Q. I am a single mother with a four-year-old daughter and am looking for a quiet holiday destination after a difficult year.
Q. I am a single mother with a four-year-old daughter and am looking for a quiet holiday destination after a difficult year. We would like to go away for two weeks at the end of June or early July to Cefalu in Sicily to a self-catering apartment or somewhere on a half-board basis. Ideally there would be a free children's club, a pool and a beach. A friend will be coming with us, so I'll be able to take advantage of rates for two adults sharing. My budget for my daughter and me is around £1,000.
R Lewis, via email
A. As a package holiday destination for young families, facility-wise Sicily still lags a little behind other Mediterranean holiday hot spots such as Turkey or Greece. Although this limits your options somewhat, it does mean that you will find fewer tourist resorts, so it will be a relatively peaceful location for your holiday.
Your exacting criteria have proved quite a challenge, but I have found two options. Neither match your specifications exactly, so you will have to compromise a little. Cefalu has long been a popular summer destination among Italians, thanks to its long sandy beach and picturesque situation on a craggy hillside. Despite the visitors, the town still manages to retain a degree of serenity and plenty of cultural attractions, such as its stunning 12th-century Norman cathedral. There is a Club Med resort located close to town which offers all-inclusive accommodation, but unfortunately it does not have a children's club and tends to be favoured by young Italians without families. Your options are therefore limited to self-catering apartments.
I have found one option just outside Cefalu that should suit your needs. Here, you can rent an apartment at the Residenza Torre, 2km from the seaside town of Trabia and roughly half-an-hour's drive from Cefalu. Accommodation is in a two-bedroom self-catering apartment that forms part of a hotel complex. The hotel has a free mini-club for children, an Olympic-size swimming pool, horse riding, sports facilities, a pizzeria and a free shuttle bus to the beach, which is a 10-minute drive away. The children's club provides activities such as football, pool activities and tennis, and is available until around 6pm each day.
Booked through Long Travel (01694 722367; www.long-travel.co.uk), the cost for you and your daughter is £1,014 for two weeks departing at the end of June. I am aware that this is slightly over budget considering it is self-catering, but you will be hard pushed to find accommodation with a children's club much cheaper in this area, particularly in peak season. The price includes flights from London Heathrow to Palermo via Rome on Alitalia or London Heathrow to Catania on BMI and car hire, which will enable you to explore the area. There is still availability for departures on 19 and 26 June and 3, 10 and 17 July.
Alternatively, consider a week at the Club Med (08453 676767; www.clubmed.co.uk) "family village" in Kamarina on the south-western coast of the island. Kamarina is a few kilometres from the atmospheric city of Ragusa, which boasts an archaeological museum, an 18th-century cathedral and several other Baroque churches. The resort has a free mini-club for children aged four to 10 that operates daily from 9am-9pm. It has a packed programme of activities, including arts and crafts, science and tennis, although some are dependent on age. There are plenty of opportunities to keep all of you occupied, from tennis to sailing and salsa dancing. Alternatively, you can relax on the beach and in the spa, which offers pampering packages for an extra cost. As with all Club Med resorts, the package is all-inclusive and costs £549 per adult and £454 for your daughter for one week, departing on 19 June. This includes return charter flights from Gatwick or Manchester (which would incur a £30 supplement) to Catania and full-board accommodation in either a bungalow or a hotel room (for the three of you). It also includes use of the hotel's facilities, some activities, the children's club and insurance. This brings the total to just £3 over your budget.