This EU member has kept its currency, so exchange rates aren’t as punitive as the Euro, and meals, hotels and apartments are comparatively cheap. And it’s close: Dubrovnik is a two-and-a-half hour flight from the UK. Choose a local hotel and cheap flight, and opt for short bursts of historical exploration around the Croatian capital’s dramatic old town, with afternoons on the beach or exploring the coast by kayak (good value via local rental outfits). Dubrovnik’s midsummer festival (July/August) has tons of free, family friendly events, too.
Best for active families with tweens and teens who want a mix of city culture and coast.
Seven nights camping under the stars in a maxi tent (sleeping up to six people) costs from £564 in July. canvasholidays.co.uk
Plus flights: The nearest airports to the site are Girona, Perpignon (France), and Barcelona.
Families with younger children and tweens will be happy campers at this pre-pitched site.
Surrounded by classic Alentejo olive and cork groves, Pomar das Almas is a homely, family-run farmhouse that has cute, basic, blue-and-white painted cottages for rental on its grounds and comfy rooms in the main house. Spend lazy (and cheap) days, picnicking beside the river under shady trees, splash in the on-site pool, and commune with the farm animals — there are everything from goats, pigs and cats to friendly deer. Optional extras include farmhouse breakfasts, plus family/children’s dinners, and twice-weekly tastings of the estate’s award-winning wines.
From €560 (£482), for four people, €700 (£602) for six a week in July/August. sawdays.co.uk/pomardasalmas
Plus flights: to Lisbon (90km away), direct from UK with BA, easyJet, Monarch, TAP, Ryanair.
A laid-back, friendly place for a family farm-stay, for those who prefer soul over style.
The north-western province of Liguria is among Italy’s more affordable stretches of coast, home to Cinque Terre, five colourful fishing villages set into the cliffs, only accessible by boat or foot. It’s a great place to introduce your family to hiking, with short distances between villages and plenty of places to break for the beach. Keep things cheap and simple and choose a self-catering base in one village (rather than moving from point to point), and make daily excursions from there, carrying swim kit and a picnic for lazy pauses between hikes.
Seven nights staying in a self-catering apartment sleeping four, in the Cinque Terre village of Corniglia, costs from £563pp including the services of a local rep, trip notes and walking maps. worldexpeditions.com
Plus flights: The nearest airports are Genoa and Pisa.
Ideal for families with children eight and over and those OK with hiking with infants in a carrier.
Published in the 2017 issue of National Geographic Traveller – Family