Need a change of scenery? Try an unusual family holiday in Europe

We're sharing our favorite unusual family vacations. Get away from the crowds and spend an original family holidays thanks to unusual European destinations and activities.
Need a change of scenery? Try an unusual family holiday in Europe
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In exploring the allure of unconventional and unusual vacations across Europe, each destination offers a unique essence that captivates the adventurous spirit. From Spain's coastline that reveals lesser-known seaside towns and countryside pleasures, to Croatia to step out of the ordinary among historic ruins and vibrant cultural festivals that defy the typical tourist trail. Together, these European destinations redefine the concept of going on holiday, offering unique experiences that linger long after the return home. Discover our top destinations:

SPAIN: for unusal holidays by the sea

Exploring the unconventional seaside holidays in Spain unveils hidden treasures far removed from the crowded tourist spots. It's in the secluded bays and untouched coastal villages where the real magic happens.


Immerse yourself in the Balearic island lifestyle, enjoying authentic seafood dishes prepared with the day's catch, and engaging with the rhythms of daily life that have remained unchanged for generations.

The tranquil waters of these lesser-known spots provide a serene backdrop for activities like paddle-boarding at dawn in Mallorca, snorkelling in crystal-clear coves in the North of Ibiza, or simply enjoying the sunset with a picnic on the beach in Formentera

For inspiration for your family holiday in the Balearics, discover our article on the best parts of Ibiza for families.


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Coastal Spain

An extraordinary family holiday awaits in Cadaques where the blend of surreal landscapes and cultural richness offers an off-the-beaten-path adventure. Imagine exploring the medieval villages that dot the coastline, each telling its own story through cobblestone streets and ancient ruins.

Visitors are enthralled by the vibrant seaside towns where ancient history and modern leisure come together seamlessly. The warm Mediterranean waters invite endless exploration, whether it's sailing, snorkeling, or simply basking on the shores, making it an ideal destination for those seeking both relaxation and adventure in Europe.

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italy: for an original and gourmet getaway

An unusual gourmet holiday in Italy might take you beyond the traditional culinary tours and into the heart of its lesser-known, yet equally flavoursome, food traditions. Italy is a realm of unparalleled charm, entices travellers with its vibrant history, lush landscapes, and flavourful cuisine. Particularly the southern region's culinary offerings are a feast for the senses, with fresh seafood, ripe tomatoes, and the unique tang of locally produced limoncello.

Whether it's exploring the baroque elegance of Umbria, or discovering the special culinary delights of Lecce, each destination promises an enchanting mix of cultural riches and natural splendour, making it an unforgettable unusual holiday for families of all tastes. These Italian destinations have experiences that offer a deep dive into Italy's rich gastronomic heritage, allowing you to savour the country's culinary delights in a truly immersive way.

Discover our suggestions for the best food experiences in Italy and the top rated Michelin starred restaurants.



 For an extraordinary gourmet holiday, Puglia stands out as one of Europe's hidden culinary treasure. Visitors can experience the rustic charm of Puglia through its authentic cooking classes, where traditional recipes are passed down from generation to generation. Imagine kneading dough for handmade orecchiette under the guidance of a local nonna, or savouring the robust flavours of freshly pressed olive oil at a historic masseria.

Puglia not only promises a feast for the taste buds but a deep immersion into a lifestyle where food is a celebration of life's simple pleasures.

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Often overshadowed by its more famous Italian neighbours, Umbria offers a unique holiday destination for those looking to stray off the beaten path. This region, known as the "Green Heart of Italy," is a haven of tranquility, with its lush landscapes, rolling hills, and medieval towns perched atop.

An unusual holiday in Umbria might involve staying in a restored farmhouse, participating in truffle hunting excursions, and exploring the ancient Etruscan underground networks. The charm of Umbria lies not just in its serene beauty and rich history, but also in its ability to offer an authentic Italian experience, away from the crowds, where one can truly connect with the local culture and traditions.

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An unconventional holiday in Portugal opens the doors to a world where fairy tales come to life, offering a plethora of kid-friendly activities. It's perfect for families seeking a blend of adventure, history, and culture, away from the usual tourist trails.

Its unique combination of medieval villages, stunning coastlines, and interactive museums ensure a holiday experience that is both educational and fun for kids.



Venturing beyond the well-trodden path of its golden beaches, an unusual holiday in the Algarve might find you exploring the region’s less known but equally mesmerising inland areasOr perhaps, you’re sampling the delights of rural farmsteads, experiencing firsthand the farm-to-table concept with Algarve's unique spin on traditional Portuguese cuisine. This part of the Algarve offers a tranquil retreat from the coast, inviting travellers to discover its hidden valleys, whispering streams, and the rustic charm of centuries-old villages, thus revealing a different facet of Portugal’s southern gem.

Portugal's rich maritime history also comes to life in Pirate Ship tours perfect for families, where families can set sail on a quest for hidden treasures, making every moment of the holiday a captivating storybook adventure for children and adults alike.

Villa A Nepita



Picture a family exploration of Sintra's whimsical palaces and gardens, where tales of ancient monarchs and mythical creatures spark children's imagination. Imagine exploring the vibrant palette of Pena Palace, with its whimsical colours and unique architectural blend that seems plucked from a storybook. Families can meander through the misty paths of the Moorish Castle, invoking tales of knights and ancient battles, or wander the mythical gardens of Quinta da Regaleira, filled with secret tunnels and mystical grottoes.

Sintra's magical landscape offers a playful and educational adventure, where history and fantasy come together to spark the imaginations of young and old alike. Here, every step reveals a new scene worthy of a fairy-tale, making Sintra an ideal holiday destination for families seeking to immerse themselves in a living, breathing European enchantment.

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France's less-traveled roads lead to some of the most breathtaking, undisclosed gems far from the tourist throngs, unlocking an authentic and enriching experience.

Venture into France's lesser-known regions unveils hidden gems like the Alpilles and Cap Ferret, areas that offer tranquility and breathtaking landscapes away from the hustle and bustle of tourist hotspots.


Cap Ferret

Cap Ferret, is a headland situated along the Atlantic coast making it a paradise for those seeking a serene European beach retreatSeparating the Atlantic Ocean from the serene waters of Arcachon Bay, this hidden gem is famed for its unspoiled sandy beaches, quaint oyster villages, and towering lighthouse that offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes.

Visitors are drawn to Cap Ferret for its laid-back atmosphere, where days are spent cycling along pine-fringed paths, sampling fresh oysters straight from the sea, and basking in the golden sunsets that illuminate the bay. It's a place where the hustle of modern life feels a world away, making Cap Ferret an idyllic escape for nature lovers and those seeking tranquility.

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Nestled in the heart of Provence, the Alpilles offer a picturesque escape into nature, where the beauty of the French countryside unfolds in a series of rolling hills, olive groves, and vineyards. This region, characterised by its rugged limestone peaks, serves as a backdrop to some of the most charming villages in France, including Saint-Rémy-de-Provence and Les Baux-de-Provence.

Visitors to the Alpilles can explore ancient ruins, enjoy local culinary delights such as olive oil and truffles, or wander through art galleries highlighting the area's influence on Vincent van Gogh. For those seeking a blend of cultural history, natural beauty, and Provencal gastronomy, the Alpilles offer an enchanting retreat.

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croatia: out-of-the-ordinary destination for families

For the nature-loving families, Croatia offers enchanting locations with breathtaking scenery. Both Hvar and Brac offer a unique blend of natural beauty, historical intrigue, and fun, providing the perfect backdrop for unforgettable family holidays that are guaranteed to be out of the ordinary.



The island of Hvar is known for its vibrant lavender fields, crystal-clear waters, and centuries-old architecture. Imagine a day starting with a leisurely hike through the old villages and ancient olive groves, followed by a late afternoon of exploring hidden coves by kayak. It's these moments that make Hvar not just a holiday destination but a unique experience where tranquility meets adventure.

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Exploring the hidden corners of Brac, where the renowned Zlatni Rat beach is merely the beginning of the island's treasures. Beyond its sun-soaked shores, Brac invites families to discover its lesser-known attractions, such as the Dragon's Cave near the village of Murvica, where mysterious carvings tell ancient tales.

For an authentic taste of island life, families can join in olive harvesting activities, turning your vacation into an immersive learning experience.

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Europe, with its tapestry of cultures, landscapes, and histories, offers a plethora of options for travellers seeking the road less traveled. Whether you choose the sun-drenched corners of Italy, the fairy-tale settings of Sintra, or the tranquil retreats of Cap Ferret, each destination provides a unique narrative that enriches the soul and expands the mind.

Whether it's through the quiet discovery of lesser-known locales or the active engagement with local traditions and cuisines, unusual holidays in Europe invite us to step outside the ordinary, challenging us to explore, dream, and discover the continent's rich, diverse tapestry in our own, unique way.

Looking for more inspiration? Discover our article on European summer holidays for families.

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