12 Best Family Holidays According to Travel Experts

If you’re regular readers you’ll know that as a family we love to travel. Often our holidays are for adventure – we love to explore. But just as frequently, we all crave a break, some downtime to recharge after the hectic school terms, and the intense schedules our kids seem to keep adding to, the older they get! Last  year saw a little of both, as I discovered just how much there is to do for families in Lanzarote, and we chilled our heels on a beach in South of France.

I’m also lucky enough to have as friends a fantastic group of family travel bloggers to chat through the best options for families of all ages when it comes to planning a great holiday. I asked them for their top recommendations from their 2018 travels, so if you’re wondering what to book next, here’s the definitive list of the best family holidays for 2019.

 

Best Family Holidays 2019

 

Lava rivers and camel treks in Lanzarote

I took a solo trip to Lanzarote last year, somewhere I’d never imagined taking my family. Lanzarote doesn’t have a reputation for being beautiful, but my goodness it is! Plus, there are endless things to do that would capture the imaginations of children of all ages – including teenagers, which is no small feat on a family holiday. The island is volcanic, which makes for dramatic, rather than pretty landscapes; but what it lacks in soft white sand, it more than makes up for in fascinating tunnels and craters that have been transformed into works of art, concert halls and incredible restaurants. Talking of which – the food! Go have a look at my full Lanzaroe write up to find out why this is top of my list of best family holidays in 2019.

 

An incredible day out in Florida

If you’re planning a trip to Florida this year, do leave space in your itinerary for a day at Discovery Cove. Well-known as a stunning place to swim with, and learn about dolphins, there are also lots of experiences you wouldn’t expect, that make this a truly magical day. From meeting this gorgeous sloth, to feeding the stunning tropical birds, and walking on the ocean floor, our day there was totally unforgettable, and a fantastic education for our children. Check out the full review and pictures here.

 

Head to the beach in stunning Corfu

I don’t know about you, but the first thing I want to get into my calendar after Christmas is a beach holiday somewhere lovely and warm. I asked Cathy from Mummy Travels for her recommendation, and I’m finding her trip to Corfu pretty compelling! 

The Greek Islands are always family friendly and I never tire of exploring different ones with my daughter – Corfu has a great balance of attractions in Corfu Town and the beaches of the south and less explored corners, so you can make your own perfect trip. Spot flamingos by the lake near Agios Georgios South beach, explore the old Venetian fort in Corfu Town or venture up into the villages in the mountains, before chilling out again by the pool. Our gorgeous resort, Ikos Dassia, was all-inclusive with free Mini Coopers to take out for our exploring, a kids’ club and pools galore along with more restaurants than we could try in a week. Heaven.

Efteling – the perfect theme park for kids

I narrowly missed out on a trip to Efteling this year, and reading Carrie’s post on Flying With a Baby has done nothing to calm my envy! Have a look at her post to see why it’s worth making the trip.

We absolutely loved Efteling- an immersive theme park in the Netherlands. The attention to detail is incredible. From meandering leafy paths leading you to different fairytales, to even the ATM’s being themed (one is a giant treasure chest), and the Hansel & Gretel gingerbread house – where the cakes smell of real vanilla!

With a giant storytelling tree, epic rollercoasters and other themed rides, It’s a trip we have talked about every day since we have returned.

Visit Istanbul on an Interrail trip

Last summer I followed excitedly as Kirstie took her family on an Interrail trip. For me, Interrailing was something you did after university, through hostels, with a back pack, so I couldn’t imagine how that was going to work with children. Kirstie’s trip totally converted me though, and now I’m excited to try it with my own family. You can see more from Kirstie’s adventures here.

One highlight of our summer Interrail trip was Istanbul. And our first glimpse of it was from the banks of the Bosphorus as we pedalled in past fishermen and families enjoying summer picnics at sunset. And what a sunset; the white and green buildings and minarets set against an orange sky looked like a picture book sketch of this vibrant city. Istanbul has endless options for family exploring; we based ourselves in Galata, taking coffee in the hip coffee shops around the striking tower by day,and eating kebabs late into the night. Your money goes a long way and so does your time; the main attractions (Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Grand Bazaar etc,) can be done in a day or two, leaving you time to wander, enjoy glorious frozen drinks, take boat trips to nearby islands and enjoy a crazy mix of east and west.

Tackle an epic city break in Milan

You might not have Milan at the top of your list, but Emma, from A Bavarian Sojourn thinks you should. Here’s why:

Often not considered to be super child friendly, Milan was definitely our favourite city destination of 2018. The achingly hip Navigli District away from the more touristy areas made a great base (it’s also home to Gelateria Latteneve which makes it worth staying in alone). Explore the Duomo as early in the day as possible, then head to the Giardini Publicci to let off some steam, before a visit to the Natural History Museum or/and the Aquarium. We also really recommend the Museo Nazionale della Scienza – Italy’s biggest Science Museum (opposite Pizza Da Zero which is a must visit restaurant!) just bear in mind you need an entire day here alone. We will definitely be back to explore more of Milan soon…

You can find out more about Emma’s trip to Milan with her three children, including a baby, here.

 

A relaxed holiday on the French waterways

If you’re looking for a slow pace of life in the countryside, with lots of changes of scenery, this holiday on the French canals looks lovely. Travel Loving Family took this trip with Le Boat last summer, and have this to say about it:

We recently enjoyed a self drive boating holiday in France with Le Boat and are already discussing where we can go on our next boating adventure. There was something really special about being out on the water together as a family, stopping to explore little canal side villages whenever we felt like it, taking it in turns at the helm and
waving at every boater we passed with a smile of mutual understanding. There’s a full review and a four minute time lapse video of the trip cruising the waterways in Brittany here.

A dramatic family holiday in Japan

It might sound like a daunting trip, but Leona, from Wandermust Family found that Japan was far from being the challenge she expected. In fact, she says, you might find it easier to visit than a lot of places closer to home.

Japan is the perfect place to head with a family. We found Japan, especially big cities such as Kyoto and Tokyo to be really accessible for families. With a variety of attractions from shrines and temples, castles to some of the world’s best theme parks including not one but two Disney parks there is literally something for every member of the family. On top of that we found that the food in Japan was great for even the fussiest of children with plenty of rice, noodles and oodles of ice cream available while adults can indulge in some more adventurous cuisine! We are already eyeing a return to this amazing country! 

Explore the beauty of Iceland

Iceland is top of my own bucket list, but with a husband who hankers after Southeast Asia, I suspect I might be waiting a while for that trip! You might assume that Iceland is a hard gig with small children, but just look at Jenny’s post, on TraveLynn Family to see how doable – and breathtaking – it is! Jenny says..

If you’re a family who love the great outdoors and wild landscapes, Iceland is the perfect destination for you. It does have a reputation of being rather expensive, but if you self-drive, buy food from supermarkets and even bring food from home, it is possible to keep to budget. Plus, exploring Iceland’s natural wonders and hiking through it’s expansive landscape is totally FREE! On our 5 day Iceland itinerary we explored the classic Golden Circle, but also ventured off the beaten track and over to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Incredible. Just make sure you pack layers, as the Iceland weather is extremely interchangeable.

Go back in time at Puy du Fou in France

 

Lots of my travel expert friends stayed at Puy du Fou this year, and I was honestly blown away by their posts about it. For starters, I couldn’t work out exactly what it was, but I knew I wanted to be there! Have a look at Samantha’s post on North East Family Fun to find out what it’s all about.

Puy du Fou is one of the best theme parks we’ve ever visited and I can definitely see why it’s been rated as TripAdvisor’s #1 theme park in Europe. With immersive walk-through experiences, themed dining and incredible theatrical shows, I’d especially recommend to families with children aged 7+ who are naturally inquisitive.

A complete escape in the British Virgin Islands

If the hustle and bustle of a beach resort isn’t for you, but you still love a gorgeous crystal sea, how about a sailing trip? I love Cery’s description of the the British Virgin Islands, and the peaceful sailing trip she took with her family. Keep an eye on her posts at Rainy Day Mum for her full review coming soon.

Turquoise waters, bright blue skies and the wind in the sails. The BVI’s was an amazing sailing experience for our extended family. Devastated by Hurricane Irma in 2017 the recovery is slow. But the friendliness of the people, their warmth and hospitality remains. It will take years to recover but the empty bays and long sails without a boat in sight made for an unforgettable trip and experience for all.

Fall in love with Zakynthos

Yet more from the Greek Islands, and doesn’t this picture scream Mediterranean Greece to you? Ting’s post on My Travel Monkey will have you planning an itinerary as soon as you see the pictures!

We fell in love with Zakynthos after spending a week on the beautiful Greek island. But while there are some busy and more built-up areas such as Laganas, there are peaceful more rural parts that are less crowded and much more family-friendly including Vasilikos, which has an abundance of tavernas with play areas. There are also over 28 different beaches across this Greek Island famous for its spectacular scenery, turquoise waters and turtles – Zakynthos is home to the largest nesting ground in the Mediterranean. We saw over 70 turtles hatching!

Yet more from the Greek Islands, and doesn’t this picture scream Mediterranean Greece to you? Ting’s post on My Travel Monkey will have you planning an itinerary as soon as you see the pictures!

We fell in love with Zakynthos after spending a week on the beautiful Greek island. But while there are some busy and more built-up areas such as Laganas, there are peaceful more rural parts that are less crowded and much more family-friendly including Vasilikos, which has an abundance of tavernas with play areas. There are also over 28 different beaches across this Greek Island famous for its spectacular scenery, turquoise waters and turtles – Zakynthos is home to the largest nesting ground in the Mediterranean. We saw over 70 turtles hatching!

I know you’ve only just finished with Christmas 2018, but it’s never too early to start thinking aout Christmas in Lapland! Before you put all the inspiration away in the loft, have a read of Katja’s post on Globetrotting. Here’s why she thinks you’d be mad not to book a trip: 

For a truly magical family adventure, a trip to Finnish Lapland can’t be beaten. Visit during winter and you’ll experience the Polar Night when the sun doesn’t quite rise above the horizon and the skies are painted in pale shades of blue and pink. In this half-light, you can ride snowmobiles through the forest, visit a traditional reindeer herder, take a husky ride, walk through a hotel made entirely of ice and snow, go skiing on some of the best snow in the world and, of course, meet the Big Man himself. This is where Father Christmas lives after all!

 

So there you have it – the top recommendations for family holidays in 2019 from the experts’ favourite trips of last year. Is there anywhere you’d add? Or have you been to one of these places and loved it too? Let me know in the comments below, and wherever you go, I hope 2019 brings you and your family some amazing travel tales.

 

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