Eight great places to take the family on holidays this Easter
Save money by taking your annual break this month rather than waiting for summer
Center Parcs: Aqua Mundo at the Bispinger Heide resort, in northern Germany
Easter falls so late this year – on April 21st – that it’s practically summer. If you’re looking for ways to save money for your annual family holiday abroad, it’s worth considering the Easter break instead. Prices are cheaper than in July and August, resorts are less packed and there are some great deals on offer.
Nights will be chillier, but you can still expect daytime temperatures of about 19 degrees in parts of Portugal and Spain. It will be warmer in the Canaries, particularly Lanzarote and Tenerife.
Here are eight great options to consider.
LUXE IN LANZAROTE
How about a two-week break in Lanzarote for a family of five, including teens?
At the four star Villas Ereza Brisa Marina, in the south of the island, each villa has its own private pool to laze around. You could hire a car and check out the volcanoes, or hike the famous Fire Mountains of Timanfaya national park. Make the most of the white sandy beaches at Papagayo, Dorada and Flamingo, or get to grips with windsurfing. Hop on the ferry to nearby Fuerteventura for an afternoon and you’ll be able to brag about your two-island break when you get back home.
Two weeks half board, including flights for a family of five (including teens), departing Saturday, April 13th, costs from €5,437. This includes an online discount. clickandgo.com
PINE TREES IN PORTUGAL
Temperatures average 20 degrees at this time of year in Albufeira on Portugal’s Algarve. The luxury at Pine Cliffs, a loftily positioned resort overlooking a soft sandy beach and pine forests, will make you feel even warmer inside.
The property, 30km from Faro airport, has a variety of accommodation options including hotel, apartments and villas. It offers direct access from a cliff-top lift down to the beach at Praia da Falesia. If you tire of that – the beach, not the lift – there are seven outdoor swimming pools to choose from, plus all sorts of health-club facilities.
Pine Cliffs has nine restaurants, three bars and its own cooking school, too, perfect if you want to bring home a truly lasting souvenir: an ability to cook Portuguese cuisine. There are tennis courts, golf, mini golf and free wifi for the kids.
A two-week self-catering stay for two adults and three children under 10 costs from €4,013, including flights, staying in the Pine Cliffs Residence. sunway.ie
SUN IN THE SOL
To give yourself the best chance of being sun-sure in April, you can’t beat Spain’s Costa del Sol.
The Rui Costa del Sol, close to the beach at Torremolinos , is great for families, with kids’ clubs for four- to 12-years-olds, a playground, three outdoor pools and an indoor one that stays open in April, just in case. There are three restaurants, six bars and nightly entertainment. Off the property there are loads of things for kids to do, including the Aqualand waterpark, a little crocodile zoo and the Molinos de Inca botanical garden and aviaries.
An all-inclusive seven-night stay, departing April 13th, costs from €937 per person online with Tui Holidays, including flights. tui.ie
BLOOM IN ORLANDO
For something a bit special, blow the budget with a trip to Orlando’s theme parks. You might need a little help from a travel agent to avoid landing in the middle of spring break, a peak time for visitor numbers. But at least the heat of the inevitable queues won’t be quite as sweltering as they are in summer.
A two-week stay for a family of five (including three teens) at the Crowne Plaza Universal hotel – a short walk from the hub of it all on International Drive – averages about €1,535 per person, including flights departing on April 13th, with Tour America. Room only. touramerica.ie
VILLAS FOR VALUE
For bigger family groups, a villa holiday can provide the best value, even in some very swish properties. Villa El Cid, part of the James Villas collection in Marbella on Spain’s Costa del Sol, sleeps up to 20 people – so bring the cousins.
The villa, which overlooks the fairways of the Flamingos Golf Resort, has floor-to-ceiling windows, a sweeping stone balcony with steel-and-glass balustrades and a spacious roof terrace, all designed to make the most of the spectacular views over the Mediterranean to Gibraltar and the Moroccan coast.
The property has both indoor and outdoor pools, a jacuzzi, sauna and gym equipment, plus landscaped gardens. Hire a car to visit the nearby resorts of Estepona, Marbella and Puerto Banus. A seven-night stay costs from €6,921. jamesvillas.ie
Eurocamp is offering discounts of up to 50 per cent on spring campsite holidays, including over Easter. For warmth, Spain is probably your best bet, so check out Amfora d’Arcs, on the Costa Dorada, close to Cambrils and Salou but in a quieter spot.
The beach is just 2km away, and there’s bike hire and canoeing. If you tire of the onsite amenities, head out to the high-octane theme parks of Port Aventura and Ferrariland.
Eurocamp is offering a two-bedroom mobile home for seven nights, from April 21st, for just €148, which is half-rate. Ryanair flights to Barcelona Reus for the same date, returning a week later, are €197 at the time of writing, which may be expensive for Ryanair but still means your flights and accommodation for a family holiday for four will cost less than €1,000. You’d have a hard time beating that in summer. eurocamp.ie
Center Parcs is coming to Longford later this summer, but you can see what the fuss is about in advance with an Easter family holiday at one of its other European properties. Check out Bispinger Heide, in a lakeside setting just south of Hamburg, in northern Germany.
As well as an Aqua Mundo water park with slides, it’s good for both teens (zip wiring and laser tag) and younger children (pedal boats and indoor play centres). You can stay for four nights on the last weekend of the Easter holidays for a currently available last-minute price of €369, in a Comfort Cottage sleeping two adults and two children. Ryanair flies to Hamburg, currently showing at about €114 return. centerparcs.com
OFF GRID IN GRANADA
Got older kids? Get everyone off their phones with an activity break. Responsible Travel has some great options, perfect for families, including one in the Altiplano de Granada region of Andalusia in Spain.
Take your pick of activities including canyoning, rafting, guided stargazing, horse-riding, pizza-making, gorge-walking and wild swimming. There are nature parks and cave villages to visit, and a Bronze Age settlement at Castellon Alto to explore.
A week’s stay over Easter costs from €480 per person half board, excluding flights, which will be into either Alicante or Malaga. You’ll have to hire a car here too. But the upside is everyone really will be off their phones because the small, family run hotel is entirely off grid. Happy days.responsibletravel.com