Traveling with kids is one of the best ways to have them experience the world, but did you know that you should choose the best European cities to visit instead of some of the not so child-friendly destinations around the world? Now, I am not saying that your kids will not get anything out of the non-child-friendly destinations that you may visit on occasion. I am just saying that they will get more than you could ever imagine out of visiting some of the best areas of Europe.
20 Best European Cities to Travel with Kids
1) Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona is one of the best European cities to visit with kids, because it has everything from beaches and parks to theme parks, mountains, and numerous shopping opportunities. There is no bad time of the year when it comes to visiting Barcelona, but you may enjoy it more during the spring before it gets too hot. While many people will wander over to Parc Güell, your kids may prefer the wide-open spaces of Parc de la Ciutadella.
Out of the massive list of things to do in Barcelona, the one that truly must be on your list with kids is a ride on the cable car to Montjuïc Castle. Other must-see sights with kids include Casa Mila, Poble Espanyol, and the Barcelona Zoo and Aquarium. If your kids are a little older, I recommend doing a bike tour of this city, because it will allow you to see so much more than you would if you were riding in a car or using public transportation.
2) Amalfi Coast, Italy
The Amalfi Coast in Italy is absolutely breathtaking, and it is the perfect place to take kids when you are tired of all the historical sights in the country. This is one of the best European cities to visit in July, due to the amount of festivals that are held, as well as the beautiful weather.
On July 26th, you can all watch the boats float along in parade-like fashion in front of Castello Aragonese and if you time your trip just right, you can still be in the area for Praiano’s Luminaria di San Domenico. In between trips to the beach, you can hike up Mount Vesuvius, explore the ruins of Pompeii, or take a cooking class over in Minori.
3) Vienna, Austria
History is everywhere in Vienna, but don’t worry, there is plenty of action that your kids will enjoy. You can all wander along the narrow streets, as you discover independent bookstores and charming cafés. Most of the popular attractions are all within easy access of the Innere Stadt, but you will find that you can reach those that are further away without too much of an issue.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral should be at the top of your list followed by Schönbrunn Palace and the House of Music, or Haus der Musik. Kids of all ages will love visiting Tiergarten, which is the oldest zoo in the entire world, and you can spend all day visiting with the eight thousand plus animals that live there. There is some nightlife in Vienna, but you may decide that this is definitely one of the best European cities to visit with kids, because most people choose to go to bed early there.
4) Budapest, Hungary
Kids of all ages will love spending time in Budapest, and you will love knowing that you will have no trouble at all having toddlers and babies in tow. As you wander around this city, you will discover that there are plenty of playgrounds to stop at, so your littles can always run off some extra energy and have some kid-friendly fun.
Gellért Hill is a favorite amongst the locals, although you may prefer the open spaces of City Park. While your kids may not have any interest in the thermal baths, you are still going to want to stop at a few when you are visiting. Let the kids soak their feet while you relax for a little bit or simply take turns in the baths, while your significant other watches the kids.
5) Paris, France
Okay, so Paris is considered the best European city for solo female travelers, thanks to the museums and fashion options. However, it is also a phenomenal destination to travel with kids. Long walks along the River Seine can be accomplished at any time and it is the perfect spot to spend a little time after exploring the Louvre or any of the other fascinating museums in the city.
Shopping is best on Champs Élysées, but you can also find some great options over in Le Marais. Your kids might not be too thrilled over at Versailles Palace, but they will love clambering to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Make sure you stop at a few of the bakeries as you wander through Paris, especially those that sell delectable crepes that your kids will fall in love with.
6) Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon is one of the most child-friendly cities in Europe, so be prepared to have it easy when you choose to visit. Imagine going to any restaurant in the city and finding it completely possible to find something that your child will eat and enjoy every bite of your meal without worrying about something going wrong!
The public transportation is not always the best with children, but it is manageable if you can stay patient and plan your needs in advance. A few of the best places to visit in Lisbon are the Parque das Nações, the Lisbon Zoo, and the Electricity Museum. Also, the Route 28 Tram is amazing and taking a ride on it will allow you all to see the sights without worrying about missing something important.
7) London, England
London is a busy city, but it is still one of the best European cities to visit with kids! Depending on the ages of your kids, you can all walk away from a vacation in London with a lot more knowledge of that area, the Royal Family, and much more. This is the best European city to visit during the summer, due to the cooler weather throughout the year and the rain.
Yes, it can rain quite often in this city, but there are plenty of things that you can do inside to avoid the raindrops that are falling. A few favorite museums include the London Transport Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the Royal Air Force Museum. Of course, you cannot visit London and not take the time to see Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, London Sea Life Aquarium, and the London Zoo.
8) Florence, Italy
Florence is another spectacular destination and it is easy to see why it is one of the best European cities to visit with kids. As an adult, you are going to be tempted to stop at every winery you see, and technically, you can, with your kids in tow. However, make sure you reward them for their patience by allowing them to run through
the vineyards or allowing them to walk through the Boboli Gardens. Take the time to see the Duomo, the Piazzale Michelangelo, Uffizi Gallery, and Ponte Vecchio. This is also an excellent destination to have your kids learn how to cook, because who doesn’t love Italian cuisine! There are plenty of cooking classes to choose from, so choose one or two and see how your little chefs do!
9) Rome, Italy
Rome is the best European city to visit in spring, although it can get a little crowded during the Easter holiday. History is everywhere in this European destination, but your kids won’t even realize that they are learning anything as they are exploring sites like the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and the Roman Forum.
Take a little time to wander around Vatican City, before grabbing some cuisine at a trattoria or a local café. Just save some room for gelato, because there are enough different varieties that you simply all must try.
10) Prague, Czech Republic
Prague offers extraordinary architecture, an abundance of history, and enough culture to keep you and your family busy for days. While that may seem boring to your kids at first, once they see all the fun and exciting activities that are available, you will all have an amazing time during your visit.
This is one of the best European cities to visit during the summer, because your kids can play over in Letna Park while you enjoy a nice cold drink in the beer garden nearby. Another day can be spent over at Petrin Hill, just don’t forget about the funicular when you are there. Before leaving Prague, you must take a boat cruise along the Vltava River, because it offers a unique perspective of the entire historical center.
11) Brittany, France
There is a lot of sand in Brittany, but that isn’t the only thing that turns this destination into a fascinating area when vacationing with kids. When you are not sinking your toes into the sand and swimming in the water, you can see the marine life over at Océanopolis or spend hours wandering around La Vallee des Saints as you see all the statues. Anyone who loves day trips will want to take the quick boat ride over to Île de Bréhat for a little hiking and to see the tide mill.
One of the best things to do near Brittany though is visiting the Village de Poul-Fetan. This village will take the entire family back to the 1800s, where you can listen to stories, watch them make bread from scratch, and see how they lived all those years ago. When you are planning your vacation in Brittany, you will want to see if you can be there during Fest-Noz. This nighttime festival is very family friendly and includes traditional music and lots of food. There are a few of these festivals held throughout the year, but the best ones are during the summer months.
12) Corfu, Greece
It is no surprise that kids do not like standing in long lines to see attractions or have fun, which is why Corfu is one of the best European cities to visit with kids. When you choose this destination, you will quickly realize that the things your kids love the most will not have massive lines.
One of your first stops should be Sidari Beach, because it will give you time to relax and get to know the area. After some time in the sun and the sand, you can easily wander around and find the perfect spot to grab a bite to eat at one of the nearby restaurants. Other stops that your kids will love include Old Fortress Corfu, Mount Pantokrator, The Liston, St. Spyridon Church, and Angelokastro Castle.
13) Dalmatia, Croatia
Every inch of Croatia is spectacular, but there is something about the Dalmatian Coast that will have your kids intrigued and wanting more. I recommend starting over in Zadar, especially if your family loves music, because the steps act like instruments. The wind and the waves create sounds through the openings of the stairs, and it is such a unique experience that your entire family will not forget.
Island hopping is a must when in Croatia and your kids will love exploring as many of the thousand islands as you can with the time you have available. Korčula is known for its food, while Kornati and Mljet are best known for the incredible natural surroundings. There are plenty of waterfalls to see in Dalmatia too, and while you will find many within the Plitvice National Park, do not discount Krka National Park during your visit.
14) Dublin, Ireland
The temperatures in Dublin are usually on the cooler side, which is why you must plan your visit to this city carefully. Dublin in Ireland is one of the best European cities to visit during the month of August, but it can also be warm and nice during the months of June and July. Of course, this is when the crowds will be in full force, so you may want to settle on slightly cooler temperatures during the spring or the fall.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a must-see and no one in your family will be able to resist seeing Trinity College and the Book of Kells. Little ones may prefer Phoenix Park and Dublin Zoo though, due to the large green spaces and lots of animals. If your family loves the theater, then seeing a performance at Abbey Theatre is something that you will want to plan for an afternoon or evening. You can also take a tour of the theatre, which is perfect for those kids that have the desire to be involved in all thing’s drama.
15) Reykjavik, Iceland
Iceland can be cold and snowy, but honestly, it is not as bad as you may think. Plus, it is one of the best European cities for outdoor activities! You can spend every minute of your day outdoors, as you explore volcanoes, rocky formations, and the local wildlife.
Laugardalur Park, Strokker, and the Botanical Gardens are wonderful destinations to explore, but don’t forget to spend a few hours relaxing at the Blue Lagoon. You will also want to keep the kids up late one night, so you can see the incredible Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights.
16) Munich, Germany
Munich is one of the best European cities to visit with kids, because there is so much to do and see. The Toy Museum is a great place to start, but make sure you are out near Marienplatz when the jousting knights are performing. If the kids are getting antsy while looking at different attractions, you can have them get rid of some of their energy by walking up and down
the steps of the Alter Peter Church, since there are three hundred of them! Another area for running around is the Englischer Gartens and you can go there after the Deutches Museum. Olympia Park is where you will find the Aquarium, as well as the Olympia Tower and BMW Welt, and kids are always fairly worn out when they leave this part of the city.
17) Krakow, Poland
Krakow is one of the best European cities to visit with kids due to its diversity and the fact that there is plenty for kids to do to keep busy. The Museum of Polish Aviation will have your kids seeing all types of airplanes, but their favorite part will be sitting inside one and looking at the massive engines.
As fabulous as the museum will be, kids will be the happiest when they are at the Krakow Main Market Square. When you are not eating some of the traditional foods from the market, you can all feed the pigeons and listen to the bugle call every hour on the hour. You can also take a picnic lunch over to eat at Jordan Park before riding on the train and playing on the numerous playgrounds.
18) Bohinj, Slovenia
Slovenia is a wonderful country and when you spend time there with kids, you must take the time to visit Bohinj. I recommend that you begin near Ribcev Laz, so you can see the arched bridge and the Zlatorog statue as you all walk around the lake. Once you have all gotten some energy worked off, you can make your way over to the Mount Vogel Cable Car.
The ride to the top of the mountain is fantastic and you will find that you have more than enough opportunities to take pictures of the fabulous views. There are numerous hiking trails at the top, but only one of them is deemed the best for kids, so make sure you ask before venturing out on one. If you have older kids that can easily walk, then you must take the time to go see Slap Savica, which is a waterfall that is more beautiful than you could ever imagine.
19) Riga, Latvia
The Museum of the Occupation of Latvia is very informative when it comes to the history of the area, but it may not be best for smaller children so plan your trip accordingly when it comes to your family. The Latvian War Museum may be a better option, but most kids will prefer the open space of the Riga Town Hall Square or the Riga Zoo with all the animals.
Your entire family will love the Central Market, especially when it comes to mealtime, since you will have so many options and no one will need to agree on just one. A boat ride out on the Pilsetas Kanals is perfect when you need some downtime and there is nothing better than ending the day over in the Vermanes Garden.
20) Valletta, Malta
Kids love exploring, but they can only handle so many historical sites and museums before they are ready to scream. However, that is what makes Valletta one of the best European cities to visit with kids, because there is always something that will keep them entertained and happy for hours. The Toy Museum is a great place to start and kids will love seeing all the Matchbox cars, trains, dolls, and more.
The Upper Barrakka Gardens are excellent when it is time for a quick snack or lunch, and you will all love the views of the Saluting Battery and the natural harbor. If you are looking for a unique way to explore Valletta, I recommend that you hop onto one of the Malta Fun Trains. There are plenty of stops for getting on and off and you will learn so much more about Valletta than if you were just wandering around on your own.
These are the twenty best European cities to visit with kids and you will find that your vacation is everything that you dreamed it would be and more when you choose one of these parts of the world. Now, the only thing that you must do is decide which one of these cities will be at the top of your list for your next family vacation!