New parents: welcome to the exciting world of family travel. You may have to make a few (temporary) compromises to your travel habits, but we're here to help with the transition. What you're ideally looking for at this nascent stage is child-friendly hotels that are also wonderfully parent friendly. This can be tricky to find. Fortunately, though, they do exist, and we know the best in show. We appreciate there are very precise criteria for young families (qualified babysitters, readily available baby clobber etc) and our team of expert destination consultants are here to help demystify the best holiday destinations with a baby or toddler that will fulfil your most demanding requirements…
Greece is a diverse destination; depending on which island, city or region you choose, you'll find the whole spectrum of travellers, from loved up honeymooners to culture-seeking sabbatical goers and sailing enthusiasts to multi-generational holiday makers. And it's easy to see why it's so popular. As well as bucketloads of culture and history around every corner, it has delicious food, year-round good weather, and some of the beach beaches in Europe. Add to this wonderful mix the smattering of family-focussed hotels and resorts that cater to even the littlest children, and Greece quickly becomes one of the best holiday destinations with a baby. Spend your days playing in powdery sand and splashing in the warm waves before sitting down in the warm evenings to tuck into supper at a one of our recommended restaurants, where nobody will bat an eyelid when half of little one's dinner inevitably ends up on the floor.
Where To Go: Halkidiki, the Peoloponese and Corfu all get our seal of approval
When To Go: May to September has the best weather across the mainland and islands.
Another country that hits it out of the park for baby- and toddler-friendly resorts is Portugal, and in fact we love it for children of any age. There's culture and fun aplenty to be found for parents in cool cities such as Lisbon (if you can convince somebody to push the pram up the steep hills for you, anyway) and just 30 minutes out of the city you're at a lovely and quiet stretch of coast. Alternatively, head south to the Algarve and you'll find a really beautiful coastline to explore, a relaxed atmosphere and quaint seaside villages for leisurely strolls. The family hotels in Portugal pride themselves on their attention to detail, and they have all of the (never ending) baby paraphernalia on hand, so that you can pack lighter, as well as creches and babysitting services so that you might (just might!) even be able to enjoy dinner child-free for the evening.
Where To Go: Lisbon for a mix of cultural city and beach time; the Algarve for picture-perfect scenery and laidback luxury
When To Go: It's a real year-round destination. Expect hot weather June to September, or visit April/May for a milder (and quieter) springtime family holiday.
With around 320 days of sun a year, and being just a short, direct flight from the UK, the family haven of Cyprus is one of the best destinations for a holiday with a baby or toddler. The beaches may be more pebbly than sandy, but with more Blue Flag beaches than any other country in Europe, you'll never be short of safe and accessible coastline to explore. The south coast of the country can get busy and stiflingly hot during summer, but spring and autumn are warm, sunny and much quieter; ideal for your first holiday as a family. We know the best resorts in the area that have managed to find perfect harmony between child- and parent-friendliness, whether it's the babysitting services so that you can make the most of the spa; the shaded paddling pools for water babies; or the shuttle services to take you into history-filled towns and villages to make sure you have a balance of relaxation and discovery.
Where To Go: The south coast is great for families, especially Paphos and the surrounding area.
When To Go: Cyprus famously has around 320 days of sunshine a year, so it's great year-round. Summer can get very hot, so stick to spring (April and May) or autumn (September and October) for milder temperatures.
We love Italy for its romantic cities, endless glamour and indulgent food and wine, but look in the right places (with our help) and you'll find warm and welcoming family spots galore. Puglia is ideal for a beachy break with baby; the Dolomites invite outdoorsy new parents; and Tuscany is a truly beautiful backdrop for relaxation. The key, as with all of the best holiday destinations with a baby, is knowing which hotels, villas and resorts are right for you and your brood. Is the hotel pram-friendly? Will they assemble your cot before arrival so that you can jump straight into holiday mode? Can you call to reception if you find yourself short of nappies or bottles? Important questions that we've already asked, so you can focus on family fun.
Where To Go: Puglia for laidback beach fun, Tuscany for rolling hills and family relaxation, the Dolomites for outdoors adventures.
When To Go: Any time between April to October, although Puglia can get very hot during July and August.
While many think of France as firm tween and teen territory - the city breaks and ski holidays across the country are pretty wonderful, after all - there is still treasure to be found in France for new parents on their first holiday with baby. We work with some of the best villas and hotels across the country where you can create a home-from-home surrounded by the picturesque French countryside or coast, whether it's the castle-strewn landscapes of the Dordogne region, the lavender fields of dreamy Provence, or the beaches of Brittany in the north. Alternatively, active travellers can reignite their love for the great outdoors with a trip to the Alps, where you can pack up little one in a hiking carrier and head out exploring, coming home each night to a private chalet with all of the home comforts. And the even better news? If you want ultimate freedom, you can enjoy it all on a road trip from the UK, where you can pack up the car with the endless 'essentials' and have complete flexibility should the dreaded overtiredness strike.
Where To Go: Provence and the south coast for a beachy break; the Alps for a homely and cosy cabin in the woods; the Dordogne for countryside bliss; and Brittany for a quieter coastal break.
When To Go: Visit between April and September for nice weather, and summer will be sunny but it never gets as seriously hot as some of the Mediterranean destinations on this list of best holiday destinations with a baby.