Do you want to stay in a destination that’s not necessarily full of tourists or other travellers? You want to get out there and see somewhere authentic not overloaded with crowds of people? I get you, some of these places are hidden gems, and though I also love the popular locations some of these I have listed below are my favourite. Have a look through this list I have compiled of alternative holidays.
In the village of Mandria, close to the beach, the four-star Aphrodite Sands Resort comprises low-level apartments in landscaped gardens. The resort has two swimming pools, a playground, and a spa and fitness centre. It’s a short walk to the village. Fly from Stansted on August 8 for seven nights’ self-catering and it will cost from £466pp, based on a family of four sharing a two-bedroom apartment (loveholidays.com).
Activities in Andalusia
Head to the little-known corner of Andalusia called the Altiplano de Granada to stay in Eco Hotel El Geco Verde near Castril de la Pena. Here you can pick three complimentary activities from a list that includes horse riding, kayaking, cookery and mountain biking. Intersperse activities with cultural visits to the Alhambra in Granada, or the partly reconstructed Bronze Age settlement of Castellon Alto; the natural parks of Cazorla and Castril are also a ten-minute drive away. The price of €270pp for six nights’ B&B is based on a family of five sharing a room (01273 823700, responsibletravel.com). Flights to Granada using Skyscanner (skyscanner.net) cost about £150.
Active in the Alps
The chalet-style apartments in Le Village de Lessy in Chinaillon are beautifully done out and share an indoor heated pool and leisure facilities. About 6km from the mountain resort of Le Grand Bornand, the apartments make a great base for mountain biking, paragliding or even hot-air ballooning. A family of four staying in a two-bedroom, self-catering apartment at the end of next month or the first week of August would cost from £243pp for seven nights, including midweek ferry crossing from Dover to Calais (0844 5760171, peakretreats.co.uk).
Château stay in Normandy
Le Castel near Coutances in Normandy has an imposing exterior that you wouldn’t ordinarily equate with being family-friendly, but appearances can be deceptive. This laid-back château in four acres of parkland comes with a kids’ playground, bikes to borrow and treasure trails. Stay in a traditionally decorated suite or the simpler self-catering cottages. There’s high tea for the children at 5pm. A week from August 5 for a family of four sharing a self-catering cottage costs £250pp (0117 9467072, i-escape.com). Add in the price of a return ferry crossing from Portsmouth to Caen with Brittany Ferries (brittany-ferries.co.uk) from £530 (£132pp).
Biking in the Alps
There’s free archery at the large French mountain resort of Arc 1950, as well as table tennis, indoor and outdoor heated pools, and the opportunity to go rafting, hiking and biking (a new bike route cuts right through the centre of the village). What’s more, there’s a crèche and a kids’ club for those aged 9 months to 13 years with a full programme of activities, leaving adults time to enjoy the Deep Nature Spa. Seven nights for a family of four sharing a two-bedroom apartment costs £814 for July 22 departures, saving £148. The price includes return Eurotunnel crossings (020 7584 2841, ernalow.co.uk).
See the Tour de France
Get some inspiration for your own mountain biking by watching the Tour de France when it heads to the French Alps, including Stage 17 (July 19), which passes from La Mure to Serre Chevalier, and Stage 18 (July 20), which passes from Briançon to Col d’Izoard. Serre Chevalier offers a range of activities, from water sports and mountain biking to wellbeing spas. Stay a week there from £198pp, based on four people sharing a two-bedroom apartment 200m from the village centre. The price includes a midweek ferry crossing from Dover to Calais (0844 5760171, peakretreats.co.uk).
Have you been on any of these trips? Maybe you have some recommendations for some alternative holidays yourself? Please get in touch through the contact page! Gracias amigo!