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18 best family holiday destinations in Europe

For the perfect family getaway

family holiday destinations
Chloe Best
Chloe BestLifestyle Features Editor
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Europe has countless family-friendly destinations for every type of holiday, whether you want a relaxing beach break, an action-packed getaway or anything in between. We've rounded up 18 of the best family holiday destinations that tick all the boxes, ensuring everyone is happy. Better still, they're all within four hours of the UK, so you don't have to worry about painful long-haul flights either.

1. An active staycation in Cornwall

There's no need to venture abroad when we have so many beautiful UK holiday destinations for families, with Cornwall being one of the most popular. With sandy beaches, plenty of tourist attractions and activities to keep all of the family entertained, it's a top choice for a staycation. Some of the best things to do include visiting the Eden Project, trying your hand at surfing on the coast or cycling along the Camel Bike Trail from Padstow to Wadebridge.

2. Fun in the sun in Majorca

Majorca port de soller© Photo: iStock

For fun and relaxation in equal measure, the Balearic island of Majorca is ideal. As well as having miles of beautiful sandy beaches, many of the resorts have kids' clubs and activities on site, so children will be safe and entertained while you relax poolside.

MORE: See our family tried-and-tested reviews here

3. Camping in Brittany

Swap a hotel or resort for a campsite in the French region of Brittany, which has much to offer families with children of all ages. Along with numerous inviting beaches where families can try their hand at water sports like kayaking or kitesurfing (or simply catch some rays), you'll also find pristine parks and gardens to explore, plus a rich historic heritage. There's plenty to keep you entertained for a week and even longer.

4. Hit the slopes in France

Skiing is the perfect winter getaway for families, with one of the most popular resorts said to be Avoriaz in France, which is car-free, safe and has some of the most snow-sure slopes in the Portes du Soleil area. The resort also has childcare with special children's slopes and a chalet filled with activities.

5. Experience a magical getaway at Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris© Photo: iStock

You can still experience all the fun and wonder of Disney within just a couple of hours of the UK at Disneyland Paris. Located at Marne-la-Vallé, the two parks are filled with rides and entertainment that will be loved by little and big kids alike, while there are eight official Disneyland hotels nearby, with many packages available to save on admission and dining costs.

6. Take a city break in Barcelona

Barcelona offers the best of both worlds for a family city break; you can spend your days exploring attractions such as Park Guell and Sagrada Familia while enjoying the Mediterranean climate and cuisine. And once you've had your fill of exploring, you can hit the beach for relaxation and to swim in the sea.

RELATED: What to do in Barcelona for three days

7. Explore the Lake District

Lake District© Photo: iStock

Fancy a staycation? You won't be short of family-friendly hotels, lodges or even glamping sites in the Lake District. There is so much for children of all ages to enjoy, from sailing to rafting or a treetop trek through one of the aerial adventure courses.

8. Enjoy sun, sea and culture in Lisbon

Portugal's capital city is another great place for a family-friendly city break, thanks to its idyllic beach location, laid back atmosphere and plethora of things to see and do. It's an ideal choice for a getaway during the October half-term, once it's a little quieter but temperatures still reach a high of 22C.

STORY: Discover everything Lisbon has to offer

9. Take a theme park holiday at PortAventura World, Spain

Thrill-seekers should book a holiday at PortAventura World, Spain's answer to Universal Studios. Here you'll find PortAventura Park and Ferrari Land Park, along with the PortAventura Caribe Aquatic Park, which will keep children and teenagers entertained for days on end.

10. Relax and unwind in Corfu

corfu© Photo: iStock

Head to the Greek Island of Corfu for rest and relaxation on a budget. There are plenty of beaches for swimming and sunbathing, a picturesque UNESCO-listed old town and Aqualand water park – loved by kids and adults alike. What more could you want?

11. Take an action-packed break in Sicily

If the thought of spending a week by the pool gives you itchy feet, you'll love a trip to the Italian island of Sicily, which benefits from activities for family members young and old. Try a villa holiday such as those organised by Wish Sicily, which includes outdoor activities such as river trekking and body rafting. Families can also take a jeep tour to Mount Etna.

RELATED: Get more family holiday inspiration here

12. Have fun at a family-friendly festival

Give the whole family an experience to remember at one of Europe's best festivals. Shambala Festival in Northampton has family-friendly activities such as a family yurt telling bedtime stories and a kids' field with endless things for them to see or do. Alternatively, you could travel further afield to Latvia for Positivus, an arts and culture festival that has its own Kids Island, complete with activities aimed to harness creativity. The 2018 line-up includes Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, The Prodigy and Years&Years.

13. Discover culture and beautiful beaches in Croatia

Dubrovnik croatia© Photo: iStock

You're spoiled for choice of family-friendly holiday destinations within Croatia. Whether you want to hit the beaches and explore the car-free old town of Dubrovnik or explore caves and dinosaur parks in the Istria region, there's something for everyone.

14. Take a road trip in Portugal

Turn your summer holiday into an adventure by hiring a campervan to tour the coast of Portugal, stopping off at Porto and Lisbon en route. While van hire can be pricey it balances out compared to booking hotels or dining out, and you'll be free from restrictions so you can be a bit more spontaneous.

15. Explore Giant's Causeway

Kids will love exploring Giant's Causeway and the Causeway Coast of Northern Ireland. After visiting the miles of octagonal stones along the Antrim coastline, you could also tie in a visit to the ruins of Dunluce Castle and Belfast, where you can see attractions like the Titanic Museum.

MORE: See why Belfast and the Causeway Coast is a top travel destination

16. Enjoy the great outdoors in Austria

Austria summer© Photo: iStock

Families with young children should consider a trip to Austria. The winter ski slopes are transformed in the summer; book a stay in a wooden chalet or even on a family-friendly farm, where little ones can play, visit petting zoos or try pony riding.

17. Hit the beach in Wales

You may not be able to guarantee the weather, but when the sun is out Wales' beaches are some of the best places to be. Barafundle Bay is often voted one of the best beaches in the world, as is Rhossili Bay, a three-mile stretch of sandy beach that kids' will love playing and building sandcastles on.

18. Take a mountain adventure in Switzerland

You can truly get away from it all with a stay in a mountain hut in Switzerland. The adventure begins when you have to climb up the mountain to your remote hut, and you can spend days exploring the countryside and enjoying each other's company.

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