The best toddler and baby-friendly short-haul holiday destinations
Travelling with even the most well-behaved of young children can be tough, but thankfully there’s a whole host of brilliant destinations just a few hours away from the UK by plane. Travel off-peak when prices are cheaper and the weather is cooler and you'll spend more time relaxing and less time appeasing hot and sweaty toddlers
Nobody wants to spend the first three days of their holiday trying to convince their children that it really is time to go bed – which is why, with no time difference to the UK, Lanzarote is so popular with parents.
With over 90 beaches on the island, families can spend their days relaxing in the sun, building sandcastles out of the famous black sand or rockpooling in the shallows. Elsewhere on the island, the Rancho Texas Lanzarote Park is perfect for little cowboys, with Western-themed rides and and ‘Animal Magic’ zone with dolphins, snakes and giant tortoises.
Top tip: “Be sure to visit the fabulous marina in Playa Blanca called the Rubicon which is the perfect spot to sit, eat, drink and watch the world go by.”
Ibiza is more than just all day boat parties and boozy sunsets with many of the island’s resorts geared towards young children and families. On-site entertainers lead kids and baby clubs, activities and performances, allowing parents to relax and enjoy some sunshine. Most family-orientated hotels will also provide convenient baby-friendly facilities such as blackout blinds in the rooms to ensure little ones sleep through the night.
Even during low season, temperatures can reach a pleasant 21°C late into October. The island offers plenty to do with toddlers: explore the Con Marca caves, visit the Aguamar water or find some hidden gems at the weekly Es Cana market.
Top tip: “We hired a car to visit beaches around the Island, all of which were really child friendly, including Sa Trinxa on Las Salinas beach.”
If endless beaches are what you’re after, Menorca boasts more than both Majorca and Ibiza combined. These can get very busy during the height of summer, so take full advantage of travelling out of season by visiting the popular Es Grau where toddlers can paddle in warm, shallow waters, or enjoy the white sands and calm waters of the Cala Macarella cove in Alaior.
Quieter than the other Balearic Islands, Menorca is perfect for parents looking to relax and enjoy the island’s oddly specific 315 sunny days a year. Little ones can make good use of the kids' clubs and pools within the family-centric resorts, many of which are clustered around the historic harbour cities of Ciutadella and Mahon.
Top tip: “Some of the beaches may not be accessible via public transport so hire a car, even if it’s just for a day.”
Sardinia might not be as obvious a destination as the Balearic or Canary Islands, but with temperatures staying warm right into the winter months, this Italian island is a great option for travelling with young children during the shoulder season.
Alongside the clean, sandy beaches, Sardinia has loads of history, entertainment and great food to offer. Alghero, a medieval city situated in the North West of the island, is excellent for family resorts and would suit curious toddlers eager to explore the historic old town, while the resident pink flamingos of San Teodoro Lagoon to the east of the island will please future nature enthusiasts.
Top tip: “Look out for secluded beaches off the beaten track, but make sure to bring towels or chairs as there won’t be beach beds on these.”