Updated: Mar 20
Planning a Family Vacation in Europe? Here you will find travel inspiration to eleven destinations in Europe suitable for your upcoming family trip with the best family tours, what to do, where to go, and the best travel resources for your family travel planning. Our Guest Bloggers joined us in this Family Vacation Collaboration to give you some helpful tips for family-friendly destinations in Europe!
The team at Food and Travel Guides
Table of Content: "Ten Awesome Family Vacation Destinations in Europe"
1. Fantastic Family Travel to Utrecht in the Netherlands by Phenomenal Globe
2. D-Day sites in Normandy Family Travel with Teenagers by Rachel's Ruminations
3. Family-friendly Mountains and Nature Experiences in Poland by tymrazem
4. Best Tourist Sightseeing with your Family in Barcelona by Travel Your Memories
5. Scotland Mysteries and Amazing Sceneries for the Family by Adventures with Ensuite
6. Iceland is the perfect destination for Family Adventures by Uprooted Traveler
7. Nature family vacation on the island of Kefalonia, Greece by VeggTravel
8. Lisbon is the perfect city for a family getaway in Europe by Wyld Family Travel
9. Family Travels and Explorations of Tenerife, Spain by Wandernity
10. Family travel for art, history, and museums in Vienna, Austria by Knyxc Journeying
11. Madrid is a forgotten Gem for Family Traveling in Europe by Guide your Travel
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Fantastic Family Travel to Utrecht in the Netherlands
by Lotte from Phenomenal Globe
One of the best family-friendly cities in Europe is Utrecht, the 4th biggest city in the Netherlands. Located just a 30-minute train ride from Schiphol, this ancient city has canals that rival those of Amsterdam but without the crowds.
Utrecht is best explored on foot, though there is also an extensive bus network and a tram line. Most sights are located in the city center where you’ll never be more than a few meters from a cute café or nice restaurant (Jozef and Buurten in de Fabriek are excellent places to eat with kids).
Regarding accommodation, the Eye Hotel has a gorgeous family attic room with lots of amenities for kids (including a changing table, baby cot, and toddler toilet seat).
During your family adventure in Utrecht, you won’t be bored, quite the opposite. It will be hard to choose which sights you’ll want to add to your Utrecht itinerary. For traveling families, these are some of the must-visit spots:
Dom Tower: who doesn’t love a bird's eye view? Climb the 465 steps and admire the views over the city from the top of the 112-meter-tall Dom Tower. If you’re traveling with young kids the best thing to do is to park your stroller at the information center and bring a baby carrier.
Miffy Museum: Miffy is such a beloved child’s figure and at the Miffy Museum kids can explore Miffy’s beautiful little world. During the Christmas Holidays, there is a special Christmas theme but this lovely museum is worth a visit year-round, especially for kids between 2 and 5.
Spoorwegmuseum: if your kids love trains, this is the place to go. Learn about train history in the Netherlands, go for a ride on a tiny train, visit a show or explore the historic trains that used to chug around the Netherlands.
Lotte is an avid traveler, mom of two beautiful kids, and lover of cooking and making lists. Whenever she’s not researching her next (family) destination she’s either out for a walk, trying out a new recipe or trying to catch up on her three blogs: phenomenalglobe.com, eschbach-consulting.com, and gezondweekmenu.nl.
D-Day sites in Normandy Family Travel with Teenagers
by Rachel Heller from Rachel's Ruminations
Visiting the Normandy beaches where D-Day happened is a great trip to take with teenagers. My husband and I hit on the idea when our son was about 14 and was studying the World Wars in school. It was the first time he’d ever shown any interest in any school subject besides the gym, so we jumped on it, deciding that our next summer road trip would include World War I sights in Belgium and D-Day sites in France. Our 13-year-old niece ended up coming along too, and while she hadn’t had any say in the theme of the trip, she enjoyed it too, with a quick addition of a few chateaux to the itinerary and several meals at creperies.
There are many locations in Normandy that offer opportunities to learn about the D-Day invasion, all of them a part of the Liberation Route Europe, which includes many more locations across Europe. A good place to start would be the Memorial de Caen Museum in Caen for an overview of the entire war.
To focus down on D-Day, visit the Arromanche 360, a circular film that is remarkably effective for developing empathy for the individual soldiers caught up in the chaos of the Normandy beach landings. It’ll make it clear to your teenager that war is not the neat and tidy series of strategic steps portrayed in school textbooks nor as predictable and emotionless as in video games. Then stroll the beach – or if you visit in the summer, enjoy a swim – at Arromanche, where the remains of the artificial harbor built by the invading forces are still visible.
There are plenty more places to visit, depending on your and your teenager’s interests. To name just a few, the Juno Beach Center looks at the Canadian volunteers’ role in D-Day and the Utah Beach Museum focuses on the Americans at Utah Beach; it even has an original B26 bomber. You can tour a German bunker at the Museum of the Merville Battery or learn about the role of radar at the Radar Museum 1944.
A trip to the D-Day beaches would combine well with a visit to Paris or Mont-Saint-Michel, or take the ferry out to Jersey or Guernsey. Alternatively, if you have a car, continue the war theme into Belgium to learn about World War I. In that case, Ypres is the place to start, at the excellent In Flanders Field Museum and the Menin Gate.
Rachel Heller’s website, Rachel’s Ruminations, focuses on independent travel to historical and cultural sights/sites. Most articles focus on one place or experience at a time, offering an honest personal perspective as well as useful information and advice. Follow Rachel on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.
Family-friendly Mountains and Nature Experiences in Poland
by Jakub Juszyński from tymrazem
When thinking about the Polish mountains, the Tatras, Bieszczady, and Karkonosze will definitely appear in your mind. However, it is also worth visiting the less known ones! The Holy Cross Mountains are not high, but their central location, a large number of attractions, and a family-friendly level of difficulty make it a perfect place for a family vacation!
The Holy Cross Mountains are the perfect place for a vacation. Everyone will find something for themselves here. Interesting manors and palaces, interesting ruins, beautiful nature, and the vastness of geological phenomena are waiting for you. Among the places that you should definitely visit, it is definitely worth mentioning the Holy Cross - a mountain with a thousand-year-old monastery on its peak. It is also worth visiting Łysica - the highest peak of the Świętokrzyskie Mountains measuring 614 meters.
If you like castles and palaces, your list should include Chęciny with the ruins of the royal castle located there and Krzyżtopór, which for a long time was the largest object of this type in Europe. While in Bodzentyn, be sure to visit the ruins of the Palace of the Bishops of Krakow.
Are you interested in geology and nature? No problem! A huge number of nature reserves and geological sites await you in the Holy Cross Mountains. It is from this region that the oldest traces of the tetrapod in the world come from. In addition to the old mines and rock outcrops, it is also worth getting to know the history of ancient metallurgy along with the well-known all over the country.
Traces of Jewish communities are a separate topic of hiking in the Świętokrzyskie Mountains. They existed in many cities and towns, and today the only traces of them have forgotten cemeteries or ruins of synagogues.
If you and your family want even more attractions, there are still many places waiting for you in the Świętokrzyskie Mountains area. The Dinosaur Park in Bałtów, the Living Porcelain Museum in Ćmielów, the Mines in Krzemionki Opatowskie entered on the UNESCO World Heritage List or the miniature park in Krajno are just some of them.
Jakub Juszyński is a traveler, blogger, and marketer travel blogging at tymrazem.pl. He likes to get to know the world and its less-known places. He often tries and discover the local flavors that best reflect the culture. He travels with his family or alone - always intensively. Check out his Instagram and Facebook too.
Best Tourist Sightseeing with your Family in Barcelona
by Cynthia & Alexander from Travel Your Memories
Barcelona is a great city to visit for families because it has something unique to offer for every member of the family. Whether you want to experience culture in one of the museums, visit buildings designed by Gaudi or see a match of FC Barcelona with your children, all those things can be done in Barcelona.
The best place to start is in Barri Gòtic, the historic center of Barcelona. It is nice to walk through here because of the old streets. You can also visit the cathedral of Barcelona here. Next to the historic center can be found Las Ramblas. For the whole family, this if fun because there is music, artists, shops, markets and squares to see. Of course, you should visit the Sagrada Familia. When it is finished, this will be the largest church building in the world. Regardless of your age, whether you like culture or not, Gaudi's architecture impresses every visitor. It is worthwhile to see the building from the inside.
Tibidabo mountain is often skipped by travelers but is very nice for families to visit because on the hill you find a children's amusement park. From the top, you have an amazing view of the city. Another fun activity is visiting the aquarium in Barcelona. If your kids want to learn more about the underwater world, this is something for you. There is also a large room at the end of your visit where they can play. The best activity for many families is visiting Camp Nou. You can independently visit the stadium in the morning and visit different rooms and enter the field itself. If you plan it right, you can watch an FC Barcelona match in the evening.
It is important for those traveling to Barcelona for the first time to plan enough time. You can use this Barcelona itinerary for 3 days to prepare your trip to Barcelona in detail.
Cynthia & Alexander are the adventure travel bloggers from Travel your Memories. They travel the world to inspire people with busy lives to do the same. Via their travel blog their share all tips to help others to plan their next adventure. Check out their Instagram, Pinterest, and Youtube.
Scotland Mysteries and Amazing Sceneries for the Family
by Kristin and Ben from Adventures with Ensuite
It might not have the most sunshine of the places on this list but the amazing scenery and plethora of outdoor activities make Scotland a fantastic holiday destination for families.
If you are lucky with the weather the beaches on the Scottish islands have white powdery sand and turquoise water. Some of the best beaches can be found in the Outer Hebrides.
Luskentyre on the Isle of Harris is widely regarded as one of the best beaches in Europe. Another beautiful beach is Bernery beach on Berneray Island. It can look so tropical that the Thai tourist board once used it by mistake in an advert for Thailand. The downside is that it takes longer to get to the Outer Hebrides with the journey involving a ferry crossing from mainland Scotland.
Fort William and Glencoe are easier to get to and are well known for hiking. This is where Ben Nevis, UK’s highest mountain, is located. It is only 1,345 meters high but doesn’t underestimate the climb and be aware of how quickly Scottish weather can change!
Fort William is the starting point of the Jacobite Steam Railway, or the Hogwarts Express if you are a Harry Potter fan. The coastal area (from Oban to the Isle of Skye) is a great place for whale watching during the summer months. Sightings of seals are nearly guaranteed.
Another area to consider for your itinerary is the Isle of Skye with its rugged and green landscape. Some of the best scenery and walks are around the Quiraing and up to the Old Man of Storr.
Further south you’ll find Edinburgh with its famous castle and Glasgow which is better known for its nightlife. Both have plenty of attractions to keep children (and grownups) occupied should the weather not be on your side.
The train network allows easy travel between the main cities but to have the flexibility to get to the sights mentioned above it is best to rent a car.
In terms of accommodation, there are bed and breakfasts and hotels all over Scotland. If you are staying in one place, renting a cottage is often the most convenient option. Wherever you choose to stay make sure you book in advance if you are traveling during the summer months since the most popular options book out well in advance.
Kristin and Ben from Adventures with Ensuite have always been drawn to off the beaten path destinations. There is something magical about traveling to places where the wildlife, architecture, landscapes, and everyday life are so completely different from Western Europe.
Iceland is the perfect destination for Family Adventures
by Jessica Schmit from Uprooted Traveler
Iceland is the perfect vacation destination for adventurous families; what could be a more exciting family activity than exploring volcanoes spewing lava, glacier lagoons, and black sand beaches, all within a short drive of one another?
Kick-off your journey by learning about Iceland’s strong Viking history. Over a millennium ago, Vikings from Norway discovered Iceland long before the rest of Europe began to settle the New World, and you can still find threads of this Nordic influence weaved through Icelandic culture today. Stop at the Saga Museum in the capital city of Reykjavik to be taken on a journey through key moments in Iceland’s history or, just outside of the city, Viking World is worth a visit, where you can marvel at a painstakingly crafted Viking ship and learn about Norse mythology.
If you want to experience some of Iceland’s natural beauty, there’s no shortage of incredible possibilities. For example, consider exploring Seljalandsfoss, where you can actually walk behind the curtain of an almost-200 foot waterfall cascading into a pool below. Or to enjoy some of the country’s famous geothermal activity, why not try a moderate hike into the Icelandic highlands to the Reykjadalur Hot Springs, a steaming thermal river where you can soak in pleasantly warm water while taking in the views of the country’s rolling green hills strewn with adorably weathered sheep? For a really adventurous family, scuba-diving the Silfra in Thingvellir National Park should absolutely be on your bucket list- it's the only place on the planet where you can scuba dive or snorkel directly between the crack between two tectonic plates (one for Eurasia and the other for North America).
Need something slightly less adventurous? Head out on a whale watching tour from either Reykjavik or the charming fishing town of Husavik to spot some of the humpback, blue, and sperm whales that call Iceland’s waters home, or hop on a ferry to the Snaefellsness Peninsula to see one of the largest puffin colonies in the world up close. No matter whether your family is looking for an action-packed getaway or simply taking in some stunning scenery, the Land of Fire and Ice is an unforgettable destination for travelers of all ages.
Jessica Schmit is a full-time corporate attorney by day but by night, she’s a travel blogger over at Uprooted Traveler, focusing on outdoor adventure, RV, and budget travel. She enjoys off-beat adventure, a good deal, and the best craft beer a city has to offer. Before 2020, she spent a lot of her time exploring international destinations, from the beer spas of Prague to zooming on a scooter across the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. Recently, however, she’s taken to having more local adventures in her home of the Western United States in her tiny teardrop trailer with her husband and two dogs. Check out her Instagram too.
Nature family vacation on the island of Kefalonia, Greece
by Kerry from VeggTravel
One of the best family vacations in Europe is on the beautiful Greek island of Kefalonia. Not only is Kefalonia the biggest of the Greek Isles, but it also is one of the most diverse in terms of nature and activities.
If you’re looking for a relaxing family holiday, then there are beautiful beaches all over the island. The most iconic of which is Myrtos beach which is surrounded by sweeping white cliffs, turquoise waters, and caves to explore. For the more adventurous family members, you can have fun with water activities such as jet-ski, or you can take to the skis and paraglide from atop the mountains.
Some of the best places to visit with the family are the spectacular caves. Melissani Cave & River is the most famous and is truly spectacular. The cave is underground with a stunning lake that you can only explore by guided rowboat. The opening above casts a beautiful midday glow over the deep blue waters beneath. Nearby is also a more traditional cave, Drogarati. Nestled deep underground this cave is a welcome escape from the heat as you explore the intricate cave structures.
Even exploring the capital Argossi can be a great experience for the family. Not only do you have ample places to shop, but a lovely square to grab lunch or an evening meal. You can also walk along the harbor front where you will be able to see sea turtles scavenging from the local fishing boats. If you’d prefer to charter your own small boat, you do this in many locations around Kefalonia and hop around the beautiful beaches at your own pace.
There are many wonderful things to do in Kefalonia that will make an excellent family holiday.
VeggTravel provides ideas and inspiration for worldwide travel from luxurious holidays to adventurous experiences. Whereas Adrenaline Junkiez provides exhilarating ideas to build the ultimate thrill-seekers bucket list. Check out Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter too.
Belem Tower in Lisbon, Photo Credit Antonio Karmos (Pixabay)
Lisbon is the perfect city for a family getaway in Europe
by Bec from Wyld Family Travel
Lisbon Portugal is the perfect city in Europe for family vacations and for so many reasons.
Not only is Lisbon a beautiful city with a vibrant feel, rich history, and amazing food, it is also the city in Europe to get the sunniest days in a year! With this, a visit to Lisbon in any season is absolutely wonderful.
You can choose to stay in the city and tour what is there. Lisbon is the city of Seven Hills so you do need to factor in this when planning a lot of walking. Luckily the city is known for its old-style trams that can get you up some of those hills to the best sites in Lisbon. Castelo de S, Jorge will give you amazing views over the city and is easy to walk around with children. Make time to sit and have a drink in the shade while watching for the peacocks that call the castle home. Rossio Square is a great place to start one of your days. Here you can ride the Santa Justa lift up to the Carmo Convent or you can walk down to the Praca d Comercio to dip your toes in the cool water of the Tagus River.
If the weather in Lisbon is hot you can easily spend the day at the Oceanarium. This world-famous Aquarium has sea life from all over the world and a favourite for all is definitely the cheeky otters. Another way to see all the Lisbon sights is the Yellow hop-on, hop-off bus. This bus will get you to all of the best Lisbon attractions easily like the Jeronimos Monastery, Belem Tower (don't forget to get a table at Pasteis d Belem and enjoy some of their famous custard tarts Pastel d Nata) and the Maritime Museum.
Day trips from Lisbon are also easy via public transport. You can easily catch a train to the famous town of Sintra where the Portuguese nobility spent their summers for cooler weather and built their grand, luxurious homes. Here you will find the very insta-worthy Pena Palace. A day trip to Evora is also a great way to get out of the city. This little town is filled with amazing sights such as the ancient Roman Temple of Diana ruins, the Spanish Inquisition Museum, and the macabre but extremely interesting Capela dos Ossos, the Evora Chapel of Bones.
Wyld Family Travel is all about first-hand travel experiences from travel experts. Whether you enjoy family travel, couple travels, solo travel, or travel with teenagers we have the best and most detailed destination guides to help you plan your next vacation with ease. Also, check out Wyld Family Travel's Facebook and Instagram.
Family Travels and Explorations of Tenerife, Spain
by Una from Wandernity
Tenerife is one of the Canary Islands and it's located near the shores of Western Africa. The island is a part of Spain, so technically it counts as Europe, has Euro as its currency and you can easily communicate in Spanish or English there. Tenerife is a perfect family vacation destination due to its warm weather all year round and the attractions that Tenerife offers to its visitors.
If you are traveling with children, one of the best things to do in Tenerife is go to the Siam water park. This is a Thai-themed park that boasts the highest number of Thai-style buildings outside of Thailand. The waterpark has been voted as one of the best in Europe, and there you'll find attractions for any family member. Siam Park has water slides of all kinds, a wave pool, a river, sunbathing beds for relaxation, and several places to get food and drinks.
One of the most impressive things to see in Tenerife is Mount Teide. It is the volcano that you can see spot many places on the island because it is quite high. Teide is actually the highest point in Spain. Depending on the age of your children and their fitness level, you can choose different options for how to enjoy Mount Teide. There is an option to take a cable car ride up and down, and see the panorama views from the top of the volcano. You can also hike up and down, or combine hiking and the cable car.
Another great option how to explore Tenerife is just going on a road trip across the island. You can include some nice seaside towns, see the magnificent cliffs in Los Gigantes, soak in the views in the Anaga Rural Park, and go for a swim in one of the uncountable beaches around the island.
Family travel for art, history, and museums in Vienna, Austria
by Kenny Chow from Knyxc Journeying
Vienna is the capital of Austria and the historic city has a unique character and rich culture that has a lot to offer for a family vacation.
First of all, the layout of Vienna is very easy to navigate. The city center is embraced by the Vienna Ring Road, or the Ringstrasse, a 5.3-kilometer circular grand boulevard, that is filled with museums and heritage sites that are suitable to visitors of all ages and interests, including the State Opera, Museumsquartier, Parliament, Rathaus (City Hall), Ankeruhr, and so on. One great way to get around the city is to hop on a tram or the sight-seeing Ring Tram, as travelers can get an overview of each attraction by the lively audio guide.
To catch a break from the city walk, visit any Viennese coffee house and experience the food culture of the city. Traditional Viennese coffee is made by two shots of expresso into whipped cream and syrup, and there is so much more on the menu that may surprise you. Besides, a lot of coffee houses in the city have a deep connection with great musicians and writers.
To get even more inspired, Vienna has numerous art and history museums that are incredible education opportunities for families. Use the Vienna Pass to plan your own itinerary and enjoy free access to more than sixty popular attractions in the city, from Belvedere 21, Albertina, Kunsthistorisches Museum, to Museum Hundertwasser.
For something more fun, head to the Prater amusement park and hop on the Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel, one of the oldest wheels in Europe and admire the panoramic view of Vienna’s modern skyline.
No visit is complete without exploring the Schonbrunn Palace. The palace was once the residence of the House of Habsburg, one of the most powerful royal families in the 11th century, and the building rivals the Palace of Versailles in France.
Knycx Journeying is a blog covering anything that interests us from history, culture, humanity, architecture, art, food, music to outdoor adventure. We made it my mission to inspire you with my guides, adventures, resources, tips, and more – for you to experience what this amazing and beautiful world has to offer. Check out Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Madrid is a forgotten Gem for Family Traveling in Europe
by Victoria from Guide your Travel
Madrid is an incredibly underrated city in Europe and a great choice for your next family vacation in Europe. Spain is a relatively affordable country and Madrid is a great budget destination when compared to other large capitals in Europe like Paris, Rome, or London.
There are plenty of free things to do and the city is easily walkable. If you’re visiting Madrid with kids you might want to skip the many museums that the city is famous for. However, older children should definitely be taken to at least the Prado which is not only one of the most famous museums in the entire world but also not too big so it won’t take up too much of your time. You can easily see a few important paintings and be out in an hour or so if the kids get bored.
The Retiro Park might be a good afternoon activity especially when the weather is nice. Hire a rowboat and go out on the little lake or have a picnic on one of the many beautiful lawns. Of course, you can’t visit Madrid without trying the famous churros which are delicious fried dough pieces covered in liquid chocolate. You can try them at a lot of small cafes around town and they only cost a few euros. Another fun activity is to take the cable car to the Casa del Campo Park. This area is very natural with hiking trails and even an amusement park.
The cable car ride will give you fantastic views over the city and the perfect excuse to see everything from above. In the evening, have tapas in a little bodega in Malasana which is Madrid’s famous lively neighborhood. The menu always has a great selection of meals so there will be something for everyone.
Victoria is a travel blogger and writer who loves to talk about bucket list destinations and how you can see them on a budget. Her blog Guide your Travel includes destination guides for Europe, Australia, and Asia and will help you start your own life as a digital nomad.
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