Seven European Beach Cities to Escape to this Summer
Family-friendly destinations in Europe By Sophia LaMonica
Paros, Greece (Flickr: NIKOS karakasidis)
Whether it’s your first family vacation or your seventeenth trip with the tribe in tow, an escape to each of these beautiful beach cities of Europe promises to be especially sweet this summer. From the volcanic islands of Ischia, Taormina, Paros and Santorini to the sweeping coastline of Valencia and Barcelona, the heat of summer only enhances the natural magnetism of these seven European hotspots.
These are our family-approved European beach cities to visit with the kids this summer.
Barcelona, Spain (Courtesy: Visit Barcelona)
A chilled-out yet avant-garde vibe greets families on vacation in Barcelona. Teeming with kid-friendly attractions http://www.minitime.com/Barcelona-Spain-family-attractions, modern art, and cuisine of Catalonia, Barcelona is a joy to explore for all ages and walks of life. Aside from the colorful scene along La Rambla, you can tour the city on a double-decker bus and take a cable car ride from Montjüic mountain that overlooks the water and lands at sandy La Barceloneta beach. Enjoy exotic touches like Japanese-style soaking tubs in the guest rooms at the kid-friendly Mandarin Oriental Barcelona.
Famous for its thermal hot springs, the Italian isle of Ischia is a most inviting place to spend a family vacation. Bursting with botanical gardens and replete with sandy beaches, Ischia has kid-friendly attractions everywhere you turn. Splash around with the locals at spiaggia dei pescatori (Fisherman’s Beach) and take a watertaxi to Maronti, where you can book a stellar suite just steps from the sand at the family-friendly Hotel Parco Smeraldo.
Often overlooked as merely a passing through place to other Greek islands, Paros has plenty to offer families on vacation, including three of the Cyclades most stunning beaches: Naoussa, Krios and Aliki. If swimming, sailing and horseback riding aren’t enough fun under the sun, AquaParos Water Park is just a quick bus ride from Parikia, the Old Quarter of Paros. Splurge on a modern suite at the family-friendly four-star Paros Agnanti Hotel and you’ll be pleased as punch with the posh amenities.
Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy
Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy (Flickr: Anna & Michal)
A skating rink, sporting complex and sparkling sea dotted with sail boats are among the trove of kid-friendly attractions on offer in the charming Italian city of Santa Margherita Ligure. On the beach, the Lido Palace hotel’s upper level rooms have access to a roof terrace, ideal for relaxing together and taking in the view. While its own sandy and pebbly shores are plenty nice for swimming and playing, Santa Margherita Ligure makes a great base camp for exploring Cinque Terre. Leave the strollers behind, take the train and tackle the easiest of the five trails from Riomaggiore to Manarola.
Seeking some peace and tranquility for your family vacation this summer? Set your sights no further than the site of the largest volcanic eruption in history, Santorini (or Thira as it’s called in Greek.) At the kid-friendly Aroma Suites, every room has a private terrace with views of the volcano, the blue Aegean, and Santorini’s stunning sunsets.
Taormina, Sicily (Flickr: Luca Volpi)
Take your family on vacation to the steep mountain town of Taormina and have a blast exploring this tiny corner of Sicily. With its cache of ancient castles and ruins that trace back to the Bronze Age, Taormina is a history buff’s dream. Dipping into the warm Ionian Sea after alighting from an aerial tramway to a string of delightful beaches is an undeniably fun way to spend the day in Taormina. Check-in to kid-friendly Hotel Villa Carlotta for your own slice of la dolce vita.
Taste traditional paella in Valencia’s plethora of open-air cafes and take in the sights on a stroll down the kid-friendly promenade that lines Las Arenas, a wide sandy beach perfectly suited for all ages. Book a suite at the family-friendly Westin Valencia and enjoy luxurious amenities and splendid décor.
Sophia LaMonica contributed this to MiniTime. A Los Angeles native, Sophia has roots in Italy and Costa Rica, where she relishes the raw beauty of the rainforest and embarking on unexpected culinary adventures.