As parents look for safe destinations in the Middle East, Oman ticks all the boxes. Its great infrastructure, affordability and fewer crowds compared to Dubai make Oman an adventurous family paradise. For the kids, the Bimmah Sinkhole, a circular limestone hollow about 500m in from the coast that boasts incredibly clear turquoise waters. Swim in the cool pool or dip your toes in the water and feel the little fish nibble on them. On Stubborn Mule's 11-day Oman Family Adventure (from £7,500 for a family of four, including flights) you can also enjoy a camel ride across the Wahiba Sands, witness endangered green turtles at Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve and take a catamaran off the coast of Muscat.
- On an Italian escape with the kids, you can take in Rome’s savagery, Florence’s romance and Venice’s decadence while learning combat skills at a gladiator training school, hearing tales of gruesome battles in Rome and getting to know the Venetian tradition of Carnival masks by making your own. Trafalgar's 10-day Gladiators, Gondolas and Gold holiday (from £1,596 per person, excluding flights; £170 off per child between 5 and 17 years) also includes a pizza making demonstration, a ride on a gondola and glassblowing in Venice.
Europe’s largest showcave serves as an ideal base for an action-packed family holiday. Postojna Cave is home to the proteus, a rare salamander nicknamed the 'baby dragon'. Early 2016 saw a female proteus lay eggs, an event that occurs only once or twice a decade. The babies are emerging now (June), just in time for the summer holidays. The cave (€22.90 for adults and €13.70 children under 15) is also home to stalagmites, stalactites, the world’s only underground post office and the world’s only double-track underground railway, which takes you deep underground to begin a magical journey exploring 21km of tunnels, caverns and subterranean halls. Stay at the modern Apartments Proteus, only 500m from Postojna Cave, with two-bedroom apartments for people starting at €130 per night.
Families can follow in the footsteps of the Swedes and retreat to the countryside in the warmer months to experience their very own bear hunt. A break in the wilds of Ockelbo offers the chance to take part in a bear-watching safari, where you can join an expert guide to track the animals in their natural habitat, learning how to spot feeding marks, paw prints and resting places, while spending a night in a wilderness cabin in the heart of the beasts’ stomping ground. Simply Sweden's four-night Escape – Swedish Style holiday (£1,195 for adults; £475 for children, including flights) includes natural hikes, lake swimming and canoeing.
- There's no better place in the world to learn kung fu than in the foothills of the Songshan Mountain. The Shaoilin Monastery, birthplace of Zen Buddhism is home to the Shaolin Monks who over centuries have become masters in kung fu. Here, children can learn the basics of the martial art taught by the monks. On Stubborn Mule's 15-day China Family Adventure (from £10,000 for a family of four, including flights) you can also experience a cable car ride to the top of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain to see glaciers in Lijiang, learn to make dim sum in a Chinese home and try your hand at making a traditional Chinese fan in Yangshou.
Adventurous families visiting Spain won't want to miss the unique Tuna Tour experience in Costa Dorada, which allows you to swim and snorkel in the sea with giant tuna. Visitors take a boat trip to the pools at Balfegó, before swimming or diving with the magnificent Bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean Sea and finally tasting the tuna back on the boat. Tours (from €35 for adults; €15 for children aged 6 to 11) depart daily during the summer season depending on weather conditions. Stay at Camping Joan (pitches from €13, bungalows from €55) to the south of Cambrils, just 30 minutes away from the Tuna Tours. The camping site has direct access to a lovely beach, as well as swimming and paddling pools, bike and kayak hire, and authentic Spanish cuisine at the Palmera Restaurant.
- Nothing gets kids more excited than getting up close and personal with an active volcano. On a trip to Java, you can take ponies out pre-dawn and climb to the crater of Mount Bromo to watch the sun rise. The sight is magical while the sulphur fumes are not - but affords top bragging rights once they tell their friends. On Stubborn Mule's 15-day Indonesia Family Adventure in Java and Bali (from £8,500 for a family of four, including flights), you will also explore the temples at Borobudur and Prambanan, spend two nights in a spice plantation and snorkel around the protected marine park surrounding Menjangan Island.
There's a reason Sri Lanka is a popular destination for families. Its untouched beaches make it a top spot for dolphin spotting, the climate is perfect even during the summer months and at four hours less flying time than Vietnam, it is a more bearable long-haul option for those with young children. One of the best activities is joining the fisherman on Ngapali Beach for an early morning boat ride to help bring in the days catch. On Stubborn Mule's 15-day Sri Lanka Family Adventure (from £8,500 for a family of four, including flights), the kids will also love staying in safari tents in Walpattu National Park, spotting wild elephants on a Jeep safari in Minneriya National Park and taking a bullock cart around a traditional coconut plantation.
Travel over five different states taking in the very best America’s west with its dramatic red rock terrain in Utah, the wild frontiers of rural Montana, the natural wonders of Yellowstone National Park and the iconic sculptures of Mount Rushmore. Children will get a kick out of staying at an 1800s homestead which includes a wagon ride out to the river for an authentic finger lickin’, rib-stickin’ meal prepared on an authentic chuckwagon. Trafalgar's nine-day Wild West Cowboys and Buffalos itinerary (from £1,886 per person, excluding flights; £213 off for children aged 5-17) also includes the choice of a white-water rafting trip down the Gallatin River or horse riding with a real-life horse wrangler in the Montana wilderness. It's the perfect place to learn about the art and cultures of cowboys and the Plains Indians.
Amongst the spectacular karst limestone scenery of Halong Bay is a giant cave, where the walls are lit by hundreds of candles. Eating dinner here is a very rare experience for most tourists, but children will love watching the bats as they fly in and out at sunset. On Stubborn Mule's 15-day Vietnam Family Adventure (from £9,000 for a family of four, including flights), the kids will also enjoy making traditional Chinese lanterns, learning how to cook a Vietnamese meal, taking a cycle rickshaw around Saigon and spending the night in a hill tribe village.