Planning a holiday which is guaranteed to keep the whole family entertained is no easy feat. While mum might be quite happy relaxing with a good book, dad wants to explore historical points of interest, little brother wants to go white water rafting and big sis is too busy taking selfies on her phone. Although planning a family holiday can be stressful, research suggests that they can make your children smarter and happier. In an article in the Telegraph, Dr Margot Sunderland points out that holidays can boost self-esteem and improve brain development. Of course, who doesn’t love a holiday? But, how do you plan one to keep everyone happy?
If you’re in need of inspiration, here’s our top 10 round-up of the best family adventure holidays to add to your bucket list.
1. Rock climbing in Spain
If you and the kids have a head for heights, then rock climbing could be the trip for you! Head to the sun-soaked Costa Blanca where the limestone cliffs and crags provide the perfect backdrop for some serious climbing action. For the best weather, head there anytime from April to October. There are plenty of cheap flights so it’s a great budget option. Once the climbing has tired you out, the beaches at Calp are perfect for a little relaxation!
Image source: Pixabay
2. Mountain biking in the French Alps
Let’s be honest, mountain biking is way more fun than your morning spin class and as far as family activity holidays in the French Alps go, it’s a great way to explore a new destination with the kids. Morzine and Les Gets are two of the best resorts for families, even if you have little ones (as young as five). Specially adapted ski-lifts take you and your bikes to the top and then its all down-hill from there as you enjoy the breathtaking scenery and exciting terrain!
3. Scuba Diving in Scotland
You don’t need to go all the way to the Great Barrier Reef to see some amazing underwater sights! While you might not get the plethora of multi-coloured reefs, in the Orkneys it’s all about the abandoned shipwrecks – real-life Pirates of the Caribbean! Scapa Flow has the highest concentration of World War 1 wrecks in the world so it’s a great opportunity to give your kids a hands-on history lesson at the same time. You can book courses at the diving centre in Stromness from May to September each year.
4. Zip wire in the Welsh mountains
Wales may be renowned for the inclement weather and sizeable sheep population but it’s also one of the most beautiful parts of the UK. The Welsh mountains are home to the longest and fastest zipline in Europe – at 500 feet high you can fly through the sky and take in the stunning panoramic views of the slate quarry and the coastline of North Wales. It’s an experience which can only be described as ‘breath-taking’. Better than any rollercoaster, that’s for sure!
5. Surfing in Portugal
Portugal is best known for its stunning beaches, but it’s diverse coastline also makes for the perfect watery playground. In fact, many would argue that it’s the best surfing hotspot in Europe. The wide variety of waves means that it’s ideal for every ability – even if you, or the kids, have never surfed before! Some of the most popular beaches for beginner surfers include Peniche, Ericeira and Amado. Each beach has its own unique charms, but all boast warm waters and consistent surf. It is recommended that beginners learn during the summer period of June to September.
Image source: Pixabay
6. Horse riding in Tuscany
If you’re a family of animal-lovers, then exploring Tuscany on horse-back could be the perfect holiday experience! The great thing is that you don’t need any sort of riding ability and many of the trails are gentle, allowing you to take in some of the historic points of interest such as the medieval hamlet of Castelfalfi, the castle at Tonda and natural springs of Bagni di Mommialla.
7. Explore caves in Bulgaria
Whether you want to explore these fabulous rocks from the outside with a spot of rock climbing, or prefer to delve deep into the caves themselves, there’s plenty of ways to get your geological fix! Explore the Devil’s Throat canyon or some easy rock climbing suitable for ages six and over. Another popular location is the Devetashka Cave which was made famous after being used as a filming location for the The Expendables 2. Kids who are a little older might also recognise the cave as baring a striking resemblance to a landscape straight out of a game like Minecraft!
Image source: Pixabay
8. Whale watching in Madeira
Whales are some of nature’s gentle giants and an awe-inspiring sight to behold! Of course, everyone loves a boat trip but hiring a chartered vessel with a trained marine biologist will give you and your family the full whale experience. If you head out during sunset you might even catch a glimpse of some of Madeira’s sea birds. There’s no better way to cultivate your children’s love for nature!
9. Take a donkey trail in Ardèche, France
Many of us have fond memories of taking donkey rides along the UK’s shores – it’s a quintessential pastime! However, if you want to give your kids the donkey ride experience a little further afield then why not head to the Ardèche region where the gentle, meandering trails take you through forests and meadows? You can visit picturesque villages and take a dip in the cool waters down in the Gorges of the Ardèche. It’s a more laid-back family activity for ages 4 and over which you can take self-guided. The donkeys can even carry your day pack! What better way to carry a picnic?
10. Try canoeing in Sweden
Sweden is an adventurer’s paradise with its stunning landscape. For the ultimate family activity (and if you don’t mind potentially getting splashed) you can paddle down the Klarälven river and take in the beautiful forests and picturesque villages. Travelling at a leisurely 2km it’s definitely no white-water rapids, but since the river is wide and calm it’s a journey that’s suitable for all ages.
Image Source: Pixabay
These days, holidays are so much more than a break from normality. They’re a time to bond with your kids, show them the world and give them a new perspective on life. Who wants to spend the week laying on the beach or fighting for a sun lounger anyway? Use the time to give your kids a lesson away from the classroom and truly experience everything the world has to offer.
Give them some amazing stories to tell their schoolmates after the holidays have ended and make memories to last a lifetime. With these ideas on your bucket list there’s no excuse for a dull holiday!