Packed with historical cities and towns, culture and architecture, Europe is a wonderful place for a family vacation. With so many countries with a diversity of food, landscapes and cultures, choosing the best family holiday destinations in Europe can be confusing.
Whether you’re traveling with one-, two-, three- kids or a whole brood, from the beaches of Portugal to the forests of Finland, there are so many places to visit in Europe for your family travel bucket list. Where do you start? Here are 10 of the best family holiday destinations in Europe to get you and the kids excited.
Best Family Holiday Destinations in Europe
For most people, Portugal is a holiday destination with lovely weather, great beaches and good food but you might be surprised at how much fun a trip to Portugal is for the kids. Besides swimming and playing the beach, visiting zoos and aquariums, there are lots of amazing things to put on your Portugal itinerary making it one of the best family holiday destinations in Europe.
Best city for kids: Lisbon is a colourful city that should be on everyone’s European itinerary, especially if you’re planning to visit for two weeks or longer. Plan to spend at least 2 days in Lisbon. The family will enjoy exploring the historical monuments, parks and gardens. Taking instagram photos is a fun way for the whole family to enjoy a destination, especially in a places as lovely as Lisbon. For inspiration, check out these fantastic photos of Lisbon’s best instagram spots.
Don’t miss these things in Portugal for kids:
- Take a fun trip on a historic tram in Lisbon or in Porto
- Ride a gondola in Porto and while you’re there here are five other fun things to do in Porto
- Explore the caves Grutas de Mira de Aire
- Taste traditional Portuguese custard cakes Pasteis de Nata
Read this post for useful tips if you’re visiting Europe for the first time.
Italy is a family friendly country all round and you’ll find the Italians are truly welcoming of kids, which makes it easily one of the best family holiday destinations in Europe.
Best city for kids: The best place in Italy for families is Rome, which is a historic city packed with adventures and educational experiences for kids of all ages. You’ll need at least a couple of days in Rome to see the main sights and a 2-Day Rome Itinerary is going to be busy. Honestly, there’s so much to do you could easily stay in Rome for a week and not be bored. Fun attractions to see in Rome with kids are visiting the Pantheon and making a wish at the Trevi Fountain.
Your kids will love pretending to be a gladiator for a day while discovering interesting facts about the Colosseum.
Don’t miss these things in Italy for kids:
- Take a day trip to Bomarzo Monster Park (near Rome) to see the mythological statues
- Scoot Through Rome on a Vintage Vespa
- Join one of the Rome4Kids family-friendly itineraries, such as scavenger hunt tours and golf cart tours
- Eat pasta and gelato in a Roman restaurant
Planning a trip soon? Here’s a review of popular travel backpacks for Europe.
From zoos to fun parks, the Netherlands best family holiday destinations in Europe for its long list of excellent attractions, including markets, gardens, squares and water sports. Zoos to put on your list are Blijdorp, Dolfinarium Safaripark Beekse Bergen, GaiaPark, and the Apenheul. With amusement parks such as Madurodam, Neeltje Jans, and Efteling, there’s hours of fun for the family. If you’re keen to explore a few places, here’s a great guide with lots of tips on driving in the Netherlands.
Best city for kids: Amsterdam is a scenic city for sightseeing, with lovely canals and lots of bicycles! Check out these fun things to do in Amsterdam.
Don’t miss these things in the Netherlands for kids:
- A canal cruise in Amsterdam is lots of fun
- Visit a “speltuins” (playgrounds) which are found in most neighborhoods
- See the animals at The Artis Royal Zoo in the city center of Amsterdam
- Outside of Amsterdam, the Amstelpark has gardens, an enormous playground and petting zoo.
Are you inspired to visit several countries in Europe? Here are some great tips on how to plan your Europe itinerary for your trip.
As the only European country that shares a border with Africa, Spain is one of the coolest family holiday destinations in Europe for kids. Spain is separated from Africa by the Straits of Gibraltar.
Best city for kids: Barcelona is one of the best beach cities in Europe and has amazing buildings by Gaudi that most kids will love! Barcelona is one of those cities you should visit as a family before your kids grow up and take off backpacking in Barcelona on their own. Kids of all ages can get creative at Park Guell, the Barcelona Aquarium is always a big hit and Tibidabo Amusement Park is fantastic for older kids who might enjoy thrilling roller coaster rides. Here are some of the best places in Barcelona for sightseeing with kids.
Don’t miss these things in Spain for kids:
- Visit Valencia’s futuristic ‘Museum of Sciences’ complex and explore the old town and Parque Gulliver, a gigantic 70m long sculpture of Gulliver with ramps, slides and staircase, as it’s one the fun things to do in Valencia with kids.
- Go back in time in Granada at the historic Alhambra
- Explore the palaces and museums of Cordoba, including the dreamy Alcazar
- Spend a few days exploring the cobblestone laneways of Seville (here’s an excellent 3-day Seville itinerary)
- Taste Chocolate con Churros, which is hot and very thick chocolate drink with sweet fried pastry
- Attend the ‘Tomatina’ festival in Buñol where the world’s biggest food fight happens when people throw tomatoes at each other before the running of the bulls
Planning a big trip around Europe? Here are more places to visit in Europe for your bucket list.
Norway’s fjords are even more beautiful than they look in the brochures. Seeing such amazing scenery is a balm for the soul for anyone of any age. UNESCO World Heritage Listed Nærøyfjord is one of the most popular fjords in Norway but there are so many other wonderful fjords to see besides that one. Here’s a great Norway travel guide to plan your trip.
Best city for kids: Bergen is a colorful storybook town that looks like it’s straight out of a fairytale.
Don’t miss these things in Norway for kids:
- Take a boat ride in Oslo or get outdoors on a bicycle
- Discover the fun things to do in Bergen and explore the region between Bergen and Trolltunga.
- Go on a cruise of the fjords from Bergen
- Ride the Flam Railway for one of world’s most beautiful train journeys along with these other fantastic things to do in Flam.
- Learn to ski or snowboard in Lillehammer
- Stay in an igloo hotel in Northern Norway
- See the Northern Lights
Planning a driving vacation? Here are some excellent road trip ideas for Europe.
Iceland is a fabulous family-friendly country to explore. The best thing about visiting Iceland with kids is it’s also a safe country to drive or walk around. With a low-crime rate and a high ranking on the Global Peace Index (GPI) you’ll have the peace of mind that your family holiday will be a safe one. Iceland is one of the best places to visit in Europe to see the Northern Lights, which is a spectacle your kids will love. Another fun way to enjoy Iceland is to rent a cabin and explore nature. Read this 7-day Iceland itinerary to help you plan your trip.
Best city for kids: There are plenty of things to do in Reykjavík for kids, from splashing around in a thermal pool to trying on Viking armor. This is a good city for kids because it’s safe and easy to get around. Take a walk on Laugavegur Street to get your bearings and the kids will love the colorful street art then head down to the waterfront and check out Harpa, the glass opera house. Along the waterfront, there’s a sculpture of Solfrar, the Viking Sun Voyager. This free walking tour of Reykjavik may help. Some festivals to plan your trip around are the Children’s Culture Festival (April), Festival of the Sea (June), and Reykjavík Culture Night (August).
Don’t miss these things in Iceland for kids:
- Explore a glacier, which will most likely involve hiking and ice caving so choose a glacier tour to suit the ages of your kids.
- Explore the Golden Circle
- Soak in Iceland’s hot springs and geothermal pools
- Visit the Blue Lagoon
- Go whale watching
- Go on a puffin tour
- Try Icelandic food (skyr, liquorice and soft ice cream).
Planning a trip? These Iceland travel tips may help.
Famous for chocolate, waffles, beer and French fries, Belgium is a perfect place to explore with the family and certainly one of the best family holiday destinations in Europe for the taste buds. Tasting praline chocolates in the city where it was invented is really cool for kids of all ages (Praline chocolates were invented by Jean Neuhaus in Brussels in 1912).
Did you know that the town of Spa in Belgium is where the word ‘spa’ came from? Since ancient Roman times, people used to seek out the healing waters of the town.
Best city for kids: Brussels is a memorable city to holiday with kids in Europe for its UNESCO World-Heritage Sites and great food. Here are some amazing things to do in Brussels.
Don’t miss these things in Belgium for kids:
- Visit the Grand Palace, which is in one of the best city squares in Europe
- Check out the Manneken-Pis’ bronze statue and the magnificent Van-Burgen Garden’s maze
- Eat waffles or fries (while Mom and Dad drink Belgium’s famous beers) in a café – the three main kinds of Belgian waffles are Liege waffles (similar to cookies), Brussels waffles (eaten with strawberries or ice cream) and thinner galettes.
- Discover the fascinating history of Bruges, which is one of the cities in the Hanseatic League. The Hanseatic League is a guild of merchants. The city’s canals and colorful old town looks like it’s straight out of a fairytale. Fun activities in Bruges for kids are eating Belgian chocolate and waffles, canal cruises and there are several playgrounds around the city.
Looking for somewhere to stay? Check out this list of B&Bs for families in Europe
From the world’s oldest amusement park to the world’s largest ice cave, Austria is one of the best family holiday destinations in Europe for fans of the Sound of Music. From salt mines to dinosaur parks, Austria’s attractions are eye-popping to the little ones.
Best city for kids: Salzburg is very family friendly and small enough to manage when you’re traveling with kids. The city of Mozart and home to the Von Trapp family in Sound of Music, Salzburg is a delightful destination in Europe for families.
Don’t miss these things in Austria for kids:
- Visit Schönbrunn Palace and join a specially designed children’s tour to the maze and Schonbrunn Palace Tiergarten Zoo
- See the Lipizzaner stallions at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna perform. It’s a World Heritage site and has been going for 450 years.
- ZOOM Children’s Museum is where children can participate in exhibitions and events
- Travel back to ancient Rome at Carnuntum archaeological park
- Discover the fairy tale world of Dachstein Caves, including the Ice Cave
- See a puppet show at the Salzburg Marionette Theatre (according to WorldWanderingKiwi this is one of THE best puppet theatres in the world!)
- Take a trip to the Hallein Salt Mine near Salzburg
- Take a funicular ride to the Hohensalzburg fortress
- The Sound of Music Tour of the locations where the musical was filmed
Looking for a cheap flight? Here’s a great guide to Europea’s low-cost airlines.
Croatia is one of the best family holiday destinations in Europe for water babies. Pack sunscreen and choose for a holiday in the sun. Croatia is also one of the safest family destinations in Europe. Croatia’s cities and towns combine the charm of history with outdoor activities.
Best city for kids: Split is the perfect city to visit with young kids as it’s small and has plenty of charm with lots to see and do for families. Here are some of the best things to do in Split with kids.This part of Croatia is an interesting place to visit, especially to learn more about the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. These day trips from Split are not to be missed.
Another favorite city for families to visit is Dubrovnik, which has a range of attractions the kids will love, from exploring the Old Town to taking the cable car up Mount Srdj.
Don’t miss these things in Croatia for kids:
- Visiting Split Diocletian palace city center is one of the must-do things for kids in this 1700-year-old town
- Learn about military history and pretend to be a soldier for the day at Klis Fortress
- The playroom at Carobni Grad (Magical City) is fun for the little ones on a rainy day
- Enjoy a day on Znjan beach
- Take a day trip from Split to Vis Island to see the Blue Cave
- Ride the cable car to Mount Srdj in Dubrovnik and explore the Old Town
- While in Dubrovnik, get on the water by taking a day trip toi Lokrum Island for snorkeling and swimming or go on a sea kayaking adventure with your teenagers.
Use this fantastic Croatia road trip itinerary to help you plan your trip.
No matter what your travel style, France is a destination that has something for everyone. If you’re traveling with the kids, there’s definitely plenty to see in Paris and beyond. For a relaxing family vacation check out some of these lesser-known places in Southern France. You may not have heard of Mustier or Bandol and you’ll be surprised how intriguing it can be to explore villages none of your kids’ friends have every heard about.
Best city for kids: You can’t ignore Paris, for the multitude of kid-friendly attractions such as Disneyland Paris, the Eiffel Tower and the Paris Aquarium. Here are some tips on how to spend a weekend in Paris with kids. However, I would suggest taking your time to explore Paris more thoroughly as there’s plenty to do in this beautiful city. Here is a three-day Paris itinerary to help with your planning.
Don’t miss these things in France for kids:
- Spend a day at Paris Disneyland
- Climb the Eiffel Tower
- Go on a road trip to explore the smaller villages of Southern France
- Go on the Louvre tour for kids
- Get a Paris pass for the Hop On Hop Off bus
Looking for more European family holidays? Here are some places not to miss if you can spend 1 month in Europe.
#11 Czech Republic
Zoos, aqua parks, castles and chateaus are some of the places to visit in teh Czech Republic when you’re traveling with kids. It doesn’t matter what time of year you choose to visit this gorgeous European country, you’ll easily find plenty of attractions for kids. From Prague to Brno to exploring the countryside, many places in the Czech Republic look like they are straight out of a fairy tale. The kids will feel they’re in a fairy tale as you wander around enchanting cobblestone streets and cute villages.
Best city for kids: There are enough things to do in Prague for kids to fill a week or two. Start with the main sights, which include the Old Town Square Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, Mala Strana and St Nicholas Church. The kids will get a kick out of visiting the colorful John Lennon wall and dancing to the music of the buskers on Charles Bridge. Here’s a great local’s guide on Charles Bridge.
Don’t miss things in the Czech Republic for kids:
- Climb the hill to Prague Castle and walk down to the Mala Strana district
- Have fun at Mirakulum Amusement Park, which is only an hour from Prague.
- Go shopping for puppets in the shops around the Old Town Square in Prague.
- See the animals at Prague Zoo
- Hire a pedalo or a swan boat and go boating on the river in Prague.
To help you plan, here’s what to do in Prague in 2 days.