Traveling to Europe is on a lot of family bucket lists after the pandemic made travel impossible in the last few years. Now is a great time to pack up the whole family and head across the pond. European vacations have so many significant cultural and historical sites and many European destinations are ideal for family vacations; these destinations offer everything from inexpensive (and kid-approved) dining options to fun activities and amazing sights. To help you plan the perfect vacation itinerary for your family, we’ve compiled a list of the best cities in Europe to visit that are family-friendly.
1. Paris, France
Vacation packages to Europe are in high demand for 2023, and the City of Lights is no exception. A playground for people of all ages, Paris is easy to navigate, and there are delicious kid-friendly food options on every corner. Don’t be intimidated by local Parisians; they are friendlier than they’re often portrayed. And if that’s not enough, the bigger-than-life sights such as the famous Louvre Museum and Eiffel Tower will enthral children of all ages. To round off your trip, take a scenic boat cruise along the river Seine, which gives you the ultimate views of the Eiffel tower.
2. London, England
With no language barrier to contend with, London makes a fabulous destination for Americans traveling with little ones. Whether you want to visit Buckingham Palace or take a trip to the theatre to see the live-in-action The Lion King, there’s plenty to do in this bustling English city. Known for its historical monuments, and inter-travel via the tube, this city has plenty to offer the whole family, with an easy way to get around from point A to point B. The outskirt of the city is home to the wizarding world of Harry Potter, where you can take a tour around film sets included in the movies, as well as props used throughout the saga.
If you want to soak up the culture of the United Kingdom, we highly recommend a historical tour of the city, with visits to Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London. We also suggest a trip to the theatre, which hosts regular performances of both Wicked and The Lion King.
For the ultimate London vacation, why not invest in the London Pass? This ticket will grant entry to up to 80 London attractions with fast-track entry, meaning you are more likely to enjoy more, for less. This pass is best recommended for those with extended family stays in London, giving you more time to explore!
3. Dublin, Ireland
Your children will love the whimsical Irish brogue as much as the beautiful city with its cobblestone paths and unique architecture. Meander through one of the many museums in Dublin or head to a park to feed the wild ducks (and deer)! For a special treat, take them to Imaginosity, the Dublin Children’s Museum. Your family travel memories will be that much more wonderful.
4. Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen is the perfect vacation spot if you are looking for a variety of different activities to participate in, or sights to see. This city has a mix of both stunning landscapes, as well as bustling city streets with local cuisine hotspots. With 125 outdoor public playgrounds to choose from, Copenhagen can appeal to those who want to explore the more niche parts of the city too.
Much like the other Nordic countries, if you are traveling with older children, we also recommend the Tivoli theme park, which features a variety of rides from rollercoasters to the classic carousel. After enjoying a day exploring the park, why not dine out at one of Copenhagen’s many eateries? The city is sprawling with places to eat, and a lot of them are also family-friendly, and include dedicated children’s menus.
5. Munich, Germany
A European vacation isn’t complete without this Bavarian capital as part of an itinerary. This city is like a fairy tale comes to life for children. They’ll be enchanted by the gorgeous buildings, the friendly locals and the plethora of treat shops lining the meticulous streets. If you want to expand on that magical feeling, head to the Bavaria Film Studios where your children can ride Falkor from The Neverending Story movie. The many Munich museums will ensure they learn a bit of history and culture through your travels as well.
6. Rome, Italy
Families who appreciate history and delectable cuisine shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit Rome. Feast on authentic pizza and heaps of gelato in a tucked-away piazza before visiting the world-famous Colosseum and Pantheon. Afterward, take the kids to a gladiator school where they can put their Roman skills to the test.
Rome is one of the more walking-intense trips as this city encompasses many different activities and sights to see. From the Trevi Fountain to the enormous Colosseum and the sprawling Spanish steps, there’s plenty to see and do in Rome.
It is also recommended that you pre-book the big bus tour. This tour takes you around the entire city of Rome and allows for stops for whatever you want to see that day. This bus is also great for getting to and from Vatican City, after exploring the museums and historic buildings in the afternoon.
Eateries in Rome are always welcoming to family travelers, and the much-beloved gelato is guaranteed to cool you down in the summer months too. Many of the restaurants in the city are family run, so you know you are guaranteed to get quality homemade recipes wherever you decide to eat.
7. Stockholm, Sweden
This picture-perfect capital is one of the most family-friendly cities in the world. With a culture that encourages family bonding and activities, you know you’ll find plenty to do as a family in Stockholm. Pushing a stroller around? You get to ride the public buses for free! There are parks and many dedicated spaces (the like the National Museum of Science and Technology) that were designed with children in mind, and historical and cultural learning opportunities abound in this vibrant city.
8. Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is one of the most affordable destinations for an international vacation. Kids will love the Lego Museum, zoo and planetarium. Parents will love pedaling along the Vltava River for the best views of this picturesque city. Don’t miss the Christmas markets if you’re there for the holidays. And did we mention the beer is nearly as cheap as water? Now that’s a refreshing end to a fun-filled day for parents.
9. Edinburgh, Scotland
Watch your child’s eyes light up as they explore castles that are straight from their fairy tales. If being a knight for a day doesn’t tickle your child’s fancy, you can explore an extinct volcano, wander through the Edinburgh Zoo, take a Harry Potter tour or visit spooky dungeons! In Edinburgh, there’ll be plenty of space for them to romp around, and you’ll enjoy the experience as well.
The city of Reykjavik has a versatile and varied culture, meaning there are activities that everyone will be interested in when touring the city. This can make it a perfect tourist spot for families, as well as couples and older visitors. One of the biggest activities that is popular in this city is the famous whale watching. This activity is particularly popular with wildlife enthusiasts and is located on Faxaflói Bay, just 10 minutes from the city centre.
Iceland is also known for its ideal placement for viewing the Northern Lights. The display can often be seen from your hotel in the city centre, but for optimal viewing, it is recommended when you head out to Seltjarnarnes peninsula. The darkness of this location means you can really experience the aurora with the best views.