The trend for organised active family holidays shows no sign of slowing.
So if you prefer to find something more challenging than merely flopping on a beach for a fortnight, here are eight of the best.
Plus there are some last-minute options.
CLUB LA SANTA, LANZAROTE
Club La Santa, on Lanzarote’s north-west coast, pictured, is best for teenagers inspired by the Tour de France or endurance races
Best for: Teenagers inspired by the Tour de France or endurance races (an Ironman race takes place here every May), parents seeking a new skill or picking up an old favourite, and family members over 50 who want a challenge.
What’s the score? For more than 30 years, Club La Santa, on Lanzarote’s north-west coast, has been one of the go-to places for runners, cyclists and triathletes. They are drawn by the warm, reliable climate, volcanic terrain and ease of access to the resort’s extensive facilities, which include three Olympic-size pools and a running track. Pull on your trainers, step outside your apartment and off you go.
Among this vast complex are tennis and racket courts, a golf area, bike and fitness centres, a dance studio and watersport options. There are weekly adult, senior and children’s programmes, including an ‘Olympic Day’. If that doesn’t exhaust the youngsters and diminish demand for screen time, nothing will.
USP: Inexpensive, one-stop shop. Activities run from dawn to dusk (well, 7.30am to after 9pm if you include evening entertainment).
Heads down: A seven-night stay in a one-bedroom, one-bathroom self-catering apartment, sleeping up to three adults and one child under 14, costs from a total of £1,386 in late August, with all facilities included except scuba-diving, private tuition and access to the Wellness Centre. Flights to Lanzarote and transfers are extra. Visit clublasanta.co.uk.
HOTEL LAGUNA, CHIA LAGUNA, SARDINIA
Best for: Luxury, five-star accommodation coupled with a mix of individual and family activities.
What’s the score? You know you’re on to a winner when there are football and dance academies for children, a pool overlooking a flamingo-frequented lagoon, more sport than you can shake a stick at and unspoilt beaches.
Older children can enjoy organised activities, or there are watersports (windsurfing, surfing, kayaking), mountain-biking or horse-riding for the whole family to enjoy. In spring, the resort hosts the Chia Sport Week, which features an open-water swim, half-marathon, three cycle rides (of 30, 58 and 78 miles) and a half-Ironman for the whole family.
USP: This month, the football academy is run by Italian giants Juventus. It’s open to boys and girls aged five to 14. Earlier in the summer, the Campioni Football Academy uses former Premier League players as coaches.
Heads down: Seven nights costs from £2,915 in total for two adults and two children under 13. The price includes flights, transfers and half-board accommodation. Places at the football and dance academies cost extra. Visit www.qualitytraveluk.com.
PUNTA CANA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Club Med’s Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, pictured, operates all-inclusive holidays, which means that most costs are included in the package price
Cirque du Soleil has collaborated with two Club Med destinations – Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic and Opio en Provence in France – to offer daily activities, including learning trapeze, tightrope and juggling skills
Best for: Discovering your inner acrobat, making international friends, relaxing and knowing the cost upfront.
What’s the score? Who wouldn’t want to emulate the spectacular skills of the performers of the world-famous Cirque du Soleil against a sunny Caribbean backdrop? Cirque du Soleil has collaborated with two Club Med destinations – Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic and Opio en Provence in France – to offer daily activities, including learning trapeze, tightrope and juggling skills.
There are also tennis, golf and fitness schools, and sailing and archery options. For ‘me time’, parents can opt for yoga or the Zen Oasis (an adults-only pool and spa) knowing that one of Club Med’s hallmark Kids’ Clubs (from four months to 17 years) will pick up the slack on childcare.
Club Med operates all-inclusive holidays, which means that most costs are included in the package price. Extras, such as private lessons, are charged in the resort.
USP: Founded in 1950 by Belgian entrepreneur Gerard Blitz, the Club Med concept was based on the atmosphere of an Olympic village, where all nationalities would enjoy each other’s company.
Heads down: Seven nights, departing August 26, costs from £2,445 in total for two adults and two children on a full-board basis – drinks, snacks, sports activities and kids’ clubs are included but flights and transfers are extra. Visit clubmed.co.uk.
VILA VITA PARC, ALGARVE
Best for: Clifftop views, elegant service, food-lovers and easy access to sporting facilities.
What’s the score? Well known for its loyal staff and family credentials, Vila Vita sits on a clifftop overlooking the pretty village of Porches, which is just 30 miles from Faro airport.
Aside from its own yacht (it has room for up to ten passengers), range of pools and Portugal’s largest natural reef for snorkelling trips, there’s also a spa, golf, tennis, fitness centre and yoga pavilion. Launching this weekend is a new Teen Wellness Programme. Days are divided into three sessions allowing 13-to-18-year-olds to choose a strength activity, a nutritional option and then a group activity such as triathlon or paddle-boarding. There is also yoga, meditation and mindfulness.
The Teen Wellness programme will run throughout the school summer holidays and again during the October half-term and Christmas breaks.
Children can be booked in for a single day’s experience (£91 per child) or for five days (£364). Lunch is extra. Try the Ocean Restaurant (two Michelin stars) for special dinners. There’s also a wine cellar with 11,000 bottles to choose from. If that doesn’t get you working up a sweat in anticipation, nothing will.
USP: Traditional Portuguese values and friendly staff who have been there for years.
Heads down: Rooms, sleeping two adults and a child, cost from £520 a night on a bed-and-breakfast basis. Visit vilavitaparc.com.
Sani isn’t one resort – it’s five hotels set in a private 1,000-acre reserve with forests, a wetlands sanctuary, beaches, sports academies and activities for all the family
Sani is located on a peninsula overlooking Mount Olympus, and about an hour from Thessaloniki airport
Best for: Eco-friendly outlook, accommodation choice, free child places, child-friendly beaches.
What’s the score? Located on a peninsula overlooking Mount Olympus, and about an hour from Thessaloniki airport, Sani isn’t one resort – it’s five hotels set in a private 1,000-acre reserve with forests, a wetlands sanctuary, beaches, sports academies and activities for all the family.
Along with the summer activities such as tennis, football, sailing, cycling and watersports, Sani has invested in protecting and enjoying its natural habitat – the wetlands are an area of Protected Natural Beauty and are home to more than 215 species of birds, some of which can be discovered on a family bird-watching tour.
The resort’s academies are run in conjunction with some of the biggest names in world sport. The football academy is run by Chelsea Football Club’s Foundation coaches and is open to four-to-16-year-olds, while the tennis academy, which is open to children and adults, is in association with the Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre and draws on training methods that nurtured Nadal’s prodigious talent.
Throw in the scuba-diving, biking, waterskiing and sailing academies and there’s no excuse for not getting truly active, regardless of age or ability.
USP: Child-friendly beaches and childcare facilities. Three of the five hotels allow children under the age of 12 to stay free.
Heads down: Seven nights’ half-board accommodation, including flights and private transfers, costs from £1,030pp. Visit www.qualitytraveluk.com.
LES ARCS, FRANCE
Best for: Variety, ease of access, activities for all ages.
What’s the score? The Alps are one of the best sporting playgrounds in the world, and families of all ages will find there is as much to do here in summer as there is in winter. Accessed via Bourg-St-Maurice – the last town in the Tarentaise Valley and part of this year’s Tour de France – Les Arcs, is celebrating its 50th birthday. Activities are varied, as you’d expect from the terrain.
There are 125 miles of trails for family walks and running, swimming, tennis, golf, archery and a massive mountain bike park with downhill and cross-country routes, plus three E-mountain bike trails for those who prefer a little help going uphill. Mountain karting is new for 2019. Down in Bourg-St-Maurice there’s white-water rafting, watersports and a skate park.
USP: Easy to get to, and built for sport.
Heads down: Self-catering apartments, sleeping four, cost from a total of £638 a week in late August. The price includes Hero Pass Premium (multi-activity pass which includes lift access) for four people (aged six and over). Les Arcs is open from early July until the end of August. Travel, either by train to Bourg-St-Maurice and then funicular train to the resort, or flights to Geneva and transfers, costs extra. Visit www.lesarcs-reservation.com.
CORNUCOPIA HOTEL, XAGHRA, GOZO
Kayaking off the coast of Gozo, Malta’s smaller, quainter and quieter neighbour. It’s just eight miles long and four wide, making it easy to explore
Best for: Sea-lovers, culture fans.
What’s the score? Gozo is Malta’s smaller, quainter and quieter neighbour. It’s just eight miles long and four wide, making it easy to explore.
Family activity weeks here are gentle but varied, and including an introductory boat tour with snorkelling, an eco-day, and a final day of climbing and abseiling. There is also an introduction to diving for those over the age of ten.
Culturally, there’s the opportunity to visit the Ggantija Temples, a Unesco World Heritage Site of giant stones. It’s one of the oldest free-standing monuments in the world, pre-dating both Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids.
USP: Family activities without the need for a kids’ club. The maximum group size is 24.
Heads down: Seven nights’ hotel accommodation costs £1,505 per adult and £1,385 per child in late August. Prices include flights, transfers, breakfast and some meals. All equipment and tuition included. Visit activitiesabroad.com
…AND THE BEST OF BRITISH HADRIAN’S WALL CYCLE TOUR
Best for: History, family bonding and stunning scenery.
What’s the score? Britain’s love affair with two wheels shows no sign of abating. If you don’t fancy a DIY bike trip, Saddle Skedaddle offers three-day self-guided trips exploring Hadrian’s Wall on mainly traffic-free routes – it’s the ideal way to enjoy a World Heritage site. You’ll cover 36 miles in two days, including parts of Hadrian’s Cycleway, the route that links the north-west and north-east coasts.
USP: Hand-picked routes to get the best out of the scenery.
Heads down: Two nights’ bed- and-breakfast accommodation costs from £295pp, including luggage transfers, self-guiding route notes and emergency back-up. Bike hire is extra. Visit skedaddle.com.