Soft-as-sugar golden bays, glittering sapphire waters, stunning landscapes and star-sprinkled skies characterise much of Europe’s coastland. Croatia’s glimmering necklace of Adriatic islands boasts a string of delightful beaches. The Split region in the heart of the Dalmatia Riviera serves as a gateway to crystal-clear bays and unspoilt islands. Hvar Island has been voted one of the ten most beautiful islands of the world. Stay at Hotel Podstine with striking views of the Pakleni otoci (Hell’s islands). Seven nights’ B&B in February costs £485 for a family of four.
The Italian paradise of Sardinia boasts 2,000km of coastline with fine white sands, little caves and lagoons. Here, a most fabulous spot is Capriccioli, near to the famous Cala di Volpe in the glamorous coastal area Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast). There are luxury hotels and villas to choose from at Fortevillage, as well as the extraordinary Città dei Bambini (Children’s City) where children can discover the secrets of Italian cooking, ceramics, painting, music, dance, and creative writing, as well as making a splash at the spectacular Laguna swimming pool.
Celebrated for its exotic blend of East and West, Turkey showcases modernism mixed with bohemian mysticism. Best known as the dazzling turquoise poster-child of Turkey’s South Aegean Coast, the magnificent Oludeniz (Blue Lagoon) is a travel-brochure cliché: translucent waters in three shades of turquoise teamed with glittering white sands and backed by purple mountains. Children will love the calm waters in the sheltered lagoon, while you can soak up the rays on sun-kissed sands. For older children, pedallos and watersports are available. Best for families is the Meri Hotel, the only hotel on the lagoon itself. Seven nights’ all-inclusive for family of four, from £2,856.
If your preferred sunshine playground is on Aphrodite’s island of Cyprus, however, discover beach brilliance at Pissouri Bay (halfway between Limassol and Paphos). Whilst Le Meridien boasts one of the best children’s clubs on the island, the resort of choice for beaches is the Columbia Beach Resort. Whilst you unwind at the Columbia Spa, the children can indulge in fun and games. Seven nights’ B&B, including flights costs from £2,100 for a family of four with W&O. But it is the Blue Flag beach itself that is the real star: a paradise of talcum-powder sands surrounded by white cliffs and vineyards. For a fabulously fun day out, visit the Wet ’n’ Wild Aphrodite Water Park in Paphos.
You may also be interested in reading Best beaches for kids: America and Best beaches for kids Middle East.