Rocha is the best of all worlds this Easter: not too far from the bustle of Albufeira and Faro but closer still to charming Lagos. The resort beaches are typically Western Algarve and if they aren’t dramatic enough, cliff-stacked Praia de Marinha is nearby too. Or you could go full explorer in best Portuguese tradition and head for the wilds of spectacular Costa Vicenta park on the west coast.
Smartline Club Amarilis is a 3-star beachside resort with pool and gym, and contemporary, colourful rooms are made with families in mind. The golden sands of Praia de Rocha beach is just 350m away so lazy days can be spent soaking up the sun by the sea.
4 Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife
Puerto de la Cruz lies on the North coast of Tenerife, and is one of the island’s top resorts. Great Spanish restaurants, a bustling harbour, a good range of shops and famous volcanic sandy beach make this a fantastic destination for an easy Easter getaway, plus it’s only 4 hours away from the UK. For day trips, head to the tropical Botanical Gardens or Loro Parque Zoo, or take a trip into the middle to hike majestic Mount Teide, Tenerife’s volcano that dominates the central landscape.
Casablanca Apartments are just 10 minutes walk from the beach in Puerto de la Cruz. These bright and airy 3-star rooms come with superb views of Mount Teide and the La Orotava Valley. The complex has a heated outdoor swimming pool, children’s play area, gym and entertainment.
3 Essaouira, Morocco
If you want a taste of Morocco without the hassle, head to Essaouira on the Atlantic coast. This hip and laid-back part of the country is ideal for families. Shopping in the vibrant but small medina is manageable with kids and the long sandy beach is perfect for little ones. It’s also easy to take a day trip into Marrakech to soak up souk life.
Stay at the Riad Inna and Watersports Centre, a traditional riad in the centre of town. This pretty boutique retreat is decorated with typical Moroccan whitewashed walls, ornate, colourful tiles and rustic decor. Make the most of the dramatic rolling waves on the Northern coastline with some surfing or kitesurfing lessons from the Riad Inna.
2 Rethymnon, Crete, Greece
Rethymnon is a gorgeous fairy-tale medieval Grecian city full of charm and history. You could spend your days wandering the old town’s cobbled paths admiring the Venetian architecture, before heading into an under-the-radar taverna to refuel and relax. Kids will welcome the long sandy stretch of Rethymnon beach and ice cool Cretan waters to play in.
Stay in style at Rimandi Grand Resort and Spa, a 5-star hotel and spa, ideally placed just outside busy Rethymnon in a pretty village dotted with olive trees. Family rooms have two bedrooms and a welcome balcony with valley views. The resort has a private section of beach plus luxe spa, turkish baths and outdoor pool. Bike rental and babysitting is available.
1 Giardini Naxos, Sicily, Italy
Sicily is a fantastic choice for a budget Easter break. You won’t get the high temperatures of the Canaries but it will be a pleasant 18˚C. Giardini Naxos is a small and quiet town on the northeast coastline. The long parade filled with pizzerias, bars and shops is the main draw here along with the blues of the Ionian Sea but a day trip to arty Taormina for the ancient theatre, dramatic cliffs and views of Mount Etna can easily be taken.
Artemide is a boutique 4-star hotel, 500m from the beach. There’s a garden, pool, playground to use to while away the hours, plus tennis courts, horseriding and boat trips can all be booked for more active excursions.