Europe With Kids. Best Places To Visit On Your European Family Holidays. So you want to visit Europe with kids? But where on earth do you go-with such a huge continent and hundreds of interesting cities to travel to?. London is a great city to visit on your Europe family trip. Babies and toddlers will love seeing the changing of the guard, children will enjoy the scary London Dungeons and your teenagers will have a blast riding the London Eye. Don't forget to stop at a sweet shop for some yummy chocolate and candy! London family attractions Amsterdam is a great city to visit in Europe with kids. There are lots of quirky museums and you can explore the canals on a pedal boat. Teenagers will be fascinated by Anne Frank's house after reading her diary in school.
Exploring New Locales as a Family Are your city tripping days over when you have kids? No way! City trips with kids can be a lot of fun. Of course hours of endlessly wandering around are a thing from the past, but you can still enjoy discovering a city with your mini-me’s.
When it comes to , the trick is to be prepared. Tips from other traveling families are invaluable, so we’re sharing our tips for things to do with kids in our five : Amsterdam, Milan, Berlin, Vienna and Prague. Some other family travel bloggers say you shouldn’t select capitals or major cities when , but we don’t agree. A trip should be fun for both you and your kids. Plus, big cities have a lot to offer for the whole family. One very important tip for families with young kids: bring a carrier or stroller!
Those little legs tire easily. Here are the best European cities for toddlers. Amsterdam, Netherlands There are a lot of nice villages and cities to visit in the Netherlands, such as The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht. Our hometown, Haarlem, is great for a family visit. But Holland’s capital Amsterdam is an attraction in itself. It has that fun international vibe.
Holland is known for its windmills, cheese, tulips and wooden shoes. But Amsterdam has a lot more to offer, and plenty of things that make it a great place to travel to in Europe with toddlers. The great thing about visiting Amsterdam with kids is that the city is quite compact, so it’s easy to see a lot in a short time.
Amsterdam has a lot of exciting, crazy, special and fun things for kids of all ages. Things to Do in Amsterdam with Kids Discover the Amsterdam Dungeon, take a boat trip on the world famous Dutch canals or visit Holland’s oldest zoo, Artis. Discover cultures from around the world in the Tropenmuseum, visit one of the many petting zoos in the city, or the goat farm Ridammerhoeve in the Amsterdamse Bos. In the summer, follow the locals’ lead and go for a picnic in the Vondelpark or rent a boat to discover the canals from the water.
Of course Holland is a bike country and it’s good fun to ride your bike around the city. Most bike rental places will rent child’s bike seats. The Museum of Natural History is one of the great attractions you'll love exploring while in Milan. Photo Credit: / Milan, Italy When you think of a city trip to Italy, you think of historic Rome, romantic Venice or Florence, the center of the Renaissance.
While Milan isn’t the most obvious choice, this fashion city is definitely worth a visit. A big plus is that it’s much cheaper to fly to Milan from a lot of European destinations, such as Amsterdam. Prices for accommodation are also much more reasonable. Like all of Italy, Milan offers great Italian food and lovely Italian gelato (ice cream). Good to know: the more famous Italian cities are within easy reach.
It only takes about three hours by train to get from Milan to Rome. Things to do in Milan with kids Spend a day at the Museo della Scienza e della Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci. It has an awesome collection of cars, trains, planes, boats and even a real submarine and scale models inspired by Da Vinci’s drawings.
Go see the dinosaur skeletons at the Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano. The historic city park Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli in the Porta Venezia district has numerous small playgrounds and lots of space to run and play. Pretend you’re a knight at Castello Sforzesco or ride the old trams for a hop-on hop-off city tour. For football fans, the ‘Temple of Soccer’, San Siro Stadium, should be on the to do list, and race fans can visit Autodroma Nazionale Monza.
Climbing structure at Park Am Gleisdreieck. Photo Credit: Berlin, Germany You can easily see why expat families love living in Berlin — it’s a great family travel destination. We visited Berlin with our 2-year-old and had a blast. Public transport is quick and cheap (children under six travel for free) and the Berliners are very child-friendly. Of course Berlin has quite a brutal past and reminders are everywhere.
If your kids are a bit older you can expect some questions about what went on. It makes for an interesting history lesson! The Wall Museum and the East Side Gallery are definitely worth a visit. Good to know: a lot of museums offer free entrance for kids up to 18 (do check, sometimes the cut-off is 10, 12 or 14). Things to Do in Berlin with Kids There are a lot of great playgrounds and lovely green parks in Berlin, as well as a good number of child friendly museums.
We recommend the Park Am Gleisdreieck for all ages; it has numerous great playgrounds and other play areas. Cafe Eule is a lovely little cafe inside the park. The Zeppelinplatz playground also comes highly recommended. It includes a nice area for water play.
Meet giant dinosaurs in the Museum für Naturkunde (natural history museum), visit the Science Center Spectrum or go to the Berlin Zoo & Aquarium. The Mauerpark Flohmarkt, held every Sunday, is one of many awesome flea markets in Berlin. It’s the perfect place to score some vintage toys and try some German fast food. Make music with your child at the Haus der Musik, the interactive sound museum. Photo Credit: Vienna, Austria Vienna has a lot of lovely green parks, almost all them with playgrounds, and there are a lot of fun kids’ museums, making it one of the best toddler-friendly European cities.
The public transport network is very efficient and it’s easy to reach almost every part of the city. Kids 6 years or younger travel for free and they offer great discounts for older kids. Vienna is also easy and cheap to get to by air or rail from a lot of other European cities, which makes it the perfect destination for a family city trip.
Things to Do in Vienna with Kids Vienna’s expats love to take their kids to Türkenschanzpark, Stadtpark, Währingerpark and Rathauspark. We accidentally stumbled upon Josef Strauss Park and our toddler greatly enjoyed the playground. You can easily spend a day at Vienna Tiergarten (zoo) on the grounds of castle Schönbrunn.
The castle itself is also worth a visit. Make music at the Haus der Musik (interactive sound museum), discover technology a the Technisches Museum (technology museum), take your little ones to the Zoom Kindermuseum or visit the Haus des Meeres (aquarium inside a WWII anti-aircraft tower). Kids of all ages will enjoy a city trip to Vienna.
The DinoPark is located on the roof of the shopping mall OC Galerie Harfa. Photo Credit: Prague, Czech Republic Prague’s Old Town breathes a fantastic medieval atmosphere with its narrow cobblestone streets and amazing architecture. The heart of Prague’s Old Town is the lively Old Town Square where you’ll find lots of street sellers, horse-and-buggy rides, street artists and small, but busy cafés.
The scenic Charles Bridge over the Moldau, the longest river in the Czech Republic, is one of the main tourist attractions. On it you’ll find musicians, sketch artists and numerous other street sellers trying to sell their wares.
Towering Prague Castle is the largest castle complex in the world and looks like a fairy tale castle. Things to Do in Prague with Kids One of the things our little one enjoyed most in Prague was the DinoPark, located on the roof of the shopping mall OC Galerie Harfa. Vytopna, just off Wenceslas Square, was awesome too. It’s a restaurant that has a huge miniature train track with little trains serving your drinks. Other fun things to do with kids in Prague are taking a river cruise on the Vltava (Moldau), visiting the National Marionette Theatre, taking the funicular railway up to Petrin Hill and watching the changing of the guard ceremony at Prague Castle everyday at noon.
There’s a nice kids’ playground in the Franciscan Garden and one at the Mala Strana side of the Charles Bridge. In the summer, the Biotop swimming pool at Prague-Radotin is a great place to cool off. For more great advice on family travel in Europe, check out the blog .
best dating cities in europe to visit with toddlers - Best Cities in Europe to Visit 2018: Top Weekend Getaways in Europe!
There’s a lot to love about capital—a , new , and so much good food. Feast at the , where you’ll find anything from a seafood bar (diners can watch as the food is prepared) to a cheese store, Gutta på Haugen; there are 30 vendors total.
Once you’ve had your fill, head over to the , which is currently exhibiting Jeff Koons and Frank Benson, among other artists. (If you stay at The Thief, you get free entry.) To cap it all off, the city is incredibly bike friendly, so you can sightsee while getting in a workout—you know, in case that's your thing. Located in Spain’s beautiful Basque country, San Sebastián has no shortage of activities for travelers, be it surfing at Playa de Gros or touring the Parte Vieja (Old Town).
But let’s face it: you’re going to spend most of your time here eating. The undisputed culinary capital of the country, San Sebastián has some of the —including three with a three-star Michelin rating. The city is also famous for its (Basque tapas), from beef cheeks and squid croquettes to mushroom risotto and blistered padrón peppers. Pair every meal with some of the region’s best wines, and you have yourself a vacation your stomach will never forget.
Lisbon has long been one of the most , but it looks like the secret is finally starting to get out—take in the , historic architecture, and pastéis de nata and you'll see what we mean. Change is also on the way: "In the next few years, the city will welcome a major art, architecture, and technology museum, dozens of restored and landscaped public squares, several high-rises, a sprawling new cruise terminal, and countless additional shops, studios, and cultural spaces," Traveler contributor Julia Cooke reports.
A burgeoning beer culture, some of the world’s best restaurants, royal history, and dedicated pedestrian- and cycle-friendly zones all help make Copenhagen .
The city is routinely ranked one of the world’s most expensive, but some of the capital’s best activities—marveling at Christiansborg Palace, walking harborside in Nyhavn—cost nothing at all.
Tight on time? Head to Nørrebro and walk Guldbergsgade, one of the city's : You can easily fill an entire day amid this tiny enclave's tightly crammed, glass-fronted restaurants and one-of-a-kind shops. Often overshadowed by Madrid and , Spain’s third-largest city is ready for its turn in the spotlight.
Valencia is truly a , complete with Gothic architecture, Mediterranean views, and incredible interconnected green spaces. You can get almost anywhere in the city without a car, which means you have no excuse to skip gems like the City of Arts and Sciences or .
Plan a visit during March to witness the spectacle that is Las Fallas, an annual festival that honors the feast of St. Joseph with street parties and fireworks. Seeing the 30-foot effigies set on fire during the celebration’s final night is an experience for the . This beautiful seaside city in southern Ireland has everything you could want in an Irish town: history, scenery, and cozy pubs galore.
Cork also happens to be one of the , which means you can pop into pretty much any beer garden and share a table with the locals without any awkwardness. The walkable city is filled with enough to keep you satisfied (don't miss local "chipper" KC & Son & Sons), while the are some of the grandest in the country.
Make time, too, to browse the local art galleries and load up on goodies at the English Market. You might know Granada by the Alhambra, a red-tinged castle that dates back to 1238 and is recognized as a It’s one of many examples of medieval architecture within Granada, and sits overlooking the city from a hilltop—in a neighborhood that “preserves remains of the ancient Arabic quarter,” according to . Granada is also only a 20-minute drive from , which is known for its hiking, mountaineering, and mountain biking options, among other outdoor activities.
Back in town, don’t miss the habitas con jamón (fried baby broad beans with ham) while you’re out to eat—it’s a . The capital of southern Spain’s Andalusia region, Seville is packed with history: Moorish influences can be seen all over the city, but the Alcazar of Seville is one of its best known landmarks—and not just because it’s used as the royal palace of the House Martell in . Also on our must-do list? Check out the intricate tilework at Plaza de España, squeeze in for tapas at the Bodega Santa Cruz, and when the sun sets, head to the Triana neighborhood for some flamenco, which originated in the city in the 18th century.
Spain’s northern port city is . You probably know for its Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum (which, by the way, still looks good some 20 years after construction), but that only scrapes the surface of what this city has to offer. There’s also superior sparkling wine, pintxos galore, and rolling hills as beautiful as any architecture.
We suggest (hard-cider houses) and pintxos bars before settling down for the night at —then doing the exact same thing the following day. We wouldn’t be the first to call the world’s greatest outdoor museum. And no matter how many times we go to the Eternal City, we stop dead in our tracks at the first glimpse of the Pantheon as we turn into the Piazza della Rotonda.
Ditto the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, and the Colosseum (all recently restored— grazie to Fendi, Bulgari, and , respectively). But what we realize, especially if we’ve been to Rome more than once, is that the monuments themselves are not the destination. Rather, they're the backdrop to a lifestyle we came here for. We're talking about la dolce vita—the art of lingering over long lunches and carafes of house wine in villa-lined piazzas, strolling down impossibly narrow cobblestone streets with no particular destination in mind.
Watches, cheese fondue, a high median rate of income—it’s true, all of these things are endemic to , a city whose love for order and efficiency is well-known the world over. But for all its rigor, there’s also loads of charm to be found in this medieval-tinged metropolis: Winding, cobblestone streets, centuries-old churches, and high design-minded, albeit unpretentious boutiques are just a few of the high notes.
If you make it, drop your bags at the reader-favorite hotel, and set your sights on either side of the Limmat River: There’s Fraumünster Church, with its stained glass windows courtesy Marc Chagall, and Kunsthaus Zürich, one of the country's most preeminent art museums.
And don’t forget to stop by moody bar for a drink, where original works by Matisse and Picasso will keep you company—along with the libations, that is. These days, one of the world’s oldest cities is brimming with new life. See the Acropolis and the Ancient Agora, sure, but don’t missing shopping Monastiraki’s flea market, walking up Lykavittos Hill, or exploring the city’s burgeoning Exarcheia neighborhood. Earmark an afternoon for the Renzo Piano-designed, $623 million , which houses the National Opera and the National Library of Greece, and sits on the biggest park in .
When you’ve had your fill of touring, fuel up with a souvlaki (or three) at O Kostas, which serves the best in town. One of the , Stockholm isn’t just scenic: It’s also the cultural, political, media, and economic center of Sweden. Make like a local and stroll narrow cobblestone streets, hang by the city’s colorful waterfront, and take advantage of the country's culture (how coffee can—and should—be consumed). Though many travelers spend most of their time in the medieval center, Stockholm actually comprises 14 islands of an archipelago, which makes it a perfect jumping off point for island hopping: Fjäderholmarna, one of the closest, is just 20 minutes by boat, and Djurgården, aptly dubbed Stockholm’s playground, is filled with idyllic woods, trails, marshes, and wetlands.
And an ABBA Museum. Our agree: It's time to get back to Istanbul. Despite a series of traumas over the past two years—, political upheaval, a currency crisis—total foreign arrivals to Turkey are forecast to rise 5.7 percent from 2017 to more than 38 million this year, the World Travel & Tourism Council says.
Istanbul, the capital city, will always draw us in with its Byzantine and Ottoman architecture, the Grand Bazaar and Spice Market, and historic taverns. Looking to escape the crowds? Head up Galata’s hill and down into Karaköy, exploring the shops and restaurants along the way.
Our readers aren’t the only ones who love Avignon. Traveler editors have also taken note of the Provence city this past year, thanks in large part to an influx of hotel openings and buzzy restaurants. La Divine Comédie, a majestic mansion with the largest private garden in town, made it on the , while La Mirande was dubbed one of the (eat at the chef’s table downtown).
But don’t forget about Avignon’s old charms just yet—the city’s stupefyingly rich architecture and Rhône views never fail to impress. Edinburgh is a beloved, distinctive capital in Western Europe. Where else can you find a medieval Old Town, extinct volcano, regal (visitable!) castle, and "New Town" from the 1800s in one city?
It's another one of those cities that looks great in all seasons—and has more than enough whisky dens and museums and top-notch restaurants to duck into when the wet-cold of winter gets into your bones.
Warm up with fresh and hearty fish pie or risotto at , a Stockbridge restaurant by the team behind Michelin-starred The Kitchin; the spicy lamb and chilli cheese toast at Indian resto ; and a wee dram in the soaring Peacock Alley lounge of , once a train concourse and now one of the finest hotels in town. Located about an hour west of Geneva, the third-largest city in France should move up a few notches on your list—especially if you consider yourself a foodie. Lyon is known for its nap-inducing feasts, but a slew of is waking up the streets.
Try La Bijouterie for French dim sum; or Le Bouchon des Filles for lighter spins on traditional favorites, like lentil salad spiked with sausage. In between meals, take advantage of Lyon’s , whether it’s strolling through UNESCO-listed neighborhoods or relaxing in one of the Old City’s boutique hotels. There's nothing like Venice: Its canals, labyrinth of car-free cobblestone streets, and hidden passageways are perfect for wandering—even getting lost here is magical. Head to Al Muro for authentic Venetian cuisine, or for a more adventurous itinerary, get out of the well-trod historic center and take a boat to Sant’Erasmo or Giudecca.
Want to avoid the crowds? Book a trip in January, just before Carnival arrives, or follow our guide to eating and shopping around Windmills, cycling, , and canals are all part of Amsterdam’s storied charm, but there’s more to the Dutch capital than its most apparent associations.
For a taste of the “new” , grab a drink at Droog, a renovated 17th-century hotel with just one room; float in a weightless state in the saltwater pods at Koan Float; or try innovative takes on seasonal fruits and vegetables at , a restaurant housed in the former Amsterdam City Greenery.
Sleeping in the city just got more stylish, too: Kimpton its first European outpost here in spring 2017. Porto may be known for its wine and port, but oenophiles aren’t the only ones who have fallen in love with this cozy northern city. Aside from booze, Portugal’s second city has some of the best scenery in the country—and some of the : think idiosyncratic artwork, crafts, and handmade clothing. We’re fans of the hillside , and we even dubbed Zé Bota one of the .
And with TAP Air Portugal offering more —including daily flights from Newark—you really have no more excuses not to visit. Tallinn, Estonia looks straight out of a fairytale, complete with colorful buildings, turreted , and a lovely location right on the Baltic Sea. The city is known for its Old Town—another —which is a “well preserved example of a medieval northern European trading city,” including historic churches, craftsman guilds, and merchant houses.
The (on the river of the same name) is excellent for families—there’s a beach and seaside restaurants, plus an amusement park, “fitness trail,” and botanical gardens. Next stop, Estonia... With some of the best Art Nouveau architecture in Europe, scenic has few bad angles. It's also , where the pursuit of pleasure hits a new high. Explore the Hungarian capital’s spa culture at thermal baths built in the 16th and 17th century; have your coffee and pastry with a side of ostentation at the gilded Gerbeaud or New York cafes; and walk the Széchenyi Chain Bridge at night over the Danube River for magnificent views—and a reminder of the good life.
Whether it's their first or 15th trip to , our readers can't get enough of this city. It's a starter trip for many Americans looking for that first ; it's also constantly changing, despite its deep roots on display at, say, Westminster Abbey, or the Tower of London.
After checking out the classics, head to ; catch a show at Almeida, a performance venue housed in a former train station in Islington; go shopping or hotel bar hopping in Shoreditch; and see how many of the can be ticked off the list in one weekend. The magic of Madrid is best captured on foot, strolling through the streets, stopping in a museum or sitting for a drink at La Alemana, a historic bar once frequented by Ava Gardner and Ernest Hemingway. For a taste of everyday Spanish life in this vibrant capital city, shop at , sample the market culture at and the , and bring your picnic to the ancient Egyptian Temple of Debod, which was donated to Spain in 1968 and can be found in the Parque del Oeste.
Last year, we dubbed Antwerp a —and that title holds true today. The Flemish port city is truly a haven for design-lovers, with Balenciaga sneakers in boutiques and Warhol paintings in museums (don’t miss modern-art museum M HKA). The range from three-star restaurants to weekend farmers’ markets, while new hotels like Hotel Franq and Hotel Pilar make bedtime something to look forward to.
And then there’s Kanaal—a 180,500-square-foot private arts center created by local designer Axel Vervoordt. Open in 2017, the complex features three art galleries, an organic food market, a , and edgy apartments for people to rent. Hey, there are certainly worse places to spend a long weekend. From the mountains to the beach, the historic to the contemporary, sunny —lucky city that it is—has it all.
Brush up on Catalan history at or take a street art tour of the trendy El Raval district. For dining, try a , a restaurant by Ferran Adrià, or stay classic at , a standing-room-only joint that’s been operated by the same family for more than 100 years.
hardly needs an introduction—proper nouns will suffice: the , the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame, Sacre-Coeur, , Centre Pompidou, Saint-Germain, the Seine (at dusk).
Dine like the French near the Bastille at Chez Paul or stroll among the statues at the elegant Luxembourg Gardens. To stay, treat yourself to a room at the exquisite or the remodeled Hôtel de Crillon, which after a four-year renovation. Put it all together, and you'll see why the city is firmly established as . Though Rome is Italy’s much beloved capital and Milan has serious cosmopolitan clout, remains unrivaled in history, art, and architecture (its beauty and cuisine don’t hurt, either).
In addition to being the birthplace of the Renaissance, the Firenze of recent years has had a modern makeover: Study Tuscan classics with celebrity chef Arturo Dori at Desinare, one of the city’s hottest cooking school/design store hybrids, or take in modern art at La Strozzina, Florence’s center for contemporary culture.
Wherever the day takes you, save room for a —this stewed tripe sandwich is a Florence must. Germany has no shortage of , but Nuremberg stands out for its distinct blend of old and new. Once the “unofficial” capital of the Holy Roman Empire and an early capital of science and invention, Nuremberg today is best known for its Christkindlesmarkt, castles, museums, and bratwurst, which have been sold here since the 14th century.
Cologne is often overshadowed by and Munich, but the 2,000-year-old city on the banks of the Rhine River has its devotees for a reason: Think High Gothic architecture, 12 Romanesque churches, annual literary festivals, and the Museum Ludwig, one of the most important collections of modern art in Europe.
(Kölsch beer, specially brewed here, probably helps, too.) Despite being one of Switzerland’s financial centers, feels more like a storybook setting than a tight-laced commercial center. That’s probably due to the city’s cobblestoned Old Town, complete with a picturesque cathedral, market square, and fountain.
Scenery aside, Basel also happens to be Switzerland’s cultural capital, with world-renowned art museums and plenty of orchestras and theaters. Plan a visit during December to experience one of the best in all of Europe. With its covered bridges, turreted buildings, and colorful Old Town, is storybook Swiss. And it is always, always on this list of top cities. Settled on the shores of Lake Lucerne, the city is also a popular departure point for the Swiss Alps, which are visible from the town.
Walk the city’s famed Kapellbrücke, the oldest covered bridge in Europe, and grab a home-brewed beer nearby at when finished. To sample traditional Lucerne dishes like veal with cream sauce and rösti, head to Wirtshaus Galliker, which the Galliker family has run for more than four generations.
Love the canals of and Venice? Hamburg reportedly has more than both cities, combined. Float through the historic Speicherstadt warehouse district and past the 19th-century Town Hall, or stay on dry land to walk under the river via the Alter Elbtunnel, which has artwork lining its tiled walls. Whatever you do, don’t miss the 361-foot, $1 billion concert venue. Made famous by Mozart (and the Von Trapps), classic Salzburg sits divided by the Salzach River: Its pedestrian Old City lines its left bank, and the nineteenth-century comprises the right.
To drink like a local, head to , Austria’s largest beer hall, where beer is drawn directly from wooden barrels and can be enjoyed alongside traditional and regional specialties from the Schmankerlgang, an Old World food court of sorts. Artistic, exquisite, and largely shaped by its musical and intellectual foundations, Austria’s capital and largest city is . It's the kind of city where you could happily visit four museums in a day and still have more to see, or join fellow culture vultures for an outdoor simulcast of the latest opera—in the dead of winter.
(There will always be a crowd for the opera.) Make time to get a figurative taste of royalty at Schönbrunn, the Habsburgs’ former summer residence, and get an actual taste of Sachertorte, a chocolate cake that's a local treat, at 's Cafe Sacher. Just be sure to ask for the extra decadent dessert mit schlaag—with cream. Our Sites • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • © 2018 Condé Nast. All rights reserved. Use of and/or registration on any portion of this site constitutes acceptance of our (updated 5/25/18) and (updated 5/25/18).
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From peerless parks to hands-on-museums and refreshingly affordable food, these major European cities all say "welcome!" to families with children. If your motto is "Have family, will travel," you'll be glad to know that is within your reach; in fact, these 10 cities will greet you with open arms.
To save on sightseeing, book in advance and consider buying the multi-attraction discount passes most cities offer. If a traditional is too pricey (or small) for your brood, or leaves you wanting for the comforts of home, rent an apartment through ; owners typically leave their "must-see" list and restaurant recommendations so you'll have a truly local experience—especially if you download a few local apps before departure.
Ready? Set? Go! 1. AMSTERDAM There's more—a lot more—to Amsterdam than the red light district. In fact, with paddle boats and bike paths galore, you can—and should—give it the green light for your next family adventure. Eating is easy and photo ops abound in this walkable, bikeable, boat-able city.
Patat met (French fries with mayo) will keep hunger at bay as you take in the sights, possibly stopping to smile in an oversize Dutch clog—or perhaps with the pair you plan to bring home. WHAT TO DO Everything is more fun when you arrive on a boat or a bike and in Amsterdam, that's the way to go. Be sure to swing by the NEMO Science Museum for hands-on exhibits that include a chemistry lab with experiments for young scientists and a bubble display for those that can't resist getting their hands wet.
Older kids will appreciate the history of the Anne Frank Museum while kids of all ages will find something of interest at the Van Gogh Museum; just be sure to buy your tickets in advance to avoid the long lines.
If you visit in the spring, a day trip to Keukenhof to see the tulips in bloom—hundreds of thousands of them—should top your list. Consider a Holland Pass to save time and entry frees to major attractions. WHERE TO STAY The Radisson Blu in the city is centrally located and offers a great breakfast buffet. The hotel itself is not too big and not too small and with croissants and nutella for breakfast, everything seems just right.
WHERE TO EAT Have a steak with the locals at Café Loetje in the Museum Quarter neighborhood. They don't take reservations (or cash!) but it's well worth the wait - especially if you can get a table on the patio. 2. DUBLIN It's not just the Irish eyes that will be smiling when you touch down in ; the welcoming locals will have everyone smiling from the top 'o the morning 'til the rise of the moon.
With relatively short direct flights and no language barrier, Dublin is the perfect starter-city for a family of aspiring adventurers. WHAT TO DO Admire the "doors of Dublin" as you stroll over to St. Stephen's Green. Pack a picnic lunch, romp at the newly renovated playground and feed the ducks before you depart to see ducks of a different sort at the National Museum of Ireland - Natural History.
A taxidermy tribute to Ireland's wildlife is artfully displayed over two manageable floors. Assuming you have some animal lovers in your midst, they'll be pleased to know they can see the real thing at the delightful Dublin Zoo in Phoenix Park. For a bit of (dark) Irish history, plan a visit to Kilmainham Goal; Gaol is Gaelic for jail and this one housed almost every notable Irish rebel.
If day trips are your thing, consider taking the train south to Bray to visit the aquarium, stroll along the sea or hike up to Brayhead; you might even pick some blueberries along the way, depending on the season. If mountains are more your style, head to County Wicklow where you'll be dazzled by the gardens at Powerscourt and awed by the scenery and history at Glendalough.
WHERE TO STAY Mespil Hotel, Haddintong Rd. WHERE TO EAT Just a short walk from the hotel you'll find Milano, equally equipped with high chairs and a post-work crowd and just loud enough to drown the din of your overtired tots. 3. PARIS Croissants, baguettes and crepes, mon dieu! Paris isn't just for romantics in the spring; it's for everyone, all year long. Kids will love the boulangeries on every corner; you'll love how easy it is to navigate the Metro and catching a view of the Eiffel Tower from vistas around the city.
WHAT TO DO Leave the Louvre for your next trip. When travelling en famille, take in Paris' plentiful parks.
You could spend the whole day at Jardin Luxembourg, which in addition to a stunning palace built in 1612 by Marie de Medici boasts modern-day delights including peddle cars for racing and toy boats for sailing—not to mention a playground with zip lines and an Eiffel Tower bungee for your pint-size thrill seekers.
If the weather drives you indoors (the kids may not see the romance in the rain), visit the Musee Cluny and go for a treasure hunt among the tapestries.
Should your tots be avid climbers, Paris will not disappoint. If your brood is physically fit, the 1,600+ stairs to the top of the Eiffel Tower will suffice for a workout with a view. For a more gentile ascent, climb the 300 steps to the top of Sacre Coeur for a view of the city that is magnifique. WHERE TO STAY Citadine in the Bastille/Marais neighborhood includes a galley kitchen and is walking distance to a great open-air market WHERE TO EAT Anywhere and everywhere; it's hard to go wrong in Paris!
Pick a local café in the morning and neighborhood bistro at night. If you want an atypical but memorable experience, visit the quirky Le Refuge des Fondue after climbing those steps to Sacre Coeur. 4. LONDON How could you go wrong in the city that gave us Paddington Bear, Peter Rabbit, Mary Poppins, Peter Pan and Harry Potter? And then there's real life princesses and castles to die for (as more than a few did!). WHAT TO DO You have to see the sights memorialized by Chevy Chase in European Vacation ("Look kids, Big Ben!
Parliament!) but your tweens will love posing with One Direction at Madame Tussaud's. And while you have to pay to see the Crown Jewels (and Torture Tower) at the Tower of London, there are some great (free!) museums and lesser-known attractions you won't want to miss. Ever wonder how they developed the symbol for the pound or how it feels to hold a bar of gold?
Find out at the Bank of England Museum. If your pint-size flyers are also fans of buses and trains, you won't want to miss the interactive London Transport Museum, with more than 80 vehicles including a double decker bus and the world's first Underground train. To get your fill of history, visit the Museum of London and time travel from the days when lions roamed Trafalgar Square to today's thriving city center.
Last but not least, if J.K. Rowlings is a family fave, you won't want to miss the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studios Tour. When the royal sun is shining, plan a day at St. James Park. Watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace and then stroll down Horse Guards Parade and Mall to the lake; watch the pelicans get fed daily at 2:30 or settle into a deckchair while the kids frolic on the playground. WHERE TO STAY The Park Plaza offers several locations with spacious rooms to accommodate a family of four and easy access to sights and public transport.
WHERE TO EAT Don't miss the Sunday roast or anyday fare at a local pub like The Marksman or The Engineer. If you need a taste of home (but better), GBK (Gourmet Burger Kitchen) has several locations where you can get your burger on any way you like—from buffalo to veggie and everything in between. 5. ROME Gladiators meet gelato in this city of ancient history and modern cuisine. The locals love kids, and they love food. Need we say more?
WHAT TO DO No family trip to Rome is complete without a visit to the Colosseum and the pious will want to pop in on the Pope and visit the Vatican. Keep your shoulders covered and hold onto your hat as you look up at Michelangelo's masterpiece on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Splash in the Trevi Fountain, climb the Spanish Steps, and enjoy a gelato in one of the city's many central piazzas. Pizza is plentiful but if you want an insider's look at the Rome's food scene, take one of Elizabeth Minchilli's food tours.
In case one gelato just isn't enough, she offers a two-hour all-gelato tour that's a favorite with the junior set. If you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, take a day trip to Ostia Antica. Once Rome's harbor city, it's now a maze of ruins that evokes Pompeii, providing ample wandering of ancient alleys and passageways.
Spend an afternoon exploring the remnant rooftops, storefronts and latrines—which kids of all ages always get a kick out of. WHERE TO STAY The Residence Barberini has spacious rooms by Roman standards and is walking distance to many attractions including the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain.
WHERE TO EAT For the best carbonara in town, go where the locals go: Perilli in the Testaccioa neighborhood. For a great lunch after a morning of sightseeing, go to Nerone and try to nab an outdoor table with a view of the Colosseum.
(Via delle Terme di Tito, 96, 011/39-06 481 7952) 6. MUNICH Munich's motto is München mag dich ("Munich loves you") and indeed it does. There's something for everyone in this Bavarian capital where handcrafted toys are as plentiful as hand-crafted beers.
WHAT TO DO Start your day at Marienplatz, the central square in Munich's Old Town. Secure a spot in front of Neues Rathaus, the New Town Hall, to see the 100+ year-old Glockenspiel chime daily at 11:00 and 12:00.
After that, visit the Toy Museum in the other clock tower, the Old Town Hall. For a more hands-on experience, walk over to Munich's biggest toy store, Obletter Spielwarne in Karlsplatz square or visit Kids Kingdom in Deutsches Museum; one of the biggest, oldest science and technology museums in the world, it offers over 1,000 kid-friendly activities.
The Munich Zoo, Tierpark Hellabrunn, is spread over 89 sprawling acres and offers kid-pleasing pony and camel rides in the summer and a penguin parade in winter.
If you believe in "happily ever after," don't miss the German "fairy tale route", especially Neuschwanstein Castle, said to be the inspiration for Disney's Sleeping Beauty. WHERE TO STAY The Stollberg Plaza Hotel has a fun vibe, spacious rooms, perfect location, and welcomes families. WHERE TO EAT When in Munich... bring the kids to the beer garden! At Viktualienmarkt, Munich's Farmer's Market, you can sample sausages and more before settling in at the central beer garden to wash it all down.
For the true beer garden experience, head to Hirschgarten for the best of Bavarian beers, sausages, potato salad, pretzels, and strudel. 7. BARCELONA With the works of Gaudí around every corner, you'll be in a state of architectural bliss while the kids will think they've landed in the land of Seuss. If that's not enough, you can amble along Las Ramblas or stroll by the sea in the city that gave the world tapas. Bueno! WHAT TO DO Barcelona's Boqueria is a market like no other with flowers, fruit, and local fare to dazzle all five senses.
Grab some goods to go and then get your Gaudí on at the famous Sagrada Familla. From there, hike uphill to Parc Güell where you'll be greeted by "el drac", a multicolored mosaic salamander perfect for photo ops. For a sweet treat, visit The Chocolate Museum, featuring chocolate monument replicas and tasty souvenirs.
CosmoCaixa is an interactive science museum with a mini rain forest and crowd-pleasing planetarium. If you have a little inventor along for the ride, don't miss the Museum of Ideas and Inventions, which will spark their imagination and yours too.
If you're feeling adventurous, go shark cave diving in the Oceanarium at the aquarium near the Marina in Port Vell. Afterward, enjoy the view of the Mediterranean while nibbling on prawns and jamon at Martina's Brasserie & Cocteleria.
As the sun sets, stroll over to the Fountain of Montjuic for an unforgettable display of illuminated dancing "magic" fountains. WHERE TO STAY The Petit Palace Hotel Opera Garden is well situated near Las Ramblas and offers an inclusive breakfast buffet. WHAT TO EAT Tapas, tapas, and more tapas. Barcelona's kid-friendly specialties include fresh fish, fried potatoes, and bread rubbed with garlic, oil and tomatoes.
Try them all at El Jardi Terrace & Tapas Bar, nestled away from the noise of the city in a courtyard surrounded by olive trees. 8. HALKIDIKI, GREECE Okay, Halkidiki is not a city but a region of Greece. Why is it on our list? Because not every family vacation needs history and sightseeing; sometimes you just want to soak up the sun. Here, you can actually do both and go home boasting that you've been to the birthplace of Aristotle and bathed in the clear blue Aegean Sea. WHAT TO DO Situated in northern Greece, the Halkidiki region is comprised of three peninsulas, known as the three fingers of Halkidiki.
The first and most populated is Kassandra, the second, with fewer resorts and more secluded coves, is Sithonia, and the third is Mount Athos, a monastic community closed to the masses. Begin your journey in Kassandra and avoid the crowds with a hillside hike. Try the Koutsoupia-Sivri trail; as you walk the sea cliff from Sani Resort to Sivri village, you'll pass by Roman ruins including a villa and early Christian temple.
Spend an afternoon in Athitos, a picturesque village dating from 3000 BC. Stop for coffee and take in the old stone houses, cobblestone alleys, and breathtaking views of the Toroneos Gulf. If you need a break from the sun, visit Petralona Cave at the foot of Mount Katsika, famous for its stalactites and stalagmites.
In Sithonia, the luscious green landscape meets the cerulean water of Aegean Sea; settle in on a secluded beach and then go explore the fish tavernas in Vourvourou where you can watch the fisherman bring in their bounty.
To see the only monastic republic in Europe, take a boat from Ormos Panagias in Athonia and head toward Mount Athos. No tourists (or women) are allowed, but you won't want to miss the view of the 20 monastaries dotting the coast or the abundant sea life that surrounds you.
WHERE TO STAY Stay at the Hotel Vergos in Vourvourou. Family-friendly features include a kiddie pool and rooms equipped with a mini-fridge. WHERE TO EAT Fresh fish and local wines are the way to go in Greece. Try Paris in Vourvourou, an open restaurant overlooking the ocean that serves local fare or Aristos in Ornos Panagias, where wooden tables and chairs dot the beach and you can dine by the light of the moon.
9. FLORENCE Sunflowers, fresh honey and chianti await in a city that offers fine dining and fine art that are equally accessible to travelers of all ages. WHAT TO DO Even the little ones will realize what a treasure trove the Uffizi Gallery Museum is when you turn your tour into a treasure hunt for the masters: Raphael, Rubens, Caravaggio, and Michelangelo.
Il Duomo di Firenze, more formally known as the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, is worth the visit for many reasons, not the least of which is the incredible view from the top of this orange-tiled cathedral. At Palazzo Vecchio, the kids can live like a Medici for a day; sign them up for a guided tour and some fresco painting while you take a tour of your own through the palace's secret passages. After souvenir shopping on the Ponte Vecchio, stroll over to Pitti Palace and the Boboli Gardens that rise up behind it.
The Giardino di Boboli are famous for the fountains and grottos designed by the Medici family; one of the earliest Italian gardens, it's also a great place to enjoy a picnic from Ino you can pick up on the way. It you want to get a taste of Tuscany and its rolling hills, take the No. 7 bus up to Fiesole. Just 20 minutes north of the city, you'll have an awe-inspiring view of Florence on one side and a stunning set of Etruscan and Roman ruins on the other. WHERE TO STAY Villa Tolomei, about 10 minutes outside the city, offers adjoining rooms for families in addition to a beautiful pool and gardens.
WHERE TO EAT Families are welcome everywhere, but two of our faves that come with a local's stamp of approval include Trattoria La Casalinga and Cinghiale Bianco; be sure to wash down your homemade pasta with truffles with some vin santo and biscotti while the kids enjoy an extra scoop of gelato.
10. VIENNA Where to begin? There's the opera, the architecture, and the food—from schnitzel and ratatouille to the famous Sacher torte, you'll be waltzing your way through Vienna from morning 'til night.
WHAT TO DO Channel your inner Mozart or virtually conduct your own Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra at Haus der Musik. If you haven't had your fill of the classics, the Vienna State Opera offers hour-long children's operas all year with the exception of July and August; these popular programs sell out months in advance, so be sure to book your tickets when you book your flights.
Schonbrunn Palace, the former summer residence of the imperial Habsburg family, is a palace, children's museum and world's oldest zoo all in one. Belvedere consists of two Baroque palaces, the Oranger and Palace Stables; at Upper Belvedere budding detectives find sport in spotting the mistakes in the paintings. When you've had your fill of palaces and fine art, visit the Zoom Children's Museum and then go to the Dschungel for an afternoon snack; there's a play corner for the kids and comfy couches for you.
Finally, take the elevator to the top of the North Tower of St. Stephen's Cathedral for a view of the city you'll remember forever. WHERE TO STAY Pertschy, a B&B in an 18th century palace, offers a full Viennese breakfast buffet and kid-loving staff.
Best of all, it's walking distance to the Opera, cathedral and more. WHERE TO EAT Naschmarkt has been a meeting place since the 16th century and today offers over 120 stands and restaurants featuring both Viennese specialties and international delicacies; grab some takeaway and have a picnic in Rathauspark. More From Budget Travel • • • • This is a search menu. By typing in the search input you can query all of the articles available on the site and get instant and relevant results from the first keystroke.
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Best European Cities? My Favorites Cities in Europe SO FAR!!! 🛬🛫