European isn’t an obvious choice for a winter sun holiday, but the weather in the Mediterranean is mild and pleasant during the winter months. It may not be roasting hot, you’re unlikely to get a tan, and there will probably be rain at some point, but it will certainly be preferable to the UK weather. And for those travelling with babies or very young children who find the summer heat hard to tolerate, it can be the perfect time of year. For gentle sun, consider Tenerife and the other Canary Islands, Malta, Cyprus, the Algarve, Madeira and the Azores.
Other benefits include the lack of crowds and lower accommodation prices. Do bear in mind, however, that if you’re travelling with kids, most family attractions will be closed for the season, so you will need to research things to do. It’s also a good idea to find a hotel or resort with an indoor pool – outdoor pools will usually be either closed or too chilly to enjoy (unless you bring light wetsuits). We’ve hand-picked our favourites in the region, but not all of them are necessarily open for the whole of the winter season.
• James Villas: Family rentals in the Med.
• First Choice: Popular all-inclusive resorts in the Med.
• Club Med: All-inclusives with activities and childcare.
• TUI: Popular family package holidays, often with free child places.