Our top 10 family holidays in Europe

We’ve narrowed down a long list of family holidays in Europe to give you a mix of tailor made trips and small group holidays, as well as accommodation-only breaks where you can do as much or as little as you feel, deciding on the day. These latter are especially suitable for families with young children. In most cases, family activity holidays involve every aspect being organised for you, from booking expert local instructors to equipment hire, allowing you to relax and go with the flow. If any of these trips pique your interest, scroll through the reviews from previous travellers. Not only are they completely authentic, but they often contains lots of priceless advice. Minimum ages are indicated also.

1. Granada activity holiday, Spain

(Minimum age: 4-6 depending on activities)
It’s not only the wonderful year round climate that makes the high plains of Granada so attractive as a destination. This region is still under explored, yet it offers a superb range of outdoor activities suitable for all ages, from organic farm visits to canyoning and (gentle) rafting. Plus, there is so little light pollution that stargazers will be in their element.

When to go: Year-round, but July to August is the busiest and hottest time of year
Our top selling trip: Altiplano de Granada activity holiday
See all our trips: Andalucia family holidays
Read more: Andalucia travel guide

2. Montenegro activity holiday

(Minimum age: 6)
With its dramatic mountains, lakes and gem of a coast, Montenegro is rapidly building a reputation as a destination for adventurous holidays. Best suited to older children and teens, this trip offers an amazing variety of outdoor activities around Lake Skadar, including canyoning, white water rafting and wild swimming. Stay at a relaxed villa where the hosts are fully immersed in the local community, allowing for great cultural experiences too.

When to go: July to October
Our top selling trip: Activity holiday in Montenegro
See all our trips: Montenegro family holidays
Read more: Montenegro family holidays guide

3. Algarve, Portugal

(No minimum age)
The Algarve is an all time family holiday favourite. However, you can escape the resorts with their identical umbrella configurations, and instead look for tranquil farm stays full of rural charm, or eco retreats where food miles come in fractions. A tailor made trip such as this is perfect for families with children of any age, with onsite veg picking and egg collection, or nearby opportunities to hike, surf, cycle or sail – or simply sunbathe on a beach.

When to go: Year round, but July to August is the busiest and hottest time of year
Our top selling trip: Algarve holiday accommodation
See all our trips: Algarve family holidays
Read more: Algarve travel guide

4. Croatia for teens

(Minimum age: 10)
A week of adventurous pursuits along the beautiful Split Riviera, this trip will be a blast for older kids with activities including canyoning, sea kayaking, whitewater rafting and tubing on the Cetina River. When it comes to family holidays, Croatia really does have the ‘Wow’ factor, where every day brings a new challenge, and the organisers know exactly how to keep the thrills mounting up while maintaining a safe environment.

When to go: July, August
Our top selling trip: Croatia activity holiday for families with teenagers
See all our trips: Croatia family holidays
Read more: Croatia family holidays travel guide

5. Northern Lights in Lapland

(Minimum age: 4)
Not every winter holiday needs to revolve around the ski slopes. In Finnish Lapland there is the opportunity to treat your family with a truly unique getaway. From husky sled safaris to snowmobiling, Sami reindeer farm visits to ice fishing lessons, snow shoeing and tobogganing all set against the Northern Lights, this is a paradise for adventurous families that don’t mind when it gets a little cold (and super warm clothing is provided).

When to go: January to April
Our top selling trip: Northern Lights family holiday, tailormade
See all our trips: Finland family holidays
Read more: Finnish Lapland travel guide

6. Stay with a Count in Transylvania

(No minimum age)
Ignoring the vampire nonsense (though teens will probably relish the opportunity to visit the infamous castle in Bran) some parts of Transylvania offer a fantastic chance to step back almost to the medieval era. Mountains, valleys and peaceful villages can be explored on foot or by horse drawn cart, and this trip even offers the chance to stay in the mansion of a welcoming Romanian Count.

When to go: January to April
Our top selling trip: Northern Lights family holiday, tailormade
See all our trips: Finland family holidays
Read more: Finnish Lapland travel guide

7. Mountain biking in Catalonia

(No minimum age)
There’s much more to Spain than Barcelona and the sun-splashed Costas. Catalonia in the northeast is a picturesque blend of mountainous and coastal landscapes that can be discovered on foot, horseback, mountain bike or kayak on this trip. Families with younger children will love the luxurious B&Bs with easy walks through nearby woodland, and castles to conquer, while it is of course sheer bliss for teens and sporty adults.

When to go: Year-round
Our top selling trip: Catalonia family mountain biking holiday
See all our trips: Catalonia family holidays
Read more: Catalonia travel guide

8. French Alps

(Minimum age: 4)
With activities that range from hiking to wild swimming under waterfalls, rafting and rock climbing, it’s not exactly a mystery why the French Alps are so popular with families. Fresh mountain air, fantastic cuisine, and the potential to make friends for life with your fellow guests only add to the appeal of this family adventure in Samoëns, a superb resort that’s situated just an hour’s drive from Geneva.

When to go: August
Our top selling trip: Family adventure holiday to France
See all our trips: France family holidays
Read more: France travel guide

9. Peloponnese, Greece

(Minimum age: 7)
If your kids are studying ancient civilisations at school, then Greece is an obvious place for a family holiday. Visits to fascinating ruins can be combined with adrenaline-packed itineraries around the Peloponnese, which tends to be far less touristy than other regions. This trip uses two centres: Nafplio and Tripoli, so you get a mix of city and beach, and it can be tailor made for groups numbering five or more.

When to go: July to October
Our top selling trip: Peloponnese family activity holiday
See all our trips: Greece family holidays
Read more: Greece travel guide

10. Sea kayaking in Croatia

(Minimum age: 6)
Based on the island of Lopud, 45 minutes by ferry from Dubrovnik, this family sea kayaking holiday will be paradise for water babies. Led by a professional guide, you’ll pootle along gently between coves, bays and picturesque fishing villages of neighbouring islands, stopping for a refreshing swim whenever the urge takes you. On downtime days you can opt for stand up paddle boarding lessons, or fun banana boating.

When to go: July, August
Our top selling trip: Family sea kayaking holiday in Croatia
See all our trips: Croatia family holidays
Read more: Croatia family holidays travel guide

Europe family holidays advice

The joys of rural Granada

Ilaria Grieco from our supplier El Geco Verde on letting the kids have their freedom:
“People tend to relax and de-stress quickly here. We’re in a very peaceful location with spectacular views you can enjoy while eating on the terrace. The other important thing to remember is that young children can roam around freely in perfect safety, with no need for parents to watch them the whole time. Our resident cats and dog are a source of great entertainment!”

Outdoor activities in Catalonia

Fiona Smart from our supplier Mas Pelegri on why Catalonia is so popular:
“It’s a family destination in the school holidays as there are so many outdoor activities – the weather is such that you can always be enjoying the countryside – walking, cycling, mountain biking, canyoning, kayaking, rock climbing, quad biking... there’s so much to do, rope courses, ziplines, it’s an adventure playground!”

Activities for all ages

Ilaria Grieco from our supplier El Geco Verde says there’s something for all ages in Granada:
“Our most popular activity here is a visit to a local farm – it’s always a hit with all ages. You help to milk the goats, make your own cheese and bread, and pick vegetables in the organic garden, then share a meal. The rafting is very gentle and good for young children, and older teens really enjoy canyoning, which takes place on the river just 15 minutes’ drive away. There are many activities scattered around in such a beautiful landscape that a car is essential to make the most of your stay.”

Small group family holidays in Croatia

Russo Capan from our supplier Green World Holiday reveals how they keep smiles on faces all week-long:
“Our families are always so like-minded which we achieve by being transparent about children’s and teenagers’ ages who book onto our Croatia trips, so we naturally develop very social groups. We aim to balance adventure time and relaxation, so energy levels are always high, mums and dads are relaxed and the kids are buddying up with new friends.”

When to go to Monetnegro

Emma Heywood from our supplier Undiscovered Montenegro recommends early or late summer:
“June and September are the best months to avoid the crowds in Montenegro yet still enjoy wonderful weather. Look out for the Boka Nights Festival in August when the bay of Kotor is packed with a flotilla of boats and there’s a huge firework display.”

Catalonia by bicycle

Vivian from our supplier Cycle Catalan explains why Catalonia is best explored on two wheels:
“Exploring an area by bike gives you a totally different perspective. Coming here by car is seriously overrated. There is a huge, dedicated network of paths, something like 800km of cycle paths in Alt Emporda and Baix Emporda, and you’re not on main roads, you’re on cycle trails, so you’re passing through farmland and lovely countryside, and getting to places that you can’t reach by car. The sights, smells, sounds – everything is just more vibrant.”

Why take kids on an activity holiday?

Russo Capan from our supplier Green World Holiday on the benefits of family activity holidays:
“Everyone is learning a new skill at the same time, so no one feels like they’re under the spotlight. There is definitely an element of team work but it’s not competitive. All activities are fully guided and instructed by professionals, so safety is our first priority. But at the same time, you see the growth in children’s confidence through personal responsibility and solo achievement. It’s so lovely as a tour leader to see kids chat, socialise and play without being hunched over their phones. Generally they’re all best friends by the end of the first activity.”

Spain cultural tips

Ilaria Grieco from our supplier El Geco Verde on the best time to visit Altiplano de Granada:
“A lot of people will come here purely for the various activities nearby, but others come because they just want a slice of real Spain. We’re off the beaten track and this area sees fewer visitors than elsewhere – it’s a much more authentic vibe. The second weekend of October is always a good time to visit. This is when Castril holds its annual fiesta, many people return from the cities for it, and there is a real party atmosphere.”

Tips for activities in Montenegro

Emma Heywood from our supplier Undiscovered Montenegro makes a convincing pitch:
“Just go! Montenegro is a fantastic country for families, especially active ones who don’t just want to sit on the beach. There’s lots to keep the kids interested – wild swimming, kayaking, hiking, honey tasting trips and not to forget wild tortoises! Montenegrins are mad about kids, so even if you have very little ones, it’s a great place to visit as you’ll get lots of attention and offers of help.”

Our top Europe family Holiday

Activity holiday in Montenegro

Activity holiday in Montenegro

An active villa holiday at stunning Lake Skadar, Montenegro

From £695 to £795 7 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2022: 17 Apr, 24 Apr, 1 May, 8 May, 15 May, 22 May, 29 May, 5 Jun, 12 Jun, 19 Jun, 26 Jun, 3 Jul, 10 Jul, 17 Jul, 24 Jul, 31 Jul, 7 Aug, 14 Aug, 21 Aug, 28 Aug, 4 Sep, 11 Sep, 18 Sep, 25 Sep, 2 Oct, 9 Oct, 16 Oct, 23 Oct
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Europe family or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.

Europe family holidays tips from our holiday reviews

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travellers are often... other travellers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do – and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful advice for family holidays in Europe that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your time away – and of the space inside your suitcase.
Be prepared for an ambivalent relationship with your snowsuit and other protective clothing, gloves, helmets etc in Finnish Lapland. Taking them on and off takes time and they feel clumsy and uncomfortable at times – know that you will grow to LOVE them.
– Liz Garrett
“We had a brilliant holiday in Granada. The food and hospitality were excellent and our hosts were intimately familiar with the language, locality, food, history and culture. The hotel is as off the beaten track as one could imagine and is in a tranquil and scenic setting. There is lots to see and do and the hotel proposes a variety of activities through local experts.” – David Graham

“As a single Mum of an 11 year old, I was a bit nervous to be staying in a rural hotel as I have always opted for the "safe" option staying in a hotel with kids club and on site entertainment etc, but in Granada we felt welcomed from day one! I also wanted my son to experience the outdoors, away from computer games and TV, and I was not disappointed. The kayaking was amazing, with my son leading the way up front. He was a little dubious of the horse riding at first, but he absolutely loved it! My son had the best time and didn't want to come home and has already decided on the activities he wants to do "next time we go" ! A fantastic holiday all round. Thankyou!!” – Tracey Davies

“As a three generation family this holiday, couple in their 60s plus our daughter and her 5 year old granddaughter, the Algarve was perfect.” – Jacqueline Precey

“The Algarve was totally relaxing, perfect for a couple or a family alike. Small children are well catered for with very friendly and helpful hosts. You will become part of their family for the week and feel that you are in your own home.” – Sian Mitchell

“We had a great week - perfect for families who want to do something active everyday, meet lots of like-minded people, and explore a beautiful, untouristy part of Croatia.” – Jane Irving
If you are active and want a well planned mix of cycling, kayaking and walking in the depths of the Swedish countryside then go for it. A good holiday for families with teenagers.
– Mike Platten
“Be prepared for an ambivalent relationship with your snowsuit and other protective clothing, gloves, helmets etc in Finnish Lapland. Taking them on and off takes time and they feel clumsy and uncomfortable at times – know that you will grow to LOVE them once you realise you can only enjoy the snow and the adventurous activities if you are wearing them. 10 mins without those layers will convince you. This can be a tough lesson for small children initially.” – Liz Garrett

“If you are active and want a well planned mix of cycling, kayaking and walking in the depths of the Swedish countryside then go for it. A good holiday for families with teenagers.” – Mike Platten

“Plan to eat with everyone in the evenings. It is a lovely friendly atmosphere with different families swopping suggestions and tips on the local activities in Granada, and the food is fantastic. The only tricky bit is how late dinner is for UK children as it usually started 8.45-9pm which is a stretch when bedtime is usually 7.30-8pm. It was worth it though and surprising how quickly they adapt.” – Tanya Hayes

“Romania was wonderful – we did four nights, which I'd recommend as a minimum as there is so much to see. Children were well catered for – ours were two and four and loved all the food and the adventures! (we didn't take a pushchair though, just a rucksack to carry the youngest and that was a good decision as it meant we could hike in the forests etc.)” – Susanna Booth

“This is far and away the best family holiday we've had in years. Romania is a fascinating corner of the world neither my husband or I had ever been to. We enjoyed learning about the area from our guides whilst having the pleasure of watching our children run wild about us in sunshine and fresh air!” – David Smith

Written by Rob Perkins
Photo credits: [Page banner: ronnybas] [Granada winter holiday: Hernan Pinera] [Kayaking around Lopud Island: Judith Doyle] [Family holiday - Tahko: Visit Lakeland] [Chickens: Rowan S] [Explore by bike: Visit Lakeland] [Snow fun: Visit Lakeland] [Sweden hike: 63Grad Photography]