1. Sheraton La Caleta, Tenerife
There’s plenty of space for the family to run around here, with pleasant subtropical gardens surrounding three swimming pools (one with seawater) and the beach just beyond. For something more structured the Guanchito Club has a playground, mini soccer and minigolf for 3- to 12-year-olds while teen-focused M@GMA hosts movie evenings and has a DJ booth. That’ll give the adults a chance to check out the spa or fit in a game of tennis. What’s nearby? Although this is one of Tenerife’s top resorts for families, there are some lively nightclubs and bars just a few kilometres away (but don’t worry, they’re still safely out of earshot!). There’s a range of shops, including a pharmacy and a supermarket, just a few metres from the resort and you’ll find some of Tenerife’s best restaurants within walking distance, too.
2. Roca Nivaria Gran Hotel, Tenerife
The kids’ clubs start at age 10 months at this five-star. There’s Roni the pilot whale to provide daily entertainment for all children up to 12 too, so with the kids looked after parents can simply relax – perhaps in the open air Jacuzzi or at the infinity pool reclining on Balinese beds. Families seeking more action can get stuck in to beach volleyball, archery and tennis, and it’s all within easy reach of the island’s best theme and water parks, including Siam Park. What’s nearby? With a fantastic water park and leisure facilities all within the resort, there’s little reason to leave the luxurious Roca Nivaria. But its location, in the heart of the Playa Paraíso area, is ideal for adventure seekers. Head to the harbour at Puerto Colon to sign up for whale and dolphin-spotting tours, or catamaran excursions along the western coastline. Should you fancy some island-hopping, Canaries-style, this is also the departure point for many of the inter-island ferries.
3. Ritz-Carlton Abama, Tenerife
Staying in a resort doesn’t have to mean buffets and mediocre meals, at the super-luxe Ritz Carlton you’ll find two Michelin-starred restaurants serving up creative Basque and Japanese cuisine. The kids club is a cut above too, including wildlife sessions and theatrical workshops, and there’s a sumptuous spa, a tennis academy and an 18-hole golf course. Don’t forget to leave occasionally – there’s an idyllic beach looking over to the neighbouring island of La Gomera nearby. What’s nearby? Nearby Playa San Juan is where you’ll a chic, boutique-filled harbour, and Alcala, a quaint fishing village, is just a short walk away. This is one of the island’s quieter parts, but there are still plenty of shops and restaurants within walking distance.
Are you a big fan of beach holidays? Whether you’re searching for low cost holidays by the sea or luxurious all-inclusive beach retreats, find some inspiration with our guide to 10 beautiful secret beaches in Europe.
4. Clubhotel Riu, Gran Canaria
Kids hard to keep to a timetable? This all-inclusive operates a 24-hour policy, meaning there is food and drink available at literally all hours. There’s also the RuiLand kids club, two children’s swimming pools (one with water slides) and a children’s playground. You’re also just 900 metres from Maspalomas’ famous sand dunes and there are whirlpool baths, steam baths and an infinity pool for the adults. What’s nearby? Las Melonaras, the area in which this hotel’s located, is designed for families. The Taurito water park is within walking distance, and the rural location means that it’s a great destination if you’re planning on exploring the island on a horseback tour. Budding Rory McIlroys can tee off on the nearby 18-hole Melonaras golf course.
5. Sheraton Gran Canaria, Salobre Golf Resort
Got a golfer in the family? If so this five-star resort has to be top choice, with not one but two 18-hole courses on-site, both with gorgeous mountain and sea views. The kids club will take care of the kids, with daily games and activities, and the whole family can reunite over dinner, perhaps over the show cooking at Gofio. Rooms all have private terraces for some private family time too. What’s nearby? This resort’s main selling point is its isolation and rural location, so there’s not a whole lot on offer beyond the resort, which has shops, restaurants and bars. Maspalomas, the nearest town, has several supermarkets, bars and restaurants, but you’ll need a car as it’s a 20-minute drive away.
6. Lopesan Baobab, Gran Canaria
Travelling with children needn’t mean giving up on luxury. The five-star Lopesan Baobab in the well-heeled resort of Meloneras has an African theme, which stretches to zebra steaks in the restaurant and safari animals hidden around the tropical grounds. There are even African drumming lessons and dance classes. Add seven swimming pools, ping pong, waterpolo, tennis and a diving school and you’ll keep the kids occupied here for at least a week. What’s nearby? The beach is just a ten-minute walk from this fantastic hotel, but the Maspalomas lighthouse, next to the bustling promenade, is even closer. If you’re feeling daring, sign up for a camel ride across the Maspalomas sand dunes. Couples should head to the impossibly romantic Moonlight, Europe’s only permanent open air cinema.
7. Princesa Yaiza, Lanzarote
You’ll find some of the most spacious rooms in the isles here, where every room is a suite – and that doesn’t just mean it has an extra pair of chairs shoved into a corner. Rooms feature separate sitting rooms and vast balconies, while downstairs you’ll find an array of different a la carte and buffet restaurants, and an excellent spa. The beach is just outside too and there’s a huge children’s play area called Kikoland, which features everything from a family pool to basketball courts and a climbing wall. What’s nearby? It’s probably easier to list what’s not within walking distance of this Canarian resort. Some of the island’s best beaches are just a few metres away (we’re particularly keen on the family-friendly Playa Dorada) while nearby Playa Blanca is where you’ll find the island’s best clubs and bars, as well as several diving schools. The Centre Commercial Papagayo shopping centre is where to head when it’s time to stock up on supplies.
8. Finca Arrieta, Lanzarote
Not all family friendly hotels are super-scale resorts. This independent, family-run Finca offers the chance to eat, sleep and even bathe in the open air. Everything here is solar-powered and the water (well, most of it) comes from the on-site well. Choose your morning eggs from the resident chickens, frying them on the solar cooker, then spend the day beside the pool or on the nearby beach. Follow the lead of the Kaiser Chiefs and book the Yurt Royale to sleep under the stars in an open-air king-sized bed, or choose the Beach Yurt for easy access to the sands. What’s nearby? Not a lot, but that’s this eco-resort’s main selling point. Arrieta, the tiny fishing village in which it’s located, is a great place to soak up local life and the surrounding hills are popular with hikers.
9. Origo Mare, Fuerteventura
This is a whopper. Spread over 120 hectares, the Canaries’ largest bespoke resort has everything you could dream of, and possibly even everything your kids could dream of. Accommodation is arranged around oases, each with their own pool, and each villa features a terrace, private garden and full kitchen. There’s a cooking show at the buffet restaurant, bike hire to make use of the extensive bike path network and even a 5000 square metre water park with wave pool, towering slide and a “water tree”. And that’s before we even mention the sports bar, tennis court, supermarket, bakery, beauty salon…# What’s nearby? This part of the island is a great base if you’re planning on hiking up the volcanoes in the north of the island. Although there’s not an abundance of facilities within walking distance, nearby Lajares is a chilled-out surf town with some fantastic family-run restaurants and bars, and the beaches and lagoons of El Cotillo are also close by.
10. Suite Hotel Atlantis, Fuerteventura
This all-inclusive hotel has no less than seven swimming pools, and the sandy beaches of Corralejo lie just a few minutes away to boot. Toddlers will be begging to spend time in the huge sandpit in the play area while older children are sure to love the kids clubs which include Creative Workshops that bring kids and adults together. There’s even a Teen Lounge with video games and a mini disco. What’s nearby? Don’t be deceived by the quaint charm of Corralejo, which started life as a fishing village. Venture beyond the sheltered sands of Playa la Clavellina and you’ll find a bustling harbour – the departure point for ferries to Lanzarote and Lobos. The Baku Water Park is also worth checking out, and the town’s market, held on Tuesdays and Fridays, is a great place to pick up some souvenirs.
Wondering what else to do on our favourite Canary Island? Check out our guide to the top 9 things to do on Fuerteventura.
11. Parador de La Gomera, La Gomera
More for older kids, this one, with a quiet location atop the cliffs in the harbour of San Sebastian. There’s a swimming pool, subtropical gardens and on-site restaurant but the main attraction lies outside, on the island of La Gomera where adventurous kids will love exploring a real-life tropical paradise, complete with black sand beaches, enormous volcanic rock formations and thick jungle. You’ll need to fly in to Tenerife and take the ferry across (50 minutes from Los Cristianos), making this a true family escape. What’s nearby? If you’re a history buff, you’ll love the Archaeological Museum of La Gomera, which is just a five-minute walk from the hotel. Like most coastal towns, San Sebastián has a large harbour, but there are also several historic buildings, including the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de La Asunción, a church which dates back to the fifteenth century.
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With explosive surf and sizzling volcanic sand beaches, Gran Canaria is one hot ticket.