29 Jun Top Family Holidays In Spain
Nicole Gernon on Twitter: @nicole_gernon
Spain is the top destination for Irish holidaymakers this summer according to a recent AA Poll, but how do you pick the perfect family holiday? AA Roadwatch’s Nicole Gernon has compiled a list of some of the best family holidays in sunny España but credit has to go to her mum for picking most of them in the first place!
Look for somewhere with kids clubs and entertainment
You may have spent years exploring cities or lounging in villas but a certain amount of that is likely to go out the window when you have children, unless you have friends with kids that you don’t mind holidaying with. You’ll come to realise that your enjoyment of your holiday directly correlates to how much the kids enjoy theirs. Apartments and hotels may be the best option as kids clubs will be your saviour – they are great ice-breakers and plenty of apartments also offer teenager clubs.
Package holidays are great and yes, you have the convenience of a holiday rep and an organised transfer, but don’t forget to have a look at booking flights and accommodation separately. Check if the hotel or apartments you’re interested in has its own website or check websites like booking.com, trivago.com and hotels.com. This allows you to DIY and be flexible with dates, as opposed to the restrictive standard 7 or 14 nights.
Port Aventura and Salou
Port Aventura is one of the biggest theme parks in Europe and has something for kids of all ages. There are a wide range of hotels in the theme park itself, which are worth staying in as they aren’t that much more expensive than hotels in Salou town. They are also much nicer and everything will be on your doorstep. Salou itself has a bustling nightlife, with a range of restaurants, bars and clubs. Avoid staying in Cap Salou which is a bit too far away to easily access the theme park. Many travel agents recommend it as an alternative, quieter option – there is such a thing as being too quiet!
There’s also an independent water park – Aquopolis – just a bus ride away.
Barcelona is within easy reach of Salou and has plenty to keep everyone entertained. Check out our post on top things to do in Barcelona.
The most well-known of the Canary Islands is the perfect choice if you want a bit of culture that will entertain the kids as well. It is a lot hotter than some of the other Spanish islands or the mainland due to its proximity to the equator but the nights are lovely and cool – you may even need a cardigan! The island is essentially an extinct volcano but you can still see plenty of volcanic action in Timanfaye National Park – geysers, hot rocks, impressive landscape and a barbecue cooked over the natural steam are all on offer.
The island’s capital Puerto del Carmen is the obvious choice for a base. The UNESCO listed old town has winding streets and spectacular views and you can get a real feel for Spanish life. A paella in a restaurant with a sea view is a must do. The new town has plenty of pubs and clubs, with many offering children’s entertainment. Los Fariones is one of the biggest complexes in the resort, with an option to stay in the hotel or apartments. There’s an entertainment team, several pools, a mini-disco and guests get a discount at the sports centre.
If you fancy a quieter pace of life, Costa Teguise is an option. There is still plenty to do but there aren’t as many 18 to 30 year olds.
Gran Canaria – Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico – a lovely hilltop town with a sheltered cove – is the best all round resort on this Canary island. There are plenty of restaurants located in a central complex and a couple of good late night bars, many of which are kid friendly. Aqualand Waterpark is in nearby Maspalomas and there are good bus links. We stayed in the Puerto Azul which has a lovey spacious pool, sun deck, restaurant, games room, a teenagers’ lounge and plenty of shows and evening entertainment. However, it is at the very top of the hill so prepare for a bit of a trek.
Staying in Puerto Rico means you can easily avoid Playa del Ingles unless you want to take a bus in for the spectacle.
Pueblo Indalo Hotel aparthotel is a real gem and has an abundance of activities to keep the kids out of your hair. There are nightly performances by the reps and a kids’ concert at least once a week. There are huge pools, a variety of food options and spacious apartments. The complex is set into the hill though, so expect lots of steps. Watch out for the Indalo man, a totem painted on the cliffs and houses in the area that is supposed to ward off evil spirits.
The beach is just across the road and you can take day trips to various mountain villages. Parque Acuatico Vera Playa will prevent you getting cabin fever and Mini Hollywood has daily western shows.
Majorca – Santa Ponsa
Your memories of Santa Ponsa may not quite do the place justice these days. It’s a lot quieter than it used to be and is positively sleepy compared to Magaluf. There is an active nightlife but there are plenty of family friendly options and you can easily go out early and leave before it really kicks off at about 2am. There are a few different swimming options, with beaches, coves and cliffs.
There are two complexes that are ideal for families; Jutlandia and Ola Apartamentos Bouganvilla – both located away from the main town. The Bouganvilla has an enormous pool with a waterslide and poolside games, as well as crazy golf and tennis courts to keep everyone entertained. The pool at Jutlandia is also gigantic and there are activities and games throughout the day as well as evening shows.
If you’re looking for a wilder nightlife, head to Magaluf – but it’s probably best not to stay there with a family. Although during the day you could check out the Western Water Park near the town.
Menorca – Cala’n’Blanes and Cala’n’Forcat
The twin resorts sit side by side and are surrounded by magnificent cliffs of all shapes and sizes which are easily accessible and are perfect for jumping off. Aqua Park Los Delfines is in the centre of Cala n’ Blanes so there’s no need for lengthy trips. We stayed in the Oasis Park Apartments which had a great kids disco and lots of entertainment, as well as a playground, a sports court and mini-golf.