The best crags in Europe for family adventures

Posted by Sarah Stirling on 22/08/2017
Climbing in the Oetztal region, Austria is perfect for families. Photo: Elias Holzknecht / Oetztal Tourism
View 1 of 3

It's not easy keeping everyone happy on a family holiday, and a climbing holiday is no different! You need both easy climbs and something for grown-ups, plus plenty of fun stuff to do on days or afternoons off. Sarah Stirling rounds up the best places and crags to go on a family climbing holiday.

Costa Blanca, Spain

There’s a vast amount of limestone in the Costa Blanca, hence the name 'white coast'. There is so much climbing, in fact, that it can be difficult to know where to start. A good family area is Toix Far Oeste, an easily accessible crag just above Calpe, where a short wall offers a number of easy routes from F3 to 5 with a few 6s. Another excellent family spot is the Echo 1.5 area at Vall de Guardar (Echo Valley), which lies in a pretty valley behind Ponoch. Two small walls of great quality, easy-angled rock here were bolted by Rich Mayfield of the Orange House. There's a range of F3s, 4s, 5s and a couple of 6s. Check out the Orange House climber's home from home, where you can also get guiding and advice if needed.

What else to do: All kinds of beach activities from sandcastle building to kayaks, SUPS, sailing, diving and more. Horse riding. Swimming at the Algar Waterfalls.

Get there: Easy – the airport of Alicante is situated right in the heart of the Costa Blanca. BA, Easyjet, Ryanair and others all fly there.

Get the guidebook: Rockfax Spain: Costa Blanca


Climbing in the Costa Blanca. Photo: the Orange House

San Vito Lo Capo, Sicily

With limestone climbing right by white sandy beaches, perfect weather, cheap accommodation and delicious Italian food, this is the perfect spot for families. There are lots of crags in the area. For easy routes, try Salinella, a long cliff by the sea that stretches from Calamancina in the north to the entrance of the El Bahira campsite in the south. British climbers and Sicily fans Jim Titt and his brother Scott have equipped a brilliant range of routes for kids here, starting at grade 2, with a good range of 3s, 4s and 5s with Snow White-related names. There are also plenty of harder routes up to 8b.

What else to do: Normal beachy stuff, snorkelling. Windsurfing, kiting, sailing.

Get there: Ryanair, BA and Easyjet fly to Palermo; then it's an hour's drive.

Get the guidebook: San Vito Lo Capo Climbing Map
 

Ötztal, Tirol, Austria

The Tirol is Austria's most mountainous region, and it's a climbing heaven with over 5000 alpine climbing routes and 3000 sport climbing routes amidst stunning natural settings. No other valley in the Tirol region offers as many beautiful climbing areas and via ferratas next to each other as the Ötztal. 20 ‘climbing gardens’ here offer over 600 granite routes across a huge range of grades: there’s plenty for parents as well as kids. Where to start? So many options! Check out all the gardens and routes here

What else to do: What to do on a day off? How about rafting, canyoning, kayaking, canoeing, visiting the thermal bath in Längenfeld or swimming and sunbathing at the Piburger See lake close to Oetz.

Get there: British Airways and Easyjet fly to Innsbruck, it’s then a 1.5 hour drive or you can get there by train.

Get the guidebook: Sportclimbing in Tirol


Climbing in the Oetztal region, Austria. Photo: Elias Holzknecht / Oetztal Tourism

Gorges du Tarn, France

Essentially a huge rift with a river in the valley floor, this limestone crag starts just outside the village of Le Rozier. Five individual sectors are spread out, offering over 400 routes. There are routes of all styles, lengths and grades, it’s easily accessible and possible to climb at a couple of different sectors in the same day to find the best sun or shade options. There are routes from F4 to 9a, including initiation routes. Routes begin at about 20m and can reach 70m in length, so bring a long rope. Le Grand Toit area has some excellent easier climbs up to 6c, including some very good 4s. Strong parents: it also has some tough routes in the 7's and 8's. 

What else to do: There is a nearby high ropes adventure course, the tourist information office at Millau has some gentle circular walks with english leaflets of the route.

Get there: The climbing is about 30km from Millau. Ryanair fly to Nimes from Liverpool, then it’s a 2-hour drive. Easyjet fly to Montpellier from London, then it’s a 2.5 hour drive.

Get the guidebook: Les Gorges du Tarn; also check out this hiking map in the BMC shop: Gorges du Tarn.


Becky Brown climbing in the Gorges du Tarn. Photo: Will Oates

Windgather Rocks, Peak District

Of course there is plenty on our doorstep, too! This beginner and child friendly crag in Staffordshire, for example, offers plenty of good picnic spots and slabby Gritstone climbs, both trad and sport climbing. The routes are about 9m high and mostly in the easier grades: they start at F3 and Mod. It can be very popular in the holidays and at weekends. Try High Buttress Arete (D). Grown-ups: there are also routes up to E1 5b and F6c.

Get there: It's just outside the village of Kettleshulme. Turn left near the Bull's Head (signposted Goyt Valley). The rocks are on the left after one mile.

Get the guidebook: BMC Staffordshire Grit


Autumn Rocks! 

Bag a bargain this autumn with our fantastic deal on all single-trip BMC Rock Insurance policies. That works out at only £44 for ten days!

We've been insuring climbers like you for over 30 years. That's why all of our policies come with:

  • 24-hour emergency assistance helpline
  • £10 million emergency medical cover
  • £100,000 search, rescue and recovery cover
  • £10,000 personal accident cover
  • £5,000 cancellation cover
  • £2,500 baggage cover
  • No age loading until you're 70

WATCH: BMC Insurance: Get out there

Want to know more? READ: 5 reasons why you need BMC Travel Insurance

*Policy details: £43.98 for 10-day rock insurance valid on all single-trip European Rock cover up to age 69.


« Back

Post a comment Print this article

This article has been read 6693 times

TAGS

Click on the tags to explore more

RELATED ARTICLES

Five things we learned from rebolting Horseshoe
1
Five things we learned from rebolting Horseshoe

The mammoth project of re-equipping the routes on BMC land at Horseshoe Quarry has just finished. With a huge number of bolts replaced, loose rock removed and funds raised by you lovely lot, we’ve hopefully improved the experience for visitors to this ever popular sport crag. A huge thank you goes out to everyone who donated to the Horseshoe Heroes crowdfunder – we couldn’t have done it without you!
Read more »

British Women Climb: the new exhibition from MHT
0
British Women Climb: the new exhibition from MHT

British Women Climb, the Mountain Heritage Trust’s new exhibition, opened at the Keswick Museum last month. Available to view until 16 September 2018, the installation celebrates the significant achievements of female climbers from the past 200 years.
Read more »

The Real3Peaks Challenge: 5 years old
0
The Real3Peaks Challenge: 5 years old

The Real3Peaks Challenge, an event that has removed 1.8 tonnes of litter from popular peaks after the busy summer period, is turning five years old on Saturday 7 October and growing much bigger too! This year, alongside the 'Big 3' peaks, seven additional areas will get deep cleaned too. Find out how to join us and help.
Read more »

Post a Comment
Posting as Anonymous Community Standards
3000 characters remaining
Submit
Your comment has been posted below, click here to view it
Comments are currently on | Turn off comments
2
1) Anonymous User
26/08/2017
I live 5 mins down the road from Windgather. I'd like to know where the sport routes are 😂
2) Anonymous User
10/09/2017
Why are you using pictures of people without helmets, surely you are sending the wrong message out.

RELATED ARTICLES

Five things we learned from rebolting Horseshoe
1

The mammoth project of re-equipping the routes on BMC land at Horseshoe Quarry has just finished. With a huge number of bolts replaced, loose rock removed and funds raised by you lovely lot, we’ve hopefully improved the experience for visitors to this ever popular sport crag. A huge thank you goes out to everyone who donated to the Horseshoe Heroes crowdfunder – we couldn’t have done it without you!
Read more »

British Women Climb: the new exhibition from MHT
0

British Women Climb, the Mountain Heritage Trust’s new exhibition, opened at the Keswick Museum last month. Available to view until 16 September 2018, the installation celebrates the significant achievements of female climbers from the past 200 years.
Read more »

The Real3Peaks Challenge: 5 years old
0

The Real3Peaks Challenge, an event that has removed 1.8 tonnes of litter from popular peaks after the busy summer period, is turning five years old on Saturday 7 October and growing much bigger too! This year, alongside the 'Big 3' peaks, seven additional areas will get deep cleaned too. Find out how to join us and help.
Read more »

BMC MEMBERSHIP
Join 82,000 BMC members and support British climbing, walking and mountaineering. Membership only £15.72.
Read more »
BMC SHOP
Great range of guidebooks, DVDs, books, calendars and maps.
All with discounts for members.
Read more »
TRAVEL INSURANCE
Get covered with BMC Insurance. Our five policies take you from the beach to Everest.
Read more »