Family friendly European resorts near beautiful natural parks

Family friendly European resorts near beautiful natural parks

Good family-friendly resorts make everything easy. It’s sometimes tempting to stay put for the whole holiday. But if you’re up for a bit of an adventure in the wilds, a good compromise is to find a resort near a beautiful natural park. Here are some of our favourites, which we’ve either stayed at ourselves, or heard about from friends.

Saalfelden Leogang, in the Salzburg Alps, Austria

Puradies

Saalfelden Leogang lies in the Austrian Alps, just over an hour from Salzburg. In Winter, Saalfelden Leogang’s a ski resort and part of the Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn, which has 270 km of pistes and is one of the largest ski areas in the country. In the Summer, family-friendly mountain chair-lifts take holidaymakers high up over forests and lakes. The mountain tips are a craggy challenge for seasoned climbers, but at their feet there are gently rolling hills and valleys, so people of any age can find a hiking trail to suit them.

If the cablecar ride whets your appetite for sailing over the hills, one way to come back down is via the Flying Fox XXL. At 1,600 metres it’s one of the fastest and longest steel zip lines in the world. You can fly down at speeds of up to 130 km/hr, with the treetops 140 meters below. A less terrifying descent is via the Summer toboggan ride. The Salzburg Alps are popular with cyclists, and Saalfelden Leogang has its own bikepark, which hosted this year’s UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships. Free bikes are available for children at the valley station for the Biberg lift in Saafelden, to use in the Kiddy park, including a wide variety of obstacles like wooden bridges and sharp bends

Mojacar, in Almeira, southeast Spain

Cabo de Gata

Cabo de Gata natural park. Image by cucoalmeria via Pixabay.

Mojacar is a spanish resort split into two sections: Mojacar Playa (by the beach) and Mojacar Pueblo, set on a hilltop with stunning views of the Sierra Cabrera Mountains. James Villas offer properties for rent at Mojacar, which has restaurants serving delicious Spanish cuisine, including fish fresh from the harbour.

Another big draw is the Cabo de Gata natural park in Andalucia, about an hour away from the resort. At 550 square kilometres, Cabo de Gata is the largest coastal protected area, and the only true desert in Europe. It’s a UNESCO Biosphere because of its unique marine and plant life. Visitors can snorkel around colourful marine life and coral reefs, and spot flamingos, herons and oystercatchers on the broad mudflats. There are plenty of family-friendly activities in Cabo de Gata, like taking some quiet time on the secluded beaches, horse-riding, or exploring the traditional villages in the park.

Bluestone, in Pembrokeshire, Wales

Bluestone Wales

We stayed at Bluestone two years ago.  You can read about it here. The resort is set on 500 acres of Pembrokeshire countryside, at the south-western tip of the Welsh coastline. The 5-star resort itself is made up of reconstructions of traditional Welsh houses, and cosy wooden cabins with furniture typical of the area. There’s a ‘Blue Lagoon’ indoor pool complex, a large indoor centre with a climbing wall, and plenty of outdoor activities, like treetop climbing, to keep families happy on-site.

People that do want to venture further afield can visit the Pembrokeshire coast national park. The park was named the second best coastal destination in the world in 2011 by National Geographic magazine. It has a varied landscape of rugged cliffs, sandy beaches and even forests and marshland. The puffins of Skomer Island are only a boat ride away. Also neaby is the best-preserved neolithic dolmen in Wales, Pentre Ifan, and sandy beaches which are perfect for rock-pooling.

Myrkdalen resort, Voss, western Norway

Stegastein viewpoint

the Sognefjord

Myrkdalen is a ski resort in the winter months, with a modern mountain hotel, and chalets for hire. In the summer it offers a variety of activities for family visitors, including hiking trails, high ropes, rafting, horseback riding, paragliding and fly fishing with one of the best female fly fishers in the world.

Myrkdalen’s big selling point is its closeness to the stunning fjord region of western Norway, which I’ve written about here. The Sognefjord,  Norway’s longest and deepest fjord, is within easy reach for a day trip. Its famous arm, the Nærøyfjord, has World Heritage status. You can visit the fjords by board boat, cruise ferry, or from a distance of height by driving up to the 650m Stegastein viewpoint. The Flåm Railway twists its way around the fjord’s mountains and is named as one of the most picturesque rail journeys in the world. I’ve posted about it here. On your way back to Myrkdalen, you can stop at traditional villages to taste and buy sweet goat’s cheese, or even a sheep’s head farm, if you’re particularly adventurous with your dining habits.

 

Have you stayed at any resorts close to beautiful natural parks? Do tell us about them, in the comments below.

Pin for later:

resorts

This is a collaborative post. All views are my own.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Tin Box traveller

Save

Follow:
Like this post? Why not share it:

21 Comments

  1. April 4, 2017 / 2:25 pm

    Oh gosh this is such a useful post! It’s great to find a resort and destination that can combine nature and hiking with something that the children find exciting.
    Nat.x

    • Nell
      Author
      June 4, 2017 / 6:49 pm

      Yes, a good resort helps ease children into the joys of nature!

  2. June 5, 2017 / 8:01 am

    We tend not to stay in resorts – but the locations of these sound tempting…. #MondayEscapes

    • Nell
      Author
      June 6, 2017 / 11:50 am

      The resorts we stayed it were very understated, and in keeping with their surroundings. Having the facilities helped, I found!

  3. June 5, 2017 / 11:54 am

    These all sound lovely locations and there’s some great activities to do too – perfect holidays for outdoor families. I think Mojacar is my favourite though. Thanks for linking up with #MondayEscapes!

    • Nell
      Author
      June 6, 2017 / 11:52 am

      Mojacar’s the only one we haven’t visited yet. I’m desperate to go!

  4. June 5, 2017 / 1:35 pm

    Norway looks absolutely stunning and I loved admiring your photos over the last few weeks. It’s somewhere I reeeally want to go one day and just see it all!

    • Nell
      Author
      June 6, 2017 / 11:56 am

      It’s a feast for the eyes, the mind and the body!

  5. June 5, 2017 / 7:23 pm

    Such a useful post, Nell. A family friendly resort can really make a huge difference in a vacation..we’re all just trying to get by and it’s nice when resorts know how to cater to you! #mondayescapes

    • Nell
      Author
      June 6, 2017 / 11:57 am

      I know. A bit of comfort and luxury can make all the difference to a holiday!

  6. June 5, 2017 / 8:47 pm

    I have a real soft spot for Norway. The photo of Myrkdalen resort makes me want to pack a bag and do some hiking in fresh mountain air. Beautiful!

  7. June 5, 2017 / 11:14 pm

    What beautiful places! I’ve been wanting to go to Norway for years, but keep putting it off until I’ve saved more money. I’m not sure that point will ever come. #MondayEscapes

    • Nell
      Author
      June 6, 2017 / 12:11 pm

      Norway can get expensive, it’s true – but there are ways to do it on a lower budget. It needs to be seen to be believed!

  8. June 6, 2017 / 4:30 am

    The Salzburg area is gorgeous! I was there about a week ago and felt like staying a month. In addition, I would like to visit the Almeria region. I know it is blessed with natural beauty. #MondayEscapes

    • Nell
      Author
      June 6, 2017 / 12:12 pm

      Ah yes – I want to go back to the Salzburg Alps! So beautiful.

  9. June 6, 2017 / 5:27 pm

    These are so beautiful! And that one from Norway, WOW! That is somewhere I’d love to visit and see in person it looks stunning. I’ll have to keep these places in mind just to visit and see. Great list!

    • Nell
      Author
      June 8, 2017 / 11:19 am

      They’re all so beautiful, you’re right.

    • Nell
      Author
      June 8, 2017 / 11:23 am

      I’ll see what I can do!

  10. June 6, 2017 / 8:29 pm

    Oh I so want to go to Norway it looks incredible, and I have always ruled Blustone out as not my kind of thing but the more I read it the more I think I may like it x

    • Nell
      Author
      June 8, 2017 / 11:29 am

      I do think you’d like it there, Sarah.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.