Finding a family holiday which pleases the whole family seems to be intermittently tricky over the years. As a baby they pretty much just tag along with you, as long as you can squeeze a cot into your room. Then there’s the out-of-a-pushchair years, when you find yourself battling with them – not every holiday outing has to involve a ball pit, right? Then there’s the slightly older years when they’re competent enough in the pool to just have you nearby, and independent enough to figure out their own games. Oh the bliss of that first family holiday which allows you to actually relax for a while.
And then you find yourself the proud owner of a teenager. And suddenly things get tricky again. You’re not expected to fill their every waking hour, of course; rather the opposite. Any attempt at joint family activities are met with a roll of an eye, an under-the-breath sigh and a general air of ‘boreddddd‘.
But at the same time, as a parent, you’re clinging on to the last vestiges of family holidays. You can feel them actually slipping through your fingers, these last few precious times before they spread their wings and start preferring a holiday with their mates to their Mums.
And so once again you find yourself confronting your holiday choices, trying to find things that will keep everyone happy. And in my experience, everyone is happiest when we holiday in one of two ways. The first is when we organise absolutely nothing, and allow them to simply loaf, sleep, and sit on the Wi-Fi. We expect nothing other than turning up for meals and sharing the odd game of cards of an evening, and in return they relax, unwind and become deliciously lovely to be with. But that only lasts for so long – within a few days everyone gets a bit… bored. And looking for things to do.
The second way is when we do stuff. Properly organised and unexpected fun stuff – not asking them to suck up four hours sauntering around an old town. Some of the very best family holiday memories we have from the last few years are the times we did ghyll scrambling, caving and moonlight canoeing. Or even simply walking our beloved Brecon Beacons in the snow. Things outside of our comfort zone, new experiences which test us, stretch us – and inevitably leave us with a huge smile on our faces and a bank of shared memories to look back on.
So this year we’re looking for something a bit different – and somewhere different too. Instead of finding a holiday property, and then booking some activities in the local regions (which frankly can become a bit of a headache, trying to figure out which activity providers are the most reliable, best value etc), we’ve decided to let someone else take care of the details.
Currently, Activities Abroad has caught my eye. Specifically, this ‘Active Family Holiday in Croatia‘ – it’s exactly what I was looking for, and miraculously has had the thumbs up from every member of the family. First tick from me is the fact that it’s in Croatia – a country which has been on my bucket list for such a long time. I know, it’s not an obvious choice is it? But seriously – it’s hotter than Greece (and two hours quicker to get to), has amazing beaches, astonishing mountain national parks (both of which you can combine in one trip, so there’s no need to choose…), and an amazing history which features more difficult modern conflicts and Roman remains to rival Italy.
And with this particular package, everything is sorted for me so there’s no need to figure out who to go to for the bike hire, and tussle with Googlemaps for a route! On offer for our weeks stay are sea kayaking to Zlarin Island, cycling in Krka River National Park, Paklenica National Park hike, white-water rafting and Zrmanja River canoe safari, including all equipment, tuition and supervision from fully qualified instructors.
Prices start at £95 per adult and that includes flights, transfers, accommodation and half board too. Then you simply add on the activities you’d like – just £200 more if you’d like to do all five.
If Croatia’s not your thing, then take a look at all the other options Activities Abrtoad offer – there’s sure to be something for every family. Next on our list is surfing in Portugal…