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We meet again - Family

It’s been a long wait. We’ve been separated from family members on the opposite side of the country – or even the other end of the globe. And it’s time to make up for lost time. A group getaway is the perfect excuse to round up every generation and travel somewhere unforgettable.


While villa holidays can be fun, for such a long-awaited moment, nothing will satisfy everyone’s frustrated wanderlust like an active break. It will give different generations something to bond over, and let you tick off a bucket-list experience at the same time. And, most importantly, help your family make brilliant new memories…


Choose the right resort and you’ll find runs for every ability, ski schools to get newbies feeling confident and alternative activities for off-piste fun. Many offer spacious chalets that sleep the whole crowd so you can come together around the fire after a day on the slopes to swap snowy tales

As a backdrop for family photos, the appeal of St Anton is instant. In the shadow of snowy peaks, chocolate-box houses glow invitingly and lively après restaurants and bars serve beers and crispy schnitzel. But if you’re also here for the skiing, it’s hard to beat this Austrian resort in the Tyrolean Alps for a multi-generational trip. It doesn’t matter if some members of your party are inexperienced as this is a place that excels in friendly kids’ clubs, top ski schools (one of the oldest in the world) and novice runs for little ones. Older family members who know their way around a slope will find plenty of more challenging skiing plus great nightlife. Then there are all the activities you can all do together: tobogganing, sledging, swimming and even a museum all about the history of the sport.

St Anton has excellent exclusive chalets to hire, so you can all stay together in style. If you hanker after an idyllic, traditional-looking chalet with shuttered windows, Sweet Little Home has plenty of room, with seven bedrooms – enter to quirky reindeer sculptures, bold prints and a kitchen snug perfect for board games. Alternatively, five-room Chalet Bluebird sleeps up to 12 people with a large living space lined in log-cabin-style wood. Floor-to-ceiling windows let you peer out to tumbling snowflakes from the open-plan dining room, and a roaring fire in the lounge, plus candles and a chandelier make for a twinkling atmosphere after dark. It’s self-catering, but that doesn’t need to be taxing. Little ones can devour the abundant, crowd-pleasing spätzle noodles, while you nibble simple brettljause meat platters with fruity blaufränkisch red wine.

France has no shortage of family-friendly ski resorts, either. The big names such as Val D’Isère rightly have their share of fans – and great family stays like the decadent Kilco Penthouse but one of the country’s greatest skiing assets is its choice of low-key, unspoilt, village-like resorts, where crowds are as uncommon as snowless winters. One such example is Sainte Foy, in the Tarentaise Valley. With 43km of slopes, it can appeal to every ski skill level in your party. Children will be happy on the nursery runs in the village while you tackle the ‘Natur’ routes via the Aiguille chairlift (just don’t be in a rush to get there – the lifts are on the slow side).

There isn’t much of an après scene in Sainte Foy, but you’ll be making your own fun if you stay at The Peak which sleeps 15 people. This ski-in, ski-out pad is catered, so you can kick back over an evening raclette without having to worry about the cooking (or cleaning up). That means more time for your family to unwind in the balcony hot tub, steam in the sauna or, for the adults, enjoy a massage in the on-site treatment room.

And if you want to be a little bit closer to the action? Les Houches is the best of both worlds – a quiet town with 55km of popular slopes, a bus ride from buzzing Chamonix. The easy hour-long transfer from Geneva airport means you don’t have to undertake stressful or complicated journeys with all the family in tow. And yet you won’t be compromising on quality: long descents through tree-lined runs, prime views to Mont Blanc massif, and regular night-skiing available on the Tourchet piste. Book yourself into homely La Vieille Forge – formerly the village smithy – just a six-minute walk from blue run Allouds. It sleeps 10 to 15 people, and while meals are optional, with fresh-baked pastry breakfasts for the entire family to wake up to, you’ll really want to have them included.

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Hopping aboard a boat big enough for the whole gang sounds like a luxury – and it is: not just because a skippered option lets you relax together, but it takes you to quiet corners away from crowds, perfect for family bonding. Luxury at seas needn’t cost a fortune, though – go as a group and it can be good value

Chartering a boat for your family holiday certainly sounds like an extravagant idea, but when you’re travelling as a multi-generational crowd, you may actually stand to save money. With pro operator Peter Sommer’s Croatian gulet cruises a family of eight to 12 pay less per head than standard sailors, for example. And the exclusive hire experience makes it far more special: you’ll explore rugged Adriatic island gems, unspoilt beaches and sparkling waters at your family’s own pace with your own bespoke itinerary.

Hire the five-cabin Dolce Vita gulet, and ask your skipper to take you to whichever bits of idyllic Dalmatian Coast appeal most. That might be the atmospheric walled city of Dubrovnik (some members of the family will recognise it as a Game of Thrones setting). Maybe it’s lush Korčula island, dense with forest; or historic Vis, home to Croatia’s oldest town. Or head for the scattering of uninhabited isles, far from the ferry routes, where you can stop for plunges into clear coves, then bask on empty shores under the sun. The freedom to explore is yours, and with the skipper’s know-how, even when visiting popular islands such as Hvar you’ll end up in quiet corners, tucking into best-ever seafood platters at sleepy harbourside restaurants.

When you’re on board, there’s plenty to keep you occupied: this luxury vessel comes equipped with windsurf, canoes, snorkelling gear and fishing kit – and a hot tub for relaxing at the end of a day’s exploring. Crucially, a TV and DVD player will keep kids entertained in evenings if your gulet explorations have taken you too far from a Wi-Fi signal.

Island nations tend to be best for sailing holidays, and Greece is another winning option. Leave the tourists waiting at the ferry terminal and hire a charter departing from Kos with Island Sailing – Lagoon 46 sleeps up to 12 people in four cabins, each with their own private bathroom. It’s outfitted like a slick city apartment with wood veneers, bookcases and a window-lined kitchen for rustling up light summery snacks between moorings. Alfresco dinners on the stern allow everyone to gather to swap stories about their favourite part of the day, whether it was paddleboarding in a deserted cove at Symi, exploring an epic monastery on Patmos or hiking craggy valleys on Kalymnos. You have 32 Dodecanese island stops, all soaked by generous Mediterranean rays, to choose from, and every itinerary can be tailored to your individual family’s fitness level, age group and interests.

For the world’s finest wintertime sailing experience, strike out for the British Virgin Islands. Made up of a scattering of 60-plus tropical islands, the BVIs are a boater’s dream, with reliable trade winds and easy-to-navigate waters. Drop anchor by white-sand beaches, dive sites with shark-filled caves and photogenic rock formations (don’t miss The Baths on Virgin Gorda). Stop off for lobster feasts on Anegada or hit the buzzy beach bars of Jost Van Dyke.

Wherever else you head, Tortola is a must – kids young and old will love the beachside surf lessons, while parents will appreciate the local rum distillery. But there’s no need to get a long list of activities planned in advance. Book with an expert such as Sunsail and a skipper will sew up a week-long list of highlights for you. All you have to say is what you feel like doing, when, and you’ll be off in your catamaran, sailing across the endless blue towards the day’s big adventure. Sunsail 454 is speedy, stable and spacious, with four cabins and a bright kitchen, so no one will feel like the cabin boy.

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Whether you’re seven or 97, nothing beats the thrill of seeing animals in their natural habitat. An African safari is a bucket-list experience in its own right, but it provides added wonder when seen through another family member’s eyes. Little ones can explore and grow, and adults of any age will share the excitement at every sighting

South Africa is often name-checked as the best country in the world for safaris. When it comes to family-friendly trips, it’s hard to disagree. From its affordability to the breadth of accessible camps – you won’t always be braving long drives or connecting flights – to its Big Five sightings, this country is great for the all-round safari experience. It also has a wide selection of exclusive-hire safari villas and camps, so you can all stay together as a family while exploring the savannah.

If you’re after those big-ticket sightings of lion, elephant, leopard, rhino and cape buffalo, Kruger National Park, in the east, is the natural pick. Book into Royal Malewane’s exclusive-use Africa House sleeping up to 12 people, for an experience so plush you may forget you’re in the wilderness. Eclectic heirlooms, button-back chairs and large-scale art lend a sophisticated air, while an infinity pool lined with loungers ensures you unwind after early morning game drives. Everything is tailored, including meals – it comes with a private chef and housekeeper – and your family will have its own dedicated ranger, tracker and private vehicle so you can search for whichever wildlife excites you most.

Tailored experiences are the norm, too, at Tswalu in South Africa’s red-earth north, by the Botswana border. Every villa comes with its own private driver and tracker, but you’ll get extra special treatment when booking into the family-friendly Tarkuni, sleeping up to 10 people. Each suite in the five-room thatched villa has an outdoor deck with sun loungers – ideal if family members are craving a little time to themselves. A lounge with a fireplace, a bar stocked with South African wines and a sundowner fire pit provide the entertainment. As do, of course, the frequent day and night safari drives. Conservation-focused Tswalu specialises in sightings of rare and small animals such
as endangered pangolins, black rhino, meerkats and Kalahari black-maned lions – all just as rewarding to tick off as the classic Big Five. If you’re looking for even more to do, pay a visit to the main camp, Motse – home to a pool and restaurant serving up a smoky braai under a cloudless evening sky.

For something a little wilder, there’s no more authentic safari camp experience than bedding down under canvas. If your family are able and up for it, try Saruni Wild in Kenya. It has just three tented lodges, sleeping eight to 10 people in total, and you can hire the whole thing – ensuring an authentic (but still luxurious) safari that is still completely private. Each of the lodges – one sleeping four, the others sleeping two to three – includes private dining areas, hot showers and mosquito nets draped romantically (and practically) over the beds.

It’s atmospheric, but the safari is the main draw. This is proper bucket-list stuff: the Maasai Mara is one of the most important game reserves in Africa, home to numerous crossing points where millions of wildebeest, zebras and antelopes travel to and from the Serengeti in cinematic glory. Typically tricky-to-spot leopards are a frequent sighting, and the Mara River is stuffed with crocodiles and hippos. Game drives, guided by Maasai warriors, take all this in, but in truth you needn’t budge from camp to see wildlife. With tens of thousands of acres of untouched wilderness as your surrounds, birds, gazelles and more often wander into view. Adults can nurse a beer and a book while waiting for giant hornbills, gangly secretary birds and elegant storks to appear. Meanwhile, children can join the on-site ‘Warrior Academy’ programme – learning animal tracking skills direct from the Maasai warriors themselves.

Cheetah by Barry Peiser

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