As we near the midway point of the summer holidays, the canny amongst you will already have your October half term sorted. For those yet to decide where to go, here are five great suggestions for a brilliant October family holiday (at wallet-friendly prices).
Boasting over 300 days of sunshine a year, and with a long, wrinkled coastline and a cool mountainous interior, the Med’s third-largest island is a great spot for an easy family holiday. The food is delicious, the sea is still warm, and it’s good value to boot.
Resort:Columbia Beach Resort – Superb all-suite spa resort with vast swimming pools, a free kids club, excellent service and watersports galore.
Rental:Modus Vivendi – A collection of well-priced rustic-chic self-catering suites around a sun-drenched swimming pool.
Boutique hotel: Casale Panayiotis – This unique hotel is created across village houses in a historic small town in the Troodos foothills, giving an insight into local Cypriot life.
Country estate: Villas St Pierre de Serjac – Elegant family villas on a stunning estate with private pools, a bar and restaurant, infinity pool (heated until October), tennis and bikes to borrow.
Boutique guesthouse: Metairie Montplaisir – An idyllic family-friendly foodie hideaway close to hugely popular Carcassonne.
Rental: Languedoc Hideaways – Rustic cottages in restored barns overlooking a vineyard valley, with chickens to feed, sociable communal spaces, hammocks for snoozing, and meals on request.
3European city breaks
October half-term is a great time for urban adventures. The major cities are not too sticky nor overcrowded, and they always provide plenty of indoor options if the weather isn’t perfect. Our three current favourites? Barcelona, Florence and Brussels.
Barcelona: Boutique Apartments Barcelona – This chic collection of family apartments are centrally located in a range of locations in Spain’s most dynamic city. You have a great city beach close by, plus lots of museums on your doorstep, including the Museu Picassowhich boasts the most extensive collection of Picasso’s works under one roof. The tapas bars are sensational, the shopping is eclectic, and the architecture is awe-inspiring, no more so than Gaudi’s marvellous La Sagrada Familia.
Florence:Residence Hilda– These elegant, streamlined apartments are just three blocks from the Duomo, and steps from the Leonardo da Vinci Museum. Book a horse-drawn carriage for you to explore the birthplace of the Renaissance as it should be explored. We recommend asking the concierge to secure advance tickets for the Uffizi and Accademia.
Brussels: Made in Louise – This boutique hotel in a neoclassical building is a 30-minute walk (or short bus ride) from the superlative Grand Place, considered Europe’s most beautiful city square. Little ones will also love the famous Manneken Pis statue. Don’t miss the Comic Strip Centre (think Tintin), the Magritte museum and city’s playgrounds. There’s another reason why kids love Brussels: the Belgian specialities of crepes, waffles, meatballs and moules-frites. Plus, the best chocolate in the world.
Ideal for October half-term, Portugal’s southern shores are blessed with wonderful sandy beaches, charming towns, gorgeous national parks (plus a golf course or two) and the wild, rugged Atlantic coastline to explore – without the busy summer throngs.
Resort: Villas Martinhal Sagres – A chic family-focused resort and spa set above a splendid beach on mainland Europe’s south-westerly tip. There are kids’ clubs for all ages and a creche, plus endless activities including a football academy.
Rural hideaway: Monte da Vilarinha – A small collection of apartments and cabins in an enchanted leafy valley just inland from the Atlantic coast. It comes with an adventure playground and playroom.
Country hotel: Vila Monte Farmhouse – This stylish retreat 30 minutes east of Faro has family suites, a relaxed farmhouse vibe, lovely landscaped gardens and a heated kids pool. There’s a private beach 25 minutes away.
Sunny and warm but not oppressive, October half term is a popular month in Morocco. This compelling North African country feels delightfully alien for Europeans, yet is just a few hours away. If you can, aim for a triple centre trip comprising vibrant Marrakech, the majestic Atlas Mountains and the easy-going Atlantic coast.
Marrakech: Jnane Tamsna – This luxurious country retreat in the tranquil Palmeraie district is just outside the hustle and bustle of the red city. After marvelling at the souks and snake-charmers in the Djemaa el Fna, take a caleche around the city, ride a camel or visit the stylish oasis of Yves Saint Laurent’s garden. Return to top-notch food, a heated swimming pool and amazing gardens.
Atlas:Kasbah du Toubkal – This sustainably-run hilltop fort has a superlative setting and long valley views, from which you can ride donkeys, meet local Berber people in their villages, and trek among the peaks. Family treks are easily arranged.
Atlantic coast: Paradis Plage – We love this surf, spa and yoga all-suite resort set on golden shimmering sands an hour north of Agadir. There’s a terrific surf shack offering beginner lessons, a cool playground and playboat, a free kids club, and heated pools. You can ride camels on the beach and kids’ yoga classes are available. End your active day around the firepit gazing up at the starry night skies.