They wake up in the morning with batteries recharged, crawling and sprawling around in search of their next exciting adventure in their wonderful new world, and the joy of seeing them eat a healthy meal without picking out the greens or taking off the crusts defines the meaning of ‘it’s the little things’ – but what happens when you take your little ones on holiday? Our guide below lists some of our favourite European destinations for travelling with inquisitive toddlers.
Sani Beach Club, Halkidiki, Greece
Halkidiki is a popular choice for sun dwellers, and the tepid, clear waters along its three-finger beaches are perfect for families with young children. Less than an hour transfer from Thessaloniki Airport, Sani Beach Club is part of the family-owned and family-orientated Sani Resort, which does not compromise 5-star accommodation and fine dining at the expense of keeping your young entourage entertained. For tots aged 4 months – 4 years, the Melissa Creche is open 10:00-18:00 and is UK-run according to Ofsted standards, policies and procedures. This exciting indoor and outdoor space consists of colourful, educational toys, with a staff to child ratio of 1:3 to put your mind at rest. Should you wish, tots can also take up baby swimming lessons in the Spa pool during the summer months of June to September. Self-confessed water babies can enjoy the perks of Sani Village’s private beaches, with shallow waters on the glistening Aegean Coast, and while you get comfortable on the sun lounger and order your refreshing drinks, relax knowing your little one will be supervised by the Babewatch beach nanny service. Experienced staff will keep a watchful eye on your children as they play in the sand and shallow waters, or entertain them with fun beach toys of bats, balls, buckets and spades.
La Pineta at Forte Village, Sardinia, Italy
Forte Village in Sardinia welcomes all family members, combining exciting beach water sports and live entertainment each night, with go karting for kids and nurseries for tots. The Children’s Wonderland is an enchanting village set in the gardens, with kid’s splash pools and adventure playgrounds of Fisher Price® toys and Barbie™ trinkets, all hosted by super mascot Mario and accessible via the Thomas the Tank Engine™ kid’s train. After all that fun play, we know that hungry tummies can make for grumpy mummies, so the Aquarium Kid’s restaurant serves hearty and healthy child-friendly dishes, with everything – food, tables, chairs, and high chairs - scaled to fit. La Pineta is an ideal choice of accommodation, offering family rooms on the ground floor, and harbouring a relaxed family atmosphere in the heart of the resort.
Annabelle, Paphos, Cyprus
Surrounded by picturesque beachfront gardens, the Annabelle luxury hotel in Paphos is a family-friendly hotel overlooking the ocean, yet still within easy access of Paphos’ active town, fishing harbour and archaeological sites. Before you set off, save the space in your suitcase and the hassle of sourcing your baby needs on arrival with Annabelle’s Baby Go Lightly pre-ordering service; order everything from the car seat for the airport transfers to your bottles and sterilisers on their exclusive online system. Their Globetrotters Club at adjacent sister hotel Almyra has been specifically designed with youngsters aged 4 months – 2 years 11 months in mind, and with the sweet sound of silence being unsurpassable for those with little ones, the cosy baby sleep room provides a well-earned rest for both you and your toddlers!
Martinhal Sagres Beach Resort & Hotel, Algarve, Portugal
The Algarve is synonymous with family beach holidays, and at around a 3-hour flight from the U.K. with bucket and spade-loads of sunshine it isn’t hard to see why. Flanked by sandy stretches and rugged bays on the coast, and cobbled lanes lined with cork trees inland, the destination is an easy decision, but the choice of hotel may not be. Martinhal Sagres Beach Resort and Hotel is set on the Algarve’s western coast within a protected natural park, and toddler pools, crèches, kid’s play areas and restaurant corners make up over 3,000sqm of this resort – perfect to keep youngsters happy and settled! In the heart of the resort, you can find Raposinhos Crèche, meaning ‘little foxes’, which encourages your tots to be as inquisitive, creative and agile as these creatures with easy arts and crafts, social activities and soft play areas. The services of a babysitter, baby concierge, and an on-site shop to stock up on the essentials of nappies and sun cream come in handy to ensure you have all the small items you need for your small people.
Elounda Peninsula, Crete
Nestled on a Blue-Flag private beach, protected by parasols and fragrant gardens, Elounda Peninsula is an all-suite hotel, offering exceptional service for your family before you even arrive; staff will baby-proof your suite on your request, keeping those bobbing heads away from corners and inquisitive fingers safe from plug sockets. Once you’re settled and have received your kid’s welcome pack and fresh juice, the adventure begins at Kids Ark. The crèche is open 6 days a week, 10:00-21:00, and is set in an animal-themed playground where your little money can engage in soft play, games and group activities, set both indoors and outdoors. Little flippers will love splashing in the cool waters of the shallow pools, perfect for paddling and equipped with children’s toilets and showers.