Spring family holidays
Why wait for summer?
HomeAway travel expert
Around springtime, the excitement starts to hit fever-pitch as many of us anticipate a forthcoming summer sojourn. While the mere enunciation of the word ‘spring’ should bring to mind plants exploding into bloom and temperate days lengthening, in the UK springtime can be a disappointing affair - so much so, the Met Office forecasted 2013 would be the coldest spring for more than 50 years! With the bitter British spring in flux, planes flying half empty and great deals on flights and accommodation to be had, there’s never been a better time to start summer early.
Holidaying in spring typically assures you of fewer crowds, which can make a family trip that much more appealing - particularly if you have little ones requiring your full attention. But where to go? We’ve compiled a brief guide, with suggestions on how to make the most of spring’s travel opportunities. There are also links to a range of HomeAway rental properties: villas, apartments and cottages are available for a fraction of the cost of an upmarket hotel. Whether you seek a last-minute weekend break, or a longer getaway, our accommodation will ensure you are well placed to explore new surroundings.
Popular destinations for spring family holidays
A wonderful city to visit at any time of year, visitors flock to Barcelona for its bustling street markets, world-class museums and iconic architecture. Of course, there’s also the small matter of it being a city that boasts several beaches. If you count football fans among your brood, it’s a safe bet they’ll find a tour of Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium difficult to resist: you may also get the chance to catch the great team play a home game. Of an afternoon, visit the Parc de la Ciutadella, home to shaded walk paths, a waterfall, and ornamental gardens. You can even hire a rowing boat and sail amongst the ducks on the lake.
Southern Europe truly comes into bloom during spring, and given the relatively short flight, a trip to Sardinia is something we can’t recommend highly enough. The second largest island in the Med, its terrain is a wondrous combination of rocky mountains, peaceful olive groves, ancient cave,s and gorgeous, sun-bleached beaches. The pace of life is relaxed here, but thrill seekers can enjoy water sports in the translucent blue seas all along the coast; Porto Pollo is especially popular for windsurfing. If you’re visiting around Easter, Holy Week sees parades, festivals and processions take over the streets, and good-natured fun is the order of the day. To see the island in all its glory, take a trip on the Trenino Verde, the steam locomotive that offers panoramic views as it circles the island.
Lying off the coast of Turkey, the Greek island of Rhodes is the place to go if you prize unspoiled countryside, blissful beaches, and an abundance of historical sites. While a party atmosphere sets in during summer, spring is an excellent time for families to visit. Enjoy a donkey ride up to the acropolis in Lindos, or cool off at the water park in Faliraki. Rhodes Town, meanwhile, represents old Rhodes - its cobbled streets and alleys, bookended by curio shops and tavernas, are a joy to explore. Just don’t forget to sample some traditional Greek cuisine such as Souvlaki, Gyros or Dolmades at one of the many eateries.
Approximately 150km north of the African coast, you can be assured of an exotic climate in Gran Canaria. Perfect for family holidays, it is the second most populous island belonging to the archipelago, and there are no end of attractions for adults and children alike. From museums and beaches to theme parks and nature trails, there really is something for everyone. Playa del Ingles and Las Palmas are the primary resorts, boasting all the restaurants, bars, and shops you could wish for, while an afternoon at the Palmalitos Park Zoo makes an enjoyable day-out.
With 340 days of sunshine per year, a holiday to Cyprus is a no-brainer for those who love nothing more than topping up their tan. It’s not just the sub-tropical climate that attracts us to the island, though. Located south of Turkey and east of Greece, its fusion of cultural influences, not to mention its sumptuous food, distinguishes it from its northern European neighbours. And as a family destination, it ticks all the right boxes: there are several huge water parks, like Aphrodite in Paphos and WaterWorld in Ayia Napa, historical sites such as Roman ruins and Greek monuments, and plenty of restaurants to enjoy a ‘meze’ meal out. Unforgettable.