By Luella Keeble on 18 August 2016

Planning a family summer holiday requires a certain amount of creativity so that it’s fun for the kids, relaxing for you, and affordable. When travelling with young children, you want flights to be relatively short, so if you haven’t planned that much needed getaway during the six week summer stretch, we’ve selected our top five – more inventive options to give you some inspiration. From futuristic domes in Spain and a cabin in south west France, to campervan road trip fun, it’ll be sure to give you a taste of what’s on offer this summer.

1. Vineyard views in Tuscany, Italy

A few Italian regions are as seductive as Tuscany and for many Brits, it is the very image of Italy. Tuscan cities and towns are world famous for their art, architecture and culture like Sienna, Florence, Pisa and Lucca but for family holidays the enjoyment can be had in its lively festivals and superb regional food – parents fighting the cries for fast food will be relieved to hear that the ‘slow food’ movement is big in Tuscany.

An old farmhouse, called Fattoria Santa Vittoria, has been transformed into five very comfortable apartments which are located in the middle of a vineyard but close enough to visit the nearby town of Pozzo della Chiana. Each apartment has a separate area in the vineyard grounds with lawns that sweep down the hillside towards the inviting pool area so your children are likely to find playmates by the pool but the pool will never get too busy. Classic Tuscan views of vines and, more importantly, the award-winning wine produced on the estate, will keep the adults happy, not to mention the location between the idyllic cities of Siena, Arezzo and Cortona.

Vineyard in Tuscany

2. Camping by the sea in Halkidiki, Greece

From the frequented peninsula of Kassandra to the picturesque Sithonia peninsula and the inspirational Mount Athos, Halkidiki in Greece offers a holiday haven for everyone to enjoy. With barely any traffic, easy to get to from the airport and driving around you’ll find an abundance of family-friendly resorts with endless stretches of sandy beaches.

In particular and set on a pristine stretch of private beach located in the Sithonia peninsula, Areti Camping and Bungalows is a family-run site with a beachfront restaurant and shop. There are plenty of on-site activities, including tennis, volleyball and watersports. Beyond the site you can take a boat, or even swim, to one of three nearby islands to snorkel the clear waters, or explore ancient sites, including Mount Athos. Just twenty minutes away, Potro Koufo is the biggest natural harbour in Greece where you can stroll by the seaside and enjoy fresh seafood at its best

Family beach holiday in Halkidiki

3. Glamping in Southern Spain

Perhaps one for older children and teenagers and if you fancy experiencing the great outdoors with an out of the way gem, this one is definitely unique and superb value for money.

West of Alicante and set in the pristine mountains of the Sierra del Segura (southern Castilla la Mancha), Otro Mundo offers a pretty campsite run completely on solar power and has two stylish ‘retro chic’ decorated igloo-like domes. Each has their own en-suite bathroom, shower and toilet and separated into private plots but facilitates a communal kitchen area.

There’s a load to do here for everyone – or not. At one with nature, you could just play with the kids, sunbathe, walk, or finally read that book. Or just breathe. Should you be in dire need of some distractions there is also an abundance of things to do like guided hikes specifically tailored for children, bike tours, treasure hunting, fruit-picking and they even throw in a movie on the big screen in the porch area on a Friday night.

4. Arty lakeside shack in South-West France

This beautiful corner of France, largely rural with lush countryside, is the perfect destination for families looking for a ‘get away from it all’ holiday.

With an hour and a half drive from Toulouse, this secluded little summer cabin retreat and picturesque surroundings will melt your heart. With quirky décor and brightly coloured finishing’s, ‘Layénie Under The Stars’ is a handmade cabin that is made “from the heart” by Fred, the owner who lives next door and is a great source of local tips.

Rich in stunning vistas, nature walks and cycle routes alike, you can visit the local lake, an open-air pool in the commune of Bajamont (two miles away), or even the historic city of Agen (13 miles away) if you fancy going further afield during your stay.

5. Cruise around in a VW campervan

If you fancy a slow family road trip, you can wander and weave through your holiday in a classic 70’s campervan. WeDubYou.com does customised VW camper vans, which come with pre-loaded iPhones and a navigation app and iPads with films to keep the children entertained whilst on the move. They’ll also add packages onto your trip like pre-booking campsites and yoga retreats.

Rediscover a slower, less frenetic pace of travel that enhances the countryside around you. Pick up a van from Bergerac in south-west France for a mosey around the Dordogne, past vineyards and via bastide towns, or from Girona in north-east Spain to pootle along the Costa Brava. Or do a cross-border trip, picking up in one city and dropping off in the other.

When we go away on holiday, most of us just want to be covered for a relaxing snorkel or a round of golf on our travel insurance. However, what if you're after a little bit more? With Columbus Direct’s travel insurance, we cover 150 sports and activities as standard, so if you're seeking a new challenge, we're the right insurer for you.


← Summer flight delays and cancellations on the rise

Explore Greece like a local, the less-known islands list →