May half term is a great opportunity for a good value, bonding break with the family. Not only will you spend far less for your holiday than you would for the same trip in peak season, but there’s no need to fly too far to find warm sunshine. Active families are well-served too. Whether it’s a spot of surfing, cycling, kayaking or camel riding, there’s a masses of fun to be had. Here are our top ten picks:
Prices quoted are per person for a seven-night stay based on a family of four, (two adults and two children aged under 12 years), including flights and transfers, unless otherwise stated, and are subject to availability. Note that older children may be charged the same rate as adults. For comparative flight prices see skyscanner.net. Average flight times are from London. Temperatures are average maximum.
1. Elegance and sun in Crete
Flight time: 3h 45m
Spring is a perfect time to visit Greece’s largest island. By this time of year there’s up to 14 hours of daylight and hardly any rain, with temperatures which are warm but not sweltering. Ideal for a fly-and-flop week to an upmarket hotel located within easy reach of a white-sand beach.
Details: from £982 per person, half board, sharing a family bungalow sea view suite at the five-star Kalimera Kriti Hotel and Village Resort. through Sovereign Luxury Travel (01293 832 459; sovereign.com) including UK airport security fast passes and access to airport lounge, departing May 27.
2. White-sand beaches in Corsica
Flight time: 2h 10m
Glorious beaches, compelling culture and mouthwatering cuisine combined with stylish, child-friendly self-catering, a range of activities and spectacular inland scenery makes this French island a top springtime destination for families.
Details: from £910 per person, self-catering, at Alto di Pinarello apartments near Porto Vecchio, through Simpson Travel (020 8003 6557; simpsontravel.com) including car hire, departing May 27.
3. Surfing in Portugal
Flight time: 2h 40m
Pounding Atlantic surf, huge sandy beaches and sports a-plenty, the Algarve is an ideal family playground for a May break. The only drawback is pricey flights (fares are currently on a par with August departures) but good value accommodation brings the overall costs to affordable levels.
Details: from £358.50 per person, with breakfast, for seven nights in an apartment sleeping four, at Monte da Vilharina near Carrapateira through i-escape (i-escape.com) including bike hire, departing May 26. Excludes flights and transfers.
4. Alpine activity in Austria
Flight time: 1h 45m
Walking, biking, mini golf and go-karting are just a few of the activities offered in the Austrian Tirol making it ideal for energetic, outdoor families who aren’t fazed by the chance of an occasional shower. Expect around six hours of sunshine for circular hikes through idyllic Alpine wildflower meadows.
Details: from £762 per person, half board, based on two rooms at four-star Hotel Boglerhof in Alpbach, through Inghams (01483 791116; inghams.co.uk), departing May 26. Price includes a £90 per person saving and an Alpbach resort card.
5. Spa & clubs on the Costa Blanca
Flight time: 2h 20m
With nine hours of sunshine per day and plenty of flights from the UK, this stretch of Spanish coastline is one to consider for a pampering hotel break. Upmarket hotels offer heated outdoor pools, luxurious spas, kids’ clubs and full-on family-friendly programmes.
Details: from £1,131.50 per person, with breakfast, based on a shared superior deluxe room at five-star Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa through The Healthy Holiday Company (0208 968 0501; thehealthyholidaycompany.co.uk), departing May 27.
6. Wilderness adventure in northern Finland
Flight time: 3h 35m
Introduce the children to the remote lakes and forests of the Arctic in the bright though still chilly springtime sunshine. As the winter snow recedes, this region offers a wide range of exhilarating outdoor activities including canoeing, rafting, brown bear-watching in its vast National Parks.
Details: from £1,299 (adult), £1,039 (child, eight to 14 years) full board, for a seven-night “Finnish Family Adventure” through Exodus Travels (020 3811 4374; exodus.co.uk) departing May 27.
7. Grown-up glamour on the Cote d’Azur
Flight time: 1h 55m (driving time from Calais: 11h)
Treat older teenagers to a taste of the highlife on the French Riveria where late May sees long, clear days with some real warmth creeping into the sun’s rays. Base yourself within walking distance of buzzing restaurants and bars, and take day trips to flower-filled inland villages and sophisticated seaside resorts.
Details: from £2,855 rental only, for L’Esterel Pins, sleeping four, near Cannes on the French Rivera, through Olivers Travels (0800 133 7999; oliverstravels.com), departing May 26. Flights and transfers excluded.
8. Water adventures in Croatia
Flight time: 2h 20m
This country’s dramatic coastline, rivers and gorges offer plenty of scope for exciting half-term pursuits for energetic, outdoorsy families including white-water rafting, climbing, sea kayaking and canyoning in up to 15 hours of daylight and reasonable warmth.
Details: from £1,515 (adult), £1,359 (child, from seven years) half board, for a seven-night “Family Adventure Holiday in Croatia” through Explore (01252 883634; explore.co.uk) departing May 26.
9. Ancient treasures in Jordan
Flight time: 5h
Best for families who like their sunshine a little hotter than southern Europe can command in May, this fascinating Middle Eastern country offers the chance for four-wheel drive journeys into the desert, camel-riding, a swim in the Dead Sea and a day exploring the rose-red city of Petra, plus snorkeling in Aqaba.
Details: from £1,335 (adult), £1,185 (child, five to 11 years) with some meals, for a seven-night “Family Jordan Adventure Holiday” through KE Adventure Travel (01768 773966; keadventure.com), departing May 27.
10. Sunshine but fewer crowds in Sicily
Flight time: 2h 50m
Long days, plenty of sunshine and comfortable heat can make late May a better alternative to the searing temperatures this island can experience in the peak summer months, especially for families with small children in tow. Pack extra layers for cooler evenings.
Details: from £4,599, rental-only at Casa dei Gabbiani, a seafront villa sleeping four with pool near Pozzallo, through The Thinking Traveller (020 7377 8518; thethinkingtraveller.com), departing May 26. Excludes flights and transfers.