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Europe's top 6 enchanting forest holidays

Fresh air, woodland animals, wildflowers, distractions for teenagers, and log cabins with hot tubs bigger than most houses. If forest holidays sound idyllic, it’s because they are, so check out our 6 most enchanting leafy retreats.

For adventurous families

Boating on the River Klaralven in Sweden

Boating on the River Klaralven in Sweden

The River Klaralven in Sweden is a popular tourist destination and beloved by families who like a dash of adrenalin with their trail mix. Options range from short kayak trips through to building your own timber raft and sailing for 6-8 days. River Klaralven runs through miles of forest and there are plenty of opportunities for families who want to disembark and explore the woods. Eco-hotels and campsites like Camping 45 and Highland Cattle Farm offer free bike rental, woodland guides, and basic outdoor training.

For large families

Exploring the Veluwe Forest in Gelderland, The Netherlands

Exploring the Veluwe Forest in Gelderland, The Netherlands

One of the great things about forest holidays is how well suited they are for big, multi-generational, family trips. Whether you prefer the convenience of a self-catered cabin or the ease of a hotel, places like Veluwe Forest in The Netherlands are the ideal spot to bring the whole family together. Hidden in the centre of this vast stretch of woodland is Relais & Chateaux Hotel Landgoed Het Roode Koper, a luxury estate surrounded by country gardens. The facilities available include a pool, free bike rental, hiking trails, and excellent accessibility for family members with reduced mobility.

Chilled out families

Relax on the Pokljuka Plateau in Slovenia

Relax on the Pokljuka Plateau in Slovenia

Pokljuka is a forested plateau just half an hour’s drive from the city of Bled in Slovenia. Skiing and hiking are available but for visitors who prefer to admire the breath-taking views from a more stationary position there is also plenty of fishing and a surfeit of spas, saunas, hot tubs, and luxury hotels. Wooden cabins like the Vila Triglav usually have specially-designated woodland play areas for children, fantastic WiFi for permanently-online teenagers, and massage rooms and outdoor hot tubs for parents.

For foodie families

Go foraging in Sintra-Cascais National Park, Portugal

Go foraging in Sintra-Cascais National Park, Portugal

A family marches on its stomach and after a day of hiking, kayaking, and tree climbing a good meal is mandatory. Foodie families who want to try something a little different should head to Sintra Cascais National Park in Portugal. Not only is it possible to book wilderness tours which teach children how to forage for edible berries, roots, and mushrooms, but the city of Sintra itself is known for it’s hearty and experimental food scene. Families can either use Sintra as a base for exploring the forest or stay in the National Park itself by checking into one of the park’s beautiful luxury hotels.

For nature loving families

Look out for wildlife in Cropton Forest, UK

Look out for wildlife in Cropton Forest, UK

All forests are, by definition, a dream for nature-lovers but the range of activities on offer at Cropton Forest in North York Moors National Park makes it a particularly action-packed experience. Local rangers have spent years developing child-friendly wildlife spotting expeditions, while also teaching children to respect the environment. And there are nighttime tours to watch nocturnal animals like badgers, foxes, and roe deer. High Farm B&B sits on the edge of the National Park and the owners are full of local tips, tricks, and trails for making the most of your family holiday.