We are looking for a holiday next summer for family of 4 (kids aged 8 and 5). We usually do quite adventurous holidays, but we're sick and tired of car hire hassle and don't want to drive our own car as live nowhere near any ferry ports and my youngest gets car sick on long journeys.
So we want to go somewhere with lovely beaches, direct flights from NW England, easy transfer from airport, but interesting stuff to see and do too (don't mind taking buses and trains for excursions). We prefer self catering but want somewhere where the kids can make friends, so not a private villa. Any ideas?
Italian lakes? There are some good places to stay around Lake Garda or Lake Como which are easy to get to from Milan, Bergamo or Verona airports, and are on train lines for day trips to Verona or Venice. And boat trips around the lakes too, obviously. I've done hotels round there but there are also the kind of Eurocamp type place where you will find lots of other families.
We've done some brilliant family adventure holidays with Explore and Exodus. Pricey but completely stress free, they think of everything, you get to see the "real" country and there's a really good mix of learning/cluture and doing activities the DC enjoy.
Sperlonga, Italy. You fly into Rome and then take the train to Fondi/Sperlonga (about an hour). And stay here . It's a lovely family owned full service apartments. The apartments come with a beach umbrella and 2 chairs on the beach right at the bottom of the hill. There is a life guard and beautiful flat sea and sand. When we lived in London we went all the time with the kids (ages 4 - tweens). It's full of Italian families and very few tourists.
The Canary Islands have good bus services, so you will be able to get to most resort towns from the bus stop outside the airport. There's loads of interesting stuff to do in Lanzarote and excursions are easy to arrange, if a little pricey and obviously less flexible than doing it yourself by car.
Look at jet2holidays for well priced packages including lots of self catering options from Manchester.
We stayed in an agriturismo in Sicily but they have them all over Italy. They're farms and usually have a pool, restaurant and playground. Ours was right by the beach and there were kids of different nationalities to play with. Plus an orange grove where the kids could pick their own fruit for the beach. They're great for active kids who like the outdoors if you're after something that doesn't feel like a resort.