Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: A holiday with a nine-year-old daughter
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Monday 11 February 2013
Q. My partner and I are middle aged and reasonably active with a nine-year-old daughter. But we haven't had a holiday since her birth.
We would welcome some suggestions about choosing the right type of holiday for us. The choice is overwhelming, and as a result we are finding it difficult to make a decision.
A. What an exciting prospect: to survey all the options the world has to offer. To narrow things down, I have looked exclusively at accessible, good-value destinations that combine many holiday dimensions: warm weather, a decent beach, great scenery, fabulous food (for both adults and nine-year olds), rich culture and plenty of options for activities.
Happily, all those are available reasonably close to hand.
On the French Mediterranean coast, Nice ticks almost all the boxes – except for the beach. Split in Croatia is an excellent choice, with easy access to offshore islands, though costs for both flights and holiday spending are higher than you might like.
Barcelona would be another good option, except for the high cost of accommodation and sometimes overwhelming energy in the city.
So I shall strongly recommend one of two nearby destinations: Cadaques, the former home of Salvador Dali, on the Med close to Girona; and, across the French frontier, the fine city of Montpellier. Both will be perfect for a week during the May half-term, but are going to be rather more crowded and expensive in July and August.
If your hearts are set on a school summer holiday on a slim budget, then I propose as an outside chance you consider the Polish Riviera in the second half of August – warm Baltic beaches, fascinating heritage and low, low prices. The resort of Sopot is lovely, and the historic city of Gdansk just a short hop away by train.
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