1. San Diego, California, USA
We’re starting off our list with best family vacation destinations with a surprisingly kid-friendly destination from the States: San Diego.
It has loads of activities to keep the young ones entertained.
Although flights may be a little pricier, once you arrive you can explore the city on a budget with the Go San Diego card, which offers discounts of up to 50% on attractions like San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Legoland California, and also provides unlimited access to SeaWorld San Diego.
2. Algarve, Portugal
Moving towards Europe, The Algarve has long been a popular family holiday destination, being promoted by several celebrities. And for good reason.
Not only is this area of Portugal blessed with great weather and beautiful beaches, but there is also lots for children and parents to enjoy. While you could easily spend your days on the beach or by the pool, you won’t want to miss a trip to Aqualand, one of the largest waterparks in Europe, for a day out.
3 & 4. Valetta & Qawra, Malta
Malta makes for a fabulous budget-friendly family holiday, with Valletta one of the best regions to visit with kids. The flights are affordable and there’s a whole bunch of stuff that you’ll want to spend your money on once you get there. Visit inspiring museums, explore charming piazzas, or take a boat trip off the coast, all while enjoying some of the best ice cream Malta has to offer.
On the other hand, Qawra, is a city crammed full of historical sites such as the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, a 5.000-year-old underground necropolis, and, for the history and art lovers there are a whole lot of museums packed with ancient history lessons.
For more contemporary joyful activities, you can visit some of the locations where “Game of Thrones” was filmed and the National Aquarium.
There are lots of free or very cheap local activities such as exploring fishing villages, snorkeling and exploring natural caves by small boat.
5. Bratislava, Slovakia
Bratislava is a cheap Europe family vacation destination with enough castles, museums and large playgrounds to keep your kids satisfied. Day trip options are fantastic in Bratislava and families on a budget can use that to their advantage. The more expensive city of Vienna is just over an hour away by train and there are easily accessible swimming lakes to take picnics to during the summer.
6. Bardonecchia, Italy
Bardonecchia is one of Europe’s cheapest family vacation destinations and ski resorts; it’s also probably the most fun for families. There is a ski school for children who can attend more or less as soon as they can walk.
Kids over the age of 5 can take the lift to the top of the snow tubing track for a fun, slippery ride back down the hill. There’s a beginner’s ski slope for youngsters to practice their skiing or snowboarding and lessons to suit every level of experience.
The best part is that the slopes can be used even during night time.
7. Naxos, South Aegean, Greece
If Santorini is way over your budget, then you can take your family to smaller islands such as Naxos, that are far cheaper and just as pretty. With lots of friendly hotels, great beaches and a relaxed atmosphere, Naxos may well be the most suitable of the Greek islands for families.
St. George beach is a hop away from Naxos town by foot, it’s shallow for a long way out, and sheltered by the wind.
8 & 9. Sunny Beach & Albena Beach, Bulgaria
The Sunny Beach resort has been voted one of the most affordable resorts in Europe, with the average family meal costing around £28 according to Post Office Travel Money. This lively spot has a clean Blue Flag beach, and is just a 15-minute drive from Nessebar, a UNESCO-listed town.
Also making the list is Albena, the quieter younger sibling of Sunny Beach, but it still boasts numerous activities for kids of all ages.
Albena has a 3-mile-long Blue Flag beach that has all the usual seaside amenities and lots of water sports opportunities. There are water parks, bowling alleys, a mini-train and a beach library at Albena. For days away from the beach, there are plenty of excursions to local nature reserves, such as the Madara Horseman rock formation and Cape Kaliakra.
10. Costa del Sol, Spain
Another affordable destination within easy reach if you’re from the UK is the Costa del Sol in Spain. You can book flights with budget airlines such as Ryanair and EasyJet for as little as £30 per person, while not having to worry about spending heavy money on food and drink either. According to Post Office Travel Money, the average family meal would cost £40, and a glass of wine or bottle of beer is around £1.80.
11. Dubrovnik, Croatia
This beachfront city makes an enthralling family holiday destination, and better still, you can often find budget-friendly packages here. You can do all sorts of activities, whether on the relaxing side or more on the active side like sightseeing, taking in the old town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Meanwhile, a cable car trip rising 700 metres into the hills is sure to be a popular activity with children of all ages, and offers stunning views across the city and surrounding islands. Teenagers and movie fans will also love seeing some of the filming locations from Game of Thrones, such as the City Walls and the Pile Gate entrance to the Old Town.