Run of the mill vacations are all well and good, but why not push the boat out for some package holidays in 2015 and head to Europe. Rather than hitting yet another beach resort on American shores, explore the beauty and adventure that Europe has to offer.
With diverse landscapes, often mythical pasts and extremely tasty fare to experience outside of the resorts, let’s take a look at some of the European destinations that are worth checking out.
The Black Sea
This inlet of the Mediterranean is sometimes overlooked but the waters are full of nutrients which many claim revitalise bathers who take to it. One of the best places to explore the Black Sea is from the coastal resorts of Bulgaria. Well-known for their wonderful beaches with exceptionally fine sand, these resorts offer a traditional family vacations in an off-beat setting. Bulgarian hospitality is legendary, so the country is well worth a try for families.
Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote are always a popular choice for family getaways, and with good reason. Year round sun shine, action packed beaches and mountainous terrains mean that both you and the kids are never short of things to do. Walk through the La Orotava Old Town in Tenerife, go on a hike along one of Lanzarote’s UNESCO biosphere reserve spots or go on a diving adventure in Gran Canaria. Alternatively, you could just take it easy on the sands while the kids make a splash in the inviting waters.
Another hit with travelers seeking sun and adventure, but which one will you choose? Crete is the largest and most southerly of the islands with proud and hospitable Cretans waiting to show off the land’s unspoilt beauty and mythical history. Corfu is often called the Emerald Isle with its crystal clear waters, old forts and quaint Greek villages. Kos really does fit the cliché of ‘having something for everybody’. Some of its resorts, like Psalidi, are quiet and relaxed, whereas others are lively with karaoke bars and a thriving nightlife.
Work your way up to northern Europe to find Norway, which has some of the most stunning coastline anywhere in the world and looks fantastic from spring until late summer. Although many tourists see Norway as an alternative skiing destination from the Alps, it has so much more to offer. Take a short cruise trip around the wonderful fjords which make up the coast - formed by the Atlantic Ocean crashing in for millennia - for a superb family break. However, make sure that you spend time on land, as well. There are plenty of marked trails to walk along for those with little experience with Nordic hiking or families with younger children.
There are many hotspots (literally!) to choose from in Europe, offering a different sort of resort holiday. Take time to research and find the perfect destination for your family, but rest assured that anywhere you choose pretty much comes with a fun-time guarantee.
Images by Ivailo Djilianov, Luc Viatour, Oliver Clarke and Red Junasun used under creative commons license.
Nick Knowles is a marketing consultant who specialises in travel. He is a husband and dad to three fantastic kids who he loves to take on trips around the world.