What To Do in 7 of the Most Family Friendly Cities in Europe
When families with young kids or teens plan travel, one of the most important considerations is choosing a destination that everyone will love. Traveling can enrich the mind and provide an education that cannot be learned in a classroom. By visiting different cultures and seeing how other people live their lives, parents can give their kids the opportunity to create memories that will last a lifetime.
The below European cities are known for being family friendly, and have plenty of activities and attractions that will keep kids and parents entertained. One of the most memorable ways to discover any city while vacationing in Europe is by car, and having your own transportation ensures that you can explore on your own time and even beat the crowds in many situations. Choose a larger model that is comfortable for families and has plenty of room for everyone’s luggage and souvenirs collected along the way.
The Colosseum is one of the most iconic landmarks in all of Europe, and a visit here with your kids is sure to inspire wonder about its ancient history. The site tends to be busier in afternoon, so you can save time and have a more enjoyable experience if you visit in the morning. Another time saving tip- young kids are free but the line to verify their ages can take over an hour, so purchasing normal tickets for them may be worth it to avoid that line.
For teens that like the spookier attractions, a visit to the Catacombs and Capuchin Crypts is an interesting and memorable way to spend a few hours. Italy is arguably most known for its food, and you can stop at many restaurants or cafés near Trevi Fountain or Piazza Navona to be close to all the action. To take some of Italy’s cuisine home with you, book a kid-friendly Cooking Class for a fun activity the whole family can enjoy.
Though usually known as a playground for adults, Amsterdam offers a variety of activities for traveling families. The city and surrounding areas are full of parks, and one of the largest and most popular Is Vondelpark. Nearby to many museums, the area surrounding Vondelpark is also an ideal neighborhood to find a hotel. The park features multiple playgrounds and an open-air theatre with free children’s shows. The best way to see the park is to Rent a Bicycle or a Bakfiet, a utility bike that has a wagon with seating for kids. Amsterdam is the bike-commuting capital of Europe, if not the world, so biking with children is both safe and common practice. For ages 4-14, the Ondekhoek Discovery Center is a main attraction, where kids can participate in workshops and experiments and learn how to build and create various things. There are many options when it comes to choosing a kid-friendly Canal Cruise, some being more informative and others serving pizza and ice cream on board.
One of Barcelona’s most popular attractions amongst families with kids is Montjuïc Park, known for its views and sprawling outdoor spaces. You can take the Teleferic de Montjuïc, a cable car, to Montjuïc Castle and admire the panoramic view Barcelona’s skyline on the way up. In the evenings, an illuminated Magic Fountain Show takes place at the Montjuïc fountain that is sure to delight the whole family. An architectural masterpiece that doubles as a public outdoor space is Parque Güell, designed by Antoni Gaudí. It is easy to spend several hours waking through the park and discovering its hidden corners. La Rambla is Barcelona’s well-known central street that is popular amongst travelers and locals alike. While walking down this iconic street, you will pass plenty of shops, street performers, art installations, restaurants, and La Boquería Mercat- Barcelona’s famous food hall and market. For thrill-seeking families with teenagers, the Tibidabo Amusement Park is a highly-rated attraction that also offers breathtaking views of the city and the sea.
Visiting Munich with kids can make you feel like you’re in a real-life storybook. The Marienplatz main square is home to the Rathaus-Glockenspiel, a delightful chiming clock with model figures reenacting scenes from throughout Munich’s folkloric history. If the Spielzeugmuseum (toy museum) is not enough to excite your kids, a visit to the Obletter Spielwaren, Munich’s largest and most famous toy store, is a fun opportunity to let them choose a memorable and unique souvenir. For those who like open outdoor spaces, the whole family could Rent Paddle Boats at the Englische Garten, or spend the day at Tierpark Hellabrunn, Munich’s zoo and conservation area. Treat yourself (quite literally) and your family to a tour of one Bavaria’s many Chocolate Factories or Shops to see how the candies are made.
Lisbon is a historic destination known for its enjoyable climate, delicious food, and warm hospitality. With an easy-going vibe and beautiful Beaches, Portugal is often referred to as the “California of Europe” and traveling families can explore each town’s rich history and lively culture. For kids and teens interested in history, a visit to Sintra can take you to the colorful, fairy tale-like Peña Palace, to the mysterious ruins of Palacio Quinta la Regaleira, to the winding walkways of the Moorish Castle. Lisbon’s hilly geography has seen many engineering projects to make it easier to travel across town. Today, the Santa Justa Elevador and the Tram 28 are popular attractions and a fun way to show kids how the locals in Lisbon used to see the city. The Parque das Nações is a favorite destination among families, with many activities and attractions including the Knowledge Pavilion- a children’s exhibit, the Lisbon Oceanarium- Europe’s largest aquarium, and the Telecabine Lisboa- a cable car with views of the city.
London is a city that has something for everyone, especially families traveling with kids of any age. With its many museums, parks, landmarks, and attractions, a trip to London will certainly be eventful. The Natural History Museum and Tate Modern both host family-friendly specific exhibits, but their ongoing collections will amaze anyone interested in science or history. For views of the city, go up to the Skydeck at the Shard or go for a ride on the London Eye Ferris Wheel. For a unique view of various London landmarks, choose to cruise down on a Boat Tour of the Thames. Fans of Harry Potter (of all ages!) can enjoy a Warner Brothers Studio Tour or a Walking Tour for Muggles, visiting locations in London made famous by the films.
Typically, famous landmarks are notorious for long lines, and the Eiffel Tower is no exception. Rather than going up to the deck of the Eiffel Tower, many travelers admit that it is more enjoyable to view it from the surrounding areas like the nearby Carousel or from the gardens below at Champs de Mars, especially at night when it is illuminated. There are many options for boating along the River Seine, including guided cruises or hop-on-hop-off shuttle boats. The classic Jardin du Luxemburg is a great spot for picnics and leisurely family fun. Race remote control boats in the pond, play on the many rides and slides, or watch a puppet show. There are great attractions just outside the city, including Disneyland Paris and Château de Versailles, where families can rent bicycles to explore the grounds.
With a long-term car rental or a short-term lease through the Auto France Open Europe program, you and your family can make the most of your European vacation and add any (or all!) of the above cities to your bucket list. Our larger models can comfortably fit families and plenty of luggage, click here to view exact specifications.
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