We’re big fans of family holidays and even bigger fans of alternative family holidays. From eco adventures in the wildlife-filled rainforests of Costa Rica to rugged road trips around Iceland and an Italian train tour, read on for our roundup of our favourite alternative getaways for families...
Iceland Road Trip
With dramatic fjords, towering mountains, and glittering glaciers, Iceland is one of our top picks for alternative family holidays. The best way to see this stunning country is on a road trip through the rugged wilderness. Bundle the kiddos into the car and set off on an adventure to see some of mother nature’s most spectacular sights including the ice-covered Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull volcanoes; Gullfoss Waterfall (or 'the Golden Waterfall'); and Skaftafell National Park. Along the way, we’ll arrange all manner of outdoorsy activities from a magical hike across a glacier to whale watching aboard a traditional Icelandic oak boat. You’ll arrive home feeling a little more connected with nature, and there will be mega bucket list bragging rights for the children.
Ecotourism in Costa Rica
Another country well worth a spot in our roundup of the best alternative family holidays is Costa Rica. With 25% of the country set aside in national parks (the highest percentage of any nation on the planet) this tropical paradise scores top marks when it comes to ecotourism. Spend your time here filling up on fresh air and adventure and instilling a deep love of the natural world in your youngsters as you hike through wildlife-filled rainforests; watch protected turtles nest or hatch in Tortuguero National Park; and sail and snorkel in the beautiful Gulf of Papagayo. The best part is that it suits children of all ages, so little ones and teens alike will find plenty to keep them entertained and enthralled.
Reconnect in Norway
Dig a little deeper into Norway’s fascinating culture on a reconnect holiday. We can craft an itinerary packed with interesting activities that really tick the box for an alternative family holiday from an afternoon spent with a Sami storyteller to walks along ancient pilgrimage trails and a family cooking lesson where you’ll learn to make traditional Norwegian recipes such as meatballs and fishcakes. It’s the trip for curious, intrepid types to help rewild the kids and get them away from the Holy iPad.
Italian Train Tour
If you fancy an alternative take on a classic destination, explore Italy by train. This is a great opportunity to slow it down with your brood and see the sights as you wind through the pretty countryside to historic cities en route to the beautiful beaches of Puglia (the heel of Italy’s boot) which are sure to go down a treat with little ones. Along the way, tuck into truck-loads of fantastic food (even the fussiest eaters can’t turn their nose up at pizza and gelato); take part in private walking tours around cities bursting with culture and ancient architecture; and explore hidden coves along the coast.
Self-Drive African Adventure
Namibia is one of our all-time favourite destinations when it comes to alternative family holidays, but particularly for active and adventure-loving families with tweens and teens. From the rusty red sand dunes of the Namib Desert, to the shipwrecks and rare desert-adapted elephants on the hauntingly beautiful Skeleton Coast, this is a truly original destination. And we know just the things that will knock your youngsters’ socks off. Venture into Etosha National Park - home to healthy populations of lions, leopards, cheetahs and hyenas - for an incredible safari adventure; see ancient Bushman rock art on the Skeleton Coast; and climb Sossusvlei's iconic Dune 45. Top off your trip with stays in remote camps and a family horse riding safari in a private nature reserve for a truly unforgettable getaway.
Family Sabbatical in Indochina
Sabbaticals aren’t just for adults; children too can enjoy the benefits of a long holiday. On a fun family sabbatical around Indochina, travel through Vietnam and Cambodia and spend your time marvelling at ancient temples; tasting your way around colourful cities; and living out your desert island fantasies while staying in the coastal haven of Hoi An. Return home with a mountain of memories and stacks of stories to share with your friends and loved ones. It’s the sort of education you can only get outside of a classroom, but we can also help organise tutors if you want to balance life lessons with maths and English lessons.
Cover picture : urbancow/Getty Images/iStockphoto