From Amsterdam to Berlin to Iceland to Denmark, there are more kid-friendly places to visit then you have ever imagined. From fairy tale castles to the oldest zoo in the world, to amusement parks and boats ride, to family friendly restaurants and museums; you will discover that travelling to Europe with kids is easier than ever. Gone are the days where travelling with kids overseas is frowned upon and you will soon discover that more cities than ever before are becoming “kid-friendly”. For the parents with young babies to the ones with teenagers; there is something for all of you to do. Get ready to take your kids on the vacation of a lifetime. So sit back, grab a coffee, get that pen ready and read on to discover the top ten best cities in Europe to travel with children.
1. Copenhagen, Denmark
Fairy tale castles, inspiring landscapes, brilliantly coloured buildings and a culture where children and adults are treated as equals makes Copenhagen one of the first stops in Europe to visit with kids. Housing the two oldest amusement parks in the world, Copenhagen is a kid friendly city that will have you wanting to stay forever. The Blue Planet; Denmark’s national aquarium is the largest in Northern Europe and is sure to thrill kids and parents alike with their walls of water and over 20,000 animals. Not only does Copenhagen house a science center, zoo, children’s museum and one of the world’s largest open air museums but also offers carefully laid out parks throughout the city so the young ones can run wild and free.
2. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Kid friendly is not often the first thought that comes to mind when you hear Amsterdam but the laid back culture makes this city perfect for the family vacation. Filled with kid friendly food such as french fries and pancakes, this city offers more than Heineken tours and the red light district. A walk friendly city also offers Canal Tours for the weary feet and offers impressive sights. Bicycles are in abundance so it’s great to take the time to rent a bakfiet and peddle around town. Not to be missed is the Tropen museum where in the summer the roof is transformed into a beach. Vondelpark, the most famous park in Amsterdam is sure to delight the little ones with a paddling pool, playground and cafe.
3. Paris, France
The most visited city in all of Europe couldn’t be left off this list. From street performers at every turn to tasty treats in every window, your kids will take delight in this city. Not to be missed is the Eiffel Tower in which your biggest decision will be to take the stairs or elevator; kids will revel in the enormity of it, even more than you do. Luxembourg Gardens is a place to let the kids exercise their legs and participate in sailboat races, riding the famous carousel and visiting nearly 100 statues that line the park. With kid friendly museums, parks and galleries; the possibilities are endless. The ease of navigating the metro makes this destination a must go to.
4. Reykjavik, Iceland
A safe, compact city that welcomes kids of all ages should certainly top your list of important factors to consider when taking your kids to Europe. Fortunately Reykjavik offers not only that but so many other family friendly activities. In a culture where babies are often left sleeping in their buggies while parents shop inside this is surely a city you don’t want to miss out on. From thermal hot springs with specific children’s pool and slides to the Northern lights to whale watching and trying on Viking armour; this city has endless things to do for all ages. Climb to the top of Mount Esja, make friends with the wildlife at Tjornin Lake or try your hand at horseback riding through the valleys.
5. London, England
Harry Potter, Paddington Bear, Marry Poppins, Peter Pan; where else in the world can parents and kids alike discover the birthplace of such classic childhood characters but London, England. Castles, towers and real life guards are sure to thrill children of all ages. A great bonus when visiting London is the amount of free museums and great discounts on public transportation. For the park lovers make sure to pack a picnic and head to St.James park where you can walk to Buckingham Palace and through Green Park onwards to Hyde Park, finally ending up in Kensington Gardens. For those little ones interested in armory, be sure to visit the Tower of London for an impressive display of weaponry and crown jewels.
6. Barcelona, Spain
With vibrant colors lining the streets and a kid friendly culture, Barcelona begs to be discovered by adults and children alike. La Rambla, the most famous street in Barcelona is filled with street performers who swallow fire, juggle swords and delight the eyes of little ones. If you are feeling adventures, take a lift to the top of Mirador de Colom where you will have a bird’s eye view of the harbour. One thing you won’t want to miss is the Museum of Chocolate where you will have the chance to participate in the making and tasting of all things chocolate. Last but not least pay a visit to Tibidabo, the amusement park that boasts an old fashion Ferris wheel and other delightful sights.
7. Vienna Austria
Besides having one of the best public transit systems in the world, Vienna has gone above and beyond in making their city kid friendly. Schonbrunn Palace should be the first pit stop on your adventure through Vienna. Packed full with gardens, the world’s oldest zoo, a palace tour and the children’s museum you will find yourself spending an entire day here. The Belvedere is a museum must on this trip and you can easily keep children entertained by picking up a special art detective book that allows them to embark on a scavenger hunt of sorts throughout the museum. A trip to Vienna wouldn’t be complete without an ice cream and a carriage ride through the city. Sit back, relax and enjoy the sights.
8. Rome, Italy
Where the locals welcome children running around, pizza is the food of choice and the history is full of gladiators and battles; this city is a wonderland for kids. Although a lot of walking is involved while touring Rome there are a number of other alternatives such as the “hop on hop off” buses, pedicabs and the metro which make getting around much easier (and more fun)! With water fountains at every corner, steps to climb and the ancient Colosseum to be explored it is no wonder so many families travel here every year. A splash in the Trevi Fountain, a gelato on top of the Spanish Steps and a hotel near the beach for a place to unwind will make this the perfect holiday.
9. Berlin, Germany
Over the past decade Berlin has become a budget-friendly, kid-friendly vacation destination and was named Europe’s most family friendly city in 2014. Along with the always popular LegoLand and AquaDome is Kollwitz Platz; the most family friendly oasis in Berlin. Lined with wooden bridges, playgrounds and shops for the adults this is one place not to miss. The oldest zoo in Germany is also housed in Berlin and is proud to house the largest number of species in the world. The kids will find delight in all the wall art as Berlin is often known to be an urban canvas. If being named Europe’s best city for families isn’t enough to convince you; maybe the pop up museums, huge hotel rooms, miles of bike lanes and delicious street meat are.
10. Lisbon, Portugal
Where else can you go out to eat, have a peaceful meal over a bottle of wine while your children are happily occupied in a “children’s only” zone in the restaurant. Lisbon not only offers numerous restaurants where mom and dad get to enjoy quality time together but also offers so many other family friendly activities. To relaxing on one of the many beaches while the kids splash in the ocean to hopping aboard a tramcar tour to explore the city, Lisbon is full of adventure. The largest castle in the land encourages kids to dive deep into the world of dungeons, dragons, kings and queens. The aquarium and zoo allow for close up encounters with wildlife from all over the world.