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A child plays in the shallows of a cove with a pebbly beach and clear blue water.

Six family-friendly escapes to book right now

Looking for holiday inspiration? We curate the best places to travel en famille


01/09/2020Fact-checked 01/09/2020

The Ponta de São Lourenço peninsula is a perfect hiking spot (Adobe Stock)

1

Madeira

This subtropical Portuguese island, off the northwest coast of Africa, may be small in size, but it has a big personality: year-round Atlantic sun, green and rugged scenery and a glittering coastline. Not to mention its namesake wine.

What to enjoy when you’re there: It’s all about the great outdoors. Navigate the island’s famous levadas – irrigation channels-turned-trails – that offer excellent hiking opportunities. So, too, do the wildflower-cloaked cliffs. Between April and October, look out for whales and dolphins that frequent the surrounding waters.

Best for: nature-loving families.

Take off to Madeira

The Edinburgh skyline in winter, from Calton Hill (Adobe Stock)

2

Edinburgh

From the atmospheric cobbled streets of Old Town to the cool, contemporary Leith Docks, Edinburgh delights all shapes and sizes – even teens will be impressed. It’s also surprisingly compact, so easy to explore by foot.

What to enjoy when you’re there: Soak up the Scottish culture along the Royal Mile, which runs from the city’s towering castle at one end to the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the other. For a bird’s-eye view of the city, climb Calton Hill with its unmistakable Acropolis punctuating the skyline.

Best for: families with teenagers in tow.

Take off to Edinburgh

The tranquil English Harbour of Antigua and Barbuda (Adobe Stock)

3

Antigua

This sun-drenched Caribbean jewel has 365 beaches – one for every day of the year – a rich colonial history (Horatio Nelson was stationed here), delicious Creole cuisine and a near unbroken coral reef.

What to enjoy when you’re there: Take a speedboat to Stingray City, a shallow pool that Southern rays call home. Enjoy watching these curious creatures bask in their natural habitat before taking the kids to Devil’s Bridge near Indian Town, where the geysers and blowholes create a spectacular show.  

Best for: families seeking chilled-out beach vibes.

Take off to Antigua

The Uffizi Gallery’s Tribune room (Adobe Stock)

4

Florence

Florence, the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, is one of the most historically and culturally significant cities in the world, with the soaring Duomo (opening image), Giotto’s Campanile and the iconic 14th-century Ponte Vecchio just a few of its architectural masterpieces.

What to enjoy when you’re there: Most of the city’s galleries and museums have reopened – including the Uffizi, which holds the largest art collection in the country – and visitor numbers are regulated. It is said that gelato was invented in Florence, so indulging copiously in ice cream is also a must.

Best for: families looking for a culture fix.

Take off to Florence

The idyllic Vlacherna church on Mouse island, off Kanoni peninsula (Adobe Stock)

5

Corfu

One of the largest of the Ionian Islands, Corfu is all golden beaches and secluded bays, lapped by a crystalline sea. Inland, rolling olive groves and dramatic mountainscapes are dotted with villages packed with rustic, traditional charm.

What to enjoy when you’re there: The old quarter of capital Kerkyra, with its shady lanes, pastel-hued Venetian architecture and ancient fortress, will entrance all ages. Afterwards, make your way to one of the island’s myriad seafront tavernas and watch the children paddle as you feast on fresh seafood.

Best for: families with young children.

Take off to Corfu

A passenger train skirts the the snowy Jungfrau mountains (Adobe Stock)

6

Zurich

For fresh mountain air, glacial waterfalls and alpine meadows, head to Switzerland. Zurich may be the gateway to the Alps, but it has plenty to offer the visitor, with its quaint mediaeval old town, famous St Peter church, which boasts the largest clock face in Europe, and huge lake.

What to enjoy when you’re there: The majestic views from one (or all) of the big three – mounts Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau – are quite something. Take the train to Jungfraujoch, Europe’s highest-altitude railway station at 3,454 metres above sea level, where you’ll be rewarded by a wonderland of ice, snow and rocks.

Best for: families who enjoy their space.

Take off to Zurich