Guide to planning a family-friendly holiday to Italy

Italy is an amazing location for a holiday. Although more commonly known for love stories and romance, it offers a sublime getaway experience for families and couples alike. The versatility of the country means that there is something for everyone, and the family-focused culture means that it is one of the best destinations in the world to take a family retreat. From child-friendly activities to luxury family friendly villas in Sicily and in many other destinations, Italy has it all. Our guide will help you to create the most perfect family holiday where you will make memories to last a lifetime!

family staying at our luxury villas in Sicily


There are many areas within Italy that have a wide range of child-friendly activities available; Puglia, Sicily and Sardinia are all known for their amazing attractions that are perfect for both adults and children of all ages.

With beautiful beaches and many places to take an adventure, Puglia is a great destination for children. Experience the serene and quiet setting at any time of year from the luscious vineyards to the calming sounds of the seaside rest assured that the little ones will be entertained and safe.

A great destination for the kids that are a little older, Sicily has a host of opportunities for the whole family to take part in. With the impressive Mount Etna offering the chance to go out volcano climbing and the impressive beach welcoming itself for you to get your adrenaline pumping through water sports, it is the perfect place for those looking to seek adventure. Additionally, if that doesn’t appeal to you, the stretches of long, golden sand are ideal for those looking to relax and top up their tan!

Sardinia is another superb location for those wanting a bit of water sporting action. There is so much on offer, from stunning sights to be seen from a hike (or even on horseback) to Parco Sardengna in Miniatura, where you can see the city in teeny tiny form and learn about its extensive and interesting history; some of the talks are specially tailored to children too!

diary planning Italian holidays 2017

When to go

The summer holidays are a naturally popular time to travel to Italy, as this is the height of the summer and the children are not at school. However, it might be worth considering taking your holiday during one of the slightly more quieter times of the year, including half-term breaks and the Easter holidays. Although it is a beautiful place to visit during the warmer months, Italy isn’t just for the summer. The winter provides a slightly different experience, but this will in no way will affect your enjoyment levels. In fact, this will usually mean that the prices are lower, each region is less busy with tourists, offering you the most authentic experience possible and you’ll be able to find your dream location with ease!

family friendly villas in Sardinia


It is important to find a suitable place to stay with your family for your Italian holiday, a place that will be safe, comfortable and welcoming to all of your guests, as not all hotels will allow children. It is important to consider the proximity from your accommodation to local facilities such as the airport, and the other attractions you wish to visit, as you won’t want to spend too long travelling with youngsters by your side! Here at Essential Italy, we have a wide range of luxury family friendly villas, hotels and apartments available that will be simply perfect for your stay.

sunset on a flight to Italy

Travel times

The flight times to different destinations to Italy can vary from between airlines and the location in which you wish to visit; for example, a flight to Rome or Florence is usually around 2 ½ hours direct from the UK, while the journey to Sicily is more like 4 hours. For this reason, it is best to be prepared to keep the kids entertained! Put together a little activity pack of print-out games and colouring pens, or bring along a small selection of books. Tablets and e-readers are also great for a lightweight entertainment option for the times when you are limited on space and could offer you a few hours of quiet time during your trip.

kids snorkelling off the Italian coast

What to do

We’ve mentioned just a few of the things that you can do whilst in different regions of Italy. However, there are still so many more things to be explored! Head out snorkelling off the coast and see the fish swimming in the sea, or take a look at the busy event schedule and attend one of the many incredible festivals that are put on throughout the year – many of these are suitable for children and will have them giggling with happiness all day long! Give them an educational experience whilst you explore the architectural masterpieces hidden all over. This cultural experience will open their eyes up to the world, inspiring them to explore further locations in the future and learn about the wonderful world in which we live!

planning a holiday to sicily

Plan ahead

With the children in tow, it is best to plan ahead, as spontaneity isn’t quite so simple when you have the little ones to think about! Do a little research on the local area, attractions and activities you’d like to do, before making a brief itinerary for your trip. This doesn’t have to be set in stone, but it will help you to have a more stress-free holiday knowing that you have most of your time planned out.

family photo at sunset in Italy

Making memories

Family holidays are made for creating memories, from those moments spent laughing with joy on the beach, the ones of content as you lie in bed at the end of a long summers day, re-visiting all of the wonderful things you have done throughout the day. Ensure you capture these memories on camera so that you can look back at them in the future, and most importantly enjoy the quality time with one another!


Edited for 2018.