School holidays are the perfect time for a family getaway. During the summer school holidays, British holidaymakers pack their sunscreen and flock to beaches, both local and abroad, to soak up the beautiful summer sun. Unfortunately if you don’t plan far enough in advance, it’s hard to find reasonably priced flights and accommodation in summer holiday hotspots like Majorca, Spain, Florida and Tenerife. The good news is that there are some lesser known destinations that are very affordable for families during the summer school holiday. If you’re one of those who have left the planning to the last minute, here is a great selection of child-friendly holiday destinations that won’t break the bank.
Holiday rentals in Bulgaria are astoundingly good value for money, even during the peak season. It’s an ideal holiday spot no matter what kind of family holiday you’re looking for. The mountainous inland region of Bulgaria is home to beautiful emerald lakes, fascinating caves and quiet pine forests. If you want a school holiday filled with adventure, you can enjoy the beauty of the pine-covered mountains around Plovdiv – it’s the ideal place for mountain biking, hiking, canoeing, caving and even pony trekking. If you’d rather spend your days soaking up the sun Sveti Vlas, Burgas, or Varna, on the Black Sea “Bulgarian Riviera” are great options. When you’re not sun bathing, swimming or taking part in other water sports, you can take the kids to Aqua Action Park at Sunny Beach, visit one of the dozens of spa and wellness centres along the coast, or explore the UNESCO World Hertiage Site at Nessebar. If your family’s idea of a good school holiday is a luxury city apartment, there are fantastic bargains to be found in the capital city Sofia.
Boating holidays in England
You can always keep it local and save yourself some money by having a holiday in the UK. For a family-friendly holiday that is out of the ordinary, why not enjoy a boating holiday on the Norfolk Broads? The Norfolk Broads is a network of rivers, lakes and marshes outside of Norwich. Boating on the Broads is a marvellous experience and there are plenty of delightful little villages to explore along the way. The kids will love Pleasurewood Hills theme park and the Dinosaur Park in Great Yarmouth, and the BeWILDerwood Park in Hoveton. It’s a fantastic option if you want to spend the school holidays in the UK.
Reggae, rasta and rum in Jamaica
The island of Jamaica is located in the Caribbean, and while it might be a bit pricey to fly there, July and August are not peak season in the Caribbean, which means you can find some great deals on accommodation. There are miles of pristine and diverse coastline in Jamaica, and the friendly locals just add to the relaxed atmosphere. It’s paradise for families who enjoy sports like windsurfing, body boarding, surfing, scuba diving and kite-boarding. Tropical forests provide the perfect backdrop to unspoilt beaches where you have an endless choice of water sports, while colourful markets keep the towns buzzing. There’s always something exciting happening in Jamaica. During the school holidays you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the famous 3 R’s of Jamaica – Reggae, Rasta and Rum. If you have the time, you can even take a day trip to the stunning Cayman Islands.
Stretch your pound in Cyprus
Cyprus has always been a popular and fairly reasonable holiday destination for British tourists, but the recent economic crisis in Cyprus has meant that you can stretch your pound even further. With rugged unspoilt landscape, historic sites, great beaches and beautiful summer weather it’s no wonder the island is so popular with tourists. When you’re not snorkelling, swimming, or sunbathing you can explore the Troodos Mountains and UNESCO World Heritage sites like Phapos. There are still last-minute deals to be found on this Mediterranean island, even in hotspots like Ayia Napa, Pafos Famagusta, Limasol and Larnaca.
Do something different in Germany
Germany may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of summer holidays, but it’s a nice change from the traditional Mediterranean beach holiday and there are plenty of things for the whole family to see and explore. Explore the delightful little villages of Hesse, stay in a castle in the lush river valleys of Baden-Wurttemberg, go hiking in the Black Forest or have a city break in bustling Berlin. If you really do want a beach holiday you can always visit the seaside resort of Kampen on the island of Sylt, where you’ll find red cliffs and white sand. There are fantastic bargains for families on a budget throughout the country; you’ll be spoilt for choice.
If you love the idea of going somewhere like Croatia for the school holidays, but want to save money and avoid the crowds in Dubrovnik and Spilt, neighbouring Montenegro is a wonderful alternative. Montenegro lies to the south of Croatia on the Adriatic Sea, and is still relatively unknown and inexpensive, which means you’ll find some really good deals on family villas. If you’re looking for beautiful sea views and quaint cobbled streets try the historic towns of Kotor, Budva, Tivat or Herceg Novi. When you’re not on the beach or enjoying the warm, sheltered water, you can take a day trip to National Park Durmitor where you and the kids can hike, bike, swim and bungee jump if you’re brave.
Tips to save you money
- Most people travel in early August. Often you can get better deals if you are willing to travel in the last week of the school holidays.
- The beaches of the Mediterranean are by far the most popular place for British holidaymakers, so if you want to avoid the crowds and save some money at the same time, consider going to places like Denmark or the Baltics.
- One of the best ways to save money is to stay in the UK. The weather may not be as great as the Mediterranean, but you’ll be saving money on flights and there are always good local accommodation deals to be found in the summer.
For more great ideas check out HomeAway.co.uk’s suggestions for school holidays.