When it comes to summer holidays, it seems we want it all - pristine beaches, high-octane theme parks and water parks, first-rate golf courses, rural activities like horse riding - and all set against a backdrop of good weather and great food. It might seem like a lot to ask, but there's no need to book that round the world ticket, as it turns out that Europe has it all this summer!
With a new study from Aviva revealing that the average UK child costs their parents £35,000 by the time they reach the age of five, many families will be looking for affordable holiday options, yet not wanting to compromise on the quality of the vacation experience.
At the same time, research from HomeAway and YouGov has shown that a significant majority of parents (ranging from 76% in the UK to 95% in Germany) allow their children to have a say in deciding on the holiday destination. With this in mind, here we look at five European options to suit every taste and budget this summer.
For beach lovers
Peter Walshe, Marketing Director of Lalzit Bay Resort & Spa, is an advocate of the Albanian coastline when it comes to pristine beaches. He comments,
"Albania offers both good value for money and the long, quiet stretches of sand that are perfect for family holidays. The kids can splash around in the shallows at hyper-speed, while mum and dad can relax and put their feet up just a few feet away, making places like Lalzit Bay ideal for families who want to enjoy the beach for a range of purposes."
Those looking to invest in their own property by the beach can choose from a range of high quality apartments at Lalzit Bay Resort & Spa, where prices start from as little as €35,000 for an apartment. Those looking to splash the cash can opt for the ultimate in luxury property, with five and six bedroom beachfront villas offering unobstructed Mediterranean views from just €437,000.
For water park fanatics
Portugal also offers some stunning beachscapes, as well as a number of excellent water parks, dotted along the southern Algarve coastline. Chris White, founding director of boutique estate agency Ideal Homes Portugal, observes,
"One of the many great things about the Algarve is the number of holiday options that it provides. Golf lovers, beach bunnies, foodie travellers and water park fanatics are all perfectly at home here. Between the three main water parks - Slide & Splash, Aquashow and Aqualand - families have an incredible choice of H2O-based rides and activities. They offer something for everyone, from tiny children splashing in the warm waters of the children's pool at Slide & Splash to serious adrenaline junkies rocketing down the White Fall at Aquashow. Aquashow even includes a sizeable theme park for those for whom the water rides aren't quite enough!"
A three bedroom villa with its own pool close to Slide & Splash in Lagoa can be picked up for €350,000.
For theme park aficionados
Those who prefer to stay dry while satisfying their adrenaline craving should head to neighbouring Spain, where theme parks abound. One of the best is PortAventura Park in Salou, which was voted the number one amusement park in Spain in the 2014 TripAdvisor travellers' choice awards. Martin Dell, Director of leading property portal Kyero.com, which offers property sales, holiday rentals and long-term rentals across Spain, comments,
"PortAventura is one of Spain's best-loved theme parks and is packed with families seeking adventure during their summer holidays. From gentle rides for the littlest members to super-fast thrills for big kids (of all ages!), its six themed worlds offer a huge range of entertainment options. It has an aquatic park too with a vast array of slides and rides, packing in far more than can be done in a single day - it's Spain's equivalent to Florida."
A frontline beach apartment with pool in Salou can be rented from €560 per week.
Spain is also a wonderful destination for golfers, particularly those looking for island-based courses in the Balearics. Mallorca is a popular choice, as Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of prestigious Spanish homebuilder Taylor Wimpey España, points out,
"The views from some of Mallorca's golf courses are simply stunning and the island welcomes golfers of all abilities, from pros to those just learning the ropes. The Mallorca Golf Academy operates across the island, for those looking to hone their skills in the sunshine, while the range of courses of the island mean that those who have come simply to play can always find a quiet time to enjoy golf here at its best."
Costa Beach at Port Vell has four excellent golf courses within a ten minute drive, the nearest being just 900 meters away. The development also offers direct beach access and a fantastic pool, with prices for the apartments and townhouses starting at €240,000.
For nature lovers
If even golf sounds like too hectic an activity, Italy is the place to go, according to Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs founder of Le Marche-based luxury fractional ownership business Appassionata. Italy is one of Europe's most popular rural tourism destinations and the Le Marche region offers the perfect blend of a small town base (for the convenience of restaurants, cafés and shops) with access to stunning countryside. Dawn comments,
"Le Marche is perfect for holidaymakers looking to escape it all. They can enjoy horse riding across miles of rolling countryside, picnic in solitude beneath the vast blue sky and refresh their spirits with the peace and fragrance of the open country, all before returning home at the end of the day to sink into a deep bath before a visit to the local pizzeria for a slice and a glass of locally produced wine."
Fractional ownership options at Casa Tre Archi in Le Marche are available from £70,000 for five weeks' use of the luxury holiday home per year.
For more information please contact:
Taylor Wimpey España: +44 08000 121 020 | outside UK: 0034 971 70 69 72 | www.taylorwimpeyspain.com |
Appassionata: +39 33154 13225 | www.appassionata.com
Lalzit Bay Resort & Spa: +44 845 125 8600 | www.lalzitbay.com
Ideal Homes Portugal: 0800 133 7644 | +351 289 513 434 | www.idealhomesportugal.com