The February half term brings respite to possibly the hardest school period for families – the arduous trek back to the books for the kids and the wet, gloomy steps back to work for parents after the bright lights of Christmas. And when the weather is cold and grey, everyone’s looking for something to break the daily routine.
Half term is an ideal time to take an early family break but deciding where to go can be a daunting task. For many, having only a week to play with means long-haul destinations are probably off the agenda. But what if you’ve exhausted the stay-at-home options or they’re less than ideal?
The Flexicover Team takes a look at some trip ideas for this time of year.
Hit the slopes in Bulgaria
Head out now for a family ski trip as the snowfall is almost guaranteed and this year, thanks to a late Easter, it may be the last opportunity for families to get together on the slopes. Since many Parisian schools are also on break at this time, Alpine resorts may be a bit crowded, so try Bulgaria for a happy alternative. Recent research has claimed a family of four could save as much as £3,000 by choosing Bulgaria over Switzerland for winter sports. Beginners and intermediates are well catered for, as the top 3 resorts (Borovets, Bansko and Pamporovo) all have ski schools with excellent reputation. Add the scenery and culture and you have a very different holiday experience from the Alps!
Fun for kids of all ages in Paris
If the thrills and spills of a theme park are your preference, where better than Europe’s Magic Kingdom? Originally opened in 1992, the resort now houses two parks – the original Disneyland Paris, with top attractions such as Space Mountain and Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, and the Walt Disney Studios Park next door (opened in 2002). This is themed more towards movies and production, featuring rides such as The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Crush's Coaster (based on Finding Nemo). What makes this trip so viable is the excellent transport system. If you choose the direct Eurostar service from St Pancras International, it only takes 2hr 45m to Marne-la-Vallee/Chessy station, conveniently located in the heart of Disneyland Paris, meaning the fun can begin on arrival!
Get that suntan in the Canary Islands
The lush volcanic mountains of the Canary Islands provide an enticing mix of scenery such as tropical forests, alien-like lava fields, giant sand dunes and golden beaches. Located 60 miles off the west coast of Africa, it’s perfect for escaping the cold, wet British weather. The biggest island is Tenerife, which offers lively resorts, good shopping and loads of attractions. It’s also home to Mount Teide, Spain’s highest mountain. To the west is Gran Canaria, dubbed a continent in miniature with dramatic and gorgeous variations in terrain. Then there’s more sedate Fuerteventura, home to the archipelago’s longest beaches and, finally, Lanzarote has been in the business of sun, sea and sand breaks since the Seventies - it could be said this island practically invented the classic beach break!
Adventure and culture in Morocco
If you’re looking for a family holiday with a difference then Morocco hits the spot. Ideal for young and old and anyone that wishes to feel like Indiana Jones! Moroccans are highly family oriented and children are an important part of society, making the country far more family-friendly than you might initially think. There’s the 18th-century fortified town of Essaouira on the Atlantic coast or the desert, with camel rides and kasbahs (“forts”) in the Atlas Mountains. The cities of Fez, the most complete medieval city in the Arab world with labyrinthine streets concealing souks and iconic monuments, or bustling Marrakech with the magnificent Koutoubia Mosque, are also huge draws. Imagine what it could do for the kids’ knowledge of geography, history and science too!
Whale watching in Iceland
Winters in Iceland provide an exciting opportunity to see certain types of whales – the most common at this time are white-beaked dolphins, harbour porpoises, humpback whales and orca (aka killer whales) – and what kid wouldn’t want to see these amazing creatures in motion! The orca population in the area is thought to be around 5,000, so the chances of an encounter are always good. In addition, this is a great time for aurora activity, so not only could you have memorable encounters with orcas and humpbacks by day but there’s every chance of the Northern Lights setting your evening ablaze!
Wherever you decide to travel this half term and whatever you chose to see, at Flexicover we are committed to providing you the highest level of protection to ensure that you are safe and secure, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year when away.