Good family times by the Med

Sun, sea and a cocktail… What a perfect scenario for a summer holiday, right? Travelling as a family can and should be like that too, and yes, it is indeed possible even with little ones around. Let’s take a look at good family options in the Mediterranean countries.

Finding the best spot for your family is not always an easy task, especially as the family gets bigger. Not all hotels have family rooms or apartments, baby facilities or even a playground or children’s swimming pool. Depending on your requirements, the shortlist can turn out to be very short – or very expensive.

I always loved travelling with my husband, and when the first child was born we decided we would maintain our travelling pattern as much as possible. We soon found out that with a few adjustments, we could indeed have a great family time abroad.

Photo credit: Dreamstime

Photo credit: Dreamstime

Prepare your travel

Relax. First of all, as one pediatrician once told me, if your child happens to get sick, just relax, take a deep breath and think ahead. Every time we go on vacation, we take the children to the pediatrician, just for a quick check-up. Also, we always carry with us the usual SOS kit for each one.

Location. Where would you like to go? Sea, mountains, city… Pick your choice and select two or three countries accordingly. By doing it this way, you’ll have a wider selection of suitable hotels than by focusing on only one country.

Search. Now enjoy the variety of information you can find on the web. There are a lot of good resources with plenty of information. You just need to list all of your requirements according to your family’s characteristics. I strongly recommend Tripadvisor to get valuable opinions on locations and hotels. Of course there will always be different opinions, but it is a great help to filter the options. Specifically aimed at families, there are also Babyccino  and i-escape’s kids collection .

Travelling with little kids

There are tricks and details to make your holiday easier. As for the hotel choice, spacious family rooms with the possibility of a baby cot or an extra bed are a must, but having a kitchenette or at least a bottle warmer can be very helpful too. A DVD player is a plus. The hotel facilities should include a swimming pool for kids, a playground and an indoor play area with soft toys, a garden or some sports facilities. A kids club or a babysitter would be great for adult time, and a healthy kids menu would be a very welcome plus. Family tours or nearby places to visit are also a must, especially those with animals. A small boat or train trip are a success with most kids.

Great family hotels in the Mediterranean countries

Photo credit: Ammos Hotel

Photo credit: Ammos Hotel

Ammos Hotel, Crete, Greece

More than ‘just another beach hotel, Ammos is one of those rare places where the personal touch has been wrought to a fine art. This chic beach front hotel with shallow waters, a sandy beach and a kids’ pool is particularly suitable for babies and toddlers, and there’s a kids’ room with a climbing frame and drawing equipment. Parents can enjoy delicious food and panoramic views on the gorgeous dining terrace, and each room has a kitchenette so you can whip up meals for the little ones.

Club Med Napitia in Calabria, Italy

Club Med hotels are known as the perfect solution for every family. Yes, it is quite expensive, but totally worth it. This particular one is fully equipped for families with kids of all ages. Some special details: If you have a baby or a toddler, you’ll have 24-hour access to a private room with baby equipment (sterilizer, bottle warmer, microwave…) and some baby food (yogurts, fruit, cookies…). Every hotel restaurant has a baby food corner where you can find freshly cooked food for babies and toddlers, as well as free canned baby food. There is also a kids club where you can leave your child for a couple of hours, and plenty of activities for adults as well.

H2otel, Unhais da Serra, Portugal

A mountain paradise, this hotel is great to stay at all year, winter or summer. The main thing is to relax and enjoy a stress free life. The swimming pool area is the main attraction, with a forest like decoration and plenty of details, such as a stone age jacuzzi. It is half indoors half outdoors and heated all year. If you have teenagers, they will simply love the outdoor activities, from hiking in the mountains (Serra da Estrela) to riding a bike or taking a walk in the woods. There are also plenty of indoor sports activities as well as a modern Spa with special treatments.

Zmar, Zambujeira do Mar, Portugal

Zmar Eco Campo resort is a 5-star modern campsite concept for tents and caravans, but you can also rent a comfortable eco bungalow. This very family friendly site offers plenty of activities, from playgrounds and wave pools to luxurious treatments in the exquisite Spa.

Vincci Costa Golf, Chiclana de la Frontera, Spain

Just 400 metres from the beautiful white sandy beach La Barrosa, this hotel offers a unique stay in the new residential area of Novo Sancti Petri, near Cádiz. All junior suites are spacious with separate living room and bedroom, and a balcony. Perfect for a family. As a plus, the restaurant offers gluten free products.

Barceló La Bodabilla, Andalucia, Spain

Offering a unique taste of Andalucia, this hotel provides a great retreat between Granada and Sevilla. With its 900 acres of private land, facilities  include kitchen gardens, a lake, stables, game hunting, falconry, tennis, paddle tennis, petanque, quad bikes, free use of bikes, as well as a Spa, swimming pools, three restaurants, a bar and a teens’ bar, a kids’ club with playground, a library with books and DVDs, and free WiFi.

Photo credit: Barceló La Bobadilla Hotel

Photo credit: Barceló La Bobadilla Hotel

Hotel Puente Romano, Marbella, Spain

The big highlight of this hotel is the family friendly Beach Club pool, down on the sands by the Mediterranean. It is heated and watched over by a lifeguard from 8am to 8pm during the summer. Among its four swimming pools, there is a small one especially for children, and swimming lessons are available as well as lots of free multilingual kids’ activities and hundreds of toys to entertain children of all languages. As for the adults, the seaside tennis courts and the Gold Club and riding centre nearby complete the list of family favourites.

Sa Rota D’En Palerm, Mallorca, Spain

A family run finca in colourful rural Sineu, this is a quiet and peaceful place. Days here are spent idling by the pool, exploring the area or packing up towels and swimwear for the beaches half an hour away. The apartments have a living room with space for a cot or extra bed, and a kitchenette with a fridge, microwave and hob. In the hotel you can find several toys and floats, puzzles, board games and DVDs.

By Rute Vendeirinho, July 2013

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