Once your children start growing up, you soon appreciate that you need to change your outlook on holidays. Our family consists of two very active teenagers, and keeping them busy over the holidays is a top priority in our household. Getting a “we haven’t done anything this summer” from my teens, is not want I want to hear at the end of the summer. Fortunately, our teens are very adaptable and this makes it easier to plan activity holidays.
At first, I thought it was going to be difficult to find activity holidays in Europe, but to my surprise there seems to be a lot of them. As a family we love to experience new adventures, and being based in London, it is easy for us to find flights to almost anywhere in Europe. Daddy in the family thought it would be important if the children learned something during their holidays as well, so this was something we needed to incorporate in our holidays.
Our first family holiday took us to the north part of Sweden. This place maybe under a lot of snow during the winter, but in the summer it is wonderland. The magic of 24 hour daylight will help you to make the most out of your holiday in this part of Europe. The options for accommodation are just as versatile as the activities on offer. You can stay in a small “sommar stuga” which can best be described as a small house with all of the modern conveniences. This is the option we went for, and our sommar stuga was wonderful. Everything we needed was there.
The teens were delighted to find that they could go salmon fishing, and hiking all day long. They even swam in the cold lakes, and took sailing lessons, all within walking distance of our sommar stuga. Did they learn anything? By the end of the holiday, the teens were wildlife experts and thanks to the excellent guide, they gained a new interest in wildlife which has stayed with them.
Holland is not the only flat country in Europe. We often forget about Denmark with its long coast, and excellent hotel accommodation. There are many exciting places to visit, and of course this meant a lesson in the history of the Vikings. Denmark is a fantastic country for a cycling holiday no matter what your fitness level. Everything is on the flat, and the distances between stops are not too bad.
During half term in June, we took to our bikes in Denmark. After a day exploring the sights of Copenhagen, and a visit to Tivoli, we started our cycling adventure. There are different routes available, but we decided to go for the coastal route. The kids love the beach, and there are many attractions along the coastal route. As a family we explored ancient Viking settlements, visited light houses and enjoyed numerous picnics on the wonderful Danish beaches.
The route was planned for us, so every stop included overnight in a location of our choice. By the end of the day, it did not matter too much. We were tired and wanted to eat and sleep. The food in Denmark is great, and the teens fell in love with open sandwiches topped with cheese and chocolate.
The river Thames flows past the bottom of our garden in Chiswick, and the kids have always loved activities based in and around water. My husband did a lot of sailing as a child, and desperately wanted the kids to find their sea legs. Finding a place where you can enjoy calm seas in an unspoiled atmosphere in Europe is not easy. Mallorca is full of power boats, and many other destinations are not cost effective for a family holiday.
Having searched the Internet for what seemed like ages, we finally came across sailing in Croatia. I am so glad that we did, it proved to be the perfect holiday for the entire family. Needless to say we have been back numerous times since.
I did not appreciate what a pearl Croatia really is. It has an amazing history, and is virtually unspoiled. We were able to drift along and enjoy beautiful locations. The many romantic islands of the Dalmatian coast made it the perfect holiday for mom and dad. Dad got to show off his sailing skills and the teens did learn a lot. Personally, I enjoyed the endless sunshine and cooling sea breezes.
Sailing holidays in Croatia are a great option for an activity holiday. They are flexible; you can charter your own yacht or enjoy the convenience of having your own crew. We chartered our own as daddy has an International Yacht Master’s certificate. Planning your route around the coast is easy. You can make up your own route or let the crew sail you away to the many magic locations around the Croatian coast line.
Yes, it can be very tempting to take to the slopes in the French or Italian Alps, but don’t forget about Scotland. Skiing is a wonderful activity for all of the family, and Scotland is great place to go skiing if you like to have a winter holiday. Our family flew into Glasgow and drove to Gleenshee. The drive was an adventure in its on right and took us through some stunning landscapes.
This was our first time skiing, but we found all of the facilities great. It was easy to get tuition in both skiing and snowboarding. More than anything. my husband and I appreciated the great accommodation and food. The teens loved all of the other activities, and the hotel swimming pool was their most popular place after a day on the slopes. We retired to the comfort of the hot tub, whilst the kids managed to find more energy from somewhere.
Dad being a keen golfer wanted to enjoy a bit of golf practice, but of course the teens needed a bit more than a villa and a swimming pool to keep them entertained. We found the perfect compromise at the La Manga resort in Spain. This is where so many footballers go to train. There is a championship golf course, and lots of activities for the entire family.
I was able to enjoy yoga and aerobics lessons whilst the kids worked on improving their footballing skills and took tennis lessons. The entire family enjoyed the holiday, and dad even claims it helped to improve his golf handicap. Another good holiday for an active family!
Out of all of these activity holidays, the sailing holidaying in Croatia still stands out. It felt like a world away from the hustle and bustle from the rest of Europe. Our sailing holiday off the Dalmatian coast was like a step back in time, and I have to confess, I did not know there were so many beautiful sights just a short plane ride away.