Sun, sand, and sea - but no hooligans

Information desk: Your questions answered by our panel of experts
We are looking for somewhere sunny and warm enough to swim for all the family over the Easter holidays - our children are five and seven years old. We have considered the Canary Islands but are worried about reports of hooligans there.

Mrs E Wood


Jill Crawshaw replies: Your choice of the Canaries as a sunny destination for Easter is correct - absolutely nowhere in the Med can really guarantee sunshine at that time, whatever the brochures say. The two main resorts in the Canaries which attract ravers - and yes, sadly, some hooligans, too - are Playa de las Americas in Tenerife, and Playa del Ingles in Gran Canaria.

But there are other resorts on these two islands which are quieter: Puerto de la Cruz on Tenerife is picturesque, but unfortunately has no beach and a lot of hills. Los Cristianos, near to Playa de las Americas, does have a beach and the remnants of the fishing village it once was.

In Gran Canaria, there are a number of good villas and apartments at the western end of Maspalomas, well away from the somewhat raucous Playa del Ingles. Backed by rolling dunes (an extension of the Sahara), the Maspalomas beach is excellent.

However, I think you might well think about one of the less popular islands. Lanzarote looks forbidding when you first see it, like a giant ash heap, but it has the highest quality of accommodation in the Canaries, and many family attractions.

These include the Timanfaya National Park and the "fire mountains", where you can enjoy a ride on a camel, watch spontaneous combustion, and learn about volcanic eruptions that blew up the island in the 18th century.

The island also has some spectacular caves at Jameo del Agua, a house built over lava bubbles, and it is an easy ferry journey to the island of Fuerteventura.

Most resorts have excellent beaches and watersport instruction. Puerto del Carmen is the noisiest; Costa Teguse is smartish and purpose-built, with good family apartments.

In my opinion, the best family resort is Playa Blanca in the south of the island, with a fine white sandy beach, fish restaurants, and two hotels which are excellent at catering for children, with childrens' pools, clubs and playgrounds. Cosmos (tel: 0161-476 5678) offers the Hotel Timanfaya Palace and the Hotel Lanzote Princess, which are used by other operators as well.

Neighbouring Fuerteventura is larger, with superb watersports but very little sightseeing of any note - you would really go there for a relaxing beach holiday. As it can be breezy, the best resort with younger children is Caleta da Fusta, which is quiet, with shallow waters protected by the bay.

The hotels and self-catering holiday villages here are all well-equipped for families, and are offered by a good selection of tour operators.

Jill Crawshaw is a travel expert, writer, and broadcaster.