Traveling to europe with kids


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Where should you go on your family trip to Europe? What are the best places to visit in Europe with kids? European family vacations are very popular. Compared to travel in other parts of the world, travel with kids in Europe is easy. Distances are relatively short, Europe has a good transportation network and there’s a lot to see and discover. A rich history, fascinating art and architecture, bustling cities and beautiful nature, Europe has it all! And with so many small countries and different cultures close together, you can see a lot in a short time.

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Of course – as with all family travel – traveling to Europe with kids requires good planning. And to plan wisely you need to know what the best places in Europe for kids are. Naturally you want to make the most of your European vacation with kids, especially if you’re flying overseas to visit. But you have to be smart about it. Yes, you could cram Paris, Rome and London in one week but most likely you’ll end up frustrated. You won’t be able to see everything you want, your kids will overload and you’ll end up disappointed. That’s why we’ve created this guide with the best places to travel in Europe with kids to help you with your family trip to Europe itinerary.


Interested in other family travel destinations? Also read:
Best places in Asia to visit with kids
Best places to visit with kids in USA & Canada


Of course ‘The best’ places in Europe for your family depend on a number of factors, such as your kids age, your prefered mode of transportation, the duration of your European trip, your budget and your family’s travel style. But this guide with the best places in Europe for kids will help you narrow down the destinations for your next family trip to Europe.


Best European countries to visit with kids

We’ve asked our favorite family travel bloggers ‘what are the best places to take kids in Europe?’. They helped us compile this list with the best countries in Europe to visit with kids. Especially Ireland and Iceland are still high on our own bucket list!

Italy with kids

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Italy is an exceptionally family friendly country, full of holiday options for all ages and taste. It spans over a length of about 1000 KM and across it, you find beautiful kid friendly beaches, pristine alpine scenery and a remarkable number of UNESCO world heritage sites. It is a fantastic place for kids but also for parents who want to mix child centred activities with more grown up attractions such as lovely meals and historical sites: in Italy, all you need to do is let the kids run loose in a beautiful ancient piazza to have a wonderful day out! To top it all, families can enjoy it while licking copious amounts of gelato and melt in your mouth pizza.

Where to go in Italy with kids depends very much on what type of holiday you are hoping to get but our favourite spots are the Dolomites for outdoorsy families, Tuscany and Sicily for those who want to mix history and beach and Rome, for city lovers. Kids are treated like royalty in Italy and you can see family here truly comes first as people and establishments go out of their way to make parents feel welcome. It is a wonderful feeling that makes many families (including ours!) go to Italy over and over again.

Recommended by Marta from Learning Escapes.

Best Italy tours and activities

Ireland with kids

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I might be biased as it’s my home country, but Ireland is a country that is extremely family-friendly. Whether you are in the capital, Dublin, or somewhere else, you will find the people friendly, welcoming and there’s always something to do with the kids.

We started properly exploring Ireland with our son this past year and did a 10-day road trip taking in Cork, Tipperary, Limerick and also Dublin where our families live. In each of the different counties we found plenty of things to do with our son including some of the best castles to visit with kids in Ireland. We also visited some animals and other historical-type museums. We even acted as tourists in my hometown of Dublin and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Limerick has two great castles, as does Cork. You will also find a zoo and the Titanic Museum near Cork City. Tipperary has the Rock of Cashel, Chair Castle and the Swiss Cottage to explore with kids. As for Dublin, you have your pick of family-friendly attractions and things to do. From an awesome children’s museum, which must be booked in advance, to Dublin Zoo and the Airfield Farm, to castles and other historical sites and museums, Dublin has the biggest concentration of family-friendly things to see and do in Ireland.

And if that’s not enough, you’ll find plenty of shops, restaurants and enjoyable walks in and around the city. Ireland has such a wealth of things to do and explore with kids, no matter where you are in the country. And we’re already planning a return trip next summer.

Recommended by Cath from Passports and Adventures.

Best Ireland tours and activities

Iceland with kids

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Iceland is a really hot (well not literally) family travel destination right now! I was worried when we went that it wouldn’t live up to the hype but I can happily report that it did not disappoint! What I like about Iceland is that you can be adventurous and get out into nature but still being in easy reach of a city while also being able to easily get out past the main tourist sites and into nature! Iceland is a safe country to visit (recently voted safest by Which Travel) and is very easy to explore on your own by renting a car. The main tourist sites are within easy reach of each other so you can see Geysers, Waterfalls and museums all on the same day! It is really the perfect place for any family and will have something for all tastes!

Recommended by Leona from Wandermust Family. Find out more from Leona about things to do in Iceland with kids.

Best Iceland tours and activities

Greece with kids

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Greece has everything we look for in a family holiday: it’s beautiful, laid-back, full of history and great value for money.

So much of Greece still feels unspoilt and old-fashioned. There are busy resorts in Greece but it’s not very hard to find that picture-perfect little harbour with colourful wooden boats and simple tavernas. It’s the perfect place for a family holiday. Children are adored and given attention by everyone they meet and the atmosphere is so chilled out and laid-back that the whole family relaxes.

Greece has the second largest coastline in Europe (after Norway) so it makes the perfect beach or sailing holiday, with plenty of child-friendly beaches with shallow waters and sheltered bays. But you can also find dramatic mountain ranges, vast gorges ideal for hiking and tiny villages with cobbled streets and white houses draped in pink and purple bougainvillea.

The myths of Ancient Greece and its gods are full of wonderful stories to fire up any child’s imagination. History really comes alive in Greece where you can find a temple dedicated to one of the gods on even the smallest of islands. You can see where Theseus fought the minotaur at the Minoan palace of Knossos in Crete, climb up to the Acropolis in Athens to gaze at the Parthenon temple, visit Mount Pelion, home of the centaurs or take a trip to Olympia, the site of the first Olympic Games.

We always look for the lesser-known, quieter islands away from the tourist crowds. Our favourite islands include Folegandros and Sifnos and the tiny islands in the Small Cyclades, like Koufonissi and Schinoussa. We eat fabulous food in local tavernas, go on boat trips and build sandcastles on the beach. You can’t get better than that.

Recommended by Clare from Suitcases and Sandcastles.

Best Greece tours and activities

Netherlands with kids

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We’re prejudiced, since the Netherlands is our home country, but it really is a fun country to visit with kids. There are a lot of things to do with kids in The Netherlands. Surprisingly much for such a small country actually. Visit our hometown Haarlem, see the windmills at Kinderdijk or Zaanse Schans, go to the beach, check out the canals in Amsterdam or see the famous tulip fields.

The Netherlands has a very good public transport network with trains and busses going just about everywhere. Although for adults public transport is relatively expensive, you can get cheap public train and bus tickets for kids. Netherlands is a save country to travel, clean and most people speak (a bit of) English. So it’s easy for most foreigners to make themselves understood. Dutch people are known for their directness (some people might even call it rude ;-)) and are generally helpful.

In The Netherlands you’ll find a number of amusement parks, such as the all-time favorite fairytale park Efteling in the south. There are multiple large zoos, such as Artis in Amsterdam, Blijdorp in Rotterdam and Wildlands in Emmen. Indoor playgrounds, swimming pools, lovely national parks, a rich history and some fantastic children’s museums, Netherlands has it all. By far the best months to visit The Netherlands are April / May (if you want to see the tulip fields) or September.

Best Netherlands tours and activities

Best European cities for kids

What are the best European cities to visit with kids? There are so many! And city trips with kids can be a lot of fun. There’s generally a lot to see and do, such as famous landmarks, playgrounds, parks, children’s museums and other activities for kids. Again, we asked our fellow family travel bloggers ‘what are the best places to go in Europe with kids?’. They each sent us their favorites to create this wonderful list of the best cities in Europe for kids.

London with kids

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We visited London on our first family trip abroad and have made two return trips with kids because it is such a fun family city. London is rich with history, iconic buildings, world-renowned museums and amazing parks. It would take months to fully explore the sights, but it’s possible to hit the highlights in a few days. Our family’s favorites included Big Ben (currently under construction), the Tower of London and the Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens.

London is a particularly attractive destination for families traveling abroad for the first time. It’s a major transportation hub and easy to locate flights. The Underground is an efficient transportation system that makes it easy to travel within the city without renting a car. And, after mastering a few British phrases, English speaking visitors are fully fluent and don’t have to worry about any language barriers. It’s been a few years since our last visit, but our kids regularly remember London fondly and look forward to a return visit.

Recommended by Catherine from We Go With Kids. Find out more from Catherine about London’s best sights with kids.

Best London tours and activities

Rome with kids

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Rome is the capital of Italy and located in the heart of the country. This historical beauty is one of the most visited cities in the world and is the perfect destination for your family holiday. Rich with history and culture, and famed for it’s amazing food, your family will be spoiled with things to see and do in Rome with kids.

Explore the Colloseum, the largest amphitheatre in the Roman world, throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain, Climb the famous Spanish Steps or test your kids putting their hand in the Mouth of Truth. For those who like to relax a little, you can take a walk or hire bikes or rickshaw (5-8 person bike) in Villa Borghese. Grab some fresh bread, meats and cheeses from a local bakery to bring along to have a picnic.

You don’t have to look far for delicious food in Rome. Pizza and pasta is everywhere and you can find a gelati bar on almost every corner within the historical centre. With some of the best food in Italy even the fussiest little eaters will be impressed.

Recommended by Chontelle of Mum’s Little Explorers.

Best Rome tours and activities

Amsterdam with kids

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As a passionate Amsterdam family blogger you won’t be surprised to hear me say that Amsterdam is one of the most family friendly cities in Europe. Small and hugely accessible, Amsterdam is home to world class parks and playgrounds; a host of family friendly museums including the extraordinary hands-on science museum NEMO; child-friendly canal boat tours and super kid friendly food (think chips, pancakes and chocolate sprinkles for breakfast!).

If your little ones like making friends of the furry variety then head to the beloved goat farm in the Amsterdamse Bos or “forest” to bottle feed the kids or check out the numerous city farms. If your minis are allergic to walking, hire a bakfiets – a bicycle with a wooden bucket on the front – pop them in and cycle around like a local. Pose by the city’s famous IAmsterdam sign before sipping hot chocolates or unicorn shakes in Amsterdam’s fantastic cafes and then spend the afternoon munching caramel waffles aboard Sunday’s historic tram to the magnificent city-centre zoo Artis or enjoy a football game at Ajax.

Recommended by Tracy from Amsterdam Wonderland. Visit her blog for much more Amster-inspiration.

Best Amsterdam tours and activities

Barcelona with kids

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While Barcelona boasts world-class gastronomy, sandy Mediterranean beaches, and elegant modernist architecture, the Spanish city is a magical destination for litte ones too. They’ll love the eccentric architectural masterpieces by Antoni Gaudí, whose vibrant tilework, swerving balconies, and fruit-shaped adornments can be found at the Sagrada Familia church, La Pedrera, Park Guell, and Casa Batlló.

The city also has 4 kilometers of beaches, fantastic for swimming, sandcastle-building, or enjoying a sunny picnic lunch. They’ll be dazzled by the iconic and chaotic Las Ramblas, a promenade of human statues and home to the infamous, colorful food market La Boqueria. For fun and sweeping views, the whole family will enjoy the beautiful hills of Montjuic, where kids can explore the ancient Montjuic Castle.

Barcelona is relatively safe (the most common crimes are petty theft) so you can travel with your kids comfortably. It’s also very easy to get around using their public transportation, which is one of the best in Europe. Barcelona is a vibrant city with lots to offer – the only problem is choosing what to do!

Recommended by Justine from Latitude 41. Also read Justine’s 100 things to do in Barcelona with kids.

Best Barcelona tours and activities

Berlin with kids

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Berlin is easily one of the best places to take kids in Europe. There’s an absolutely fantastic amount of wonderful playgrounds and parks. The Airbnb apartment we rented on Genter Strasse in the Wedding district had a playground in front and one in the back. Heaven for our little boy! And what to think of the dragon playground in Friedrichshain area or the fairytale playground in Neukölln. We also really enjoyed the Park am Gleisdreieck, a lovely green park with multiple playgrounds. Berlin is a clean city, easy to navigate, public transport is a breeze and there are many activities for kids in Berlin.

The must-sees in Berlin, such as Checkpoint Charly, the Wall, East Side Gallery and the Holocaust Memorial are very educational to visit with older kids. But there are many wonderful things to do with kids in Berlin. Berlin Zoo is a perfect place to spend a few hours and with small kids visiting one of the petting zoos is great too. And don’t forget the Labyrinth Kinder Museum and the MACHmit! Children’s Museum. Both are fantastic with kids. And like most large cities Berlin has its share of indoor playgrounds, swimming pools and family cafe’s.

Visiting one of the many flea markets in Berlin is lots of fun with kids too. Read more about our trip to the Mauerpark Flohmarkt.

Best Berlin tours and activities

Munich with kids

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Munich, the capital city of Bavaria – Germany’s largest state, is a wonderful destination and the most family-friendly location I have ever been to. It is a great city to explore, both for kids and adults. The city is home to the famous Deutsches Museum that families should not miss at all. The museum has a number of interactive displays to keep your kids engaged for hours and a plethora of stuff to rouse your curiosity as well.

And if you wish to do something outdoors, head straight to the Marienplatz where you can catch a daily, free show of the Rathaus-Glockenspiel. This is a huge clock that comes to life every day at 11am, noon, and 5 pm. The famous Englischer Garden and opulent grounds of the Nymphenburg Palace also provide ample space for kids to run free. Neuschwanstein Castle which inspired Disney is not far away either.

And guess what’s better? Munich’s beer gardens are family-friendly too! Most of them have at least a sand pit if not more. And they have wonderful kid-friendly food – potato salad, pretzels, and sausages.

Recommended by Soumya from Stories by Soumya.

Best Munich tours and activities

Rovaniemi in Finland with kids

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One of the best family-friendly destinations we’ve visited is Rovaniemi in Lapland, Finland. Located right on the Arctic Circle there’s so much to do for families. It’s known as the home of Santa Claus, so while you’re there you can visit Santa’s official post office to post a letter, see reindeer in real-life, and have fun crossing the Arctic Circle line. The area is also surrounded by pristine forest so if you visit in summer it’s great to go out hiking under the Midnight Sun, or alternatively spot the Northern Lights in winter.

The absolute highlight of visiting Rovaniemi though is a visit to SantaPark Arctic World – a theme park that’s dedicated to all things Christmas! Some of the fun activities include attending Elf School where you’ll learn some of the tricks of the trade involved in being an elf, riding on the magic Christmas train, visiting Mrs Gingerbread’s kitchen where you can decorate cookies, taking part in Christmas arts and craft, seeing the Ice Princess in her cavern under the Arctic Circle (and experience the -10 degree temperatures) while you admire her beautiful ice carvings. Finally, it’s time to visit the big man himself, and you can go into Santa’s office to meet with him and see his long list of naughty and nice!

If you’re looking for a family-friendly destination that’s a little bit magical and has year-round attractions, then a trip to Rovaniemi is a sure winner!

Recommended by Kylie from Our Overseas Adventures.

Best Rovaniemi tours and activities

Lisbon with kids

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Lisbon is a fantastic destination for families it is cheaper than many other European capitals, you will find good value accommodation and inexpensive food. Portuguese culture is very family orientated and welcoming to young children in particular. Many hotels have family rooms and children are welcome in all restaurants. The main issue you will have when visiting Lisbon with young children is the intensity of the sun during the summer months (June – September).

Lisbon has a wide range of activities that will entertain children of all ages. The Oceanarium is our favourite Lisbon experience with the kids. It is regarded as one of the best aquariums in the world. Other family activities in Lisbon we enjoy are the zoo, a ride on the yellow tram and a day at one of the nearby sandy beaches.

Recommended by Susan from Portugal Exposure.

Best Lisbon tours and activities

Edinburgh with kids

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You don’t always associate cities with being the perfect family-friendly getaway, however, Edinburgh is definitely somewhere you should add to your family city break bucket list. The Scottish capital is fantastic for kids of all ages – from interactive museums to fun visitor attractions, a zoo, parks, playgrounds, child-friendly events, not to mention the world-famous Castle – Edinburgh has something for everyone.

The city centre is very compact which makes getting round the sites very easy. You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to museums and they can be a great rainy day option. The National Museum of Scotland combines science, history and culture. Dynamic Earth, located on the edge of Holyrood Park, teaches children about planet earth – experience an earthquake, explore the Antarctic and watch a futuristic 3D movie. Harry Potter aficionados will love spotting the Harry Potter sites or taking part in a Harry Potter walking tour (age dependent). Or for a fun way to discover the sights, try the Horrible History bus tour, with commentary by Terry Deary.

If you’re looking to explore the great outdoors, check out Holyrood Park, the Royal Botanic Gardens, climb Arthur’s Seat, meander along the Water of Leith or simply let the kids loose in one of Edinburgh’s fantastic playgrounds (Inverleith Park, Princes Street Gardens and the Meadows). There is so much to discover in this very family friendly city and we highly recommend that you add it to your Scottish itinerary.

Recommended by Gillian from Scotland Bucket List.

Best Edinburgh tours and activities

Copenhagen with kids

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Copenhagen is hands down one of the best family-friendly travel destinations in the world. It’s a family traveler’s Shangri-La. The Danish Capital is as much fun for the grownups as for the little ones.

Few minutes in the city of Copenhagen, and we revel in the charm and coolness of it. Cruising past its waterfront (Nyhavn), cobbled streets, alleys, squares, bike lanes, and bike bridges, I begin to discern why the city is consecutively named the world’s happiest city, the world’s most livable city, and the world’s best biking city.

We loved everything about it – from its A1 museums, gorgeous gardens, stunning zoological gardens and aquariums, Europe’s strangest park (Superkilen) to the world’s oldest amusement park (Bakkan), and the world’s second oldest amusement park (Tivoli). Copenhagen, birthland of Lego and fairy-tale writer Hans Christian Anderson makes its little guests feel welcomed, loved and adored. Its extensive public transportation that’s child-friendly and free entry to kids up to 17 years to almost all its parks and museums make it all the more desirable for families. Also, there’s no dearth of family-friendly places to stay. Most of the restaurants have yummy kid’s menu.

Copenhagen wraps you in the happy, warm and cozy feeling of hygge (hue-gah) and lets you enjoy the good things in life with the loved ones. Copenhagen with family is always a good idea.

Recommended by Anjali from Travel Melodies. Also check out Anjali’s 3-day Copenhagen itinerary.

Best Copenhagen tours and activities

Lucerne Switzerland with kids

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Switzerland is a traveler’s paradise and, in my opinion, also a perfect location for families who like to travel. With its beautiful nature, fun train and boat rides and arguably the best chocolate of the world (it’s just the truth 😉) Switzerland has a lot to offer, especially for kids.

I grew up nearby Lucerne, which led to many excursions and adventures with my family around the city. Lucerne offers a wide range of activities and things to see – so every family will find something. During the summer months you can do various hikes, such as in the nearby mountains Rigi, Pilatus or Titlis. Additionally, it is just an amazing feeling to swim in Lake Lucerne after a long day of exploring.

Lucerne in Winter is more of a hidden gem, as it has less tourists – but still so many attractions that are worth a visit. In the mountains you can now ski, do winter hikes or go for a night sledge adventure, which I loved as a kid. In the evening, I recommend tasting one of our national dishes, such as Fondue, Raclette or Rösti. And even when the weather is bad on a day – Lucerne is home to the Transportation Museum, which is a highlight for every kid, as it is showcasing several different and interesting ways of transportation in an interactive way.

Overall I believe that Lucerne is one of the best travel destinations for families you can find.

Recommended by Michael from MSCGerber.

Best Lucerne tours and activities

Isle of Wight with kids

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The Isle of Wight, settled just off Hampshire on the English coast, is kind of synonymous with families. It’s a top camping choice for that first daddy or mummy and kid trip to the great outdoors and it’s a ferry ride of less than an hour from the mainland, so good for short attention spans. Plus, you can bring the car on the ferry and easily carry all the bits and bobs that you need.

Once you’re there, if there’s a hint of sunshine, the number one choice is beaches. The isle has plenty of them and they’re sandy, with bright blue seas and proper bucket and spade opportunities. Nice!

Not only that, but many of the biggest attractions are ideal for the younger members of the family. Going to The Needles to see that iconic landmark? It has a great view for you and a fun theme park with cheeky rides and a swooping cable car that will keep the whole family entertained.

Next, you’ll go wild for the Isle of Wight Zoo, Butterfly World and tempting castles. Perhaps the most famous option, the royal residence at Osborne House, is a fun choice for older kids which has its own private beach and lovely tea room in the gardens.

Recommended by Danni from Livein10countries. Also check out her Isle of White one day trip itinerary.

Isle of Wight: tours and activities

Best way to travel Europe

Depending on your travel style and budget, there are a number of ways to travel around Europe. Renting a car is a popular option with families, especially those with young kids. It’s easy to have your own transportation, but keep in mind that parking can be expensive in the larger cities. For instance, parking in Amsterdam Center is €5,- per hour. Taxi’s are generally very expensive, so look for bus or train connections instead.

For longer distances and if you book well in advance, it can also pay to look at plane tickets. European budget airlines, such as EasyJet and Ryan Air sometimes have great deals. This can be cheaper than driving. A lot of people prefer to travel Europe by train. If you’re a bit more adventurous the Eurail pass (often also called Euro rail pass, Europe rail pass or eurorail ticket) is a great and budget friendly option if you want to visit many countries and want to be flexible. If you’re only planning to visit a limited number of countries and can book well in advance, booking your train tickets directly with the local public railway service can be a lot cheaper.

Tip: if you’re traveling accross borders, compare the prices of the railway companies on both sides! For instance when we traveled from Prague to Berlin, we found that the Czech Railway had much lower prices than the Deutsche Bahn for exactly the same route.

What to pack for Europe

Don’t overpack! European countries are well developed and you can buy everything you need on the road. No need to pack a 4-week supply of diapers and formula, shampoo or anything else. In fact, if you’re planning domestic air travel around Europe, you’d do well to travel with carry-on only as the charges for additional luggage can be quite high. When our son was younger we prefered to take his toddler travel bed, so he always had a familiar place to sleep. Now that he’s a bit older we prefer inflatable bed rails, so we can turn an existing bed into a safe sleeping area for him.

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When you travel in Europe it’s not necessary to bring a lot of cash, there are ATM’s everywhere. Things that can make your life a lot easier are packing cubes, an international power adapter, a portable charger and a suitable daypack for Europe. Unless you are camping, nothing screams tourist more than baggy sweatpants, a sweatshirt, white socks and tennis shoes. Try to dress up just a tiny little bit more and also pack some nice clothes for going out to dinner. And do yourself a favor and leave your fanny pack at home.

Best time to travel to Europe

High season in Europe is in the summer months. School kids are free in this period and families take their summer holidays. Prices can be very high in Europe in July and August, especially for transport and accommodation. Outside of the high season the best month to visit Europe depends on what you want to do. Spring and fall are excellent times to visit most of Europe. In the spring the whole continent turns green and colorful again after the cold winter months. April and early May are the best months to see the Dutch tulip fields in full bloom and from mid June the lavender fields in the French Provence will be one sea of purple.

Of course, if you want to go skiing, you should go in the winter months. Skiing in France, Austria, Switzerland or Northern Italy is best done in January or February. Winter is also the best time to see the Northern Lights in Iceland, the glaciers in Scandinavia or the winter wonderland in Lapland. For some winter sun the Southern Europe countries, such as Portugal, Spain and southern Greece are an excellent choice. We went to the Portugese Algarve in January and even spent a few lovely days on the beach.

Conclusion: should you travel to Europe with kids?

What are the best family destinations in Europe? It’s quite clear there are many! A trip to Europe with kids is definitely worth it. Europe caters to all travel styles and travel wishes. Whether your want to experience Europe’s history, learn about different European cultures or discover Europe’s flora and fauna. Europe has something for everyone and families love how easy it is to travel around Europe. It’s possible to see a number of different countries in one trip and have a lot of very different experiences. Our one piece of advice however would be to plan realistically when going to Europe with kids. Travel with kids requires you to adjust your expectations and factor in enough downtime and playtime to keep everyone happy, regardless of where you’re traveling.

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