Any city in Europe is a worthwhile destination, but there are some cities that are more family-friendly than others and have an abundance of activities catering to the entertainment of your family as a whole. For your family’s next vacation, consider the following eight destinations for a fun, safe, and memorable time together.
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1. Amsterdam, Holland
Amsterdam is one of the best European cities for kids with its beautiful canals, easy to use transportation, and plethora of activities appealing to all. Rent paddle boats to explore the canals or bikes to cruise through the city on safely established bike paths, breathing in the smell of fresh waffles cooking along the cobblestone streets. Activities for kids range from the NEMO Science Museum to the Anne Frank Museum or Van Gogh Museum, depending where interests lie. Remember to buy tickets to museums and others popular tourist attractions ahead of time to avoid lines. Additionally, visit one of Amsterdam’s scenic parks, like Amsterdamse Bos, where you can taste cheese at local cheese farms and try water sports or horseback riding. If you’re visiting in spring, don’t forget to check out the iconic tulip fields and try on some traditional farmer’s wooden clogs. A recommended family value hotel is the Radisson Blu, located conveniently in the center of the city.
2. Dublin, Ireland
Another safe and welcoming city to visit with your kids is Dublin, which is easily accessible and a quick flight for most. If it’s a nice day, visit the Dublin Zoo or if it’s raining (the locals like to say, “if it isn’t raining, it’s going to”) take the kids to the Kilmainham Goal, an old jail that now houses the history of notable Irish rebels. Try searching for accommodation in the middle of all the action at Mespil Hotel on the Grand Canal or Camden Court Hotel, a mid-range hotel that’s still close to the city center.
3. Paris, France
An iconic city for any age to tour, Paris awaits with a variety of activities and sightseeing that any family will enjoy. Have a picnic of baguettes and cheese in the park after climbing the stairs to admire the sights from the top of the Eiffel Tower. Don’t forget to return by night to see the magical lighting of the tower against the dark night sky! For the adventurous minded, take a tour of the Catacombs, 1.7km of corridors 20 meters below street level, to revel in the remains of long-past Parisians. Book ahead for the unmissable Musée de Louvre that could take your family days to properly see all on its own. A good neighborhood to stay that’s within the city and walking distance of outdoor markets is the Bastille/Marais neighborhood, specifically staying at the Citadine.
4. London, England
A city full of both historic and modern day intrigue, London has given the world plenty to marvel at. Investigate the streets like Sherlock Holmes, go fly a kite like Mary Poppins, or take in the sights like Peter Pan, the city is rich in imaginative potential. Take a tour of the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studios, observe the city from the London Eye, the world’s tallest observation wheel, or tour the London Transport Museum. Stroll outside through St. James Park, feed the ducks, and watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace for a leisurely afternoon. Look into accommodation at Park Plaza, which has several locations within public transport at an affordable price.
5. Rome, Italy
Packed with history, Rome is a bucket-list destination that’s worth visiting at any age. Check out the popular attractions like the Colosseum, Vatican, and Sistine Chapel to marvel at the dense history of Rome. For the kids, consider booking a Gladiator School to promote interactive learning. It’s not hard to find mouth-watering pizza or pasta around every corner, but try a special treat for the little ones with a gelato tour that won’t easily be forgotten. For accommodation, try the Roma Resort Trevi, a hotel within walking distance to many of the city’s attractions.
6. Munich, Germany
A city famous for handcrafted toys, it should be easy to get your kids excited about visiting the Toy Museum in Munich. Don’t miss the Kids Kingdom in Deutsches Museum, one of the oldest and biggest science and technology museums in the world. With over 1,000 kid-friendly activities, it is sure to be another highlight of your trip. Peruse the Viktualienmarkt and grab some food to picnic in English Garden where you can soak up some sun and even watch locals try to surf on the river. If you have time for a day trip, check out the famous Neuschwanstein Castle that’s rumored to have been in the inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle. Arrange to stay in the Louis Hotel for family accommodation within the city.
7. Edinburgh, Scotland
Another city with an abundance of history, activities, and outdoor adventures is the lovely city of Edinburgh. Take advantage of the Edinburgh Bus tours with 24 hop-on and hop-off stops that keep you going to all the popular sights in a fairly hilly city. Don’t miss the Edinburgh Castle and Museum of Childhood that has a variety of hands-on activities for the kids. If you have time for a day trip, drive up to the mysterious Loch Ness lake and hike to explore the surrounding area, all the while keeping an eye out for the infamous Loch Ness monster! In Edinburgh, consider staying at Old Town Chambers, apartments and townhouses for families conveniently located in a central location of the city.
8. Prague, Czech Republic
A city that is often overlooked in a European tour, Prague is the perfect city to delight your kids in all sorts of activities. Pop up Petřín Hill in the funicular and take in the surrounding rose gardens while your kids explore the mirror maze on top. Cruise through town in a unique tour of the city on Nostalgic Tram No. 91, vintage tram cars from the early 1900s. Not only will these trams take you past many of the city’s best sights, but it’s a cheap and non-touristic way of becoming familiar with the city. Make sure to view a puppet or theatre show, a deeply rooted tradition in Czech Republic, as well as the kid-friendly museums like the Art Gallery for Children which has exhibits that kids can touch, create, or even alter art installations. There’s also the Lego Museum, the largest in Europe, or Children’s Island, full of outdoor playground devoted entirely to kids that adults can watch while sipping a coffee from a surrounding café or restaurant. Try staying in the Boho Prague Hotel for affordable family options at a fair price.
Keeping this list of cities and activities in mind, planning your next family vacation should be an exciting process; the hardest part now will be narrowing down where to go!