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 the best family holiday destinations in Europe to get you and the kids excited.
Europe For Kids
You might think of Greece as a honeymoon destination but you’d be surprised at the number of attractions there are in Greece for kids. A family vacation in Greece can be lots of fun as there are plenty of places to enjoy the outdoors, such as beautiful beaches and islands. While there are plenty of things to do on the Greece mainland, the Greek Islands are also great for families. Popular Greek destinations for families include Santorini, Mykonos and Athens. Fortunately, getting from Athens to Mykonos is not that difficult. These three places are where young travelers can soak up one of the world’s oldest civilizations, stunning islands and great weather.
Best city for kids: Athens is a cool European city with a number of family-friendly attractions, such as the Acropolis and Parthenon, which is a temple dedicated to Athena, watching the changing of the guard at Syntagma Square, and lapping up the history of the Olympics at Panathenaic Stadium. Greek food is nutritious and tasty and it won’t burn a hole in your pocket. You can eat pretty cheaply at a local restaurant in Athens.
Don’t miss these things in Greece for kids:
- Have fun on a Greek Islands family sailing holiday
- Go snorkeling in the waters around Oia
- See the windmills in Mykonos
- Hit the beaches of Mykonos
- Climb up to the Acropolis and explore New Acropolis Museum
- Go on a ride on the Athens Happy Train
- Have a picnic in the National Gardens of Athens
Ireland is an incredibly beautiful country with stunning scenery, culture, and history. Best of all, for families, it’s safe and a friendly place to visit as the Irish love kids. The only downside is the Irish weather can be moody, so pack your rain gear; rain boots and raincoat are essential.
There are lots of fun things to do in Ireland with kids, but one of the benefits of choosing Ireland for your family vacation is it’s small. Centuries of history is packed across 900 miles of coastline, and a road trip with the kids is a fun way to explore. Some things to
Best city for kids: Dublin is a fantastic city to start or end your trip around Ireland and has loads of cultural activities and fun for kids.
Don’t miss these things in Ireland for kids:
- Head south of Dublin to Wicklow for beautiful gardens and the largest national parks in Ireland.
- Waterford is another fantastic destination for families as it has museums and historical sites such as the Viking Triangle, Waterford Crystal Factory and Medieval Museum.
- Explore the Cliffs of Moher
- Drive the Wild Atlantic Way
- Join the fun at the Galway Oyster Festival in Galway
Looking for a cheap flight? Here’s a great guide to Europe’s low-cost airlines.
There are so many reasons why Switzerland is excellent for families. With stunning scenery perfect for outdoor activities like hiking and biking, it’s an ideal destination for families who love being outdoors. That, along with wonderful museums and palatable cuisine, makes Switzerland an excellent choice for your next family vacation. For adventurous families, these off the beaten path places in Switzerland might also appeal.
Best city for kids: Zurich is a great place to start your Swiss vacation with kids as it’s a safe city with excellent public transport.
Don’t miss these things in Switzerland for kids:
- Teach your kids Roman history at Augusta Raurica, which is a Roman archeological site and the oldest Roman colony on the Rhine founded in 44 BC.
- Swim and go on boat rides on Lago Maggiore in the Ticino region where folks speak Italian.
- Ride the Glacier Express train through stunning mountainous landscapes where Heidi was filmed.
- Take the train up the Jungfrau to the top of Europe and see charming Swiss villages along the way.
- Visit the open-air museum in Ballenberg for its historical farms and buildings from all over Switzerland. Get close to farm animals and teach your kids how the Swiss lived 200 years ago.
If you are planning vacation with kids in Germany, you can’t go wrong. Germany is a storybook country with castles and medieval towns. Home to the fairytales of the Brothers Grimm (remember Hansel and Gretel?), lots of cool kids’ museums and the world’s largest water, there’s plenty to occupy the little ones. Germany is home to impressive theme parks that kids will love, such as Europa-Park, which is Europe’s second-largest amusement park.
Best city for kids: Germany is full of museums and a great way to spend some time in Munich is to visit the Deutsches Museum for interactive displays of science and technology. You can pack a lot in 24 hours in Munich and if you’re short of time, check out this one-day Munich itinerary for ideas.
Things not to miss in Germany with kids:
- Take a tour of Neuschwanstein Castle in the Bavarian Alps, modeled after Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle with an impressive artificial grotto and Throne Room.
- The Fairytale Road is a scenic drive through Germany from Frankfurt to Bremen past Little Red Riding Hood’s forest, Sleeping Beauty’s castle and over 50 charming storybook towns.
- Shop in a Christmas market
- Go on a factory tour to see how German cars are assembled.
- Explore other family-friendly museums like the Natural History Museum in Berlin and the Technological Museum.
Finland might not be an obvious choice for a family vacation but book a trip to this northern European country, and you’ll find lots to keep the little ones happy. Lapland is one of the best travel destinations for children to visit as they will love meeting Santa and the elves in Santa’s village.
Best city in Finland for kids: Helsinki is an accessible city to navigate with a brood in tow, with markets, museums and a safe environment to walk around.
Things not to miss in Finland with kids:
- Spend time at Moominworld, which is the Moomin’s theme park on the Turku archipelago.
- Heureka Science Centre is an excellent place for kids to learn something new about science and technology, with lots of interactive activities for children.
- Go on an exciting husky safari (or a reindeer sleigh ride) in Lapland, which is a white winter wonderland the children will love.
- Explore the Spy Museum in Tampere and let the kids channel their inner 007 while learning the secrets of being a spy.
Before you go on your family vacation, your kids will love to test their knowledge of Europe with this fun European capitals quiz.
Hungary may not be an obvious choice when traveling with kids but it is actually a very family friendly country that is kind on your wallet. Kids get discounted fares on discounts on public transport and there are many museums and attractions suitable for kids. Hungary’s thermal parks are a magnet for young ones, who will have a ball on the slides, in the wave pools and safe children’s pools. Lots of restaurants have menus specifically for kids and you’ll find that guided tours, museums and galleries are well-priced when visiting with the family.
Best city for kids: With so many things to do in Budapest, this is the city you should visit with your kids. This beautiful city on the Danube River has lots of thermal parks and museums your kids will enjoy. Here’s a 4-day Budapest itinerary to help you plan your visit and if you’re keen to explore further, these day trips from Budapest are fun for all.
Don’t miss these things in Hungary for kids:
- Budapest Zoo is a fun day out visiting the animals
- Magic Tower, Eger has intriguing astronomical equipment used in the 18th-century that is captivating for junior astronomers.
- Tropicarium in Budapest is a huge aquarium with a range of Hungarian fish species.
- Aquincum Museum in Budapest has a good display of interactive exhibits as well as virtual gladiator fights the kids might enjoy
- Toy Museum in Keszthely has an amazing collection of trains, teddy bears, dolls, and other toys.
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 on the beaches, 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 colorful 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
- Go surfing in Ericeira, Nazare or Peniche
Looking for a leisurely way to experience Europe? Try a European Christmas market cruise
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
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! There are many beautiful churches in Amsterdam worth taking the time to visit too. 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 and keep on going, as an Andalucia road trip will reveal may magical and mystical sights your kids will love.
- 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. Here’s how to spend a day in Bruges.
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 and visiting the enchanting Salzburg Christmas markets is a dream-come-true 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 Theater (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
Ready to plan your trip to Europe? Here are some great tips on the best way to travel in Europe.
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.
#17 Czech Republic
Zoos, aqua parks, castles and chateaus are some of the places to visit in the 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 these 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.