How? Pack it in on a four-day Arctic adventure to Sweden. Spot the northern lights at the family-run Camp Ripan hotel overlooking the twin-peaked Kebnekaise mountains, go husky mushing, take a reindeer sled ride out to local Sami communities and enjoy snow safaris to suit all ages. Specialist tour operator ScanAdventures will also throw in a free visit to the nearby Ice Hotel, and provide protective thermal clothing during your stay. Suitable for children age 4+.
Cost? £995 per adult and £625 per child (aged 4-12 years), departing 8 January–21 April, including flights, transfers, accommodation, most meals — taken in the hotel’s glass-walled Andrum room, for spotting the northern lights — and excursions. scanadventures.co.uk
How? Head to the high-altitude resorts if you really want to be guaranteed good snow coverage later in the season. And there’s nowhere more glittering, in every sense, than the glamorous Swiss resort of Saas-Fee in Valais. Pick your accommodation carefully, as much of it can be quite a schlepp from the slopes for little legs. The three-star, two-bedroom apartment, Alouette, for example, is just 100m from the pistes.
Cost? A total of £1,382 for seven nights for a family of four, including return Eurotunnel crossing (departing 28 March or 4 April). Flights available on request and train passes from GVA just £96 per person, with the free Swiss family card (under-16s travel free). ernalow.co.uk
How? Book a smart chalet with a dedicated creche run by qualified nannies (who are also available for private bookings), plus a school holidays kids’ club, MeriKids, for 6-12 year olds. There’s provision for daily ski school collection, a supervised kids’ high tea and a raft of tech gadgets, from Nintendo Wiis to toys and game boxes, plus toboggans for them to play with, leaving adults plenty of grown-up time.
Cost? From £850 per person (adult or child) departing 6 April, including fully catered accommodation with drinks and snacks, children’s high tea, plus the services of chalet staff, and an in-resort chauffeur 8am-10pm. Babysitting can be arranged on request. meriski.co.uk
How? Headwater has a 10-night, self-guided cycling trip to Catalunya, that’s been designed with older kids in mind. It takes in artists’ villages, rocky bays, battlefields and hilltop fortresses — in a landscape of giant bamboo, cork oaks, olives and vines. Aimed at families who cycle regularly, the itinerary incorporates comfortable family hotels at the end of each day, while baggage is transported ahead for you.
Cost? From £1,629 per adult, £959 per child, including 10 nights’ B&B in a range of family-friendly hotels, six evening meals, route notes and maps, airport transfers, plus bike hire. Flights can be arranged at an additional cost. headwater.com
Published in the Spring 2015 issue of National Geographic Traveller – Family