Bali Travelogue – (Part 2): Turtle Island, Water Blow, Tegallalang Rice Terraces, Ubud Art Market, Tegenungan Waterfall, Beachwalk Shopping Center and Transmart Carrefour

We woke up early for breakfast the next morning. The night before, we managed to find a driver from Carousell who arrived at 10am to pick us up at Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa.

Turtle Island Bali Tanjung Benoa Tour

It is important to do your research before arriving to a country so that the trip will be fruitful. There were some attractions we would like to cover and some which did not appeal to us.

We were yearning to participate in baby turtle release programme. Kuta Beach Sea Turtle Center program aims to protect sea turtle eggs and increase hatching rates.You can join in the baby turtle release and release your own baby turtle into the ocean.

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Image Credit: Bali Sea Turtle Society (BSTS)

However the season of turtle release had just ended and we thought the other alternative was to visit the Turtle Island which was at Tanjung Benoa, about 5 km from our hotel.

After some negotiation of ticket prices, we boarded onto the glass bottom boat and made our way to Turtle Island.

We were wondering what was the purpose of the glass bottom when the speed boat was moving so fast and making it near impossible to see any marine life from here.

With a packet of bread given by the tour guide, we realised it was fish feeding time when the boat came to a halt in the middle of the sea.

What a beautiful sight! Schools of fish gathered near our boat and started snapping the bread crumbs hungrily.

A small infinity pool greeted us when we arrived at the Turtle Island.

A local guide at the Turtle Island brought us along the place to explore. This was our first stop. Tourists crowded around 2 big turtles and hauled them up to take pictures. Both turtles hardly had any time to rest before another group of tourists surrounded and picked them up for more photo-taking.
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Turtle conservation area where baby turtles were housed.

Small M’s first experience holding a real turtle.

This big turtle was residing by itself in a bigger pool where it was left untouched by visitors. We guessed we could be paying more and that was the reason why we were allowed to carry it.

Turtle Island, in fact housed several other creatures such as these…

We thought Turtle Island experience was just so-so. Not strongly recommended to visit. But still, we wanted to come as it was near to our hotel.

Address: Tanjung Benoa, South Kuta, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia

Water Blow in Nusa Dua

It was an amazing sight watching Water Blow from Youtube. Water Blow in Nusa Dua is basically large waves from the Indian Ocean constantly crash against the jagged limestone edges on the peninsula’s south-eastern cliff.

Entrance to this place is free.

An important thing to take note. It would be advisable to visit here when the tide is high. We came during low tide and it was a pity that we couldn’t witness the majestic effect of the large waves.

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http://www.gustibali.com

The Water Blow site was scenic and picturesque. Feel the breeze and pause to admire the beautiful sea views.

Video Credit – ClipClick

Address: Semenanjung Nusa DuaNusa Dua, Bali 80517Indonesia

Tegallalang Rice Terraces in Ubud

Up next, we travelled up north to Ubud to visit a must-see attraction in Bali – Tegallalang Rice Terraces. The distance was about 40 km  but the ride took us about 2 1/2 hr to reach.

We took some interesting pictures along the way.

Tegalalang rice terrace opening hours are 07.00 am to 18.00 pm. It was raining when we arrived and we had to walk about 15 mins from the carpark to the rice terraces. The entrance fee is IDR 10.000/pax.

We were really impressed when the first sight of rice terraces beckoned us. Tourists were eager to catch the beautiful views although it was raining. If not for the rain we would have venture down to walk in the rice terraces.

Cafes sprouting in the vicinity to offer some of the best view of the rice terraces for tourists.

There were many shops along Tegalalang selling varieties of handicrafts, souvenirs and paintings.

We stopped by at this restaurant to have our lunch which also gave a panoramic view of the rice terraces while dining.

Some simple dishes for our lunch.

Getting up close to the rice terraces was one of our best experience so far in Bali. It was that surreal and brought a calming and therapeutic effect on us.

Our driver brought us to a nearby padi field where the farmers were harvesting the crops. This was an educational experience for Big and Small M which was important lessons as part of travelling.

The ducks were excited at the sight of water.

Many of them were swimming happily in the water.

Address: Jalan Tegallalang, Tegallalang, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80561, Indonesia

Ubud Art Market

Next we stopped by briefly at the Ubud Art Market where you can find hand-craft goods, handmade woven bags, clothings and accessories. We did not venture inside as it was raining.

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Image Credit – http://www.bali-indonesia.com/ubud/ubud-art-market.htm

Address: Jalan Raya Ubud No.35, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia

Tegenungan Waterfall

Our itinerary brought us to the Tegenungan Waterfall where we needed to pay IDR 15.000 per pax as entrance fee.

The footpath towards the waterfall was lined with street vendors who were eager to get your attention to patronise with them.

There are 2 ways to experience the waterfall – either to view from here or make the effort to climb up and down 172 stairs. We chose the former.

Bumbu Asli restaurant in Tegenungan waterfall.

Address: Jalan Ir. Sutami, Kemenuh, Sukawati, Kemenuh, Sukawati, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80581, Indonesia

Beachwalk Shopping Center

We spent a lot of time on the road in Bali and we were pleasantly surprised we managed to cover quite a number of places within a day. Our next stop was visiting Beachwalk Shopping Center.

Beachwalk Shopping Center is fairly new and huge. We felt it was a nice mall to explore and dine, especially at the food court.

We had our dinner at Kafe Betawi.

Trying out Bali local delicacies.

The food court had many selections. Prices were akin to that in Singapore though.

The food looked so tempting that we had to try them.

Address: Jalan Pantai Kuta, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia

Transmart Carrefour

We even managed to squeeze in one last stop at Transmart Carrefour before returning to the hotel.

A mini foodcourt at the second level.

Authentic Thai tea In Indonesia!

If we were any fans of shopping, fruits would probably be one of the choices. We enjoyed discovering fruits which were not easily found over in Singapore. One such find was getting BIG dragon fruits over here.

Address: Sunset Road Building Lantai 3, Jl. Sunset Road, Kuta, Pemogan, Denpasar Sel., Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80221, Indonesia

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Bali Travelogue – (Part 1): Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa, Bali Collection and Discovery Shopping Mall

This was our first family trip to Bali which is one of more than 17,000 islands in the Indonesian archipelago and is located just over 2 km from the eastern tip of the island of Java and west of the island of Lombok. The island is currently home to about 4 million people.

We hopped onto an early flight and arrived early at Denpasar International Airport.

Upon checking out, we headed straight to get a SIM card at the airport which we strongly recommended against if you are intending to get one. It cost about SGD$35 for just a basic plan and we only realised the exorbitant price (in SGD) after making the payment. It would be better off purchasing one from trustworthy online travel sites.

To minimise any hassle of finding transportation to the hotel, we decided to book airport transfer before arriving here. It was a breeze as our friendly chauffeur from Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa were already right at the airport arrival hall awaiting for us.

Did we say the drive from airport to the hotel only takes 20 mins? You can find out everything about this family-friendly hotel in the previous blog here.

AddressJl. Pratama No.86, Benoa, Kuta Sel., Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia

+62 361 894 7888

Bali Collection (Nusa Dua Shopping)

Our hotel offers shuttle services to Bali Collection which is a shopping, dining and entertainment complex located in Nusa Dua. This is a touristy mall featuring international and luxury fashion brands to traditional handicraft and souvenir outlets catering to the guests from nearby five-star hotels.

We did not purchase any items or dine here as it was pretty pricey. Nonetheless, we thought it was worthwhile to explore this mall within less than 30 mins.

Ole Ole restaurant, one of the various dining options at the complex.

Bali Collection opens daily from 10am to 10pm. Guests staying at one of the hotels in the Nusa Dua and Tanjung Benoa areas can take a free shuttle bus (from opening time to around 9pm) service.

AddressITDC area, Nusa Dua, Kuta Selatan, Benoa, Kuta Sel., Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80363, Indonesia

Discovery Shopping Mall

Getting a Grab car is possible in Bali but it does come with a hassle as it is not welcome among the community of taxi drivers. We managed to get into a taxi after negotiating a reasonable price with the driver. We learnt that travelling on Bali road wasn’t that straight-forward. Due to the fact that the roads were really narrow and coupled with heavy traffic, a ride could take us 40 mins instead of 20 mins even if Google map told us the distance apart was only 14 km.

Along our way, we noticed a little girl (on the right of the picture), all alone, peddling a couple of small items 😦

Next, we visited the Discovery Shopping Mall which was located along Kartika Plaza Street, Kuta. Visitors coming to Bali would almost definitely explore Kuta during their stay.

Truth be told – Discovery Shopping Mall is not new and looks dated to us. However, it is one of the largest shopping malls in Bali and the second largest shopping hub in Kuta after the newer Kuta Beachwalk.

This large three-storey mall houses some of the popular lifestyle and familiar F&B outlets such as KFC, Cold Stone Creamery ice cream, Starbucks, Domino’s Pizza and Pizza Hut.

A visit to Bali is not completed without trying their local dishes.

Here were the dishes we ordered.

Finally tried the crispy duck, one of Bali’s most popular dishes which we were craving for. The meat was tender and skin was crispy. Coupled with Bali sambal, our dinner was full and hearty!

That’s all for Day 1 where we were exhausted by the time we returned to the hotel after a day of activities. More than just shopping, stay tune on our journey in this Island of the Gods which offers some of the most natural sites to explore and yes, they are picturesque as well.

Opening Hours: Sun – Thu 10:00 – 22:00, Fri – Sat 10:00 – 22.30

Address: Jalan Kartika Plaza, Kuta

How to get there: Jalan Kartika Plaza, opposite the Waterbom Bali and beside the Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel.

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Fun with Kids – Our Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa Experience

Our flight to Bali might be a first-time experience but little did we realised there were so much fun we experienced there. As the school holidays beckoned, the kids were yearning for a break in a nearby country that they could travel less and enjoy more.

When it comes to scouting on the best family resorts in Bali that have it all in accommodation, entertainment for the whole family, well-equipped kids’ club, refreshing swimming pools and delectable food to indulge in, Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa could very well be the answer to your family needs.

We arrived early at Denpasar International Airport and apart from being greeted by the lush surroundings and beautiful building structures, our chauffeur was already right at the entrance waiting for us with juices and cold towels to freshen us up. All thanks to Bali Mandara Toll Road, the drive from the airport to the hotel only took us 20 mins.

Along the way, our friendly chauffeur took time to answer all our queries and introduced attractions which were worthy-to-visit.

The Lobby – Where You Find Cosiness & Space

The lobby of Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa was expansive and came with innovative designs. Sunlight radiated the open lobby and huge round sofas with colorful fabrics beckoned visitors to chill out at all time of the day.

We stepped into the hotel lobby which was designed with unique natural elements and that certainly helped to set the tone for the rest of our hotel experience.

There was no lack of seating places at the lobby area.

Where entertainment meets relaxation – pool games, table soccer, dart boards and such seek to keep us occupied.

Big and Small M were given welcome gift packs upon checking into the hotel.

Tanjung Family Adventure Suite

We done our research that this is a family-friendly hotel before we came. Our abode was the Tanjung Family Adventure Suite that came with a whopping 81sqm of space. There were 2 spacious rooms  – a parents’ room with our favourite contemporary decor and a colourful, themed kid’s room with twin beds and hey, with PS4 in the room, Big & Small M were literally glued to the screen!

Our big and comfortable king-sized bed.

We were pleasantly surprised that our suite came with a total of not just 2 but 3 TVs – 1 in parents’ room, 1 in living room and 1 in kids’ room. Complimentary wifi is available throughout the hotel (even at swimming pool area) which was crucial factor for us.

The bathroom and wardrobe are inter-connected and moderately sized. Though it did not come with a bathtub, the rainfall shower certainly made up for it.

Lovely balcony with backdoor seating over-looking the sparkling waterfront of Tanjung Benoa Beach where we get to catch sunrise and sunset without leaving the hotel.

The swimming pools were built near to the beach. Guests could just step out of the pools and walk onto the beach.

From our balcony, we could see the beach activities and sea sports in action.

Spacious lounge area with sofa seating leading to the kids’ room.

Mini-fridge and tea/coffee-making facilities corner.

Kids’ room for Big & Small M to experience. It comes with PS4 gaming console.

The bathroom came with bathtub. Neatly placed beside the sink were toiletries, toothbrush and toothpaste.

Take a Dip in the Pool!

A vacation couldn’t be completed without taking a dip in the swimming pools. Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa has a total of 4 swimming pools – shaded atrium pool with outdoor Jacuzzi, a fun kid’s pool with a slide and fountains, a pool with a swim-up bar and an infinity pool with plenty of sun loungers.

Here we were having a game of volleyball and making friends from other countries.

Big and Small M do not have special request. Just having great fun in the pool instead of shopping would be something they really enjoy. Their expressions represented a thousand words!

The special kid’s pool was equipped with a waterslide, fountains to play in and super-sized tipping water buckets.

Shaded atrium pool with outdoor Jacuzzi where we could rest and sip on refreshing beverages.

Stepped out onto the beach where you could experience watersports, seashell picking and playing with frisbee.

Kids Club

The Kids’ Club is open from 9am to 5pm and 6pm to 9pm daily. The staff were experienced and attentive to the needs of the children. With CCTV monitoring and locked door, parents would feel safe leaving their kiddos inside while they enjoy other activities.

The amenities included a slide, climbing wall, costumes, arts and crafts, and lots of toys to play with. There’s a computer zone, a ball pit, and a photo booth with playful props so kids have a fun memento to take home.

Click here to view the Kids Club daily activities.

Breakfast @ Pasar Market Cafe

We had our breakfast (between 6:30am to 10:30am) at the Pasar Market Cafe where we could choose either indoor or outdoor seating. The hotel offers an international array of food, serving up sumptuous buffet breakfasts with live cooking stations and a great selection of fruits, pastries, juices, cereals and hot dishes.

Quite a handful of selections so we will let the pictures do the talking 🙂

The air-conditioned indoor dining area.

We loved the little touch from the hotel as well. The staff would know our names (even though we did not mention which table we were at) and approached us to know how was our stay and asking if they could help in anyway.

Family Bonding Activities

How about some family bonding time? We know there are so many activities to do in Bali and one trip may not be enough. But over in Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa, the kids and family activities had us fully engaged that we just want to spend more time here.

Hey, we had our first attempt at Balinese Cooking Class where we made different dishes! We hope we did well though.

Soup Calon Ikan (fishball in seafood booth).

Sate Lilit Ayam (Balinese seasoning minced chicken in satay, served with mix vegetable urab and steamed rice).

Dadar Gulung (Fragrant grated coconut in palm sugar, wrap with glutinuous flour crepes).

Fruit craving activities where we learnt how to cut watermelons into beautiful designs.

Tea Tree Spa treatment.

Our short stay was nothing short of amazing – all credit to the warm and friendly hotel staff and activites that made our hearts full!

Thank you Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa for your warm hospitality and making our stay memorable in every possible ways. Stay tune for upcoming blog posts on our journey to Bali which give you more reasons why you should visit this island known for its forested volcanic mountains, iconic rice paddies, beaches and coral reefs.

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Finland Travelogue – (Part 7): Helsinki City and Christmas Market

Much has been said about escaping to the capital of Finland, Helsinki to be soaked in the atmosphere of Christmas. Just before we headed back home, we had the opportunity to explore Helsinki city and the Christmas market.

Come winter season, there are only few hours of daylight and it is not surprising to see most of the pictures taken were dark.

We took the train at the Rautatieasema Railway station from the airport.

The ride to the city took about 30 mins. After being acquainted with snow and forested surroundings, it was a refreshing feeling to be back to urban jungle again.

Helsinki is the capital of Finland. There are lots of attractions to explore and experience for tourists which you can find here. Since we had a few hours before catching the flight, we thought the best option was to head straight to the popular Christmas market and walked in the city, immersing ourselves in the nordic atmosphere.

With a single ticket you can hop aboard trams, busses, the metro and even the ferry to Suomenlinna. Single tickets can be purchased from ticket machines, R-kiosks and other HSL sales points or by using HSL mobile application. Tickets can only be bought from the driver on buses and trams.

Familiar food brands.

We were figuring out how to get to the Christmas market. With the kind help of the locals, we managed to reach there, finally!

Helsinki Christmas Market is the oldest and largest event of its kind in Helsinki. Taking place in the centre of Helsinki in the Senate Square the Christmas Market attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. One of the main draws of was the hugely popular and old-fashioned merry-go-round offering free rides to children and others who are young at heart.

So many Christmas stalls here. There are over a hundred vendors selling traditional handicraft, the latest design and utility products, as well as produce from primary producers and farms.

Trying out some delicious traditional Finnish Karelian pasties to bring into our flight back home.

Helsinki Christmas Market is open from early December until Christmas Eve week. Events such as Finnish Independence Day (6 December) and many other free smaller events during the run-up to Christmas, regulate the everyday life of the market.

Our dinner 🙂

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Finland Travelogue – (Part 6): Arctic SnowHotel and Glass Igloos in Rovaniemi Lapland

Widely regarded as one of the most exotic hotels in the world, it would be a shame not to experience staying at The Arctic SnowHotel and Glass Igloos when visitors are in Finland. Talk about sleeping in Glass Igloos under the shining stars and possibility of seeing the Northern Lights. After a day of snow activities, we finally reached the Arctic SnowHotel in the evening.

The hotel’s reception and restaurant are located under the same roof.

Gifts and souvenirs.

What is Arctic SnowHotel About?

 The Arctic SnowHotel and Glass Igloos are located in Rovaniemi, Finland which is just a short 26 km away from the town centre of Rovaniemi. The hotel lies right on the shore of the scenic Lehtojavi Lake.

The glass igloo is well heat insulated to ensure visitors are not affected by the cold during the coldest of times at night. The roof of the igloo is made from electrically heated glass, which means the glass will not cool the space; rather it maintains evenly distributed warmth while melting all the snow and ice off the roof.

The beds in the igloo are motorised, which makes it possible for visitors to adjust the optimal position or sleeping or viewing the skies.

The hotel’s special Aurora Borealis alarm service guarantees that guests won’t miss an appearance of the Northern Lights. Sadly, we did not catch any Aurora Borealis during the trip. We guess staying at the glass igloo was an unforgettable experience. A night’s stay would set you back by about EUR 799 for a family of 4. So we chose to stay just for a night and a huge disappointment at not being able to catch the aurora.

The glass igloo contained basic facilities like a bathroom (warm water only last for 25 mins before it turns cold), a mini-fridge and water flask. Hey, to our dismay there was no TV available. On top of that, the hotel’s Wi-Fi was down the entire day. Imagine the inconvenience of not being able to connect into internet and no entertainment in the glass igloo 😦

We had our dinner on the bed!

Rise and shine. We woke up early the next morning for breakfast.

The selections were few and not that impressive.

We spent the whole morning playing in the snow – making snowman, skating, exploring the frozen lake and many more before making our way back to Helsinki.

They had so much fun playing in the frozen lake.

The snow was pure and tasty!

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MyTaiwanTour: Taipei Culinary Experience

Bitten by the travel bug and can’t wait to explore Taiwan? Every visitor personal interests may differ but when planning your itinerary, MyTaiwanTour offers custom curated journey that is bound to make your trip even more enjoyable.

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Determined to bring to the best of 台湾小吃 from the ever popular Taiwanese night markets, Taiwan Culinary Experience tour aims to bring you the full sights, sounds, fragrances and flavors of Taiwanese cuisine.

Image may contain: textYou will get to start at a historical market where to sample various traditional Chinese delicacies before heading over to Taipei’s undisputed gourmet ghetto, Yongkang street and the surrounding alleys. With an experience guide providing valuable tasty tips around the neighbourhoods, visitors get to sample several dishes in some famous restaurants.

They will be sure and save enough room for the movable feast’s ultimate destination, a guided tour of the world famous Ningxia night market, where you will sample a variety of dishes prepared by some of the city’s top street chefs.

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The Taipei Culinary Experience is fairly omnivorous, but with advanced notice we can customize the tour to accommodate specific dietary needs. To learn about more MyTaiwanTour’s Taipei Culinary Experience, click here.

ITINERARY

  • transportation

    16:30 Meet your guide at MRT CKS Memorial Hall Station Exit. 2

  • transportation

    16:40 Taiwanese traditional market

  • transportation

    17:20 Explore Yongkang Street

  • transportation

    19:00 Night Market Experience

  • transportation

    20:00 Drop off at MRT Shuanglian or Zhongshan Station

    Inclusions

    • A professional English speaking tour guide
    • Food and beverages
    • Goody bag with a bottle of water and surprise gifts

Planning a trip to beautiful Taiwan soon? Click here and here to read our blog on 10 tips before visiting Taiwan.

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Disclosure: All photos, information and opinions, unless otherwise stated, in this post belong to Katong Kids Inc. Reproducing or copying them for use on third party sites without our written permission are strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

6 European Destinations the Kids will Love Exploring

Europe is full of wondrous sights and cities to explore – consider a break from the norm and head somewhere complete different this year. Here are six of the best European destinations that the little ones will find a bundle of fun.

Rome Italy

For a wealth of history, head to Rome. The Italian capital is full to the brim with ancient relics and magnificent architecture that is still impressive to this day, including the Colosseum, as recommended by the Secret Traveller. The jaw-dropping structure still manages to amaze thousands of tourists to this day. And that isn’t all it has to offer. Visit Vatican City, the city-state in the middle of Rome, to see St. Peter’s Square and the Basilica that stands in front of it, where to Pope address thousands of people. The food is just as glorious as the sights, too – don’t miss out on trying some of Rome’s famed carbonara.

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Andalucia, Spain

Steer clear of the bustling beach towns and overcrowded resorts in Spain’s mainland and explore the quiet heritage of Andalucia instead. There are many towns here that offer and abundance of beautiful buildings, including the cathedral of Seville that boasts being one of the biggest in the entire world. But there’s so much to do in Andalucia that you’ll be just as awe-inspired as the little ones. As they lose themselves in the wonders of the beaches, complete with wind and kite surfers out on the water, you’ll be basking in the luscious surroundings of sand dunes and dramatic horizons.

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Zadar, Croatia

Labelled by the Telegraph as the country’s coolest city, Zadar is a growing hotspot in Croatia perfect for a fun family getaway. Head there in the summer to find a beach town full of revellers soaking up the beating rays, with a warm and vibrant atmosphere flowing in the air.

Head further into the city, though, and you’ll be intoxicated by the hidden history beyond the shore – the Old Town, for example, showcases a Venetian influence through its architecture. And don’t miss any of the town’s eccentricities, either – the solar-powered light-up dancefloor on the beach is a particular highlight.

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Crete, Greece

Your holiday will be awash with culture regardless of where you visit in Greece, and Crete is no exception. It’s a gorgeous, rocky island off the coast of the mainland, offering unparalleled opportunities to explore naturally stunning landscapes and scenery to no end.

Head to the redeveloped ancient town of Knossos for a taste of ancient civilisation that children can explore to their heart’s content. Where you’re done, the Heraklion Archaeological Museum showcases finds from Knossos that have been preserved, including the enchanting Snake Goddess.

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Algarve, Portugal

The Algarve is a sprawling region in the very south of Portugal, but its scale beckons for a modest stint of travelling in order to see it all. For a laidback and relaxed vibe, head to the old town of Lagos, complete with cobbled streets for you all to stroll down and explore.

And when you’re wanting to get the energy flowing, Albufeira is the place to go. It’s teeming with tourists and locals alike, with incredible beaches, delectable restaurants and a lively atmosphere day and night. It’s here that you’ll also find the Zoomarine waterpark, with this YouTube video highlighting how you’re able to take a swim with dolphins.

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Brittany, France

It isn’t near the coast, but taking the kids to Brittany makes for a very different type of family holiday. It’s here in the French town that you’ll be able to witness rolling fields, luscious greenery and genuine farmhouses to stay in, making the town a very low key and quiet affair – perfect if you want a quiet getaway.

There are beaches in Brittany to unwind upon if you wish, but there’s more to be had inland. The kids will love exploring the sleepy weekend markets that offer everything from homemade cheese to clothes, and the small restaurants you’ll find as you slowly stroll through the small towns offer some of the most gorgeous dishes to be found in the whole of France.

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