Insight /

Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain

Best for Family European Resort Holidays

    Domes of Elounda, Crete, Greece

    Best for: Babies

    In brief: Stylish resort on Crete’s north coast with VIP levels of service for both children and parents.
    Why it works: With idyllic views across the water to Spinalonga, Domes of Elounda is perfect for luxury-loving parents.

    Concierges are offered at this stylish resort on Crete’s north coast. Every sleek and spacious suite or villa comes with a concierge who’ll pre-order everything from sun cream to baby gates and groceries. The sheltered private beach is perfect for young children, as is the OFSTED-approved complimentary kids’ club and creche. The onsite mini-market stocks all the necessary baby supplies and there’s a nanny service on request too.

    Teens aren’t left out either, with an arcade-game room and water sports among the diversions. All of which leaves you free to relax and enjoy the splendid views of Mirabello Bay from your private pool or slip off to the spa.

    When to go: Easter, Half Term and Summer Holidays

    Martinhal Sagres Beach Family Resort Hotel, Algarve, Portugal

    Best for: Toddlers

    In brief: Activities aplenty beside a wide, sandy beach in the Western Algarve.

    Why it works: Designed with families in mind, Martinhal combines the privacy and independence of a villa holiday with the facilities of a luxury resort.

    Youngsters of all ages are catered for either by a dedicated baby concierge, age-specific kids’ clubs or the teen games room. At the excellent Raposinhos Kids Club, toddlers can try their hand at face painting, arts and crafts, or join an outdoor treasure hunt. You can get active at the water sports centre (sailing, surfing, kayaking et al) or tennis academy, while walking, yoga and spa treatments are also available for gentler days. Child-friendly touches are everywhere, from family swimming pools and playgrounds to kids’ corners in the restaurants – meaning you can enjoy post-dinner conversation while the children play safely.

    Spacious one to three-bedroom houses and villas suit families needing plenty of outdoor space while also giving you the option to self-cater. If you prefer a full-service hotel, there’s that option too.

    When to go: Summer Holidays

    Gattarella Resort, Puglia, Italy

    Best for: Tweens

    In brief: Little known in the UK, this family resort in Puglia has a sandy beach and is near to authentic local town Vieste
    Why it works: With activities suiting each age range, kids between 11-13 can enjoy much needed freedom in a safe environment.

    Surrounded by the pine forests of Gargano National Park and opening out onto a wide, sandy beach, Gatteralla Resort is located in Puglia, southeast Italy. With a good selection of two-bedroom suites, a beach bar, Italian restaurant and pizzeria, families are well looked after here in this sunny, natural enclave.

    And for kids in the hard-to-please tween years, there is a good range of age-appropriate activities which they can do with new-found friends and energetic staff, while parents relax on the beach or grab a massage at the wellness centre, safe in the knowledge that their kids are having a ball. In the shady forest, tweens can challenge themselves on a high ropes course, ride a BMX bike around the awesome Skate Park and Pump Track or head out on a catamaran, try sailing, or have a game of tennis. Join forces again in the early evening for a drink to watch the sunset and catch up on the day’s fun-packed news.

    When to go: Summer Holidays

    La Bobadilla, Andalucía, Spain

    Best for: Multigenerational

    In brief: Set within a large country estate, this whitewashed hideaway is perfect for active-minded families seeking both luxury and leisure.

    Why it works: Outdoor activities; stunning scenery; cultural daytrips; poolside pampering – La Bobadilla has enough on offer to satisfy even the most diverse family group.

    The myriad of inhouse activity options includes paddle tennis, hot-air ballooning and Tai Chi classes. An excellent kids’ club is supported by a children’s playground; meanwhile, the massive outdoor pool and large spa complex lets adults unwind. You can stay in a mix of interconnecting rooms or family suites – all are chic, spacious and come with a private balcony. Among three restaurants, renowned La Finca delivers its formal food on a geranium-perfumed patio.

    You’re encouraged to explore the expansive estate’s oaks and olive groves on foot, bike or horseback, or you can venture out further into Andalucía’s beautiful countryside. It’s also just an hour’s drive from Granada, where we can arrange a guided visit of the legendary Alhambra fortress followed by a tapas tours through the narrow-laned barrios.

    When to go: Easter, Half Term and Summer Holidays