Spanish Islands: Family fun in the sun

Spanish Islands: Family fun in the sun

For family fun in the sun, the Spanish islands remain firm favourites with guaranteed weather, child-friendly restaurants and flight times short enough to keep boredom at bay. But which do you choose? Jeannine Williamson puts Majorca, Menorca and Ibiza in the Balearics and the Canary Islands of Tenerife and Lanzarote under the spotlight.

Majorca


Accommodation

Families should steer clear of the party resorts of Magaluf and Palma Nova and opt for destinations such as Alcudia, with the island’s longest beach. For a secluded luxury stay, Abercrombie & Kent features the newly refurbished, five-bedroom Villa St Anthony, near Santanyi, and in March, Jumeirah Port Soller opens with facilities including a pirate-themed children’s club.

Things to do

Majorca is better suited for a two-week family break than its small sister Menorca. Palma Aquarium boasts Europe’s deepest shark tank and there are dolphins at Marineland in Costa d’en Blanes. The swashbuckling family adventure show Pirates is in its 26th year at Gran Casino Theatre near Magaluf, and at the same theatre, there is a Rat Pack tribute Come Fly With Me.

Climate

The largest of the Balearic islands has a year-round average temperature of 21C, reaching 33C in summer. Late spring is a good time for families with small children when temperatures are start to rise but the beaches are not crowded.

Flights

British Airways, Monarch, Ryanair, Bmibaby, Jet2.com and easyJet.

Sample product

Classic Collection Holidays offers seven nights’ half-board at Hotel Bon Sol during February half-term from £3,402 based on a family of four sharing an apartment or suite, including flights and private transfers.
classic-collection.co.uk
0800 294 9318

Menorca


Accommodation

Smaller than Majorca, accommodation tends to be a bit more expensive. Talayot Apartments, in Cala’n Forcat, has six swimming pools and a Thomson Kids’ Club, so a good choice for families who want the flexibility of self-catering, while the all-inclusive Royal Son Bou Family Club is on the island’s longest beach. In the same resort is the Son Bou Club Sant Jaime, with a host of water and fun-filled activities for youngsters.

Things to do

Menorca is a peaceful island that’s perfect for parents with small children, although teenagers might hanker after the bright lights. Entertainment tends to be low key; the top attractions are the Alaior Zoo, Los Delfines AquaPark and spectacular horse-riding displays at Club Escola Menorquina from June to September.

Climate

It’s a year-round destination and parents with pre-school tots will find cheaper holidays outside the peak season between May and October.

Flights

Bmibaby, easyJet, Jet2.com and Monarch.

Sample product

First Choice offers seven nights’ all-inclusive in August at Holiday Village Menorca, new to the 2012 programme, from £874 per adult, first child from £324 and second from £474 based on shared accommodation, including flights.
firstchoice.co.uk
0871 200 7799l

Spanish islands feature - Holiday Village Menorca

Ibiza


Accommodation

Budget rooms abound in the party capitals of San Antonio and Playa D’en Bossa, but many are aimed at cash-strapped students and can be basic. For quieter holidays, Insotel Club Tarida Beach, in Cala Tarida on the west coast, caters for all ages with baby, mini, maxi and teenagers’ clubs, and El Greco Hotel and Apartments in Portinatx has its own water park.

Things to do

Nothing is more than one hour’s drive away on this small island. San Antonio has the Aguamar water park and larger resorts have play parks and fun fairs. Teenage girls will love the clothes and jewellery at the hippy markets in Es Cana and San Carlos.

Climate

April to June is a good time as temperatures are at a moderate 25C and you can avoid the summer-time clubbers.Autumn is also sunny but not scorching for small children.

Flights

Bmibaby, British Airways, easyJet, Jet2.com, Monarch and Ryanair.

Sample product

Thomas Cook has seven nights’ all-inclusive in June at the four-star Sirenis Hotel Club Aura, Port d’es Torrent, new to the 2012 programme and with a new on-site water park, from £804 per adult and first child £339 based on three sharing a family room, including flights.
thomascookworld.com
0871 230 239l

Tenerife


Accommodation

Playa de las Americas, the largest resort, has plenty to amuse all ages including a great range of water sports. The resort’s family-friendly H10 Conquistador hotel recently underwent a complete revamp. For a quieter location not too far away from Playa de las Americas, Club La Costa’s new leisure division means self-catering properties Paradise and Sunningdale Village, which both have kids’ clubs, are available to everyone, not just club members.

Things to do

Older children will enjoy the thrill of a cable-car ride to the top of Mount Teide, Spain’s highest mountain. Siam Park, in Playa de las Americas, is one of Europe’s largest water parks, while zoo Loro Parque, which has has huge collections of parrots and penguins, will captivate children of all ages. Whale and dolphin-watching cruises are also guaranteed to please.

Climate

The largest Canary Island, and most popular with the Brits, is a year-round hot spot. November to March is high season but there are always gentle breezes to keep youngsters cool.

Flights

easyJet, Monarch, Jet2.com and Ryanair.

Sample product

Club La Costa Holidays offers seven nights’ self-catering in August at Club La Costa Paradise, Torviscas Alto, from £1,276 including an early-booking discount for an apartment that sleeps six, excluding flights.
clcholidays.com
0800 009 6020l

Lanzarote


Accommodation

Despite its small size, Lanzarote has a good spread of accommodation and the main resort of Puerta del Carmen and smaller, quieter Playa Blanca are popular with families. The all-inclusive package at Hotel Sandos Papagayo Arena, Playa Blanca, is a good bet as children have two pools, a disco and a kids’ club to enjoy.

Things to do

Easily driven around in a day, the amazing lunar landscape shaped by volcanoes will enthral older children. The indisputable hot spot is Timanfaya National Park where volcanic heat provides the spectacle of dried grass bursting into flames and the barbecue for food served in the restaurant. Children will love the animals and Wild West-themed shows at Rancho Texas Park.

Climate

The most easterly Canary Island, just 79 miles off the coast of Africa, can be too hot for families with babies, so best to stick to September and October.

Flights

easyJet, Monarch, Jet2.com and Ryanair.

Sample product

Cosmos offers seven nights’ self-catering in June at the Europa Apartments, Puerto del Carmen, from £479 per person based on two adults and two children sharing a one-bedroom apartment, including flights.
cosmos-holidays.co.uk
0871 423 8518

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