It’s not always easy to choose a holiday or break that will appeal to all generations, from toddlers and teens to grandparents. But these six destinations are packed with attractions and activities that include something for everyone. Perfect for a family reunion or for trips with extended family, these getaways are sure to please—whatever your combined interests, passions, and energy levels!
Culture in the city in Barcelona, Spain
Wonderful architecture, museums, shopping, food, beaches, and parks—the Catalan capital wins everyone’s heart. From Tibidabo Amusement Park perched high over the city to Gaudí’s fantastic, phantasmagoric buildings (don’t miss Park Güell, the Sagrada Família, and Casa Milà La Pedrera), there’s something for visitors with kids of all ages. Take the funicular or cable-car up Montjuïc hill with its 18th-century fortress, its outdoor pool built for the Olympics (open to the public in high summer), the child-friendly Catalan National Art Museum and Fundació Joan Míro, and the evening Magic Fountain sound-and-light show.
Magic in the mountains of Tyrol, Austria
Biking, hiking, fishing, canyoning, climbing, rafting, and canoeing are what it’s all about in these mountains, valleys, forests, and lakes in summertime. Coupled with fresh air and glorious views, this is the perfect playground for outdoorsy families seeking an active break. Year-round mountain resorts include chic Kitzbühel, party-loving St. Anton, and family-friendly Mayrhofen. Most cable-cars are open in summer, ferrying you to the mountain stops for wonderful walks and leisurely lunches in historic mountain huts. Hit the Adlerweg (Eagle’s Way), a path that stretches for 280 km but can be broken down into bite-size stages.
A blissful beach break in Arcachon Bay, France
A sensational spot on the rugged Atlantic coast of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, Arcachon is best known for its mighty (3 km long, 110 m high) Dune du Pilat. But it’s much more than a huge sand dune: There are more than 7 km of fine beaches, with sailing and other watersports, boat-trips to the tiny Ile aux Oiseaux, and horse-riding in the pine forests. Arcachon itself is a dream of a child-friendly resort: compact but with great amenities, including an aquarium. Close by are the Réserve Ornithologique du Teich bird reserve, Kid Parc pirate-themed amusement park, and Aqualand waterpark.
Renaissance meets rural in Tuscany, Italy
One of Europe's loveliest cities, Florence is surprisingly amenable to kids. Just make sure you break your wanderings with regular gelato stops and a trip to consult Il Porcellino. (Place a coin in this bronze boar’s mouth to assess whether you’ll one day return to the Tuscan capital.) Other must-dos include exploring the fountains and grottoes of the Boboli Gardens, taking a boat-ride on the Arno, clocking the working machines in the Leonardo da Vinci Museum, and experiencing the awesome views from the Duomo. But Florence is also a great stepping stone to the Tuscany countryside, as well as to other delightful cities such as Siena, Pisa, Lucca, and San Gimignano.
Theme park thrills and more in Orlando, USA
This central Florida city gets better year on year when it comes to family fun: 2017 sees the opening of Universal’s Volcano Bay™ waterpark plus new attractions galore at the Legoland Florida Resort, Walt Disney World, and SeaWorld Orlando. But even those who prefer things a little more sedate will find something to enjoy in and around Orlando, from art museums to nearby beaches. Check out the I-Drive 360 entertainment complex for its Orlando Eye observation wheel, Madame Tussauds waxworks museum, and Sea Life aquarium, plus a dizzying array of shops and restaurants.
City break in Toronto, Canada
Ontario’s lively capital packs in the family attractions. Highlights include taking a glass-fronted elevator up to the viewing platforms of the CN Tower (the Western Hemisphere’s tallest freestanding building), touring the Royal Ontario Museum, having fun at Centreville Amusement Park or Canada’s Wonderland, and visiting the Toronto Zoo. But make sure to spend at least a day on Toronto Islands in Lake Ontario, a popular car-free getaway destination with bike, canoe, kayak, and paddleboat hire. Toronto is also a great base for discovering regional attractions such as Georgian Bay with its islands and lakes and Niagara Falls about a 90-minute drive away.