There are so many amazing places to visit in the world so narrowing down your next family holiday destination isn’t easy. A city might sound amazing on paper but not be suitable for your toddler or an expensive far-flung destination might be missing activities for your hard-to-please teenagers. That’s why we’ve put together our list for top destinations to visit in 2020 specifically for families. No matter what kind of holiday you’re looking for or what continent you’re planning to visit, you’ll find some great suggestions below.
1. Andalucia, Spain
Andalucia has always been a family favourite and with the beaches and watersports on the Costa del Sol, historic wonders like the Alhambra in Granada and the whole region’s wine and tapas, it’s easy to see why it tops our list of destinations to visit with your family in 2020. The theme parks around Torremolinos and Benalmádena are perfect for the thrill seekers in your family and with child-friendly sites such as Parque de las Ciencias – Granada’s popular science park – there’s plenty of options for learning opportunities.
Top Tip: Hop on a ferry and visit Morocco for the day. The crossing only takes one hour and you can do this independently or with one of many tour companies.
Between the Rugby World Cup and the Olympics coming up, Japan is on everyone’s lips and for good reason. Japan’s cities are some of the safest in the world and they tend to have everything from crazy futuristic arcades to buildings built in the time of the Samurai. Your kids will love Tokyo’s quirky cafes (Kawaii Monster Cafe is a personal favourite). Plus, travelling around the country is easy with a JRpass (think interrailing but in Japan). Japan has something for everyone, the beaches in Okinawa are perfect to relax and you can always visit Tokyo Disneyland, Osaka’s Universal Studios or Legoland Japan as a special treat.
Top Tip: In both Tokyo and Kyoto, there are companies where you can request a free volunteer guide and they make a customised tour based around your interests. You’ll need to pay for their meals and entry fees on the day but otherwise it’s totally free! It’s a great way to meet a local and have an easy introduction to Japan.
3. Lapland, Finland
The perfect Christmas destination. Visiting Lapland is an unforgettable experience, especially for Kids who still believe. You can visit as a very long day trip but to get the most out of your trip, stick around a few days to experience all Lapland has to offer. There’s everything from snowmobile tours to reindeer or Husky sleigh rides. Make sure to visit the Snow Village – literally a village created every year out of the snow – and you can’t miss out on meeting Santa. For the adults, check out the various hotels which have glass igloos available, perfect for viewing the Northern Lights.
Top Tip: Getting to Lapland doesn’t need to be expensive, especially if you live in the UK. Easyjet now run seasonal flights from London Gatwick and Manchester. If you’re lucky, and flexible with your dates, you can find return flights from ~£60.
If you’ve dreamed of staying in an overwater bungalow in the Maldives or Bora Bora, only to balk at the cost, check out Bocas del Toro, a group of Panamanian islands near Costa Rica and only an hour flight from Panama City. There’s beautiful overwater bungalows there for a fraction of the cost. But Panama isn’t all beaches, if you’re looking for adventure, why not stay in an eco lodge in the rainforest. Both these accommodations have a ton of activities perfect for families, whether you fancy searching for sloths or kayaking in the Caribbean sea. Panama is also one of the safest countries in Latin America, they use USD as their main currency and most European nationalities don’t require a visa, making Panama an excellent choice for a family trip.
Top Tip: If you’re in Panama City and need a break from the busyness, take a 30-minute ferry to Tabago Island. Once there, you can take a historic tour, hit the beach or hike to the top of El Cruce. It’s a perfect day trip to escape from the city.
Malaysia isn’t often the first destination people think of when they’re planning a trip to Southeast Asia but it is a remarkable country. It’s one of the safest countries in Asia and is filled with amazing food. If you want a luxury big city experience on a budget, visit Kuala Lumpur. Check out Langkawi for some of the most beautiful beaches you’ll ever see. Visit Malaysian Borneo to see orangutans and trek through rainforests or hop on a flight to Penang if you want a little bit of everything. Malaysia is also filled with fun activities for kids, from the usual scuba diving to Penang’s 3D snakes and ladders game (complete with slides) and there’s even a Legoland Water Park.
Top Tip: No matter where you are in Malaysia, you’ll see street food stalls and hawkers centres. These are often some of the best places to try really great Malaysian food. Your best bet to avoid any unfortunate tummy incidents is to visit stalls which are busy with locals and make your food to order. Also stick to hot food, it’s the cold food that’ll get you!
An African safari is never a bad idea and with Nairobi only an eight hour flight from London, Kenya is a great place to start. There’s something really amazing about seeing these great animals up close and it’s an experience your family will never forget. If you’re on a budget, stick to travelling by road. However, if you can afford to go more upmarket, taking direct flights between national parks can save a ton of time and if anyone gets car sick, I’d definitely recommend this option. Kenya has one of the most developed tourism industries in Africa and was were the modern safari was invented nearly a century ago so you’ll be in good hands and find plenty of options no matter what you want to do. One place not to miss is Amboseli. It’s most famous for its elephant population and has incredible views of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Top Tip: Safaris can be surprisingly tiring so why not spend some time relaxing after your safari. Either head to one of the gorgeous beach resorts in Tiwi Beach near Mombasa or fly direct from Mombasa to Zanzibar – perfect if you’d like to visit another country while you’re nearby.
7. Sicily, Italy
Sicily is one of the most family friendly islands in Europe and if you’re looking for a more active family holiday in 2020, Sicily is a perfect choice. Whether you fancy zip-lining through forests, joining an island bike tour, horse riding through the countryside or trekking up Mt. Etna (donkey rides are available for the kids), Sicily has a ton of activities for an active family. For day trips, you’ve also got Etna Land theme park and don’t forget about all the incredible historic sites you’ll find in Sicily – the Greek temple and theatre are well worth a visit. In general, sicilians are incredibly friendly towards families and you’ll find numerous family-friendly hotels and villas across the island.
Top Tip: Visit Bioparco di Sicilia, a conservation biopark complete with zoo, farm, dinosaur park and play areas for kids. They really focus on educating visitors about the various animals and the care needed to ensure the animals stay happy and healthy.
Often overlooked for its larger neighbour Croatia, Montenegro is blissfully empty of the masses of tourists who now visit Croatia every year. With both beautiful lakes and beaches, you’re honestly spoilt for choice when deciding where to stay. Kotor, the entire town is a UNESCO site, is the most popular choice but no matter where you stay, you’ll find that because traditional Montenegrin culture is very family-focused, everyone is incredibly welcoming of families. For the thrillseekers, take a trip to Tara River Canyon where you can raft, canoe and zipline to your heart’s content. There are plenty of tour companies across Montenegro who will organise your trip but beware it is a long day trip from Kotor.
Top Tip: Visit Kotor in July to experience the Children’s Festival. The town becomes packed with fun activities for children with workshops and interactive classes on everything from singing and dancing to history and culture. Not to be missed!
It might surprise you that Egypt is incredibly kid friendly. Egyptians are very friendly in general but they especially love families who visit and there are so many reasons to visit Egypt in 2020. Although tourism is beginning to rise again in Egypt after all the uncertainty and incidents surrounding the Arab Spring, there are still some great deals on tours and Nile cruises available. Hurghada has developed into a wonderful Red Sea beach resort and the hotels have all the facilities you’d expect from the top European resorts. Scuba-diving and snorkelling are excellent and there are plenty of tour companies happy to organise quad-biking, camel rides, Nile cruises, temple visits and practically everything else you can think of.
Top Tip: To get the full experience, book a Nile cruise with a personal guide. They’re usually fully-trained Egyptologists who speak perfect English and provide an amazing insight into everything you’ll see. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a great one who will really make all the sights come alive for your kids.
10. Thai Islands
I hear Thai Island hopping is becoming the new Greek Island hopping and for good reasons. Despite being a popular tourist destination, Thailand is still remarkably affordable for anyone coming from outside the region. You’ll need to fly via Bangkok or another city to reach many of the islands from the UK but once you reach a major island, think Phuket or Koh Samui, visiting other islands is a piece of cake. You’ll find everything from major family-friendly resorts to local bed and breakfasts on most islands and there’s plenty to do other than relax. You’ll also find plenty of boats trips usually combined with scuba-diving, snorkelling, ziplining or other water sports. There are beautiful historic buildings and temples on many islands and the Thai food is pretty hard to beat.
Top Tip: Remember that your version of spicy doesn’t necessarily match theirs. If your kids (or you) aren’t fans of spice, be sure to ask for no spice in their meals. If you ask for something very spicy, you’re a lot braver than me!
And that’s a wrap! We hope we’ve inspired you with our list.