Family-friendly hotels for summer vacation in Europe: Travel Weekly


Felicity Long

Felicity Long

As the weather warms and the school year winds to a close, parents are presented with that age-old dilemma: where to take the kids for summer vacation.

Happily for Europhiles, properties across the Continent are gearing up for the season with innovative ways to attract families with children of all ages.

Wooing families and wine lovers

Borgo San Vincenzo, for example, a luxury boutique hotel in Tuscany, is looking to expand its target market beyond wine lovers. 

Despite its location in the Vino Nobile vineyards of Montepulciano, the 21-room, 18th-century property is touting such kid-friendly, curated activities as horseback riding, pizza-making classes, vineyard picnics and visits to local farms and pasta mills. Families can also embark on tours of the region by foot, e-bike, Vespa or hot air balloon.

On property, guests can wander through the extensive gardens, dine al fresco or lounge by the pool.

To sweeten the deal, the property created a Linger Longer special with a 20% discount on stays of seven or more nights.

Under the Tuscan sky

Also in Tuscany, the Villa Lena offers a family-friendly agritourism experience in Pisa.

The 74-room property takes advantage of its location on 1,200 acres of woodland with a menu of guided nature walks, truffle hunting, storytelling under the stars and yoga by the pool. Kid-friendly pasta-making workshops, interactions with artists in residence and swimming in the hotel’s three pools round out the activities.

Villa Lena’s farm-to-table restaurant, Osteria San Michele, offers families seasonal menus highlighting the property’s vegetable garden.

Upscale in Greece 

Meanwhile, in Greece, the 100-room Summer Senses resort on Paros is wooing upscale parents with luxury accommodations and experiences while also providing a welcoming experience for small fry.

Activities include everything from sailing excursions and treatments at the on-site Anassa Spa by Idolo to lolling by three swimming pools, one of which is designed just for families.

Dining options include Galazia Hytra, a fine dining restaurant operating in collaboration with the Michelin-starred restaurant Hytra in Athens, or the less formal Gaia Restaurant, serving Cycladic cuisine throughout the day. 

A Stay Longer offer, available until mid-June and from late August to September, offers guests staying for a minimum of five nights a complimentary night; for stays from mid-June to mid-August, a seven-night or longer stay entitles guests to an extra night. 

Interactive games in England

Across the Channel, Heckfield Place in Hampshire, England, will host a roster of interactive games for children in August, in collaboration with characters from the animated children’s series “Sharky & George.”

Kid-friendly activities will include, scavenger hunts, following fairy trails, wild swimming, bike riding and boating on the lake.

Parents can recharge at the adults-only Bothy by Wildsmith wellness center or relax over an al fresco lunch at the Green Michelin-starred Marle restaurant, overseen by culinary director Skye Gyngell. Or they can join the kids for a picnic under the property’s willow trees.

Backroads for all ages

Finally, for parents whose kids are grown but who miss traveling with them, Backroads is anticipating a surge in multigenerational travel, especially young adults traveling with their young adult children.

The company, which is already seeing robust family bookings for 2025, is known for segmenting family trips by age, so that teens, young adults and younger children are not forced to do the same itineraries and activities.

New 2025 multi-adventure trips for families with “kids” ages 20 and older include the Netherlands and Belgium, Scotland and England, Croatia and Slovenia and along the Camino de Santiago. 

In addition to the family group departures, the company is seeing its private-trip options also surging for the multigenerational travel market.

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