Our favourite summer holiday

This is our entry for the James Villa Holidays #SummerLove travel and photography competition.  One lucky blogger will win a weeks stay in a villa for publishing an article featuring their favourite summer holiday…


I cannot believe it is February already and we have not booked our main summer holiday for this year… The term ‘itchy feet’ does not sufficiently express how much I need to get our family holiday booked!  My husband and I are passionate about travelling, we have both travelled extensively from working onboard cruise ships and living abroad.  With a growing list of ‘must visit’ destinations and so little annual leave we simply cannot decide where to go.

Whenever we book a family holiday we always consider what we have particularly enjoyed from past holidays.  We had a memorable holiday in Europe a couple of years ago and many times since we have described it as our favourite summer holiday.  Our son, Charlie, was just two years old and although we liked the idea of two weeks relaxing on a beach we knew the reality would be far from relaxing as he was an energetic toddler!  To cater for his needs and ours, we booked a week in the Côte d’Azur, the French Riviera, followed by a week in the Venetian Riviera, near Venice.  We purposefully booked these destinations as they offered stunning blue flag beaches, cultural sights and interesting towns/cities to explore. (For when we were tired of building sand castles and trying to prevent Charlie from eating sand!)


Image – One of the MANY trips taken to collect sea water in Charlie’s bucket!

We spent the first week at a five-star family-friendly campsite called Esterel in Agay.   We had fun on the beach and around the campsite pool during the mornings and explored the scenic French Riviera coastline in our hire car most afternoons.  We admired the many yachts in glitzy St Tropez, people watched in Cannes and browsed the local markets in Nice.


Images – Road trip along the stunning Côte d’Azur coastline and beach fun

For our second week we spent a week at Marina di Venezia a lively four-star campsite beach resort located just across the water from Venice.  After a couple of days making the most of the extensive campsite facilities and stunning beach we were ready for more sightseeing and culture.  We took a short ferry ride to Venice and visited St Marks Square, before exploring the many water canals (paying particular attention to Charlie who seemed determined to go for a swim!) 

In both France and Italy we stayed in luxury mobile homes with Al Fresco Holidays.  When selecting our accommodation it was important to us that Charlie had his own bedroom.  We also wanted some outdoor space to enjoy BBQ’s and outside dining in the evenings whilst he was asleep.  We find that hotels are great for the occasional overnight stay but for longer holidays we prefer to have more space.  (Spending our evenings laying in bed, in a dark hotel room and unable to make a noise afraid to wake up our sons is not our idea of a fun holiday!)  We have found from past experience mobile homes (or villas) work for us perfectly as a family.


Images – Exploring Venice and following son’s lead to the campsite beach!

Whenever we discuss where to go this year we always end up talking about our holiday in France and Italy.  Our little family has grown and we now have two fun-loving, energetic boys to entertain:)  It is even more important that our holiday involves some beach time, sightseeing, a little culture and most importantly, adequate space to spread out as a family and enjoy our child-free evenings.

For this years holiday we are considering the Algarve or Costa Brava which are both destinations (similar to the South of France and Italy) which offer fabulous beaches, reliably good weather and local towns/cities to explore.


Thank you for reading our entry into the #SummerLove James Villa Holidays competition featuring our favourite summer holiday.  All images are copyright Travel Loving Family.  


63 thoughts on “Our favourite summer holiday

  1. Pingback: Family road trip ideas and itineraries in the USA, UK and France | Where to go on vacation - Vacation Ideas

  2. Zoya

    Good post. I have never thought about staying in a mobile home before to get extra space to entertain and relax in the evenings, I will keep in mind for future holidays!

  3. Anna Fraser

    Oh now you have me dreaming of summer holidays! We haven’t gotten around to booking our main summer holiday yet either. The past two years we have been to Menorca which is absolutely fabulous for young children – the beaches are perfectly shallow for miles and very little in the way of waves (always a concern for me with little ones) … less crashing, more a gentle lapping of crystal clear and warm waters … Heavenly!

    Great post.
    Anna x
    Anna Fraser recently posted…Happy feetMy Profile

  4. Our Seaside Baby

    Ah, what lovely holiday memories. I’ve also written about Venice on my blog recently, one of my favourite cities in the world. Great photos! Looking forward to seeing where your travels take you. Thanks very much for linking up to #MyFavouriteTrip Polly x
    Our Seaside Baby recently posted…Memories of VeniceMy Profile

  5. Sally@Toddlers on Tour

    Staying just outside the main town in a campground – what a great alternative for family travel. Villas are a great alternative for a large family – just think about pool fencing. Most private villas with pool don’t have the pool fenced (a concern if you have young ones). However you may be able to hire fencing from a baby hire company – they offer this in Bali now.
    Sally@Toddlers on Tour recently posted…How A-Maze-ing is Outback Splash?My Profile

    1. Lisa Post author

      It worked perfectly for us Sally. We were able to get the best of both worlds – a city holiday plus beach/pool holiday. We also enjoyed our evenings as we had the living area and outside decking area whilst our son slept soundly in his bedroom.

      Very good point re: a fence around the pool if we book a villa. I will most definitely keep this in mind:)

  6. Christy Swagerty (whatupswags)

    OMG the Algarve is PERFECT. I went for the first time last spring, and I’m convinced it’s as close to beach heaven as it gets!!! So much space, so cheap, and really great for anyone and everyone who just wants sunshine and happiness! I hope to see an Algarve post from you after the summer! Would love to have you link-up on #TravelTuesday as well today, if you can! (Just follow the link to my last post.) Great to find you on #citytripping!
    Christy Swagerty (whatupswags) recently posted…A Berlin WeekendMy Profile

  7. Cathy (MummyTravels)

    I know my daughter is rarely happier than on the beach, especially if there’s a chance of ice creams – although the combination of a city nearby to explore is perfect. We stayed in a villa on the Algarve when she was about 15/16 months old and loved it there (apart from some teething…) but I do love France and Italy as well. Looking forward to seeing where you end up! Thanks for linking up to #citytripping
    Cathy (MummyTravels) recently posted…City Tripping #14My Profile

  8. Phoebe @ Lou Messugo

    Your idea of a perfect holiday is very similar to ours, we nearly always try to combine some culture with the beach and always take the self catering option. But I say “nearly” always with the beach because we’re lucky enough to live on the Côte d’Azur (and run a gîte!) so we get to visit all those lovely places you went to regularly so sometimes we take road trips inland or go to northern countries where it’s too cold to go to the beach! But your holiday speaks volumes if you’re still remembering it so fondly. The Algarve sounds like good choice. #citytripping
    Phoebe @ Lou Messugo recently posted…Sunday Photo – 14 February 2016My Profile

    1. Lisa Post author

      Phoebe you are so lucky to live on the Côte d’Azur, it is absolutely stunning! I have tried many times to convince my husband to move over there. Thanks for stopping by:)

  9. Elizabeth (Wander Mum)

    Your Italy/France trip sounds amazing…and the fact you are still talking about it speaks volumes. We are actually heading to northern Italy this Easter so currently planning it. Good luck with your plans…Portugal sounds a good option. I haven’t been to the Algarve but have heard great things and very good for families. Thanks for linking to #citytripping
    Elizabeth (Wander Mum) recently posted…City Tripping #14My Profile

  10. Jane

    Ideal summer holiday choice, you make it sound so inviting! We have found that villa holidays and holidays in a mobile home work perfectly for our family. No set meal times, lots of space for everyone to relax.

    1. Lisa Post author

      This is why it worked so well for us Jane:) With young children it is so convenient to be able to make them food as and when required and also have the space to spread out rather than be confined to a hotel room.

  11. Joanne

    Good point re mobile homes and villas being better for family hols, we enjoy camping for the same reasons. we like being able to be outside when kids are asleep in tent.

    1. Lisa Post author

      Thanks Ana. I would definitely recommend taking a water taxi and exploring the Grand Canal. Gondola rides are fun too, we did not take one on this particular trip but I have called into Venice on many occasions when I worked on the cruise ships and was fortunate to take a gondola ride on a few occasions. Very fun but they can be expensive and you do need to try and negotiate on the price. We also popped across to Murano, famous for glass making and Burano, famous for lace which I would also recommend if you are planning a trip to Venice:)

    1. Lisa Post author

      Thanks Helen. I would definitely recommend the Cote D’Azur for a caravan/touring holiday. There are so many beautiful towns to visit and they are all within very short driving distance of each other. I did not mention above (I was trying to keep my article brief!) but we also stopped by St Paul de Vence which is a stunning hillside village and Port Grimaud which is less glitzy than St Tropez but definitely worth a visit. Call in and have an ice cream overlooking the harbour and yachts:) Enjoy your family holiday!

    1. Lisa Post author

      Thanks Charlotte:) Venice is fabulous and it does not need to cost a fortune to visit there either. We flew Easy Jet and stayed in an Al Fresco mobile home so it was a relatively cheap but very memorable holiday.

    1. Lisa Post author

      Very exciting Joanna. I have called into Cape Verde for one day on a cruise ship, a beautiful destination and the locals are incredibly friendly too:)

  12. Helene

    sounds like a great holiday! I am dying to go to Venice. I’d never thought of staying outside the city on a campsite before. I’m not sure my husband would be too happy though but a luxury mobile home he might go for! Good luck with deciding on your next holiday. A villa sounds fab!

    1. Lisa Post author

      It provided us with the best of both worlds Helene… great beaches and all the resort facilities including pool, kids mini disco etc! The ferry crossing over to Venice was very short and the ferry tickets were very reasonable too:)

    1. Lisa Post author

      We didn’t think about it for our first holiday away as a family Leah and spent two weeks in a hotel room not knowing quite what to do with ourselves in the evening when our son was sleeping. Hotel family suites, villas, mobile homes or even glamping (pod, campervan etc) work so much better for families as they provide outdoor space or a living area to relax and enjoy child free evenings:)

  13. linda hobbis

    We’re planning to book a villa holiday with a pool but not until both kids are strong swimmers. They’re getting there but I’d like to feel really confident I can turn my back to two seconds!

    1. Lisa Post author

      I did not even think of that Linda! Oh gosh, my boys are not confident swimmers either. Back to the drawing board… it may have to be a villa without pool!

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