Meliá Hotels International is one of the largest hotel groups in the world with 370 hotels in 43 countries offering everything from exclusive luxury through to family holidays. The Meliá Hotels & Resorts brand operates in cities and popular holiday destinations across the globe. In Paris alone we had our pick from of the Champs-Elysées, Notre-Dame, Tour Eiffel, Place Vendome and the Paris Opéra. We opted for the 4* Meliá París La Défense as it’s a bit different. Uniquely designed in the shape of a ship’s hull, it offers panoramic views across the city as well as being family friendly.
You might think Berlin is off limits when it comes to a European city break with kids but in actual fact there are sights, attractions and parks aplenty. One of the things I love about this city is its diversity and how it really does appeal to all ages. From the well known sights you’d automatically associate it with to attractions specifically geared towards children.
With an intriguing history that dates back to Roman times, spectacular landscapes and exceptional architecture, you can’t help but fall in love with Aragon. Situated off the beaten track in the heavenly north east of Spain, this region combines discovery, exploration and adventure – our perfect ingredients for a family holiday. There’s no shortage of things to do either. Whether it be visiting the most well preserved castle in Europe, observing staggering rock formations that overshadow the trees or exploring an extraordinary natural park that surprises you at every turn.
It’s remarkable how diverse the Aragon region in the north east of Spain is. Our morning was spent exploring one of the most well preserved castles in Europe before admiring these staggering rock formations which tower above the trees. After we’d enjoyed a gastronomic feast at the magnificent Real Posada de Liena, it was time for white water rafting! Thankfully we had time to let our food go down as we got all the necessary gear on before heading to the Gállego river.
More often than not the best discoveries are made off the beaten track. One of those was when we were in Cantabria travelling from the Picos de Europa to Santander. Suances in the Besaya region is said to have superb beaches as well as being a hotspot for those wanting to surf the waves. That said as we neared this marine town, it became apparent the beach we were heading for was a popular tourist destination. So instead we opted for the smaller Playa de Tagle where POD hoped to play on the beach with the locals.
We’re of the opinion that you should never travel to the same destination more than once. Occasionally it doesn’t work out that way, like the time we got diverted to Tahiti while en route to New Zealand. We took our honeymoon in Tahiti and had the most incredible time in both Tikehau and Moorea. As such, we always said we wouldn’t go back. And yet there we were dancing with the locals at the airport adorned with flowers!
Last summer was the first time we’d visited Northern Spain having taken trips elsewhere in the country many times. We loved it so much we’re heading back there this summer albeit to a totally different region. If you’ve not been to Northern Spain before, here’s a little taste of what it’s like.
Jameos del Agua was referred to by Rita Heyworth, of Hollywood movie fame, as the eight wonder of the world. Even artist and architect Cesar Manrique described it as the most beautiful nightclub in the world. Although these days it’s an auditorium with a swimming pool, garden and restaurants albeit blended into the landscape. Along with the spectacular Mirador del Rio, Jameos del Agua (in the North East of Lanzarote) is probably the greatest example of Cesar Manrique’s work. The Jameos del Agua, and nearby Cueva De Los Verdes, are part of a 6 kilometre long lava tube.
We spent a week in Lanzarote exploring from the volcanic south up to the lush north. The artist and architect Cesar Manrique has influenced much of the island whether it be interesting sculptures, breathtaking cultural attractions or inspiring projects. Consumed by the beauty of Lanzarote, Cesar Manrique took it upon himself to use his inspiration to preserve the island. His work as an ecologist was even rewarded when Lanzarote became the first island in the world to be awarded a UNESCO biosphere. Spending time here, it’s not hard to understand the impact he made and the significance his work has had. We were totally blown away by what we saw.
Overlooking the ancient capital of Teguise, not to be confused with Costa Teguise, is the Castillo de Santa Barbara. Also known as the Museo de la Pirateria, this fascinating museum sits on the top of Mount Guanapay. The old fortress was originally built in the 16th Century as a watch tower. Its purpose was to protect islanders from pirates and privateers such as Sir Francis Drake who was known as El Draque (The Dragon) to the Spanish. It’s even rumoured there’s a tunnel that connects Castillo de Santa Barbara to the town of Teguise which islanders used when they were being invaded.
If you fancy a getaway close to home, the Opal Coast, or Côte d’Opale, in France is great stretch of coastline to explore. Located just 20 minutes away from Calais, there are fishing villages, seaside towns and sandy beaches to discover. The D940 is a quiet route with dramatic scenery in abundance and views across the English Channel. This coastal route from Calais to Bolougne-Sur-Mer is full of surprises with the hidden charms very much part of the appeal. It’s the kind of region you want to venture back to as there’s so much to see and it’s super easy to get to. Here are just a few of the places we’ve on our travels there.