With summer tantalisingly close, it's time to start thinking of booking your space in the sun with a trip to one of our top family destinations.
The largest of the Balearic Islands is a seductive señorita: she draws in visitors with her soft curved coastline, feisty fiestas, scintillating Spanish architecture and dreamy Blue Flag waters.
Mallorca’s beaches are among Spain’s best: try the quiet of Cala Figuera or tire out the kids on the inflatable slides and rides off the coast of Peguera. Alternatively, Port d'Alcudia’s Hidropark Waterpark has wave pools, flumes and mini golf.
When the mythological gods were chiselling away at Greece, they sent their very best artists to model the island of Zakynthos, an astonishingly beautiful hideaway of sparkling shoreline, secluded coves and timeless turquoise tides.
Naturally, untouched attractiveness isn’t always enough, but Zante (as the island is known) basks in adventures too. Take a boat to see the rusting smugglers’ ship in Shipwreck Cove or snorkel through the Blue Caves of Cape Skinari.
The golden beaches of the Algarve shine brighter than any Inca treasure or Pharaoh’s fortune. Portugal’s famed southern fringe is bejewelled by topaz sands, dazzling blue tides and tiny, whitewashed villages.
With its secluded location and cathedral of limestone arches, Praia da Marinha is the region’s defining stretch of sand, while the lagoons and local flamingo population of Tavira Island make it ideal for toddlers. With pirate ship cruises and dolphin spotting, the Algarve has all the riches you’ll ever need.
This Italian hideaway offers pristine waters, cloudless Mediterranean skies and long sun-blessed lunches. Home to some of Europe’s finest beaches, Sardinia’s distinctive white sands are so pure, they give the impression of fresh snow.
Medieval Alghero is blessed with Sardinia’s tastiest gelato, but with Roman ruins, vineyard tours and kayaking trips around the Devil's Saddle rock at Poetto, there’s plenty to entertain the entire family across the island.
With long golden beaches, rugged mountains and deep valleys, Greece’s largest island combines azure blue seas and tiny sandy coves in the south with restaurant-lined harbours and hidden villages in the north.
Though you shouldn’t miss the maze-like backstreets of Chania, a heroically attractive city with a true Venetian port, the wonderful caves of Mátala beach and the pink coral sands of Elafonisi will top your must-do list.
Croatian Islands - Brac and Hvar (flying into Split)
A short ferry ride from Split are two Dalmatian coast gems: Brac and Hvar. Brac is dotted with picturesque ports and its famous peninsular beach, Zlatni Rat, which offers sunbathing, scuba diving and windsurfing.
Hvar, meanwhile, is home to a string of soft-pebbled beaches and Croatia’s best-kept secret – the local wine. Come evening, ritzy Hvar town fills with families strolling along its marble marina, enjoying the scent of lavender on the warm night air.
Lying below the dominant Mount Benacantil, the ancient port of Alicante beckons you into its labyrinth of narrow cobbled lanes, palm-tree lined boulevards and huge plazas. With its festivals, beaches and long hot summers, it’s ideal for exploring the Costa Blanca.
For that Robinson Crusoe feeling, visit Spain’s first-ever marine reserve, Tabarca Island, where you’ll have stretches of sand to yourself. Else, Alicante rewards the adventurous with sailing, snorkelling and surfing opportunities right along the coast.