Family beach holidays are all about sun, sea and sand – a simple combination. As the best family beaches in Europe aren't always so well known, it's helpful to research the most exciting and entertaining spots in advance.
Banana boats and more family beach fun
Of France's 1,200 miles of sandy beaches, there are a few gems that make for perfect family beach holidays. Cavalaire-sur-Mer is noted for its superb diving, as is the island of Porquerolles, which is entirely vehicle-free. The island's Plage Notre Dame is one of the prettiest and least commercialised in the country. Plage de l'Espiguette, facing the Mediterranean, is more rugged but serene. In Biarritz, your whole family can take surfing lessons, and the dunes and forests that back the beaches are full of shady spots to relax or play in. Don't forget to explore rock pools by the cliffs at Finistère.
Llafranc, on Spain's Costa Brava, is a white smile of sand overlooked by rugged cliffs and verdant forests. Once favoured by Salvador Dali, the town's brilliant blue bay is bordered by family-friendly nature walk settings, and the town is filled with restaurants. It's just a five minute trip from the beach at Tamariu. Meanwhile, Majorca's Port d'Alcudia teams luxury with children's priorities, offering first-class swimming pools and fantastic beaches. There are three clubs running daily activities, and an ancient town to explore.
Italy's Calabria, situated at the toe of the famous boot, is home to low gradient beaches and ancient old towns such as Tropea. Here, la passeggiata, a traditional evening stroll, is one of the most involved in all of Italy. Much of the action centres around Gelati Tonino, a local institution that sells all imaginable flavours of gelato, including onion and cuttlefish – though lemon might be a safer bet.