Visit these 20 European Cities instead with Kids

So you are trying to stay away from the mad rush of the popular cities in Europe this summer with the upcoming Olympics and packed concerts, but still want to visit Europe with kids this 2024? Or simply planning a family trip to Europe in 2024? Instead of heading to the well-trodden path of the usual best cities to visit in Europe, consider exploring some of the less touristy places that are equally enchanting. Here is a list of beautiful cities in Europe that make for the best places to visit in Europe with kids in 2024! Discover what else to do in Europe with kids as you switch things up a bit in these hidden gems, all perfect for a family trip to Europe.

 

1. Porto, Portugal (Instead of Paris):

  • Porto is a picturesque city with colorful buildings and a charming old town, making it one of the best cities to visit in Europe with kids.
  • Kids will enjoy exploring Livraria Lello, a beautiful bookstore that inspired J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter.
  • Take a family-friendly boat tour along the Douro River.
  • Explore the Porto Zoo for a day of animal encounters.
  • Taste the famous Portuguese pastries, Pastéis de Nata.
  • Why visit? Porto is less crowded and more affordable than Paris, providing an authentic Portuguese experience with stunning architecture and delicious food.

2. Ljubljana, Slovenia (Instead of Rome):

  • Ljubljana Castle offers stunning views, and kids can ride the funicular to reach it.
  • Visit the Ljubljana Zoo, a perfect spot for a day out with animals from around the world.
  • Explore Tivoli City Park, which boasts playgrounds and green spaces.
  • Take a river cruise along the Ljubljanica River.
  • Why visit? Ljubljana provides a quieter and more intimate European experience compared to Rome, allowing you to explore with ease.

 

3. Valencia, Spain (Instead of Barcelona):

  • Valencia offers beautiful beaches, perfect for family fun in the sun, and is one of the best places to visit in Europe with kids.
  • The futuristic City of Arts and Sciences is a hit with kids, featuring a science museum and an IMAX cinema.
  • Don’t miss the Oceanografic Aquarium, Europe’s largest, with an array of marine life.
  • Visit Bioparc Valencia, a unique zoo with immersive exhibits.
  • Taste the delicious paella, a Valencian specialty.
  • Why visit? Valencia combines beach relaxation with cultural attractions, all without the crowds of Barcelona.

Valencia, Spain

4. Ghent, Belgium (Instead of Amsterdam):

  • Explore Gravensteen Castle, where kids can let their imaginations run wild in one of the top cities to visit in Europe with kids.
  • Take a boat tour on Ghent’s picturesque canals.
  • The Design Museum Gent offers interactive exhibits suitable for all ages.
  • Visit the Ghent City Museum (STAM) for a journey through the city’s history.
  • Savor Belgian waffles and chocolates.
  • Why visit? Ghent’s medieval charm and vibrant art scene make it an ideal alternative to bustling Amsterdam.

 

5. Dubrovnik, Croatia (Instead of Venice):

  • Explore the historic city walls with kids for a unique perspective in this beautiful European city.
  • Take a boat trip to the nearby Elaphiti Islands for a day of island-hopping.
  • Visit Dubrovnik Aquarium and Maritime Museum.
  • Discover the Dubrovnik Natural History Museum with intriguing exhibits.
  • Try local seafood delicacies in Dubrovnik’s restaurants.
  • Why visit? Dubrovnik offers a Venetian-like experience with a fraction of the crowds and a stunning coastal backdrop.

 

6. Budapest, Hungary (Instead of Vienna):

  • Relax in Budapest’s thermal baths, a unique family experience in the best places to visit in Europe.
  • The Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden are perfect for kids.
  • Explore the majestic Buda Castle and enjoy panoramic views of the city, making Budapest a top choice for family trips to Europe.
  • Visit the interactive Hungarian Railway Museum.
  • Enjoy a cruise on the Danube River for breathtaking views.
  • Why visit? Budapest offers a rich cultural experience and is more budget-friendly than Vienna.

Budapest, Hungary

7. Edinburgh, Scotland (Instead of London):

  • Visit the iconic Edinburgh Castle, perfect for young history buffs
  • Explore the Royal Mile and enjoy street performances.
  • Dynamic Earth and the Edinburgh Zoo are great family attractions for Europe travel with kids.
  • Take a spooky ghost tour of the city’s underground vaults.
  • Hike up Arthur’s Seat for panoramic views.
  • Why visit? Edinburgh is compact, walkable, and offers a unique Scottish experience without the hustle and bustle of London.

 

8. Bologna, Italy (Instead of Florence):

  • Indulge in delicious Italian cuisine with kid-friendly options in one of the top cities in Europe.
  • Explore the Science Museum, with interactive exhibits and a planetarium.
  • Discover the charming Piazza Maggiore, where kids can play in open spaces.
  • Visit the Archiginnasio of Bologna, a historic university building.
  • Savor local specialties like tortellini and gelato.
  • Why visit? Bologna offers a taste of Italy’s culinary excellence and culture, minus the tourist crowds of Florence.

 

9. Bratislava, Slovakia (Instead of Prague):

  • Stroll through the charming Old Town and spot quirky sculptures in one of the best places to visit in Europe with children.
  • Visit Bratislava Castle for breathtaking city views.
  • Explore the Bratislava Forest Park for outdoor adventures.
  • Try traditional Slovak dishes like bryndzové halušky.
  • Take a family bike ride along the Danube River.
  • Why visit? Bratislava provides an intimate and less touristy alternative to the bustling streets of Prague.

Bratislava, Slovakia

10. Salzburg, Austria (Instead of Vienna):

  • Visit the Hohensalzburg Fortress and enjoy the castle’s history and panoramic views in this unique city in Europe.
  • Explore the birthplace of Mozart and learn about classical music.
  • Take a cable car ride to Untersberg mountain for stunning vistas.
  • Enjoy a Sound of Music tour, exploring filming locations.
  • Taste Austrian pastries and apple strudel.
  • Why visit? Salzburg offers a serene and cultural escape amidst the Austrian Alps, away from the crowds of Vienna.

 

11. Heidelberg, Germany (Instead of Munich):

  • Explore the fairy-tale-like Heidelberg Castle and its beautiful gardens in this perfect European city.
  • Stroll through the picturesque Old Town and visit the Karl Theodor Bridge.
  • Enjoy a boat tour on the Neckar River.
  • Visit the German Pharmacy Museum for an educational experience.
  • Savor traditional German dishes like schnitzel and sausages.
  • Why visit? Heidelberg is a postcard-perfect town with a rich history and a more tranquil atmosphere compared to Munich.

 

12. Aarhus, Denmark (Instead of Copenhagen):

  • Enjoy family-friendly attractions like the ARoS Aarhus Art Museum with its famous rainbow panorama in a friendly European city.
  • Visit Den Gamle By (The Old Town), an open-air museum showcasing Danish history.
  • Explore beautiful beaches nearby for a seaside getaway .
  • Take a stroll along the Aarhus Riverwalk for scenic views.
  • Taste Danish pastries and Nordic cuisine.
  • Why visit? Aarhus offers a perfect blend of culture, history, and coastal beauty, away from the bustling streets of Copenhagen.

ARoS Aarhus Art Museum

13. Thessaloniki, Greece (Instead of Athens):

  • Discover ancient ruins, including the Arch of Galerius and the Rotunda
  • Explore vibrant markets like Modiano and Kapani for local flavors.
  • Don’t miss the captivating White Tower on the waterfront.
  • Visit the Archaeological Museum for a journey through Greek history.
  • Indulge in Greek dishes like moussaka and souvlaki.
  • Why visit? Thessaloniki offers a more relaxed Greek experience with fewer tourists compared to Athens, making it a great option for family trips to Europe.

 

14. Galway, Ireland (Instead of Dublin):

  • Stroll through Galway’s colorful streets and enjoy street performances in one of the top places to visit in the European continent
  • Visit the Galway City Museum and learn about the region’s history.
  • Explore the stunning Cliffs of Moher, a short drive away in beautiful cities in Europe.
  • Take a family hike in Connemara National Park.
  • Savor Irish cuisine, including seafood chowder and Irish stew.
  • Why visit? Galway provides an authentic Irish experience with lively culture and natural wonders, avoiding the urban hustle of Dublin.

 

15. Lucerne, Switzerland (Instead of Zurich):

  • Enjoy an idyllic lakeside setting with boat rides and picnics by Lake Lucerne in one of the most idyllic cities in Europe.
  • Explore the charming old town with its medieval architecture.
  • Visit the Swiss Museum of Transport, an interactive museum for all ages.
  • Take a cable car ride to Mount Pilatus for breathtaking views.
  • Taste Swiss chocolates and cheese.
  • Why visit? Lucerne combines natural beauty, culture, and family-friendly attractions without the urban rush of Zurich, making it an ideal choice for Europe travels with kids.

Lake Lucerne

16. Gothenburg, Sweden (Instead of Stockholm):

  • Let the kids have a blast at Liseberg Amusement Park, Scandinavia’s largest theme park.
  • Explore Universeum Science Center, an interactive learning experience.
  • Enjoy beautiful parks and gardens, such as the Gothenburg Botanical Garden in one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
  • Visit the Volvo Museum for a glimpse into Swedish engineering.
  • Savor Swedish meatballs and seafood dishes.
  • Why visit? Gothenburg offers a family-oriented atmosphere and fun attractions, providing an alternative to Stockholm’s larger crowds for your summer trip to Europe with children.

 

17. Seville, Spain (Instead of Madrid):

  • Experience authentic flamenco shows in the birthplace of this art form in one of the best cities to visit in Europe 2024
  • Visit the historic Royal Alcazar Palace with its stunning gardens.
  • Enjoy the vibrant culture and architecture of Seville’s Old Town.
  • Explore Isla Mágica, a theme park with rides and shows.
  • Taste tapas and traditional Andalusian dishes.
  • Why visit? Seville offers a taste of traditional Spain with fewer crowds compared to Madrid, making it a top choice for family travels to Europe this year.

 

18. Sintra, Portugal (Instead of Lisbon):

  • Explore fairytale palaces like Pena Palace and Quinta da Regaleira, sparking children’s imaginations
  • Discover the lush gardens of Monserrate Palace in one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
  • Visit the Toy Museum for a dose of nostalgia.
  • Take a hike in the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park.
  • Taste Portuguese custard tarts and seafood.
  • Why visit? Sintra’s enchanting atmosphere and historic sites make it an ideal family destination, away from the bustling streets of Lisbon, for your European adventure with kids.

Pena Palace

19. Pécs, Hungary (Instead of Budapest):

  • Explore Pécs’ historic architecture and vibrant arts scene in a top European city
  • Visit the Zsolnay Cultural Quarter for a cultural immersion.
  • Explore the underground caves of Abaliget.
  • Take a family bike ride around Lake Pécs.
  • Savor Hungarian goulash and chimney cake.
  • Why visit? Pécs offers a unique Hungarian experience and a more relaxed pace compared to bustling Budapest

 

20. Graz, Austria (Instead of Vienna):

  • Climb Schlossberg hill for panoramic views and visit the clock tower – a fun trip for kids while visiting Europe.
  • Explore the futuristic Kunsthaus Graz, an art museum with interactive exhibits
  • Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and local cuisine in Graz’s charming Old Town.
  • Visit the Graz Children’s Museum for interactive fun.
  • Savor Austrian schnitzel and strudel.
  • Why visit? Graz combines history, art, and culinary delights, providing a quieter alternative to Vienna for your European adventures.

 

These beautiful cities offer rich experiences and family-friendly activities without the enormous crowds of the popular and touristy cities in Europe. So instead of touristy European city, choose a less-visited European place for your next family trip to Europe.

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