Pack your bags, holidays are back!
After spending the past couple of years under various restrictions, we’re all feeling the need to get away more than ever before. Whether that’s a babymoon of relaxation or a half-term holiday to break up the year, 2022 is the year for some adventure – to discover new places and create some special memories you’ll treasure forever.
With the world finally starting to open back up again, we’ve rounded up our favourite family travel destinations for this year, from short-haul city breaks to long-haul escapes.
Best for babymoons
Lake Como, Italy
If you’re dreaming of a tranquil holiday for the ultimate relaxation before your little one arrives, look no further than Lake Como. The beautiful region features breath-taking scenery surrounding the resort town of Bellagio – a romantic destination perfect for couples. There’s plenty of spa hotels in the area too if you’re looking for a place to simply chill out, soak up the sunshine – and peace and quiet!
The ultimate destination to relax and unwind, the Maldives is the perfect long-haul trip before baby arrives. With over 100 resorts in the Maldives, there’s a location to suit every criteria. Whether you’re spending a week lying on the beautiful beaches and indulging at the spa, feeding baby reef sharks and cycling around the island, the hospitality and experience of the Maldives is sure to exceed any expectations.
You can’t beat a taste of Italy – romantic sunsets, gorgeous scenery and delicious food – what’s not to love? As a quieter island in the Mediterranean, Sardinia is a great destination for expectant couples. Its mountainous landscape, idyllic lagoons and traditional towns tick all the boxes for a week in the sunshine.
Lake District, England
For babymoons closer to home, the Lake District is a peaceful trip surrounded by the beautiful outdoors. If you’re looking to be at one with nature, there’s an amazing array of country cottages to escape to with lots of stunning walks and villages around them. Or, if you’re looking for a lap of luxury, the Lakes boasts a wealth of wonderful spa hotels and retreats.
Best for families
Cala Vadella, Ibiza
Avoid the party crowds and head to the quieter side of Ibiza to Cala Vadella – known best for its bohemian vibes, peaceful bay and beautiful sunsets. There’s plenty of restaurants for low-key evenings, cafes and shops for daytime outings, as well as a selection of villas, apartments and hotels for you to stay in.
Nothing says peace and quiet like a trip to Tulum on the Caribbean coastline of Mexico. Known best as a place of wellbeing, with ancient ruins and exotic wildlife, it’s the perfect place for a long-haul getaway. If you’re looking for a place to relax after the craziness of welcoming a little one, think white sandy beaches, turquoise sea and some peace and quiet. There’s lots going on too if you have a young family, with tours of the Mayan ruins and monkey sanctuary. Don’t forget to sample some of the amazing local food too like the Tacos al Pastor and cochinita pibil.
A mix of French style and Italian sunshine – the medieval coastal town of Calvi is located on the island of Corsica. If you’re looking for a beautiful landscape with a little more hustle and bustle, it’s the perfect destination with its stretch of beaches looking out to the mountains, charming marina and variety of excellent family-friendly restaurants.
Es Grau, Menorca
A taste of the tropics only a couple of hours away, Es Grau on the Spanish island of Menorca has everything a young family could need. It offers families an authentic holiday with taste of the Menorcan life – beautiful turquoise sea, a laidback atmosphere and amazing cuisine. The shallow waters of Es Grau are perfect for swim practise and the quiet sandy beaches are the place to relax.
For a week of guaranteed sunshine, breath-taking scenery and great hospitality, visit the Greek island of Kefalonia. Whether you’re looking for a private villa and pool for swimming practise, or a bustling resort with entertainment for the kids, the island has lots of amazing accommodation to offer at reasonable prices. Visit in June and September for cooler weather if you’re travelling with a toddler.
France scoops the prize for ‘most popular holiday destination’ in Europe year after year. For a tranquil escape bursting with culture, the French Dordogne is ideal. With its beautiful landscape set between the Loire Valley and Pyrenees mountains and the abundance of activities, it’s the home away from home for any outdoors-loving family. Our favourite Dordogne destinations include Collonges-la-Rouge – for leisurely lunches and shopping and Domme – for food markets and history.
With an abundance of child-friendly hotels along the Portuguese coastline, the Algarve is ideal for families with older children. Leave the entertainment to the professionals and choose a complex with a kids clubs and evening entertainment to keep the little ones, and the adults, happy all holiday long. The Algarve boasts an impressive coastline too, perfect for body boarding and surf lessons.
For a trip in the UK, choose a holiday home in the Welsh county of Pembrokeshire. Its stunning scenery and dramatic coastline are unforgettable, and there’s lots of places and activities to keep the kids entertained. Take your bicycles and explore the fun cycle routes, visit the colourful town of Tenby, or chill out on the beautiful beaches at Barafundle Bay.
Best family-friendly cities
Culture, tapas, sunshine, sea – and more tapas! Barcelona is the city that just keeps on giving. From the impressive architecture to the sandy beaches, there’s so much on offer for families of all ages. And the best part – the vibrant city is super stroller-friendly so it’s really easy to get around with little ones – even on the Metro. Take a walk down Las Ramblas for shopping and the Boqueria market or spend a day on Barcelona’s beautiful sandy beaches. There’s lots of sites to see too, from the Basílica de la Sagrada Família and Parc Güell to CosmoCaixa science museum and the aquarium.
As the second largest city in Norway, Bergen has lots to offer to young families – especially those who love the outdoors. To see the amazing panoramic view of the city, take the Fløibanen funicular up Mount Fløyen, or visit the Troll Forest trail to spot the trolls and walk across the ‘Three Billy Goats Gruff’ Bridge. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, hop on a boat tour to the beautiful Sognefjord area – home to the longest fjord in Norway. There’s lots to do in the city itself too, with food markets, shops, family-friendly cafes and museums with interactive exhibits. Top tip – visit between the end of September and the end of March for the best chance to see the northern lights.
For a city break without the plane journey, London is a great choice. There’s so much to do in the capital, whatever your tastes are – shopping, theatre shows, museums, botanical gardens, food markets, play areas, and so much more! The best part – central London is mostly flat so it’s ideal for strollers and travel systems. The hop-on-hop-off buses are a great way to see the sights with kids and don’t forget the Natural History Museum for a look into the past.
The happiest city in the world. You could say Copenhagan was built for kids – it’s got plenty of space, 125 public playgrounds and lots of child-friendly attractions for families of all ages – often at a very reduced price. From Tivoli Gardens 19th century amusement park to the iconic Little Mermaid sculpture, there’s so much to see and do. With its well-known reputation for its food and culture, be sure to check out some of the top-notch restaurants and street food too.
Your Travel Survival Guide
So, that’s the family-friendly destinations covered, but what about travelling with kids? To help you on your journey, we’ve rounded up our top tips for stress-free travel – or you could call it a survival guide!
1. Timings are key
Time is often a big stress factor when travelling, and that doesn’t get any easier with young children. Give yourself a generous time buffer to ensure you get to your destination with plenty of time to spare, whilst still seeing to your children’s needs. If you’re going on a bigger trip to catch a flight or ferry, it’s important to give yourself a little more time to get there than you would if was just yourself, or yourself and your partner.
2. Snacks to the rescue
If your little one always waits until five minutes into the journey to say they’re hungry, it’s worth packing plenty of snacks! Food is a great way of keeping hunger at bay whilst also keeping your little ones entertained. This applies to travelling via land, sea, or air!
3. Keep your kids in the loop
If your child is old enough, chatting to them about the trip and the travelling involved ahead of time is always a wise plan. Children, especially young children, can be easily confused or become overwhelmed when they are out of their comfort zone, which can lead to tantrums and a more stressful journey for all involved. You can’t always predict how they will react while travelling, but talking to your child, explaining where they are going and why will help them to process the journey and will hopefully minimise confusion and stress along the way. Making the journey seem fun and exciting as well as knowing a holiday is on the other side can be sometimes enough to alleviate their anxieties and bring about excitement.
4. Pack light and go with the flow
Leaving the comforts of home can be daunting, and you may be tempted to pack everything you use to look after your child on a day-to-day basis. As well as weighing down your cabin bags for the plane or car boot, this is not always the best idea. The trip is destined to be unpredictable and trying to keep too strictly to your normal routine is likely to fail, which will result in both you and baby being more stressed. In fact, you may have to alter your routine, and only pack the essentials, such as care items, favourite toys, snacks, and spare clothes.