The best family holidays abroad: Tips, locations and hotels

by Emily Gilbert |
Updated on

Selecting where to go, however, can be even more daunting. You’ll need a place that is family-friendly, not too hot for your little one and has everything you might need for a comfortable stay.

Whenever you may be planning to travel again we've rounded up our favourite holiday destinations and hotels abroad that are suitable for families.

Top tips for selecting a holiday with a baby

  • Go all-inclusive: Consider paying that little bit extra for the comforts of an all-inclusive board. Having food and drink on tap can be very handy when you have your little one with you.

  • The 6-hour rule: Limit your destination choice to within a 6-hour flight window from the UK. This can help especially when thinking about the first trip away with your baby or toddler.

  • Weather check: Look at the average forecasts for your chosen destination at the time of year you will be travelling. Try to pick a place where the temperate isn’t going to be sky-high, as keeping your baby cool and protected from harmful rays can be more difficult. Around the mid-20s is a manageable heat with a small baby.

  • Don’t forget a sun hat: If you're going somewhere hot pick a high SPF cream and loose-fitting clothes that cover well. Don't forget that even if you're travelling to a colder destination spot, planning a skiing trip for example, SPF face cream is still needed.

Top holiday destinations to visit with a baby


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1) Mallorca, Spain

With a flight time of just over two hours from the UK, this sunny island in the Balearics is ideal for families with small babies. The short flight means there is less time for your little one to become restless and it will be less tiring on the family.

Where to stay: Mallorca has some fantastic, family-friendly resorts such as Cala D’Or, Alcudia, Cala Bona, Ca'n Picafort and Santa Ponsa.

When to go: May and June are great times to visit, with temperatures comfortably warm (early to mid 20s) and resorts a little on the quieter side before the school holiday rush.

Mum-tips: It’s worth noting, though, that taxi drivers rarely carry child/baby seats, so if you do require transfers or a means of getting about, it’s best to hire a car or pre-book if you don’t have a car seat with you.

Photo credit: Sam Ross, view his site here: The Hammock Hombre

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2) Portugal

Favoured by families with small children, Portugal is a great holiday destination for those with a baby in tow. Also a couple of hours away from the UK by flight, it’s a short-haul destination that offers a wide variety of accommodation to suit a young family’s needs.

Where to stay: The Algarve is a good place to start your search for accommodation, as it’s a region that is really geared towards family breaks. Vilamoura is a really lovely spot for those with young children, as is Praia do Barril on the quieter eastern side of the Island.

When to go: Portugal is a good pick for February half-term trips, as it's beautiful in Spring. Temperatures might not be as warm as summer months, but it's much quieter.

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3) Tenerife

If you’re willing to brave a slightly longer flight with your tiny tot, the Canary Island of Tenerife is around four and a half hours away by plane; which is still relatively short-haul and certainly manageable with a baby.

Where to stay: Tenerife has more family-friendly resorts than you can shake a stick at, including Playa de las Americas, Los Christianos and Costa Adeje, all on the South West coast.

When to go: When to go: You’re pretty much guaranteed lovely weather at any time of year, but the autumn and winter months will offer slightly more comfortable temperatures.

Mum tips: Look for a hotel that offers a self catering option, so that you can head out with your little one and enjoy the delights of the many beachfront restaurants and retreat to your accommodation when it’s baby’s bedtime so that you can indulge in some couple’s time watching the sun set from your balcony with a glass of vino.

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4) South of France

If your budget can stretch a little further, the South of France is a beautiful destination. The region doesn’t have the nickname ‘millionaire’s playground’ for no reason, but there are ways to enjoy the spot on a budget and with baby.

Where to stay: If you steer clear of areas like Monaco and Cannes, your bank balance will thank you and they aren’t the most family-friendly places. Check out Nice, which has lovely beaches and a fantastic range of hotels that cater well for families with young children.

When to go: When it comes to the weather, Spring can be a bit hit and miss in the South of France, so head for the summer season, between May and October. It's worth noting, during peak times in July and August, expect hotels and beaches to be busy.

Mum tips: Of course, if you are heading to France there is always Disneyland Paris if you have slightly older children too who will enjoy all the benefits of the park.

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5) Mainland Spain

Mainland Spain is a very cheap destination to visit, but that doesn’t mean you have to compromise on quality. Just a 2-3 hour flight from the UK, it’s again a very doable destination with a young baby.

Where to stay: Costa del Sol and the resort of Torremolinos is an ideal destination for baby’s first holiday abroad. Many of the hotels offer great kids’ clubs that cater for babies too, so you can enjoy some well deserved adult time if you want a break. The Sol Principe Hotel is in a great position and is perfect for families.

When to go: June and September are probably the most comfortable times to visit Spain with a baby in tow, as during the heat of the summer, things can get a little too hot.

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6) Tuscany, Italy

If pizza, pasta and Italian sun sounds like a dream come true, visiting Italy with a tot in tow can be much less stressful than it sounds. With flight times under three hours, head to Tuscany for some summer sun.

Where to stay: Check out to find plenty of affordable villas where your tots can spend the days splashing around in the pool. Wander into the local village for ice cream and a slice of pizza or two, or learn how to create Tuscan recipes of your own with a cookery class.

When to go: The peak seasons see soaring temperatures that might be uncomfortable for your baby, so head to Tuscany in April, May, June, September, or October to have a relaxing break without the crowds.

Mum tip: The medieval town of Lucca is a great place to head, as unlike many of the other towns in Tuscany, it's completely flat, making moving round with a pushchair much easier.

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7) Corfu, Greece

It's become one of the most popular European destinations to visit in the last few years and it's easy to see why. With direct flights running throughout the summer from the UK, you'll be able to get there in around three hours.

Where to stay: The sandy beaches on Glyfada are beautiful on the west coat, as are the sheltered pebble coves of Paleokastritsa. Alternatively, check out these best family hotels in Greece.

When to go: There's never really a bad time to visit Corfu, however during the winter months the sea will be far too cold to take your tots in. Aim for the shoulder season of May or September if you can, as the summer months can be busy.

Mum tip: There's a great open-air cinema for kids during the summer months, with the films playing in English with Greek subtitles.

Family hotels abroad

Hotel Iberostar Son Antem, Mallorca

The Hotel Iberostar Son Antem in Majorca

This family-friendly resort has its own golf course and spa. It’s just 20 minutes from Palma airport and there’s a shuttle bus to nearby beaches.

There’s a giant pool area outside with a separate pool for toddlers and a great kids’ playground, plus a poolside snack bar that does burgers and club sandwiches. The hotel’s kids’ club also takes place there during the day, keeping the little ones busy with games and face painting.

The rooms are spacious and luxurious. The hotel has one main restaurant with evening entertainment on the terrace to keep everyone happy.

Martinhal Beach Resort, Algarve

The Algarve is brilliant for families with its long golden beaches and glorious climate, all just a couple of hours’ flight from the UK. And the Martinhal Beach Resort is super child-friendly, combining the ease of staying in a villa with all the facilities of a top hotel.

There’s a baby concierge service, so you can pre-order everything from buggies to sterilisers. The kids’ club caters for ages from six months to 16. There is even a baby’s first-break holiday package including a babysitting service and a spa treatment for mum. You can eat at one of the three restaurants where nannies can entertain the little ones if you want to linger at your table.

Chateau Les Carrasses, France

Chateau Les Carrasses in France

Château Les Carrasses offers a dream family set-up. You'll drive through vineyards and canal-side villages until you set eyes on the Disney-esque castle in its tree-filled grounds. It blends five-star hotel facilities and service with luxury fully equipped self-catering properties for small or large families with catering adapted for children.

There's a specialised concierge service for family activities, kids club and babysitting as well as a huge communal heated pool, complimentary bikes, tennis court, large grounds and gardens and plenty of trees to climb! Plus if you need them, cots and high chairs are available at no extra cost.

Hotel Migjorn, Mallorca

The family-owned Hotel Migjorn in Mallorca is child-friendly and in a tranquil rural setting that ticks all the boxes and it’s a world away from the boozy image that parts of the island get bad press for. This stylish and thoughtfully-designed boutique hideaway is a dream.

Set within gorgeous landscaped grounds with lush greenery and palm trees, the hotel is only 10 minutes away from the beaches Sa Rapita and Es Trenc. These provide turquoise water which is calf-high for almost a mile – perfect for toddlers who like to paddle. The suites are spacious and comfortable with an open-plan living/kitchen area, including a microwave and fridge, plus a spacious bathroom and a big bedroom. Other thoughtful touches help make this place perfect for families – guests can hire toddler cutlery, toys and highchairs, and borrow DVDs and books from reception. The beautiful outside space has a dedicated, well-stocked play area for youngsters next to a large pool with super-comfy sun loungers and communal pool toys.

Borgo Egnazia, Puglia, Italy

Despite its elegance, Borgo Egnazia is totally geared up for children and family fun. There are three pools, bikes, trikes and go-karts to hire, as well as a fantastic outdoor play area, tennis court, two private beaches and a kids’ club for children aged eight months to 12 years.

The rooms are more like apartments, with an open plan living area, two en-suite bedrooms, a courtyard and 
a huge roof terrace, safe for kids to roam about on. A travel cot with a proper mattress and bedding can also be set up too. Tucked beneath the resort, and lit by flickering candles and oversized lanterns, the Vair Spa offers everything from physiotherapy to serious skin-sorting facials using treatments based on local ingredients.

Princesa Yaiza, Lanzarote

Just a stone’s throw from a sandy beach, this pool-tastic, stylish resort is enormous, yet retains a village feel. Families will love its pool complex with kids’ Jacuzzi (a real favourite) and little ones will delight in the random appearances of hotel mascot Kiko, an enormous cuddly duck. There are lots of practical touches – buggy-friendly lifts and ramps everywhere. Another selling point is the spa, set back from the complex for extra serenity.

under-threes, there’s a mini-club soft 
play area, although parents will need 
to stay around to supervise. Then there’s the incredible Kikoland, a 10,000 square metre adventure play area and kids’ club. It houses everything a holidaying tot could dream of, from pools and tennis courts to play stages, art rooms and endless slides. There’s even a restaurant and snack bar.

Fantasia Bahia Principe, Tenerife

Fantasia Bahia Principe is a dazzling 5-star hotel complex that will have little ones (and probably you!) whooping in delight. The perfect blend of family-friendly and luxe, there are oodles to do for the entire family. Think water parks, play areas and a kids club for children and a spa, bars and an infinity pool for grown-ups.

Taking centre-stage of the resort is the poolside fairy tale castle, which not elevates the fantasy-theme, but also doubles up as a place to sleep. Yep, the  ‘Castle Suite’ is perfect for a one or two-night upgrade and of course, for little prince and princesses imagination to run wild!

Family features include the hideaway designed for feeding your baby/pumping and pushchair parking. Young diners are definitely catered for, with kids-only buffets in the kids' club, appealing decor, and an American-style poolside eatery. You can also select one of the nutritious purees from the menu so everyone can join in with the feast!

Sofitel Marrakech Lounge and Spa

A city break can still mean T-shirt weather in the winter months if you head to Morocco’s vibrant capital. And Marrakech is great to wander around with toddlers – they’ll be in awe of the snake charmers in the magical main square Jemaa el-Fnaa.

You can relax in the oasis-like gardens on one of the double loungers. There are plenty of palm trees providing shade for the kids and a pool with a very shallow end for the littlest swimmers to splash around. When it comes to eating at the hotel, there’s an extensive selection of authentic local and Western choices at the breakfast buffet which would please the fussiest eaters. In the evenings, head to the rooftop L’Orangerie restaurant for a fantastic fusion of Moroccan and French cuisine. The atmosphere is relaxed enough for kids to play alongside the tables and on a clear day, you can see the snow-topped Atlas Mountains.

If you want to stay a little closer to home, why not try a staycation?

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