School’s nearly out and there’s only one thing on parents’ minds this Easter – rest and relaxation for the whole family.
Whether you’re planning a staycation in Ireland or a trip abroad, organising a family holiday can be stressful at times. Choosing where to go can be challenging enough without the inevitable torrent of follow-up questions that usually follow. Will it be sunny enough? Will there be activities for the children? Will we like the food!?
Whilst we can’t make any guarantees about the weather, we have created a list of the top family attractions in Europe to help you narrow down your decision.
Disneyland Paris, France
Where childhood dreams come true. Disneyland Paris is a magical experience for the whole family and one that never fails to live up to expectations. Relive your childhood with characters that you grew up with including Mickey & Minnie and hold onto your seats as you whirl around Big Thunder Mountain.
To maximise the entire experience, you can stay in any of the nearby Disney hotels or resorts. There are many convenient ways to get to Disneyland Paris; you can get there by plane, train or car (no magic carpet, unfortunately). With direct flights from Dublin and Cork, it couldn't be easier to escape to the magic of Disneyland.
Harry Potter Studio Tour, Watford, UK
Step into the hustle and bustle of Diagon Alley or take a trip through the Forbidden Forest - if you dare. For fans of the hugely popular books and films, the Harry Potter Studio Tour is an absolute must. A place where witchcraft and wizardry come to life.
Embrace your inner Harry Potter or Hermione Granger and immerse yourself in the actual movie sets that helped create this magical world. Keep an eye out for your favourite props from the films and discover how special effects and creatures were brought to life on the silver screen. Whatever tickles your fancy, a visit to the magical world of Harry Potter provides something for everyone.
The visits last for roughly 3.5 hours however there is no time limit for your tour, so you can unravel the magic at your own pace. Watford lies just north of London, so if you’re heading over from Ireland, why not combine your visit to the Harry Potter Studio with some of the city’s most famous attractions, such as Madame Tussaud's, the Tower of London or the London Eye?
PortAventura Park, Tarrango, Spain
Boasting over 4 million visitors every year, it’s no wonder PortAventura has become one of Spain’s most popular tourist attractions. The park is home to the tallest and fastest rollercoaster in Europe - Ferrari Land’s Vertical Accelerator which reaches a dizzying height of 112 metres and goes from 0 to 180 kph in just 5 seconds. That’s without mentioning the Furious Baco which accelerates you from 0 to 135 kph in an astonishing 3 seconds.
Combined tickets for PortAventura and Ferrari Land are available over two days, costing from €62 for adults and €55 for children, but there are plenty of options so make sure you find the one that suits your family best. Remember that access to rides is decided by height – cut-offs range from 1m to 1.40m and the park takes safety very seriously, so it might be worth getting the measuring tape out before planning a trip here.
To wind down your day of thrills and highs, make sure to bag yourself a seat at the closing display each night at approximately 11.40 pm. It is an amazing display of fireworks, dancers, illuminations and a fantastic light display – the perfect way to end your day at PortAventura.
There’s also something new and exciting to look forward to in 2023. The Caribe Aqua Park is the latest addition to the area and can be included in packages with Portaventura Park and Ferrari Land.
Siam Park, Costa Adeje
Tucked in the beautiful corner of Costa Adeje in Southern Tenerife, lies the number one water park in the world for 5 years in a row - Siam Park. Inspired by Thai architecture and culture, a visit to the park is like stepping into the beating heart of an Asian jungle with all the sounds and surroundings you would expect (minus the wild tigers thankfully).
The park itself is quite big so we would suggest getting there early in the day to make sure you have enough time to get on all the rides you want. As with these kinds of attractions, mornings are the quietest with 12-3 om seeing peak queue times and crowds. If you are staying in the nearby area, keep an eye out for the Siam Park branded bus which runs every 30 minutes and takes you to and from the park all day, for FREE.
The park is split into three types of attractions – relax, family and adventure so there is something for everyone to enjoy. Our top tip would be to make sure you check out the wave pool, it’s not to be missed.
Tickets start from €38 for adults and €26 for children so it is reasonably priced for a full day’s entertainment and Tenerife provides more than enough to keep you occupied on days that you’re not at the park. Whether you’re looking to explore this beautiful volcanic island on foot and see the colossal Los Gigantes Cliffs, watch a wonderful show at the Piramide de Arona, or simply top up that tan on one of Tenerife's many wonderful beaches, this is an excellent choice for any holiday.
Bacvice Beach, Split, Croatia
Explore stunning Croatia with direct flights from Ireland to Zagreb, Dubrovnik and Split. Croatia is becoming increasingly popular with Irish holidaymakers and it’s not hard to see why.
If you’re looking for somewhere a little bit off the beaten track and bursting with culture and tradition, Split is the place to go. Split boasts some of the most stunning beaches in Croatia, including Bacvice Beach which is centrally located in the town. Its beautiful white sandy shore and dreamy blue waters are perfect for soaking up the rays, getting stuck into a good book or sitting back and taking in the glorious views.
It’s a 10 km long beach, which is perfect for a stroll before popping into one of the many cafés and bars for a bite to eat. It was recently awarded the renowned Blue Flag status thanks to its clean water and well-organised local facilities including lifeguards. It’s perfect for those chill-out days on your holidays and an absolute must on your trip to Split.
But it’s not all about the sun and sand in Split. The city boasts numerous fascinating historical sites, wonderful food markets, and several excellent galleries and museums, including the Meštrović Gallery. We could keep on listing places you wouldn’t want to miss, but we just recommend exploring this beautiful, ancient city yourself. It won’t disappoint.
Wherever you choose to travel, make sure you’re covered before leaving Ireland. Travel and tourism have become increasingly erratic over the last few years as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the last thing you want is to have your plans ruined without having a safety net.
Click here to get a Travel Insurance quote and sit back on that plane with true peace of mind.