No beaches or hot weather, please. But the boys love football

By Amanda Statham, Editor

Q. Half of our family loves beaches, the other half can’t stand the heat. Our boys love football, we want a touring holiday. Help!

We are a family of four with boys of 16 and 14. My husband works hard and loves the sun, sand and sea and relaxing. I can’t sit in the sun and don’t really like the heat.

Josh, 16, has an allergic to the heat and can’t stand the beach. He would be happy playing football all week. He loves food and exploring new tastes. Sam, 14, is a fussy eater but likes the sun, sand and sea. He is happy playing football and makes friends easily.

It is proving impossible to find somewhere we can all be happy with. We would be happy sitting in the shade and reading if the boys were happy and entertained, but would prefer a holiday touring and seeing a bit of the world. We have travelled extensively in Europe, but not elsewhere.

– Karen

A. Try a holiday park in North Spain, a fly-drive in Slovenia or perhaps South Africa.

Option 1: a holiday park, such as Playa Joyel at Noja, on the Cantabrian coast of northern Spain. It won’t be baking here like the Med, but the park has access to a sandy beach when you want it. It’s also brilliantly equipped for active kids, with lots of sporting activities including a five a side football pitch.

You self cater (ideal for fussy eaters) and Sam will enjoy making friends with other children at the park. The region is great for exploring too. Hire a car and you can be delving into the Picos de Europa within minutes.

There are also prehistoric caves to explore, as well as some interesting cuisine and basque culture. Dad and the boys will also enjoy adventure activities like mountain biking and hiking in the mountains.

Option 2: Slovenia is a good bet with its mix of caves and castles to explore; a smidgen of Adriatic for a beach fix; Lake Bohinj as an action base for whitewater rafting, biking, rock climbing and trekking.

Slovenia is a doddle for self drive and there’s plenty of family friendly accommodation. Temperatures shouldn’t be too high away from the coast (Postojna Caves are always blissfully cool!).

Option 3: beyond Europe, up goes the budget, but good bets for this family would include South Africa, Brazil or Argentina. All are football crazy destinations where you don’t have to search far for an impromptu kick-around. They are also great for touring (especially South Africa), have lots of cultural and foodie appeal, activities galore and not blistering heat.

I would suggest an independent self-drive in South Africa, and perhaps an organised family adventure (teenager only departure) for Latin America.