There’s no need to travel to the other end of the world to enjoy some sun in the winter. Some of the most exciting destinations are closer to home than you think. Families that want to escape chilly temperatures should choose places located near the Atlantic or the Mediterranean where winters are warm, and the weather is beautiful and pleasant. These are great choices because you don’t have to fly too far to taste exotic. What I think are the best holidays for toddlers if you’re after winter sun.
Most toddlers are natural-born explorers. They want to see things and engage in activities they’ve never tried before. But prefer to do it when the weathers pleasant enough to play on the beach, not fearing a downpour. From Southern Europe all the way to South Africa, we’ve gathered five best winter sun holiday for toddlers and parents eager to go someplace different this holiday season. Some winter sun with toddler or little kids is entirely possible.
Greece is beautiful, regardless of the season. Athens, in particular, can be a cultural wonderland for your toddlers. Flights from the UK won’t take longer than 3 or 4 hours; which is a reasonable amount of time. Even if you’re traveling with toddlers it’s possible to keep them entertained for that long. Most people travel to Greece in the summer, from May to October. This means from November to March; you’re going off-season, and we all know off-season travelling comes with substantial discounts. not to mention the quieter beaches and uncrowded towns.
In terms of things to do, you should begin with the Golden Hall Playground, which is open all year round. The place has everything from playgrounds for kids to cafes, restaurants and shopping centres, so it’s impossible to get bored while there. Next on your list should be Attica Zoo Park and the Planetarium. Save the best for last – the Acropolis. Kids may not be able to understand Greece’s history in full, but they will surely be impressed by the grandeur of the ruins. Even in winter, these are absolutely spectacular. Last but certainly not least, take them to the beach; or better yet, find accommodation near the coastline. Even though you can’t always bathe in the sea as it does get chilly, the sheer beauty of the Mediterranean will appeal to their senses.
My favourite place to visit in Greece in winter with little ones is the mainland. It feels slightly more sheltered than the islands and has a great combination of beautiful beaches and family friendly activities. Check out my top 6 things to do in Halkidiki with kids here. And for the best place to stay check out our review of the gorgeous Acrotel Athena Pallas resort.
Just be warned that many restaurants and venues close out of summer season in Greece. Double check the opening hours first.
Check for cheap flights to Greece on Skyscanner to secure the best deal.
The Canary Islands
Absolutely one of the best holidays for toddlers is a trip to the Canary Islands. Winter season in the Canary Islands is like summers in the UK. The weather is warm, and the temperatures rarely go below 20C. There are great hotels and resorts on the islands. Since you’re travelling with the gang, it might be a good idea to choose a place with a heated pool. This way everyone will have fun and toddlers won’t crave the need to swim and play in the water. Make sure to explore the wildlife present everywhere in the Canary Islands. Fuerteventura is a great island to visit in winter with toddlers. Oasis Park Fuerteventura is a must see. Toddlers will be fascinated to see African elephants and hippos running around, as well as a wide variety of other animals and birds.
Another great place to check out with the family in winter is Tenerife. Timanfaya National Park. In the late 1730s, over 100 volcanoes populated the area covering over 50 km2. Right now, most of what was left look like a different planet, and some eruptions are still active (but they look very much like mini-geysers). Travellers adore this part of the Canary Islands due to its genuine “Martian” landscapes and unusual plant species.
We love that Tenerife is packed full with family friendly activities. Even in winter when all day sunshine is not guaranteed, a visit to the zoo at Loro Parque is a wonderful family friendly day out.
If you’re looking for family friendly accommodation on Tenerife with great rates in winter check out our review of Roca Nivaria luxury hotel.
South Africa is a fascinating travel destination for those that want to escape the cold winter season. With temperatures exceeding 26C and nearly 11 hours of beautiful sunshine per day, a trip to this African heaven will leave the kids speechless. South Africa has everything you could ask for: fascinating beaches, memorable safari trips, unique fauna and flora, and a wealth of activities you can do with toddlers.
Begin an adventure with a trip to Table Mountain. With the cable car, the view of the city is spectacular. You’ll enjoy an adventure that will last a lifetime, and toddlers will surely remember the experience for years to come. Take them on a guided safari to meet the wild animals: elephants, giraffes, hippos, and rhinos, are all over the South African desert. Other places of interest you can’t miss out on are Kruger National Park, Robben Island and the stunning beaches on the Atlantic Ocean’s coastline.
We visited South Aftrica in late November when my daughter was just 3. We split our time between the countryside in Durban and the city of Cape Town. We saw sunshine each day and even enjoyed a swim in the sea. And being on the same timezone as the UK there’s little jet lag to cope with. But if you are worried about flying long distances with toddler then check out my post on traveling long haul with kids. I believe winter holidays with toddlers don’t get better than this.
The Garden route in South Africa is another one not to be missed in the winter. It’s home to lush, green vegetation and stunning beaches. Perfect for some winter sunshine with kids.
Egypt’s dry heat and pleasant weather conditions in winter will make you forget all about the freezing temperatures back home. Take the kids on a grand tour to see the Pyramids, and make sure to include the Valley of the Kings on your itinerary as well.
Toddlers will be amazed the history of the country, as well as by the culture and overall places of interest. Haifa, in particular, has the most serene and breath-taking beaches. Carmel Centre is a must see as well. Onsite, there’s a playground for kids, a zoo and lots of walking alleys where you can spend quality time with your loved ones admiring the surroundings.
Last on the list for some winter sun with toddler or young kids is Dubai. Dubai is one of the most extravagant and glamorous cities in the world. To many, it is also one of the most expensive. Fortunately, in the offseason, you have the highest chances of landing a great travel package for your family holiday. Dubai is a fairy-tale like city for kids and toddlers. There are lots of water parks, kid-friendly resorts, activities, and beautiful weather all year round that will make your trip memorable. Take the kids on a camel ride, check out the parks and the picnic areas for some relaxation, and make sure to try out the desert safari experience. Consult with a travel guide in advance and decide on the best package for your family.
KidZania is probably the best place to drop off the kids and run off to have some lunch with your spouse. This fascinating miniature city will keep them entertained for hours in a row. They can play roles and dress as doctors, firefighters, and more; there’s also a special baby care centre for those travelling with kids under two years old. Among several other great attractions for kids in Dubai, we should also mention Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, Dubai Ice Rink, and Dolphin Bay where little ones can swim with dolphins!
I find Dubai unbearably hot over the summer months so it’s the perfect place for the best holidays for toddlers for a cooler winter.
Winter is right around the corner, but that doesn’t mean you have to travel someplace cold and wet for the holidays. Do things differently this season, and spend Christmas on the beach somewhere in Dubai or run off on a wild safari trip in South Africa. Enjoy the sun for a few days and forget all about the freezing winter back home. Winter holidays with toddlers can be just as fun and are often more economical than those taken over summer.
Make sure you pin for later for planning your best holidays for toddlers in winter.
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