Salzkammergut | Austria
If you've not been away for a while and want to ease yourself back in, Austria's stunning lakes and mountains are a great place to start – especially for kids who by now may have sat through more lockdowns than plane flights. The healthy outdoors, lakes and chocolate-box towns are a perfect reintroduction to the joy of heading overseas.
Austria comes 5th on our Good Trip Index, so it's a great choice for a sustainable, ethical summer holiday.
The Austrian lakes make an excellent alternative beach holiday for the whole family. Most lakes have a beach area often with facilities such as showers, cafes and sunloungers. Some will even have diving platforms, inflatable obstacles or pedalo hire. They are called a 'Strandbad' and a quick search on Google Maps will show you where they are. Usually there is a day rate per person and they are affordable, clean, well-kept and safe for families.
You can fly into Salzburg from London in about three hours, or if you're keen to minimise your air miles you can get there by train in a day or so.
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Es Grau, Menorca | Spain
Menorca is one of the fastest-growing destinations for British holidaymakers this year. This is thanks to its quieter pace of life than the larger Balearic islands as well as the reliable weather, short-haul flights and its famous hospitality.
Es Grau is widely recognised as one of the best spots in the Balearics to holiday with a young family. It's an idyllic seaside town with a relaxed, family vibe, but perhaps more importantly it enjoys a wide, flat bay that's usually calm enough for even younger children to splash about safely.
Spain and the Balearics still demand a negative Covid test from unvaccinated adults, so if anyone in your party hasn't had the jabs you may find almost anywhere else in Europe, especially neighbouring Portugal, less faff and expense to get into. That said Spain very recently announced UK visitors with electronic passports could use the e-passport gates, so it's suddenly one of the easiest places to pass through the airport.
Our guide to Menorca
We've been everywhere, Menorca included - see our guide for some original tips to get the best from your next trip from our destinations review team
Varadero | Cuba
Varadero Beach is one of the top three beaches in the world, according to Tripadvisor's latest Traveller's Choice Awards, which may well be reason enough to visit. It's a 13-mile-long peninsula with a sheltered bay to the south, spectacular sand and sea and all-inclusive resorts all the way along. Varadero is also one of the biggest risers for holiday destinations this year.
Authentic Cuba this is not – it's a seaside playground for rich tourists, and if that's what you're looking for it's what you'll get here. You're also close to Varahicacos Ecological Reserve, a nature preserve that's been protected for almost 50 years, and Havana is only a couple of hours' drive away, so you can split your time between relaxing on the near-perfect beaches and taking a look at Cuba's fascinating capital city.
Cuba comes in the middle of our Good Trip Index at 87. It's especially poor for freedoms, especially freedom of the press.
Where did everybody go?
Varadero is one the fastest-rising destinations this year. See where else everyone is going this year and get in on the action!
Tirana | Albania
Albania? Yes, Albania. Cheap as chips and twice as warm, the Adriatic coast of Albania is every bit as inviting as Spain, Greece or Italy. Tirana – the Albanian capital – makes our list of highest risers for UK holiday destinations as canny travellers head out to explore 'Europe's last unturned stone'.
The food is great, the people friendly and Albania is also renowned as one of the safest places you can go, so you'll enjoy that very special combination of properly exotic without the danger that sometimes accompanies a big adventure.
Naxos | Greece
Naxos is another family-friendly pick for the summer holidays.
The Greek islands have rocketed in popularity this year, perhaps because they stayed open all through the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, so holidaymakers who headed out there when they were the only game in town got to like them, and are heading back again.
Naxos has more than 30 beaches and two in particular to the south of the island are recommended for young families, Agios Giorgios and Agia Anna where the waters are calm, the sands slope gently into the sea and lifeguards are on hand throughout the day.
Naxos is a large island, with a mountain at its centre, beaches all around, ancient ruins in the usual abundance and excellent food around every corner, so for safety, peace of mind, entertainment and easy swimming this is a great place to bring the kids this summer.
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Too hot this summer? Of course you are, everyone is. Try New Zealand, which is currently going through its winter.
New Zealand was the last of the major zero-Covid hold-outs, and having recently reopened to UK visitors, people are heading back out there to visit friends and family they haven't seen since before the travel lockdowns or just to tick off this popular bucketlist destination.
Don't be put off by the winter - New Zealands's a big place, and while lows on the South Island will fall to 1°C in August the North Island tops 15°C even in winter - by UK standards a pleasant spring or autumn day.
New Zealand's winter holiday finishes at the end of July, and August tends to see the best snow, so if you're visiting to ski, snowboard (or heli-ski, increasingly popular with extreme sports fans) this is the month to do it. August also sees the Winter Games in Queensland, a showcase of winter sports.
For Lord of the Rings fans, the key filming locations are at the top of the North Island, which is mild in August. The permanent Hobbiton that was built at Matamata will feel like an English spring in August, or if you're going to visit the dramatic mountains of the South Island, they're all the better (and authentic) for the snow.