We’ve come up with the top ten holiday destinations for going on holiday with your toddler. These resorts have safe, toddler-friendly beaches, so you can relax knowing that your little one can enjoy making sandcastles and paddling in safety. Many have special attractions – such as nature reserves with baby turtles, or boat trips to the islands – that will appeal to the youngest visitors. Many of our hotels also offer kids’ clubs and baby-sitting services, so you can have a break from childcare if you’re in the mood.
Port de Soller (Puerto de Sóller in Spanish) is a pretty resort arranged around a large bay on the northwest coast of Majorca. There are two long, narrow, sandy beaches, Es Traves and Playa d’en Repic. Both are shallow and suitable for children, although Playa d’en Repic is the best for the very youngest visitors. The beaches are backed by an elegant promenade packed with restaurants and cafés, so it’s easy to find somewhere to eat and drink. There are plenty of facilities, including showers, and lifeguards are on duty from May to October.
- Port d’Andratx, Mallorca
Port d’Andratx (Puerto de Andratx in Spanish) is a glamorous resort, popular with the yachting crowd, and famous for its smart restaurants clustered around the harbour. Nearby Sant Elm is ideal for families with young children, and boasts two main beaches: the smaller of the two, Sa Platja Petita, is perfect for toddlers, with shallow waters and gently sloping sands. It’s easy to reach from the town’s car park, so you won’t have to carry beach bags far. There are lots of facilities, from beach cafés to parasol-rental. Your kids might enjoy a boat trip out to the Sa Dragonera islands, visible from the beach. The islands are a nature reserve, famous for their lizards, which little kids will adore.
Cambrils, a charming town on the Costa Dorada, is a great option for families, particularly if you are travelling with kids of different ages and need to make sure they are all entertained. It has grown so much in the last few years that it is almost merging with its better known neighbour, Salou, but it is still a quiet, family-friendly resort that boasts 7 kilometres of long, sandy beaches. The main beach, Platja de Regueral, is a good option for young kids, although you may need to arrive early in the height of summer for a waterfront spot. It has every imaginable facility, including showers and beach bars, banana boats (for the older kids) and lounger-rental (for mum and dad). About a kilometre from the centre, the Platja de Cavet is also nice and shallow, and a little quieter. Nearby Salou is home to the enormous PortAventura World theme park, which has plenty to keep the whole family – even the very youngest members – happy.
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Costa Adeje is one of the most upmarket resorts on Tenerife, full of smart restaurants and fancy boutiques. However, it is also one of the quieter and most family-friendly areas on the island, and there are plenty of budget options in terms of both accommodation and eating out. Its beaches are heavenly: long stretches of golden sand sloping into crystal-clear waters. The most toddler-friendly beach is Playa la Pinta, a sandy beach in a sheltered bay, with scores of cafés and restaurants clustered nearby. Boat trips out to watch whales and dolphins depart from nearby.
Playa Blanca is a fantastic, family-friendly resort in Lanzarote. It has three main beaches, including the main beach in the town centre, which is the focal point of the resort. This has Blue Flag status, calm, shallow waters, and a host of facilities including life guard posts, showers, play areas and beach bars. It is backed by a long promenade lined with cafés and bars, and, if you’re also travelling with older children, kayaks and inflatable boats are available for rent.
Peaceful Santo Tomas is ideal if you’re looking for a quiet escape. It’s a small, low-key town on the southern coast of the blissful island of Menorca, and is centred around two sandy beaches divided by a headland. The main beach is calm and sheltered, with a gentle slope that makes it ideal for toddlers. There are lifeguards (in the summer) and beach cafés, and you can rent sun loungers and parasols. On the other side of the headland, the Son Bou beach has been awarded Blue Flag status and is an equally good option if you’re travelling with toddlers.
Tavira, at the eastern end of the Algarve, is a picturesque tumble of pastel-painted houses crowned by a ruined castle. Its cobbled streets, dotted with squares and gardens, are a delight to explore on foot – although not great with a buggy, so best pack a sling or a carrier. The fishing boats and market will delight small children, and the slow, laid-back pace of life will appeal to worn-out mums and dads looking to recharge their batteries. The beaches, out on Tavira Island, are spectacular, but are only accessed by boat or ferry: the boat ride itself may thrill young travellers, and goes through the beautiful Ria Formosa nature reserve. Just be careful when packing the beach bag, and make sure you’ve got everything you need for the day! Once out on the island, you can rent sun loungers and parasols, and there are plenty of cafés, restaurants and beach bars. With more than 7 kilometres of beaches, you’ll find a quiet corner even in the height of summer.
Kalamaki is a small, family-friendly resort located just a couple of kilometres from the airport, which means short transfer times when you arrive and depart. There may be some noise from aircraft, particularly at the western end of the resort, but it doesn’t disturb most visitors and there are no night flights. The beach is shallow for a long way out, making it perfect for toddlers. There are canoes and pedaloes to rent, but no noisy motorised boats or jet-skis. Best of all, part of the beach is a protected conservation area for the endangered loggerhead turtles. You may even be lucky enough to see the babies being born and skittering down to the water if you visit during the main nesting season (June and July). There are a couple of beach bars to grab drinks or ice-creams, with plenty more cafés and restaurants within a short walk.
Olu Deniz is a large, popular resort that nonetheless exudes an appealing, laid-back atmosphere. Ideal for families with younger children, it is home to the extraordinarily beautiful Blue Lagoon, a protected nature reserve. The lagoon is fringed with sandy, toddler-friendly beaches, and there are also some private beach clubs at the rear of the lagoon that offer fantastic facilities for families. The waters are calm, warm and shallow, making them perfect for a safe paddle. The main resort beach is an endless stretch of pristine white sand, but it shelves quickly, so be careful with very young children.
The peaceful little fishing village of Agios Gordios has developed into a delightful resort, which is particularly popular with families with young children. A very picturesque town, backed by hills covered in woods and olive groves, it is spread around a stunning sandy beach. The waters are a little more exposed than on the eastern side of the island, but still warm and inviting, and the beachfront is always packed with young children having fun. Facilities include sun loungers and parasols for rent, and a smattering of beach bars. You’ll find plenty of wonderful tavernas and other restaurants within a short walk.