When it comes to organising the perfect summer break, I think villa holidays really stand out. This is largely as they give you so much space to relax, but also because they create a great social atmosphere in which it’s easy to spend some quality time with your family. Plus, the fact that you’ll have your own cooking facilities means you’ll be able to create your own meals rather than eating out all the time – something that can dramatically reduce the overall cost of your holiday.
Before I get bogged down in the pros and cons of villas, though, let’s talk destinations. If you’re in the process of organising your summer holiday and the idea of a villa has caught your fancy, you’ll no doubt be interested to hear which destinations really stand out when it comes to this kind of break.
So, I’ve compiled a list of what I think are some of the best spots for a relaxing villa-based sojourn this year. This should give you a few ideas of where to go, but if you want more information on practical details like flights and accommodation options – or to actually book your break – you can find everything you need here.
First on my list are the Balearic Islands, a Spanish archipelago that’s perennially popular for sun-soaked holidays. The group includes the islands Ibiza, Minorca and Majorca, with Majorca being my personal choice for a villa holiday.
So, why Majorca? I think that if you’re travelling as a family, it is one of the most relaxing of the Balearic Islands, but also has a balanced mix of things to do. For instance, it has an impressive 550 km of coastline, which is famous for its stunning beaches. And, as well as being great for sunbathing and building sandcastles, they also offer a fantastic selection of water sports, including scuba diving and windsurfing. So, everyone in the family should find something they enjoy.
Over in the capital, Palma, you can soak up plenty of culture. Sites like Majorca Cathedral and Bellver Castle (which is just outside the city centre) are perfect for discovering a little history, while wonders like the Caves of Drach make for exciting family days out.
Portugal is my next choice – more specifically, the Algarve. This is one of the nation’s best-loved holiday hotspots and, personally, I think its reputation is well deserved. What draws me to it as a villa holiday destination is a combination of factors – namely its amazing weather, beautiful scenery and varied attractions.
Temperatures in the summer regularly hit the 40C-mark, and the region is overflowing with picture-perfect beaches where you can enjoy this impressive weather. Plus, there’s everything from secluded coves to party beaches to choose from.
Great for water sports, hiking, horse riding, climbing and, to be honest, almost every other sport you can think of, the Algarve is somewhere that’s absolutely ideal for active families. If you’re planning on travelling with teens, they’ll definitely love it – especially considering the nightlife here is great too! You can also consider visiting Moledo Beach which can be a good spot for water sports and activities such as kite surfing. In addition, you can take kite surfing lessons from Kite Control (Kitesurfen Portugal) or similar kite surf schools located nearby.
Last up is Turkey. The destination that particularly appeals to me is Bodrum, namely because I think it has a great blend of beach-based attractions and fascinating historical sites, which works really well for family breaks – especially if you’re hoping your kids will soak up a little culture while you’re away.
Located in the Aegean region, which is in the south-west of Turkey, Bodrum has quite a reputation for its sun and nightlife. It has high temperatures in the summer (usually around 30C) and is home to some absolutely beautiful coves.
For days when you don’t want to be sprawled on the sand, there are sites like Bodrum Castle (which is also known as the Castle of St Peter). This is a wonderfully preserved 15th-century structure built by the Knights Hospitaller, which today houses the equally amazing Museum of Underwater Archaeology. Bodrum Amphitheatre and the local windmills are just some of the other cultural treasures worth visiting