There’s magic and mystery for older kids and teens on mountain holidays! As children grow up, activities such as hiking and mountain biking, skiing and snowboarding become way more appealing than a Kids Club or on-site trampoline. And the scenery ain’t half bad either…
Year-round adventures in the Austrian alps
For that classic Alpine experience, whether in winter or summer, Austrian chalet-hotel Haus Hirt delivers and then some. Views? Check. Winter sports from snowboarding to snowshoeing? Check. Cycling and climbing in summer? Check. Add an indoor pool and a daily programme of activities for adults and offspring such as bread-making, archery, guided hikes, gold-panning, fishing, zip-lining across a waterfall and a shuttle service to ski school, and small wonder all who stay here are in raptures.
Mountains and beaches in Cyprus
If your family can’t decide between mountain and beach, combine them on a 2-base holiday. Cyprus has some wonderful beachside places to stay, yet its rugged uplands are well worth discovering. The Troodos Mountains offer terrific hiking (and cooler temperatures) in the summer, as well as skiing in winter. There are ancient monasteries to visit, and you gain an insight into authentic Cypriot culture. Casale Panayiotis is a unique boutique hotel within a historic village, its rooms and restaurants are in restored houses. Activities include bee-keeping, geo-trekking, trout fishing and halloumi-making.
Costa Rica’s volcanic peaks
Peaks which are volcano-shaped excite all ages – and Costa Rica also gives you cloud forest, wonderful wildlife, unspoiled beaches and a well-developed tourist infrastructure. At hilltop farm Leaves and Lizards, all cabins and cottages have a sensational view of nearby smoking Arenal Volcano. The friendly owners can arrange horse-riding in the rainforest, birding, hiking in the National Park, learning Costa Rican rodeo skills, white-water rafting and canyoning.
Caves and waterfalls in Iceland
Iceland has some of the most spectacular unspoilt wilderness in Europe. Its underpopulated west has ice caves, waterfalls, lava caves, and the second largest ice field in the country. Contemporary Hotel Husafell has 2 alfresco geothermal pools and hot tubs, and is one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights. Snowmobiling, glacier hiking, ice climbing and horse riding are easily arranged.
Atlas Mountain adventures
Sustainably run Kasbah du Toubkal in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains offers a wide range of hikes to suit all abilities (you can also tackle the slopes on a mule!), as well as ski tours in the winter, and camel-excursions from Berber villages. The Kasbah itself sits astride a peak and has panoramic views up to Mount Toubkal and across 3 valleys – yet it’s only 1.5 hours from Marrakech.
Unspoilt Spanish wilderness
One of the most beautiful yet unknown regions of Spain is the Matarrana (inland, equidistant between Barcelona and Valencia): a land of medieval villages, terraced vineyards and wild mountains. Take individual rooms at this cubist jumble of a 17th-century farmhouse or book it as a whole for a larger family party (sleeps 10-20). Strike out from Mas de la Serra for wild swimming in lakes and waterfalls, kayaking, hiking, biking, spotting ibex and eagles, fishing and riding; return to fine cooking, a games room with home cinema and a swimming pool.
Dazzling Andean landscapes
The magnificent Andes are easily accessed from colonial city Salta, the hub for Argentina’s stunning Northwest. The landscapes in this region dazzle: cloud forest, shimmering salt flats, unique colourful rock formations, high plains and steep slopes above which condors soar. To discover these marvels as well as the vibrant indigenous culture, base yourselves at stylish guesthouse Finca Valentina (a mere 10 minutes from the airport, and with swimming pool) whose owner Fabrizio runs excellent tours across the Puna and beyond.