Our top pick of family-friendly destinations

Finding the ideal family-friendly destination can be akin to finding a needle in a haystack. Kids change so fast that while one resort may have struck all the right chords last year, it might not cut it this time round. If you’re on the hunt for a holiday destination that both you and your little ones will love spending time in, we’ve picked five countries where kids and families always come first. Read on to discover more information on family destinations.

Portugal

With fantastic family resorts and a host of great beaches, Portugal will always be one of the best family-friendly destinations. What’s more, the fact it takes less than three hours to reach it means even families with tots in tow can enjoy it. For world-class beaches, make the Algarve your base – it’s a perennial favourite so expect to be well looked after with hotels kitted out for families, and water parks like the Aquashow Park in Vilamoura serving up serious fun. For families with older kids, Madeira makes for a fun, active break. Soar high above the island in a cable car to reach the Botanical Gardens in Funchal. Or get out in the wild and walk the levadas – the network of irrigation channels that web across the island. They’re a Unesco World Heritage centre, so expect glorious walks and spectacular views.

Spain

Fancy jetting off with the kids but don’t want to spend hours on a plane? Flight times to Spain are around the two-hour mark from the UK. For a family break where you’ll all be entertained, you can’t beat the Costa Blanca. With water parks, the tourist hotspot of Benidorm, zoos and theme parks aplenty, this part of the country is packed with fun things for families. If you prefer something more sedate, head south to the Costa de la Luz. Get the kids learning about Roman history in museums, galleries, and even at the beach – at the Roman ruins at Playa de la Bolonia. Go whale and dolphin watching on a boat trip from Tarifa, or simply enjoy watching the kids build sandcastles at one of the many beautiful beaches here – La Caleta Beach and Zahara de los Atunes are two of the best.

Mexico

If spending a bit of time on a plane isn’t a problem, then treat the family to a real adventure with a holiday to Mexico. While away the hours on blissful beaches, snorkel in crystal-clear waters, and send adrenalin levels soaring with all manner of water sports – Mexico is the place to be for water babies young and old. For activities away from the beach, Cancun with its zoo, water park, and museums with a kid-friendly vibe, has plenty to offer. And while you’re here, get the kids up close to the Temple of the Warriors – a huge stepped pyramid at the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza.

Italy

The real draw about a holiday to Italy isn’t the beautiful rolling hills of Tuscany, the beaches of the Amalfi Coast, or the iconic landmarks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa – it’s the food. You’ll know this if you’ve ever attempted to dine out with a five-year-old fussy eater. With full bellies thanks to pizza aplenty, and smiles courtesy of the best gelato (ice cream) around, the rest of the country’s delights will be yours to enjoy. For a slice of culture and a city unlike anything else the kids have ever seen, make the Venetian Riviera your base. Explore The Floating City, laze on the beach at Lido di Jesolo, or let loose at Caribe Bay – a Caribbean-themed water park with crazy slides, pirate ships, and shallow pools for little ones to splash about in.

Cyprus

If you holidayed in Cyprus pre-kids, it might not be the first place you think of when considering a family-friendly break – but it should be! Cyprus is perfect for families – you just need to know where to base yourselves. And the ideal place is the region of Larnaca. Kids will love spending the day on Nissi Beach where the sand is soft and golden and the waters are shallow and calm. If you fancy something with a healthy serving of history, Paphos is a good call. It’s a great choice for families with older kids who like to explore and delve deeper than the usual tourist offerings. Discover the birthplace of Aphrodite, countless ruins, and the awe-inspiring Tombs of the Kings.

Whether your kids are five or 15, beach lovers or action seekers, fans of watching film after film on long-haul flights or not, we hope this little selection of family-friendly destinations will make planning your next break abroad a breeze.