Preparing a stay for August is not always easy: it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between ideal family destinations and tourist places that are too crowded or too hot at this time of year. This brief overview will help you, I hope, to see things more clearly, for the combined happiness of children and parents.
Halfway between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean
The Algarve is the southernmost region of Portugal. A meeting point between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean coast, it enjoys a serene and temperate climate in all seasons. The monuments of this historically rich region, all fascinating, date from different periods: Roman era, Moorish period and medieval Reconquista. For this reason, Roman villas, Christian Calvaries and castles with oriental architecture dot this beautiful hilly landscape. A family mountain bike ride will allow you to explore these many wonders while riding along the sea.
If you want to stay in the region, Martinhal Sagres is the ideal hotel for families. You can enjoy the privacy necessary to recharge your batteries while having access to a wide range of services, sports activities and restaurants characteristic of the high-end hotel industry. Promoted to « Best Family Resort in Portugal » in 2013, the establishment was elected « Best Family Resort in Europe » the following year.
Parents appreciate: the Finisterra Spa and the relaxing massages provided there. In addition, the Algarve has more than thirty golf courses, four of which are located not far from the hotel and overlook the bay. When you leave the courses, like a James Bond on holiday, enjoy an exceptional experience: take-off in the air in a helicopter or a hot air balloon! The next day, enjoy a first parachute jump before diving into the dense waters of the Algarve.
Children also love the spa, as it offers a wide range of treatments specially adapted to children. It is a rather unique attention that this spa pays to our dearest toddlers for it to be worth mentioning. Accompanied by a marine biologist, they can also meet the many dolphins that swim peacefully along the coast.
Read before leaving: The Algarve with your family, a practical guide
Land of character
If Italian cities are not a particularly recommended destination in August, because of the high temperatures that can prevail there, the situation is quite different in this paradisiacal region located in the heel of the Italian boot. Its clear waters and serene climate, less than three hours by plane from Paris, make Apulia’s coves the true Seychelles of Europe. This region of character offers the calm and refreshment that farniente‘s enthusiasts so desperately need. Bordered on all sides by a crystal clear sea, it is nevertheless rich in culture and various sporting activities (especially water sports) for the pleasure of young and old.
It is somewhere between Monopoli and Ostuni that Masseria Torre Coccaro is located. Unique in their typically Mediterranean style, made of round domes and white facades, the 43 rooms and suites of this exceptional place refer to the strong bonds that exist between this part of Italy and Greece which, on several occasions in history, has had a considerable influence on the culture, architecture and delicious Apulian cuisine.
Parents love: the exceptional location, the communicating rooms, the refined and family atmosphere, the flower garden with a serenity like no other, the organic products coming directly from the adjoining farm and the house specialities (you have to taste them to believe them!).
Children love: the playground, trampolines, football fields, riding school, artistic and creative activities such as piano, painting or photography lessons. The Coccaro Beach Miniclub welcomes children from 4 to 12 years old for marine and/or sporting activities as well as to observe the rich nature of the region, in the adjoining WWF park.
Read before you leave: Description of the region on the official website of the Italian Government Tourist Board
Go on an adventure and discover paradise
Just say the magical name of Zanzibar to perceive the invitation to travel and the enchanted imagination that this paradisiacal archipelago, bathed by the Indian Ocean, at the confluence of several cultures, between Africa, the East and Indian scents, generates. This splendid archipelago has an equatorial climate characterised by two rainy seasons. The first rainy season takes place from March to the end of May and the second from mid-October to December. August is, therefore, the ideal time to visit this little corner of paradise, opposite the Tanzanian coast.
Between modernity and tradition, Melia Zanzibar blends elegantly into the preserved landscape that surrounds it. Its contemporary architecture blends with brilliance certain features of Swahili architecture and the sharpness of today’s fashionable design lines. In the heart of the establishment, the infinity pool rivals the blue of the sea that borders the private beach of Melia Zanzibar. The hotel’s famous pier overlooks the ocean by several metres, it is the ideal setting for unforgettable walks in the sunset light.
Parents love: sea kayaks loaned by the hotel to get closer to the wonders of the nearby coral reef. The spa of Melia Zanzibar promises the wonder of a journey of scents on African soil. A range of original treatments is inspired by local traditions.
Children love: initiation to the traditional Bao game, wild treasure hunts, ping-pong games and various cultural activities inspired by local culture.
Mountains, sea and manners, the welcoming island with its many facets
Reunion is a volcanic island that appeared three million years ago following the emergence of a volcano that now peaks at an altitude of more than 3000 metres. It is the highest peak in the Indian Ocean. The island’s geography overlays very contrasting landscapes, for the pleasure of hikers and lovers of farniente. The island’s marine biodiversity is also quite exceptional, making it a mecca for underwater exploration, for the pleasure of experienced and novice divers.
Reunion Island should be visited in the dry season, from May to November; temperatures on the coast then oscillate between 18°c and 26°C. The rainy season is quite long on the island, from November to April. August being the best time to visit this French overseas department, it is on the west coast that the climate is driest, offering days of continuous sunshine. It is also in the West that you will find the most beautiful beaches on the island (Boucan Canot, Roches Noires or l’Ermitage to name only the most famous).
It is precisely along the west coast that the 4-star hotel LUX* Saint-Gilles warmly welcomes you. As soon as you arrive, you will be charmed by the colonial style of this establishment. The luxurious Creole villas are scattered throughout this green setting. The largest swimming pool on the island, with its 1,100 m2, will enchant you, whether for splashing or for sports… because all tastes are, of course, in nature. Lush tropical gardens line the hotel on an area of 7 hectares. If dazzlement and astonishment are still on the menu in Reunion Island, this exceptional hotel can boast of being the only hotel on the island to have direct access to the Hermitage beach, which is simply considered to be the most beautiful beach on the island.
Parents like: the diving equipment provided by the hotel for dives as close as possible to the incredible coral reefs of the island, the multicoloured fish; jet-skiing, boat trips, helicopter flights over the island.
Children love: the PLAY area for children from 3 to 12 years old, sports activities, cinema, walks, creative activities reserved for them.
Read before leaving: Reunion Island with your family, a Practical Guide
Freshness of the summits
A mountain range stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to the Bay of Biscay, the Pyrenees are woven by three long hiking trails: GR 10, GR 11 and the Haute Randonnée Pyrénéenne. The region most representative of the richness of this lush mountain range is certainly this small and discreet state in southern Europe, nestled between France and Spain: the Principality of Andorra. Andorra is a jewel of refinement, with a rich cultural heritage and exceptional mountainous landscapes. At the bend of the valleys, coniferous forests and summits, we discover a charming country, particularly suitable for a family break.
Renowned for its superb ski slopes, the Principality of Andorra has more than 62 high altitude peaks. It is the Pyrenean paradise for skiers and snowboarders. However, these slopes and their massifs can also be explored in summer. Summer activities such as mountain biking have developed in recent years, in harmony with nature, and now allow you to enjoy magnificent cycling routes without running out of time. Andorra enjoys a pleasant mountain climate all year round, but August is certainly the best time to discover it. To stay there, it is ideal to book one of the luxurious suites of the Sport Hotel Hermitage & Spa *****. The service is impeccable, the view is breathtaking and the staff flawless. Take the time to explore the golf course, at an altitude of 2250 metres.
Parents like: hiking, cycling, motorised or equestrian excursions, family shopping, the Principality’s cultural and artistic past.
Children love: the kids-club and its many recreational activities, as well as child-friendly excursions. The club’s program combining mini disco, mini bingo, plastic arts, culinary workshops, cinema, group games, sports and excursions will delight them.
Read before leaving : Andorra: a dream destination for families
So here are five dream destinations and six exceptional hotels, which I highly recommend for family holidays. These very different destinations all have in common that they combine essential qualities: their surroundings are dazzling, the hotel facilities are refined and perfectly adapted to families, but above all… a serene climate in August makes it possible to fill up with vitamin D while enjoying sports or cultural activities without an oppressive heat falling on your head and the heads of your children.
If you prefer to wait until the summer ends to enjoy an exceptional stay away from the hordes of tourists in July and August, we have written an article compiling the best destinations for a family holiday in September!
Julien, 35 years old, journalist and translator, from Saint-Malo, France