Europe is a one-of-a-kind travel experience, enriched with culture, history, architecture, and endless delicious food options. If you’ve been hesitant about making your next Europe trip a family vacation, we’ve found 7 reasons exactly why it should be. From kid-friendly attractions, to family-friendly dining options, to destinations that will make the whole family happy, here are our top fun family vacations in Europe!
1. London, England
History & culture
Famous wizards, world-class musicals and shows, markets, national galleries and museums – London has something for everyone. Whether your travelling companions are young or young at heart, London’s multi-generational appeal will have you in the heart of Britain in no time.
Hop on a double-decker and do some proper sightseeing, or watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. Let the kids discover fossils and ancient artifacts in the Natural History Museum, or view art exhibits at the British Museum. London’s national museums offer free admission which means you could spend a day or two amongst some of London’s finest art exhibits and enriching cultural references for an educational yet entertaining day out. And of course, don’t forget to take your Harry Potter fans to Platform 9 ¾.
From the city adventurer to the history buff to the local culture vulture, London is educational, entertaining, and a fun fit for the whole family.
Top sightseeing ideas in London:
- London Eye, Big Ben, Tower of London, Tower Bridge
- Natural History Museum
- British Museum
- Buckingham Palace
- Covent Garden Market
- West End theatre district
2. Barcelona, Spain
Architecture, culture & food
Barcelona is a city that was designed with imagination. Take a walk through this family-friendly city and marvel in the visual artistry that’s defined Barcelona.
Plan your sightseeing around anything designed by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi and take a glimpse into his original modernist-era creations. Notice the connecting patterns in his usage of ceramics, curving lines, and cool-toned stained glass windows from Parc Guell to Casa Batllo, Casa Mila, and of course La Sagrada Familia which were all built between the late 19th century and early 20th (with the exception of La Sagrada Familia which is still under construction.) While you may not be able to see how interesting it is at the street-level, there’s a main avenue in Barcelona called Avinguda Diagonal, which cuts through the entire city on a diagonal.
For young thrill-seekers, stop by PortAventura Park, Spain’s biggest theme park, divided into six different ‘worlds’, similar to Disney. It has over 40 rides and attractions, and over 75 bars and restaurants. Take a break between activities with some red wine, tapas, and ice cream and then gear up for round two. Do a hop-on, hop-off tour through the city’s main avenues on a double decker bus and see all of the city’s highlights like Montserrat, the beach boardwalk, La Ramblas, and the Gothic Quarter.
Barcelona is a fun, exciting, educational family vacation that will inspire minds.
Top sightseeing ideas in Barcelona:
- Parc Guell, Casa Batllo, Casa Mila, La Sagrada Familia
- La Ramblas
- Ciutadella Park
- Avinguda Diagonal
- Museu de la Xocolata
- Tibidabo Amusement Park
- PortAventura Park
- Gothic Quarter
- Passeig de Gracia
- Palau de la Musica Flamenco
3. Rome, Italy
History, culture & food
With the Colosseum, Pantheon, Sistine Chapel, the Vatican and Piazza Venezia all within the vicinity of each other, Rome‘s art and history come alive in a way that can’t be translated from a classroom or textbook.
Learn about gladiators at the Colosseum and then take the little ones to gladiator school, where kids (and adults,) can train and dress up like Roman gladiators. View Michelangelo’s masterpiece on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel which he completed in 1512, then be sure to toss a coin in Trevi Fountain over your right shoulder and ensure your return to Rome in the future. And for a little break from walking around in this busy city, let the little ones run wild while you test out some benches at Villa Borghese, gardens that look over Rome.
Rome is a quintessential vacation destination for history buffs and architectural enthusiasts, not to mention foodies and wine enthusiasts. Whether it’s gelato, Napolitano pizza straight from the wood fired oven, or the best Cacio e Pepe and Carbonara, Rome will please the taste buds.
Top sightseeing ideas in Rome:
- Colosseum, Pantheon, Sistine Chapel, Piazza Venezia
- Vatican, St. Peter’s Basilica
- Spanish Steps
- Trevi Fountain
- Villa Borghese
4. Porto, Portugal
Vineyards & value
Porto is a historic city that was built along the Douro River. The nonchalant pace of this coastal region, lush rolling green hills, port vineyards, and Michelin-star restaurants make Porto a destination for families, young kids, and couples in mind. In Porto, there’s no need to rush to get anywhere and everything from a funicular ride to leisurely strolls along the cobblestone is like an adventure in itself.
Somehow, Porto still flies under the radar. And even though Portugal uses the Euro, it’s known to be comparably less expensive to travel and offers better value on everything from food to accommodations, compared to larger, nearby destinations like Spain and France.
Porto is a historic destination and family-friendly destination with plenty to slow down for and enjoy.
Top sightseeing ideas in Porto:
- World of Discoveries, interactive museum
- Douro River
- Foz (neighbourhood where the Douro joins the Atlantic)
- Shopping at Rua das Flores (trendiest, every other door is a restaurant or a shop)
5. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Canals, museums & outdoor space
Amsterdam is a pedestrian and family-friendly city with open green spaces, canals, and some of the world’s best museums.
In case it needs to be said, there’s so much more to Amsterdam than its red light district. In the last year, Amsterdam has become a popular destination for growing families. While the Netherlands have progressive regulations around sex, drugs, and alcohol, the Dutch are actually fairly conservative. Because a work-life balance is standard practice in the Netherlands, Dutch kids are some of the happiest in the world. Amsterdam has surely become a compelling family vacation destination.
So, where do the Dutch take their kids? Pretty much anywhere you can walk, boat, or bike to get to.
Like Vondelpark, a popular green space with an inviting, outdoor open-air theatre with free children’s shows in the summer, as well as a playground and paddling pool. It’s the largest park in Amsterdam and the most famous in the Netherlands. Not far away are the city’s three major museums – the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, and Stedelijk Museum. Within the museum quarter, there’s more outdoor green space perfect for a family picnic, or catch an event or festival that often takes place here. Do a kid-friendly boat tour through the canals and see Amsterdam’s iconic row houses, as well as some of the city’s sights and attractions.
Amsterdam is a family-friendly city with historic buildings, plenty of green spaces, and museums to enjoy.
Top sightseeing ideas in Amsterdam:
- Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, and Stedelijk Museum
- Boat tour through canal
- Vondelpark, playground adjacent, coffee, paddling pool
- Anne Frank Story
- Nemo science museum (kids ages 6 and up)
6. San Sebastian, Spain
Fine dining & family-friendly
Around the world, foodies visit San Sebastian, a world-class Michelin-star rich dining destination and considered to be the culinary capital of Spain.
San Sebastian is a family-friendly vacation destination. Playgrounds and ice cream shops are peppered throughout the city, kid-friendly open spaces, parks and gardens can be easily sought out, and the golden beaches make San Sebastian a truly one-of-a-kind vacation destination.
San Sebastian is set against an idyllic countryside, a half hour from the French border with a blissfully slower pace to enjoy and fabulous dining to share with the kids.
Top sightseeing ideas in San Sebastian:
- Monte Igueldo Theme Park
- Isla de Santa Clara
- Eureka! Science Museum
- Playa de la Concha, Playa de Zurriola and Playa de Ondarreta
7. Berlin, Germany
Berlin is a family-friendly destination with sights and attractions for kids of all ages.
The Berlin Wall and its subsequent fall in 1989 still serves as a powerful symbol of the Cold War. A remaining one-kilometre stretch of the wall is currently an open-air mural of street art and graffiti, called the East Side gallery.
The DDR Museum is a kid-friendly, interactive and educational exhibition of what everyday life was like behind the Berlin Wall in East Germany. Visitors can listen to propaganda, open cupboards, and touch abandoned objects that once belong to those who lived under socialist conditions in the East German state, including everything from paintings to household items to furniture.
Berlin may be a major draw for history buffs, but there are plenty of non-history related attractions for kids to enjoy as kids would. Berlin’s Legoland is a for kids of all ages, with two rides, a 4D cinema, and plenty of indoor space for Lego building workshops. The Natural History Museum has a collection of over 30 million objects, including a skeleton of Brachiosaurus brancai (or Giraffatitan brancai), probably the largest upright skeleton of a dinosaur, as well as another 6 other dinosaurs.
Berlin is a city rich with history, culture, and museums for kids of all ages.
Top sightseeing ideas in Berlin:
- DDR Museum
- Neues Museum
- Science Center Spectrum
- Natural History Museum
- Labyrinth Children’s Museum – more of a playground, with tasks and activities
Where will you go on your next Europe family vacation? Just say the word, with our tailor-made holidays to Europe. Talk to one of our Expert Travellers to find the best trip for you and your family and discover one-of-a-kind sights and attractions. Call us at 1-855-796-8359 to enquire or book, Live Chat with us, or visit your closest Flight Centre store.