A route covering some of Dubai’s best theme parks

One thing that really surprise people about a destination like Dubai is its versatility. This is a capital that is perfect for any kind of visit, whether you travel as a couple (in hotels such as Arabian Courtyard Hotel & Spa), with friends or – of course – as a family.

Beyond the dunes, the urban enchantment and its many (very many) possibilities, Dubai also has specific attractions that are a lot of fun if you’re thinking of enjoying this destination as a family. The jewel in the crown? The theme parks. Parks of massive proportions with hundreds of attractions that will leave even the most sceptic traveller speechless. This month in Family Destinations we check out the main three.

IMG Worlds of Adventure

With a total area the size of 28 football pitches, very few would ever doubt the magnificence of IMG Worlds of Adventure, the largest theme park in Dubai. Located a little over 40 minutes by car from the four-star hotels in the centre of Bur Dubái, this place is ideal if you want the younger members of the family to enjoy themselves like never before.

Apart from attractions that carry the Cartoon Network and Marvel logos, the park (offering the perfect temperature if you consider the fact that temperatures can reach up to 52 degrees Celsius in summer) also offers a 3D cinema, themed restaurants and a lot more.

Legoland Dubai

The LEGO fever has reached beyond the famous stores in London and New York, with the company now presenting its very own theme park in Dubai: Legoland Dubai. Built from millions and millions of LEGO blocks, the park offers around fifty different attractions for families travelling here.

They say that if there’s one thing you mustn’t miss if you come here, it’s The Dragon, a roller coaster faster than 60 km/h. The perfect way of earning a well-deserved rest in your hotel room in Bur Dubai.

Motiongate, or Little Hollywood

Apart from being a pretty and very complete theme park, what we like the most about Motiongate is the near-perfect reconstructions from unique motion pictures that have been converted into attractions.

 

Mallorca: three kinds of accommodation for three kinds of families

Checking whether the dates we prefer will work and trying to find the perfect hotel that will also fit our waller – the truth is that when you choose a hotel for your next holiday there are other things than destination, dates and even price to take into account.

What is the secret to a perfect holiday? Finding that hotel that really fits the way we travel, the way we see life, relax and even entertain our children. Is it possible to really hit the spot in that sense? The answer is that in places like Mallorca, yes, without a doubt.

Family Beach

Active and very adventurous families

Even if no one is ever going to complain about a bit of luxury (it has to be said), it’s a fact that some adventurous families take other, more practical services into account. Location, for example, and making sure there’s plenty of interesting entertainment on offer for the little ones. Chains like Gran Isla are aware that the number of families looking for these things is on the rise, so they have created accommodation options such as Pirates Village Apartments.

Located in the beautiful seaside town Santa Ponça, Pirates Villages does not only offer rooms that are designed for the family’s ‘smaller pirates’; they also make sure the menu is top-level and that there’s easy transport to attractions like the Galatzó farm, Palmanova and Palma, the capital of the island.

Standard families

Those who fall somewhere in between adventure and peace and quiet make up our ‘Standard-families group’. Here we find families with kids between 5 and 7 years of age that might want to rush down a zip-line in the popular Jungle Park, or spend an evening visiting great museums such as the lovely Es Baluard (in Palma).

Jutlandia Family Resort is the best choice for all these families. This hotel is located in Santa Ponça and features specific areas for the bosses of the family as well as a full schedule of entertainment and fun for large and small, which will turn your standard holiday into a sensory experience.

Families who like the island calm

Known for sheltering a cost called ‘the Calm Coast’, the Costa Calma, Mallorca is the ideal place to come for that long-awaited tranquility. In places like Santa Ponça this island becomes a genuine retreat of silence and serenity for families looking to disconnect by the sea, surrounded by the most beautiful flora you can find at this destination.

For this group of families on holiday we would suggest a hotel like the Plazamar Serenity Resort, a hotel located less than 300 metres from the beach and where you can enjoy excellent food as well as an impressive pool surrounded by palm trees.

Resorts you won’t want to leave

Aaaaah, holiday, family, Mallorca, sun, beach and fun! This combination is never going to go out of fashion. The secret is finding the best resort where you can set up ‘base camp’ and retire to when you need a rest and where everything is taken care of for you. The only problem is that you’ll be so at ease that nothing will make you want to leave the resort.

Better than anyone, Meliá hotels have been able to give its original brand ‘Sol’ new life and to make it interesting. It’s now called Sol by Melia. Ever since the chain was established in Magaluf back in the 50s it has always been synonymous with relaxation and a family-like atmosphere, and later adventure and music were added to these attributes.

Couples, families, friends, the young and the not so young can find everything they need, and more, at the Sol holiday resorts. On Mallorca it’s obvious that Magaluf is the Meliá stronghold. I was told that the company is making significant investments there to completely remodel the area and up its level. I can assure you it’s on track. For our last holiday I took my family to the Sol Katmandu Park Resort and the ‘wow’ feeling and all the laughs we shared are still very vivid memories.

Vacaciones familiares

Fun for all ages

To us it was absolute success, because we could combine the beach we love so much with a theme park that has everything you could wish for in terms of children’s attractions, water games, a zip-line (the longest in Spain), 4D-cinema, mini golf and even houses of terror for youth and adults. All this without leaving the resort. What luxury!

If you prefer to leave the kids at home, no problem. Not far away, on Palma Nova beach, you’ll find an exceptional ‘adults only’: the Sol Beach House on Mallorca. There you can experience the exclusive touch that characterises the brand and makes you feel special. If you’re thinking about a romantic holiday, this resort offers everything you might need and it’s also right by the beach.

When you’re at Sol Beach House you’ll probably want to try all the activities on offer: hiking, water sports, yoga, pilates, live music, barbecues, walks on the beach… you name it! But there will be lots of times when you’ll be happy experiencing something we enjoy more and more as the years go by: the pleasure of doing NOTHING. I must admit that there were complaints from my travel companion, who claimed the swimming pool and the gardens had abducted me. No wonder!

Dubai…¿Why not for a family trip?

When you think in Dubai the first thing that comes to your mind are business trips or shopping opportunity, so when a friend told us about his trip to this town with all his family we were quite surprised about all the fun they had there. Not only did they find a four-star hotel in Bur Dubai that was nice and well-priced, the Arabian Courtyard Hotel & Spa, where they stayed at two connected rooms (one for the parents and their little girl and the other for the 8 and 10 years old kids), but also they did lots of funny activities in which they all had fun. If they wanted to convince us for going to Dubai in one of our next trips they made a great job!

One of the visits they were more impressed with was the one to Aquadventure Water Park, a place you get to by monorail. It has a water park, an area for discovering underwater world and a highly special place: Dolphin Bay. Both parents and children had the chance to swim with the dolphins…yes, actually swim with them! One of those dreams many of us have since we were kids.

Also as a marine adventure, the Dubay Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, which apparently is of the biggest in the world. One of the best things is the aquarium tunnel, which offers you the possibility of walking right through the biggest tank so you can see very close to the over 300 sharks and rays that live in it. And though they didn’t personally do it, it seems that you can rent some sort of scooter that takes you deep below the surface of the aquarium!

They also visit three curious places. One of them is Kidzania, where children can role-play activities done by adults in real life, so they can meet their own abilities and interests. In fact, they ‘work’ as a fireman, doctor or journalist, amongst many other options, and in exchange they ‘get paid’ with the official currency of that place, the KidZos, that they can use to buy products and services in this entertainment center.

The next one is Sega Republic, a theme park about games and characters created by Sega company (you can find Sonic there, the hedgehog of the videogames), or Children’s City, a place in which children can not only play, but also learn how to build a bridge, test out space equipment, get up close to high technology or learn some more about astronomy at the planetarium.

But to us was particularly surprising the fact that they enjoyed some ice skating at the Dubai Mall. Yes, ice skating in the middle of the desert, it’s not a joke! And it also looks fantastic the Bounce Dubai, an urban playground with over 100 interconnected trampolines where you decide if you want to make it easy or really challenging, but a safe experience anyway.

And, definitively, since you are in Dubai you must at least once enjoy some romantic moments. As for our friends, they hired the babysitter service and they enjoyed ‘Dubai la nuit’ on a thursday, apparently one of the best days to do so. A well-deserved lovely dinner and a drink (yes, no-muslims are allowed to drink alcohol) on their own after a whole day with the kids.

Tips for travellers looking for a perfect family holiday on Fuerteventura

Warm, comfortable (due to its handy, compact size) and filled with activities to enjoy day and night: Fuerteventura has been, and will always be, one of the best destinations for those who enjoy travelling as a family. A way of travelling that provides you with unique and endearing family moments, but also requires a lot of prior planning and a study of the destination in question, paying attention to issues such as: temperature at the destination, service for the children, climatology, type of cuisine and much, much more.

Even if Fuerteventura is a place that has been able to adopt to various ways of travelling, the island has its different ‘pros and cons’ that should be taken into consideration to avoid last-minute surprises or badly-planned excursions, both in time and in form. If you have focused on Fuerteventura as a place where you’d like to spend your upcoming summer holidays please take note, because today we’re going to outline some ‘travel tips for families’ that will come in handy:

Fuerteventura

A warm climate, but with surprises

While everyone knows that the climate on the Canary Island is warm year-round, the fact is that the Atlantic Ocean makes the stuffy, warm temperatures that characterise the archipelago during the day change into a much cooler breeze once evening falls. Cool, as in…? Cool as in wearing (especially the children, so they don’t get cold) a thin jacket, a jumper or a knitted cardigan. But only in the evening.

Tasty, but spicy food

The culinary culture on Fuerteventura is – for sure – exquisite and very tasty as far as adults are concerned, but when it comes to your child (or children) perhaps it’s not that spectacular. This is because most children are not used to spicy food and the fact is that the Canary Islands have a lot of sauces and spices that feature strongly in their gastronomy. So don’t hesitate to ask for what ingredients each dish contains in case you have any doubts.

Excursions in nature with… bathrooms?

One of the things we all love about Fuerteventura is the natural environment, the landscapes and the many excursions to unique corners of the island. Excursions that we recommend you study in depth to avoid having to run around looking for ‘bathrooms with changing facilities’. The best way of avoiding surprises is to find out beforehand at your hotel or from your travel agent what to expect, as they will surely come up with the best solution for you and your family.

Hotels for families on the island of Fuerteventura

One thing you’ll not have to worry about is finding a good, family-friendly hotel. On Fuerteventura there are plenty of hotels offering good value for money that cater to families on holiday. Among the most popular ones we find gems such as the IBEROSTAR Fuerteventura Palace, IBEROSTAR Playa Gaviotas, and IBEROSTAR Playa Gaviotas Park.

3 family excursions near Madrid, ideal for Easter

Whether you like the ritual celebrations of the Holy Week or not, the truth is that when travelling as a family the tradition of watching the processions and enjoying the works of art created by the artists of this country becomes slightly more complicated. The reason mainly being that the youngest members of the household are on holiday, they get tired of standing around and it’s up to the parents to provide them with a bit of assured fun instead.

Even if Madrid is the perfect destination to enjoy the Easter holiday with your family (which is why there are plenty of interesting hotel offers available at hotels such as Petit Palace Cliper Gran Via, Petit Palace Madrid Aeropuerto or others like  Petit Palace Arturo Soria hotel), some areas of the city are completely taken over by the processions of Holy Week, that’s for sure. So what does this blog recommend when it comes to travelling with children? It’s easy: rent a stroller or watch the processions from the train, looking for alternative plans in locations that are conveniently near the capital.

Aldea del Fresno

Aldea del Fresno

A walk through Fresno Village

Did you know that just fifty kilometres from Madrid you can enjoy the very best parts of a real safari, with zebras, tigers and giraffes? This and much more is what you will find in Fresno Village. This small village surrounded by two rivers is a unique place for a day of hiking, a family picnic and even an excursion that’s like a proper safari, provided by the park called ‘Safari Madrid’. The best thing about it? That you can access the park and enjoy the experience from the comfort of your own car.

The magic of a place called Aranjuez

Visiting Aranjuez is a bit like walking through a movie set. It’s a place you can get to very easily and quickly, as it’s only located some fourteen kilometres from the capital city. With its palaces, the views over the Tagus, its gardens and amazing panoramas, Aranjuez is an ideal spot to enjoy a family outing where there is also space for gastronomic encounters featuring unique produce such as asparagus and strawberries (two of the star products in this place). There is a lot on offer here.

Discover the inhabitants of the Enchanted Forest

This excursion does take you a but further away from Madrid, but the Enchanted Forest (located just over 70 kilometres from the centre of the capital) is worth the effort and more. We’re talking about a garden with more than five hundred plant species from all over the world where there is no shortage of unique spots guarded by hedges cut into all kinds of fun shapes (that will delight the smaller members of the family).

This year the children choose the holidays

In reality, almost always or always, children choose the family holidays. All of us who are parents know who has the pan by the handle and no we are not precisely… The destinations that are shuffled around when booking a trip with children always have to be perfectly aligned with the needs of the kings of the house. Otherwise, vacations will be a failure. For them, and for you.

For this reason, there are more and more specialized hotels for families. Most are found in beach areas and full of tourist services as the sea and sand are one of the most friendly scenarios for the little ones and, let’s not fool ourselves, also for us. The beach is always a plus. And if the hotel is aimed at kids, that’s better than better. They are everywhere. They are more expensive than the classic hotels, but those who have tried them say that they are the worth the extra cost.

Northern Mallorca

The hotels for children in Alcudia are the highest rated in Spain. Reasons not to miss them: in addition to being a reference point for families, the northern area is a spectacular natural area for children to truly enjoy the outdoors, the beach, nature and games while sharing their days with children from all over Europe.

On your list of places to see with the family, you shouldn’t miss an excursion through S’Albufera de Mallorca, which is in the Playa de Muro area. Admire the views offered by the Cabo Formentor, sunbathe in its pristine cove of crystal clear waters or even practice kayaking along the beautiful coasts of the La Victoria area.

Playa Jandía

This is one of the destinations that has raised its prestige among travelers with children in recent years. It’s the peninsula of the extreme south of Fuerteventura. Its main charms are the incredible Atlantic beaches, long, fine sands and with lower waves than in the North of Fuerteventura. Spring weather throughout the year, which is almost a unique guarantee of sunshine; and the excellent services and attractions for children in the area. A natural park for excursions, the village of Morro Jable where you can show the little ones the daily routines of fishermen…

The hotels for children on Playa Jandía are another plus: they have specialized a lot and are getting better each year. Both in the offering of children’s activities and in the services they provide to parents, so that we can also give ourselves a well deserved break during vacation. The prices are quite affordable and have a high quality to price ratio.

Lanzarote

Besides being the perfect destination for the children to be amazed at and learn new and really interesting things about nature, Lanzarote is an ideal place to rest. Its volcanic landscapes propose a trip to the moon that will activate the imagination of the little ones. Its black sand beaches will surprise you and conquer your from minute one. And its theme parks, events and activities that are scheduled all year round in its most touristic centers form the perfect conglomerate to opt for this magical island as a vacation spot.
For accommodations, you can opt for beach apartments or decide on the hotels for children in Lanzarote, which are generally fairly well price (as it does well all year round, so not much increase in high season) and offer more free amenities than an apartment.