School’s out and summer is at its peak, so now is the time to consider a last-minute dash for sun, sand and some much-needed escapism. Need a break? Here's seven tried-and-tested family favourites, whether you’re looking for a city break with teens, toddler-friendly beaches or outdoor adventures.


Dalaman is Turkey for nature lovers / Image: Getty Images

Verdant canyons and lush valleys may not spring to mind when you think of Turkey – but Dalaman’s got plenty of green to go around, plus your more typical turquoise waters fringed by bone-white shores. More active clans will love group hikes through the mystical Akkaya Valley – a mountainous patch of land that has only recently opened to the public.  
Read more: Go all kinds of Green in Dalaman


Crete's Knossos ruins / Image: Adobe Stock

Greece’s largest island stands apart for its undulating landscape and a distinctive culture that’s all its own. The tales that permeate Crete are as tall as its rugged mountains – like that of the half-man, half-bull minotaur, who was apparently held captive in the sprawling ruins of Knossos on the north part of the island. Kids will be enthralled by all the amazing mythological stories waiting to be unearthed here. 
Read more: Track to minotaur of Crete


Visit the leaning tower of Pisa before a foray into Tuscany / Image: Getty Images

The gateway to Tuscany, this Italian city is known for one wonky thing – its namesake leaning tower. Families who are after a chilled-out holiday should spend the day exploring Pisa and snapping that quintessential photo before moving onwards to a private villa nestled among the region's rolling valleys. The ideal holiday outlook, if you ask us.  

Read more: Tour Pisa's towers


Amsterdam's waterways will delight the kids / Image: Getty Images

The Netherlands’ capital city may be known for its pub life and brown cafes, but its museums, art galleries and architecture are equally worth waxing lyrical over. In fact, Amsterdam has plenty to offer in terms of fam-friendly fun, from the educational Anne Frank House to exciting cleanup boat trips with Starboard Boats, where eco warriors of all sizes get to scoop up floating plastic from the canals with nets as they ogle the pretty buildings that line the water.  
Read more: Take a family-friendly tour of Amsterdam 


Melissani Cave on Kefalonia / Image: Adobe Stock

Parents may know the relaxed Greek island of Kefalonia from the best-selling 1994 Louis de Bernierès novel, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, but your kids will remember it for simple outdoor pleasures: miles of sandy Ionian beaches, lush rolling hills and colourful seaside towns. Take a trip to see the loggerhead turtles at Argostoli Bay, or catch a boat trip through the watery depths of mythical Melissani Cave.  

Read more: Find a holy cave in Kefalonia


L’Éclair de Génie's buns – for the kids, of course / Image: Alamy

The City of Lights isn’t just for lovers – visiting with the whole family gives you a different perspective on this classic weekend destination. After all, don’t kids appreciate the deliciousness of a fresh-from-the-oven croissant or baguette as much as the next fully-grown person? Test your tykes’ palettes on a trip to L’Éclair de Génie, where they specialise in only one thing – heavenly cream buns baked to perfection.  
Read more: Scoff the world’s best éclair in Paris


Split's old town is an explorer's delight / Image: Getty Images

Dubrovnik’s big brother is an underrated crowd pleaser with a palm-shaded harbour promenade and its own Diocletian’s Palace. Within the ruined palace walls, there are crumbling alleys to explore, quirky museums to visit and teeny cafes occupying steps where families can pause for juice breaks. Split is also a gateway to some of Croatia’s most enticing islands – after a couple of days in the city, hop on a ferry to historic Hvar or the famous Zlatni Rat beach on Bol.  

Read more: Marvel at Split’s frog museum

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