20 fabulous family holidays for 2022

The first weekend of January, as tradition dictates, is spent vacuuming up pine needles and poring over calendars at the kitchen table for the annual family holiday planning session – which this year has an additional fizz of excitement about it. On Wednesday, the UK government made the rather timely announcement that pre-departure tests for arrival are to be scrapped (again), making overseas travel easily accessible once more. What with this, the renewed demise of the red list, and borders near and far reopening – well, the very realistic prospect of a truly thrilling family holiday abroad this summer, whether on your own or as part of a group, is almost too exciting to contemplate. The big question is: where?

The possibilities are limitless. Once again, all that colour and vitality, all those unfamiliar flavours and mind-expanding cultures. Empty red deserts and the deep blue sea; the fragrance of the far-flung; the untethered remoteness of islands. The heat and dust and remarkable wildlife encounters of Africa. North America, that drama queen of a continent, beckons with its supersized and diverse landscapes; Italy, our eternal amore, proves that absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

Perhaps the destination does not matter so much as how we travel, and what we do when we’re there. Nothing feels more precious right now than finding those unique experiences with which travel can present us, which our children can gather and treasure – experiences to make them think, give them stories to tell, teach them new tricks, deepen their understanding of our planet, and broaden their horizons, so severely restricted of late. 

Two years is a very long time to a child. After playing it safe the past two summers with holidays close to home, it feels as though in 2022 the kids, particularly, deserve something a bit more enriching and extraordinary than a run-of-the-mill beach break now that the world lies open before us once more. 

We’ll always have the Shires – but the time has come to strike out for distant lands, push for adventures in the great beyond. Our return to travel should be triumphant, ambitious, as well as responsible. A glorious reunion with this big, wide, endlessly extraordinary world.

1. Make history in Egypt

For: teens

Egyptomania is back, with Kenneth Branagh’s remake of Death in the Nile out in February; and in November, precisely a century after Egyptologist Howard Carter chiselled his way into Tutankhamen’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings, the Grand Egyptian Museum set to finally open in Giza. Black Tomato’s new “Unearth the Secrets of Saqqara” Field Trip digs deeper: teenagers (16+) join a real archaeological excavation in the tombs of pharaohs at the Unesco-listed necropolis.





Egypt never fails to fascinate


Credit: Shutterstock

How to do it: Black Tomato (020 7426 9888; blacktomato.com) offers a six-night Ultimate Egypt trip from £4,315pp, including Saqqara Field Trip

2. Canadian cool

For: everyone from tweens to gramps

This is surely one of the world’s most awe-inspiring landscapes: gargantuan forests harbouring wolves and bears, rugged peaks reflected in waters alive with humpbacks, orca and dolphins, wilderness mostly untouched, save a few rustic-lux lodges. Klahoose Wilderness Resort is the latest: owned by Klahoose First Nation, its guides share both wildlife and cultural secrets, telling stories passed down through generations. Take a cabin or commandeer the place.





Seeing a bear in the wild is an unforgettable experience


Credit: Klahoose Wilderness Resort

How to do it: Klahoose Wilderness Resort (00 1 250-935-8539; klahooseresort.com) offers two-bedroom cabins from £1,370pp all-inclusive for three nights; or book a package with Discover the World (01737 214251; discover-the-world.com)

3. Neapolitan mini grand tour

For: all ages and groups

Sleepy Procida, barely two square miles, has been named Italy’s Capital of Culture in 2022, when its pastel-painted streets – backdrop for Il Postino – will awaken with cultural events. Make it part of a Bay of Naples jaunt that includes catching supper with fishermen (foraday.it), Ischia’s beaches and thermal pools, underground skulls in Naples, and lava tales at Pompeii and Vesuvius.

How to do it: Yescapa (yescapa.co.uk) offers campervans from £448 a week in Naples. Spectacular new Villa Ischia has six bedrooms and gardens down to the sea, from £12,800 a week (020 7586 5342; theluxurytravelbook.com).

4. Sri Lanka made even easier

For: tweens and up

Sri Lanka’s blend of easygoing culture and natural beauty appeals for an accessible taste of the faraway. It’s great for kids – less hectic than India but still colourful, with friendly people and delicious food; it has leopards and elephants in its national parks, langurs and loris in its rainforests, sandy beaches and breakers to surf, heritage fort towns and peaceful temples. Wild Frontiers’ new 11-day Sri Lanka Family Adventure reveals the island by catamaran, canoe and on foot, from tea plantations to coast.





Make sure to include a safari as part of your family holiday to Sri Lanka


Credit: Getty

How to do it: Wild Frontiers (020 8741 7390; wildfrontierstravel.com) offers 11 nights from £1,240pp

5. Portugal’s untamed coast

For: tots, tweens and groups

A rustic alternative to the Algarve is Comporta, which the Portuguese would rather keep secret. With its long beaches and paddy fields it feels remote, though Lisbon’s only an hour away. Days are spent horse riding, birdwatching, sailing and surfing among bottlenose dolphins. There’s little development, no nightlife and few hotels – the thing to do here is rent a house, which is why it’s ideal for families. 





Swap the Algarve for Comporta and spend your days horse riding


Credit: Cavalos na Areia, Comporta

How to do it: New pool villa Pego Paradise has five bedrooms with private terraces and sleeps 14, from £8,000 a week (020 7586 5342; theluxurytravelbook.com). Or try the villas at eco-chic Sublime hotel (00 351 269 449 376; sublimecomporta.pt), which can arrange experiences

6. New Orleans and Deep South by Road

For: teens

Music makes a comeback in New Orleans with a blare of trumpets this year. Rebuilt once again, after Hurricane Ida, the Big Easy will get spangled up with the return of Mardi Gras. Carnival season will run over February half term, and a year packed with festivals will bring musicians to the streets of the French Quarter. Between Creole feasts, join gator-spotting swamp trips, delve into voodoo, and take Black History walking tours to engage and enlighten teens.

How to do it: Abercrombie & Kent (abercrombiekent.co.uk) offers an Iconic Deep South nine-night self-drive tour, also taking in Nashville and Memphis, from £4,775pp

7. Botswana Bushcraft 

For: teen-and-parent eco warriors

This year Africa luxury travel specialist &Beyond launches Wildchild Eco-guide Challenges, conservation-focused trips designed to engage, educate and inspire 14- to 18-year-olds and parents travelling together. The small-group journeys layer hands-on experiences with game drives in some of Africa’s most amazing locations. In Botswana’s Okavango Delta, for example (best visited later in the year), teens might learn Bushman skills, tracking and fishing, and assist in the conservation of rhinos, wild dogs and baobab trees. 





A family holiday in Botswana with &Beyond


Credit: Kichwa Tembo

How to do it: Four nights at &Beyond Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp, from October 22-26, costs from £2,400 per child/£4,800 per adult (00 27 11 809 4300; andbeyond.com)

8. All-action Azores

For: all ages and groups

The natural adventure playground of the Azores gets closer this summer when British Airways launches additional routes to Sào Miguel and Terceira. The archipelago – the first in the world to be EarthCheck-certified sustainable – does a good line in rustic-chic eco-lodges, such as Benedita Branco’s Lava Homes on Pico island. Recently she opened Adega do Fogo, a luxury six-bedroom house on a vineyard, with a Balinese-style pool deck overlooking the volcano. Aimed at families, stays here are all-action; the host can arrange mountain hikes, bike rides, live music, fishing trips, diving and whale-watching.

How to do it: Adega do Fogo (00 351 960469255; eng.adegadofogo.com) offers three nights from £5,000 for 12 people

9. Indian Ocean Immersion

For: children aged over six

Once a honeymoon fly-and-flop spot, the Maldives has moved on, with many resorts pioneering marine conservation initiatives with which guests of any age can get involved. Six Senses Laamu runs a Junior Marine Biology programme for six- to 16-year-olds, joining marine biologists researching turtles or restoring coral, while families can dive and plant corals together. At Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani, an inhouse academy offers courses studying the night sky, marine life, or ocean navigation and tides for children aged over 12.





The Maldives is much more than just romance

How to do it: Scott Dunn (020 3553 6900; scottdunn.com) can arrange holidays and programmes at all three resorts 

10. Ranch life in Croatia

For: tweens and up

Exhilarating rides, open country, big skies… a ranch holiday is just the ticket for broadening horizons, and Montana is high on the wishlist for 2022. But there’s a working guest ranch closer to home, though just as remote: Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch, in Croatia’s Velebit mountains biosphere reserve. This sustainable wilderness retreat is brilliant for families; as well as riding there’s canoeing and caving, animal tracking and archery, wagon rides and more. At night, storytelling around the campfire, music, dancing, and sleeping in tipis.

How to do it: Earth Changers (0330 2232 784; earth-changers.com) offers three nights from £326 per child/£443 per adult

11. World wonders in Jordan

For: young families and solo children/parents

The Cambridges’ Christmas card this year – picturing the immaculately groomed family against the red rock of Petra – has put Jordan top of mind as a 2022 holiday destination. It’s got lots of appeal even for those with young kids (not least the very doable five-hour flight), combining wonders such as Petra with colourful but safe adventures: camel trekking, Red Sea snorkelling, Dead Sea floating, and sleeping in Bedouin camps.





Children of all ages will find much to love about Jordan


Credit: Shutterstock

How to do it: Families Worldwide (01962 302 062; familiesworldwide.co.uk) offers a new seven-night Arabian Adventure (bespoke or small-group tour) from £2,145pp including flights 

12. A blue cruise

For: older kids and multigen groups

Exiled poet Cevat Şakir made the Blue Cruise – a gulet voyage along Turkey’s Turquoise Coast – fashionable among the Istanbul cognoscenti in the Sixties. In 2022 it’s particularly fashionable with Brits, too; Turkey is great value, easy to reach, and a sailing charter makes a dream bubble holiday that still allows for exploration – seeking out pine-forested bays, uninhabited islets, shoreside tavernas, and underwater remains of ancient civilisations. 





A gulet voyage along Turkey’s Turquoise Coast is ideal for multigen groups


Credit: Alamy

How to do it: Red Savannah (01242 787800; redsavannah.com) has several beautiful gulets for charter, sleeping up to 20; while Blue Cruise (020 8968 7770; bluecruise.co.uk) offers affordable shared cruises.

13. Become a jedi master in Florida 

For: children aged over seven

An out-of-this-world experiential adventure launches this March in Florida: a two-night “voyage” aboard the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. Launch Pods transport kids and parents from Disney World through hyperspace to the Starcruiser, an immersive space where they will meet and work with Star Wars characters, take the ship’s controls, learn to use lightsabers, join missions and sleep in a cabin looking out at galaxies far, far away.

How to do it: Disney World (disneyworld.co.uk/destinations/star-wars-galactic-starcruiser) offers two-night trips from around £3,900 per family

14. Anchors aweigh in Anchorage 

For: solo parents and children aged over seven

National Geographic has teamed up with G Adventures to create a series of Family Journeys. The small-group trips are designed to give young travellers meaningful encounters, and learn something while they’re at it – with like-minded company for parents/kids travelling solo. Destinations for 2022 include Alaska, where children can earn junior ranger badges while making unforgettable memories: dogsledding across a glacier, watching whales breach, and going on a bear hunt. 

How to do it: G Adventures (0344 272 2080; gadventures.com) offers a nine-day Alaska Family Journey from £3,599pp 

15. France on two wheels

For: teens

Amateur cyclists can conquer Normandy this year on the new Seine-side cycle route: La Seine à Vélo, winding 270 painterly miles from Paris to the sea. Starting from Notre-Dame, the route takes you along the city’s hip Canal Saint-Martin quarter and the Seine’s old towpaths, via Renoir’s immortalised terrace on the Ile des Impressionnistes. On, past barges, timber-frame houses, orchards. This is impressionism country: at Giverny you’ll see Monet’s house; later medieval Rouen and, at the coast, picturesque Honfleur.





Explore Normandy by bike


Credit: David Darrault

How to do it: Plan your journey at laseineavelo.com

16. Glamp America

For: tots to teens  

As with so many things, Americans go large on glamping. AutoCamp – whose lux-kitted Airstreams are 31 feet long and sleep four – opened new sites recently in two beloved US locations, beach-classic Cape Cod in 2021, and otherworldly-desert Joshua Tree just last week. These camps are about all-American outdoorsiness: smores and folk tales around the campfire, barbecue cook-outs, movie nights and creative workshops, and inventive activities from leaf peeping paddleboard tours to fat biking through cranberry bogs.

How to do it: AutoCamp (autocamp.com) offers Airstreams from £95 per night

17. So Dam cool

For: all ages

The Unbound is the hip weekender for young Amsterdam families: a scattering of black-timber cabins in a green suburb 30 minutes’ cycle from Centraal station. While not billed as ‘family-friendly’ (which for many adds to the appeal), this being Holland it’s entirely inclusive, with menus for kids and dogs. Families can put up at the five-berth Lighthouse or the two-storey Barn, both with hot tubs; or at nearby Freelodge Village in seven stilted two-bed cabins. Parents appreciate the barrel sauna and restaurant helmed by acclaimed chefs; children love the outdoor theatre, playground, pond and canoes.





The fact The Unbound isn’t billed as family-friendly adds might even add to its appeal

How to do it: Freelodge cabins from €155, unbound-amsterdam.com

18. Costa Rica surf

For: tots to teens

Costa Rica is an ecotourism champion. It’s also safe, easy and just the ticket for families seeking wildlife and jungle adventures, with a slew of new tours. Alternatively, you could take two weeks to get to know one place well, surfing the beach towns of its breathtaking Pacific Coast, such as Santa Teresa and Nosara, and the less-visited Osa Peninsula. In Nosara, Olas Verdes is a chic eco-lodge where guests can surf, ride, take nature tours and help with rewilding efforts.





Stop in Costa Rica’s beach towns for a spot of surfing


Credit: Alamy

How to do it: Family Surf Co (familysurfco.com) can arrange surf breaks for all ages and budgets, including Olas Verdes.

19. Delicious Mauritius 

For: all ages

Mauritius has reopened to Britons in time for Lux* Grand Baie, which has thrown open its doors on a lagoon at the island’s north tip. For all its smart Kelly Hoppen interiors, it’s well set up for families – various pool villas and residences have multiple bedrooms. The kids’ club has imaginative experiences and activities (ice cream-making, junior yoga, gardening), while teens get DJ decks and vintage arcade games; plus windsurfing and paddle board lessons.

How to do it: Lux* Grand Bai (00 230 209 2200; luxresorts.com) offers Pool Residences sleeping four from £324

20. Secret Cyclades

For: multigen groups

The little-known Cycladic island of Antiparos is a Hydra for our times. Arty bohemians drink ouzo alongside local fishermen and the very famous (Bruce Springsteen, Matthew McConaughey, Madonna), unfettered by crowds. Tom Hanks has a house – but if you aren’t friends you can rent your own. The Greek Villas’ new honey-stoned eight-bedroom Hampton is built into the hillside, with a stage-set of a terrace and infinity pool overlooking the Chora and the sea below. A concierge can work all kinds of magic: horse riding in the sea, Greek cookery lessons, cruises around the Aegean, kite-surfing and SUP yoga.

How to do it: Hampton sleeps 16 from €25,000 a week (00 30 21 0641 0280; thegreekvillas.com)