May half term is the ideal time to gather up the troops and head to Europe – particularly the Med. It is close to the start of the season, so resorts won’t be too busy, and while you can look forward to plenty of sunshine, the temperatures will be manageable for the little ones.
Follow the links in this article to find out more about the fantastic places mentioned and get the lowdown on how to get there, where to stay, what to eat and how much it’s likely to cost…
Portugal remains a firm family favourite and its captial Lisbon is a great choice for a family getaway that is as educational as it is fun, while the Rota Vicentina trail in peaceful Alentejo offers the perfect back-to-nature spring escape for families.
There are plenty of unspoilt spots in the Algarve, proving that Portugal’s famous southern region is much more than Irish pubs, burnt tourists and over-crowded beaches.
The Matinhal Beach Resort and Hotel on the Algarve is a fabulous and rare combination of chic style and toddler-friendly facilities, while Monte Da Quinta offers cool family villa accommodation, relaxing spa facilities and top golf courses, as well as kids’ clubs and babysitting services.
Turkey’s Aegean coast is simply spectacular in May. It’s the perfect time to rent a family villa with pool and kick back. Treat yourselves to a luxury gulet cruise along the coast, and look forward to jumping off the boat and exploring secret hidden coves.
For a more active getaway, just a 45-minute transfer from Turkey’s Antalya airport, you’ll find the Susesi Luxury Resort, a premium haven situated on its own quiet section of Belek’s sand-and-shingle beachfront. With seven pools, its very own water park, private beach, spa and selection of golf courses, there is something for every member of the family.
City-seekers should head straight to Istanbul. With its mix of incense-shrouded bazaar, elegant Ottoman mosques and modern art galleries – not to mention a city centre that straddles two continents – Istanbul is probably the most exciting city families can find within four hours of the UK. And even though its cobbled streets can be challenging for prams, children are universally adored.
Who doesn’t love Italy? It’s a beautiful country with some of the world’s best food, and kids are always made to feel welcome. For something a bit different, treat car-loving teens to a trip to Modena’s Motor Valley, which celebrates all the big Italian sports cars and has a fabulous Ferrari museum.
For cobalt-blue seas, irresisitible family-friendly restaurants, watersports, mountain trails – and even the chance for kids to learn to make pizza – Basilicata is a hidden gem at the foot of Italy that you’ll want to return to again and again. Perched on rocky outcrops, Matera is the jewel of Basilicata. This charming town is known for its Sassi – incredible cave dwellings – that were once urban slums but are now galleries, shops and restaurants. A must for a family dinner.
Nestled between Rome and Naples, you’ll find Ciociaria (pronounced Cho-cha-ree-a), a rural haven that offers wildlife, family-friendly restaurants and horseriding. It’s the ideal spot for families seeking outdoor fun in an unspoilt region with beautiful weather.
Croatia is a charming choice for May. Head to Dubrovnik, where history comes to life in the form of everything from ancient republic to Game of Thrones.
But kids needn’t worry, a trip to Dubrovnik isn’t just going to be one long history lesson. Outside the city walls, it is basically one big waterpark. Kayaking, snorkeling, boat trips and chances to explore hidden coves will make sure the kids are suitably exhausted, leaving mum and dad to enjoy a peaceful seafood supper at one of the city’s many restaurants.
Croatia’s second-largest city, Split is the place to go if you want to introduce your kids to day-to-day Dalmatian life as it’s truly lived. This buzzing city balances tradition with modern touches and when it comes to shopping and eating, you’ll be spoiled for choice.
France is often a family’s first choice for a European trip, and for good reason. You can get there in a flash and there are some fabulous options for families on a budget.
Become the world’s coolest parents and treat the kids to stay at Disneyland Paris, where spectacular shows, big thrill rides – and money-saving family deals – await. If you want to enjoy Paris without the influence of Mickey Mouse and co., Le Bristol Paris is a hotel right in the heart of the city that is extremely well catered for kids.
Siblu offers a selection of holiday villages throughout France with sizable swimming pools and free kids’ clubs – it’s always worth checking out their latest offers, as there are considerable savings to be made.
If you fancy venturing further South, a three hour flight from London will take you to Menton, on the French Riviera, along the Franco-Italian border. This beautiful town boasts 365 days of sunshine a year, and its bright colours, buggy-friendly pavements and clean, shallow water make it ideal for families.
Greece is another winner for families. If you crave the ease of an all-inclusive holiday, Sani is a large resort nestled among pretty pine trees and beside Blue Flag beaches, offering plenty of fun activities to occupy kids of all ages.
On the charming island of Kefalonia you’ll find plenty of family villas to rent, as well as clear blue seas, dazzling sand and beach tavernas where you’ll tuck into some of the tastiest fresh fish in the world. You can fly direct to Kefalonia from the UK, making it the island a great, fuss-free option for the short May break.
To inject a little more activity into your holiday, try a spot of Greek island hopping. With sunshine, sea, sand and lots of family entertainment – the picturesque Greek islands of Ithaca, Kefaloniá, Léfkas and Zákynthos really do have it all, and travelling between them is a breeze. All four are fairly small islands, with relatively few permenent residents, making them the perfect sanctuary for stressed families.