Family adventure holidays in Europe
Family adventure holidays are often responsible for the most fun and the best memories that families will have from their time together. With little opportunity for you and the children to get bored and cranky spirits and energy levels stay high. Making the right choice of adventure holiday is the first essential and making the right preparations for it come next.
Set aside some time well ahead of booking your holiday to talk together about what sort of adventure you are all looking for. Is it an adventure of discovery or a thrills based adventure? Do you all take to the water like fish or are some family members strictly land lubbers? How will the weather affect what you want to do and which destination you choose? If toddlers are involved what restrictions does this place on your adventure?
Theme park holidays are always popular with young families. They make for a great adventure because they offer thrills and activities that will appeal to all members of the family from the oldest through to the youngest. If you are holidaying in the summer water parks like Siam Park in Tenerife might be the family theme park of choice as it has plenty of rides that will help you keep cool. However other big theme parks like PortAventura in Spain and Parc Asterix in France have water rides that are open in the summer alongside their more traditional rides.
Depending on how much flexibility you have on when to take your family holiday you can really make your money go further at theme park holidays. Look for a holiday apartment nearby in a town or city with good transport links to the theme park. Special rates on public transport are often available as are specially reduced packages for the theme parks themselves – some family deals include free child places.
Water sports holidays are the perfect adventure holidays for those who love to be on the coast but for whom sunbathing has its limits. Many of the high-adrenaline water-sports like jet skiing water-skiing and paragliding will have age restrictions often ruling out the youngest members of the family. Activities like scuba diving can often be enjoyed with children of ten years old upwards and so there are options available for many families. Surfing is another water sport where children as young as six can be involved – they need to be confident swimmers and you should ideally choose destinations like the Algarvewhere your kids can have proper supervised lessons.
Do your research ahead of time and look for water sports providers that are licensed or certified by the authorities in the country you want to visit. If you are looking for courses in surfing or scuba diving for your kids look to see if you can save some money by booking ahead of your arrival and don’t forget to ask what equipment is provided and what you must provide yourself. You will want to consider some good quality wetsuits for your kids which thanks to growth spurts you will have to buy quite close to the start of your holiday. Also don’t forget that a long lasting waterproof sunscreen is essential as you will be spending long periods out in the water.
Cycling and pony trekking can be great ways to see the natural beauty of family holiday destinations. Cycling is an excellent healthy way to get around and are popular in cities like Amsterdam and Berlin. Most city based cycling holidays centre around guided tours and suitable bicycles can be hired for children adults and some adult cycles designed to accommodate children too small to cycle alongside the group. Cycling holidays in the country are popular outside of the main capital cities and many of these holidays take you off into the natural beauty of rural areas in places like Andalucia in Spain and the Algarve in Portugal. These same areas are usually well served by organisers of pony trekking and horse riding holidays.
These types of holidays have very specific clothing requirements in particular cycle or horse riding helmets so make sure that you understand what you need to provide and what the holiday experience organisers include. They are also only really suitable for people with some experience of cycling or horse riding and whilst most tour providers will provide some coaching to novices they are not there to teach you how to ride. Don’t turn up for either activity wearing flip-flops or other unsuitable footwear sensible footwear that secures firmly to the feet is a must.
Skiing and winter-sports holidays are perhaps the most exciting of all family adventure holidays. Few of us can say that we never imagined ourselves skiing down snow covered slopes with the expert proficiency of James Bond escaping an avalanche. But whilst the truth is that few people reach that level of expertise skiing becomes an addictive pastime from the first lesson you take on the training slopes. The French and Italian ski resorts are amongst the best and most accessible in Europe for families and you don’t have to stay in the resort – if you want to avoid the expense and commercial feel of some of the resorts stay in a holiday apartment nearby and make your way up to the slopes in the morning.
Very particular protective clothing is required for skiing. It is a thrilling activity but not without its risks. Sunscreen is as important on bright sunlit ski slopes as it is on the beach despite the obvious difference in temperature. Proper gloves jackets trousers boots and helmets are essential and can mean that the children’s luggage is almost as bulky as your own – however you cannot really avoid this so just make sure that you have prepared as well as you can in advance. Our article ‘Stay safe and enjoy your winter holiday’ has more advice on safety and preparations for family skiing holidays.
Family adventure holidays can be a real treat. They need a little more forward thinking than a standard beach and pool holiday and generally need you to think more carefully about the types of clothing you will need to enjoy your family adventure holiday safely. The memories your adventure holidays leave you with however are a reward you will cherish forever.