Updated March, 2015
Hotels in Europe for Families
London with kids
- Natural History Museum: A stunning collection of kid-friendly exhibits, with dinosaurs and a huge blue whale among the favorites.
- The London Transport Museum and The Imperial War Museum: My kids loved these museums and they’re 2 of London’s best attractions for kids.
- Tower of London and Tower Bridge: History and sightseeing; torture chambers and a medieval castle.
- London Eye: Great views of the city from the world’s tallest observation wheel.
- The Science Museum, British Museum, National Portrait Gallery, and the Victoria and Albert Museum all have kid friendly tours and programs.
- London with Kids – The Ultimate Guide
- The Best Hotels in London for Kids
- The Best Playgrounds in London
- 72 Hours in London with Kids
- Tips for Visiting the British Museum
- Tips for Visiting Stonehenge
- A Guide to the Vintage Markets of London
- The Best Castles to Visit in England with Kids
Cornwall & Devon Counties with kids
- The fantastic beaches of Southwest England: Kid friendly beaches can be found up and down the coasts’ of both counties.
- St Michael’s Mount, Marazion: Walk during low tide (or ferry during high tide) to Cornwall’s most important historical landmark.
- National Maritime Museum Cornwall, Falmouth: The huge maritime collection of boats and artifacts is perfect for slightly older kids.
- Rent a cottage: Stay in a self-contained cabin — on a farm, near the sea, or in a small Cornish village.
- Dartmoor National Park: Camp, hike, and explore this beautiful park.
- The Eden Project: An amazing all-weather destination focused on nature, the environment, the arts, and having fun.
- 10 of the Best Campsites and Family Day Trips in Cornwall
- Official Guide to Southwest England
- Information on the resorts and towns of South Devon
- Lonely Planet Devon & Cornwall (amazon.com)
Edinburgh with kids
- Edinburgh Bus Tours: It’s a hilly city with lots of up and down (on cobblestoned streets that don’t lend themselves to strollers). This hop-on hop-off bus has 24 stops sprinkled around the city center.
- Edinburgh Castle: Just about everyone’s favorite attraction in Edinburgh. A must.
- Museum of Childhood: 4 floors of games, toys, and action figures. Lots of hands on fun for kids of all ages.
- Dynamic Earth: Fun, educational, and engaging. An interactive museum with films and presentations.
- National Museum of Scotland: Hands on fun for kids. Loads of Scottish history for the adults.
- Edinburgh Fringe Festival: If you’re in Edinburgh in August — and can find accommodation — be sure to take in the festival’s children’s theatre, puppetry, kids comedy, and dance and music workshops. If your visit is in May then the Imaginate Children’s Theatre Festival is a can’t miss event. And for April there’s the wonderful Edinburgh International Science Festival.
- Edinburgh’s Best Hotels for Families
- Parks and Playgrounds in Edinburgh
- The Top Sights and Views in Edinburgh
- Edinburgh.org: Information on hotels, festivals, and planning your visit.
- Glasgow.com: Glasgow is only 55 minutes away by train and makes a perfect daytrip if you’re short on time.
- Frommer’s Scotland with your Family
- Lonely Planet Scotland (Travel Guide)
Dublin with kids
- Dublin Zoo: One of Europe’s best zoos. Easy access with the hop-on hop-off bus.
- Kilmainham Gaol Historical Museum: A great introduction to Ireland’s history. Located out of town but on the hop-on, hop-off bus route.
- The National Museum — Archeology: Features items pulled from the bogs (including mummified bodies) and a viking exhibit that are very popular with kids.
- The Natural History Museum (a.k.a. the Dead Zoo): An amazing collection of animals that kids love.
- Viking Splash: Tour Dublin and get a (small) spattering of history aboard an amphibious WW II vehicle.
- Take the DART train to Howth (north) or Bray (south): Get to the coast, go for a walk, play on the beach, and take a break from the city.
- Hotels for Families in Dublin
- Especially for Kids in Dublin
- A list of kids’ activities in Dublin
- Lonely Planet Dublin (City Guide)
Amsterdam with kids
- Boat tour: Hop on board a canal tour or rent your own pedal boat (from the same shop) to see Amsterdam’s famous canals. There are 3 lines for the canal tours and 14 stops. Day passes are available and most of Amsterdam’s major sites are easily accessible from the
- Bike tour: Amsterdam is famous for it’s bike friendly culture and visitors will feel quite comfortable getting around it’s compact center on 2 wheels. Numerous shops rent bikes and little ones can hop into a bakfiets — the local version of a bike trailer.
- Science Center NEMO: Lots of hands-on fun at the Netherlands largest science museum for children aged 6 to 16.
- Visit one of Amserdam’s beautiful parks: Both Amsterdamse Bos (cheese farms, watersports, and horse riding) and Vondelpark (walking, biking, an open air theatre, playground, and near to Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum and Van Gogh Museum) are great parks that could keep the kids busy for hours.
- Amsterdam with Kids – The Ultimate Guide
- Recommended Hotels in Amsterdam for Families
- Amsterdam for Families and Children
- Tourist Guide to Amsterdam
- Lonely Planet Amsterdam (Travel Guide) (amazon.com)
Paris with kids
- The Eiffel Tower (of course): Great views are often dismissed by kids as boring, but not from the Tour Eiffel. The city looks small far below but never feels distant. If your kids are old enough walk the stairs instead of wait in line for the elevator.
- The Catacombs: Run this by your kids first — you’ll descend 20 metres below street level where you’ll be able to explore 1.7km of corridors walled with the remains of long dead Parisians. They’ll either be thrilled or terrified and you can make your plans from there.
- Musée de Louvre: It’s a huge intimidating museum that can make for a long visit for kids or an enthralling cultural journey depending on how you approach it. Read and discuss some of the paintings and sculptures before you arrive. Buy postcards of famous paintings and hunt for them during your visit. (There’s also a Workshop for Children available for kids 4 to 13.)
- Musée d’Histoire Naturelle de Paris: France’s best science museum could fill a whole day. The highlight for kids is usually the Galerie de l’Evolution.
- Notre Dame Cathedral: Climb the 422 steps to the cathedral’s towers and you’ll be face to face with some fierce Gargoyles and an incredible view of Paris. Kids will recognize the scenes from The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
- Paris with Kids — The Ultimate Guide
- The Best Hotels & Apartments in Paris for Families
- Travel Guide: Paris with Kids
- Paris – The 5 Best Attractions for Kids Under Five
- The Sacre Coeur with Kids
- Tips for Visiting the Louvre
- What You Pay for Everyday Things in Paris
- Fodor’s Around Paris with Kids 2013 (amazon.com)
Provence and the Cote d’Azur with kids
- The cities of Arles, Avignon, and Aix-en-Provence — Three cultural giants that are beautiful, walkable, and packed with cool attractions. Each is overflowing with art and architecture and all are within an hour’s drive of each other.
- Beaches: The southern coast of France is known for it’s fantastic beaches with the best found between St Tropez and St Raphael.
- Monaco: A small city state whose narrow winding streets are fun to explore. Highlights for the kids will undoubtedly be the fantastic Oceanographic Museum, the Prince’s collection of antique cars, and the parks and gardens that fill the city.
- Le Pont du Gard: This Unesco World Heritage Site is a wonder of Roman planning and architecture. The kids program for 5-12 year olds is enriching, well designed, and describes in detail how the aqueduct was built and used.
- Carcassonne: A remarkably well preserved medieval city. Le Cite can be painfully busy during July and August but as it’s one of Europe’s largest city fortifications it’s probably worth enduring the crowds.
- Top 10 Things To Do with Kids In South France
- The Best Family Hotels in Cannes
- Kid-friendly things to do in Saint-Tropez
- Best of Provence, activities for families
- Frommer’s Provence and Cote d’Azur With Your Family
Barcelona with kids
- Parc Güell: A fun and wacky collection of Gaudi’s creations. Kids will love the colors, crazy sculptures, and playful nature of the park.
- Ride one of the city’s 2 cable cars: one goes to the beach, the other up to an old castle. Both are great for adventurous kids.
- L’Aquarium Barcelona or the Barcelona Zoo are easy to get to and make a great morning or afternoon visit.
- The great city beaches and the city’s famous and colorful boulevard Las Ramblas are fun ways to enjoy some unstructured family free time.
- The Best Hotels in Barcelona for Kids & Families
- Barcelona with kids – the best things to do
- The Best Playgrounds in Barcelona
- Kids in Barcelona – a resource website
- Lonely Planet Barcelona Travel Guide (amazon.com)
Rome with Kids
- Colosseum and Roman Forum: the highlight of a trip to Rome (likely for the whole family). Visit early to avoid the heat and crowds.
- Villa Borghese Gardens: rent row boats and bikes, have a picnic, hop on the #3 tram for a tour of Rome, and visit the Cinema dei Piccoli for afternoon and evening children’s movies. This large park can easily form the basis of an entire days activities.
- Explora: Rome’s top notch kids museum has lots of hands on fun, a outdoor play area, and ice cream shop. Visits are limited to 90 minutes.
- Tivoli’s temples and gardens make a great day trip out of the city. The nearby Aquapiper water park make it all worthwhile for the kids. (Hydromania is another water park option closer to Rome.)
- Visiting the Vatican and the Vatican Museum probably won’t be a the tope of you children’s to do list. If you decide to go anyways a private tour will allow you to skip the long entrance lines and will pick out the highlights of the museums extensive works.
- Great Hotels & Rentals for Families in Rome
- The Best of Rome with kids – the 10 best things to do with kids in Rome
- 8 Practical Tips for Family Travel in Italy
- 5 Quirky Things To Do In Rome
- Rome with Kids: an insider’s guide (amazon.com)
The Greek Islands with Kids
Taking ferries between the Greek Islands is fun and easy (though if you’re on a tight schedule booking tickets in advance can be frustrating). If island hopping is what you want then the Cyclades (Santorini, Naxos, Paros, Mykonos, Milos, Ios) are the best islands to visit as they’re close to each other and have lots of ferry connections between them.
- Santorini – Incredible views and scenery. Take a boat tour of the caldera which was formed by a volcanic explosion and forms a huge cliff that runs the length of the entire island. The beaches are not Greece’s best but there is a water park with slides.
- Crete – The largest island in Greece. Lots to do and see. Great beaches, historical sites, small traditional villages, thriving cities, and some wonderful hikes. Crete offers a little bit of everything – or rather, a lot of everything.
- Rhodes – A great island if you’re looking to visit Turkey – whether it be a day trip or a more involved trip up to Istanbul. Rhodes has great beaches and an incredible Old Town.
- Naxos – The best island for families in all of Greece. Wonderful kid-friendly beaches, with a gentle slope, and calm shallow water. The main village is packed with fun restaurants and shops. The island’s interior offers interesting traditional villages and great walks.
- Paros – A hipper version of Naxos with a bit more partying and shopping and perhaps beaches that aren’t quite so kid-friendly – though still wonderful. Nearby Antiparos is a great day trip for its laid-back charm and quiet beaches.
- Corfu – One of Greece’s most beautiful islands. Corfu Town is a beautiful old city and makes a great base for exploring the island. Lots of kid-friendly activities on the island (including a water park) and some great beaches.
See Also – Family Travel In Europe
- Hotels in Europe – The Best for Kids and Families
- Villa and Vacation Rentals in Europe
- One Family’s Trip Around Europe (2013)
- Europe 3 Star Travel Index (compare 40 cities by price)
- Europe by Camper: Top 10 Places in Europe to Visit with a Camper
- 10 of the Most Beautiful Campsites in Europe
- Family Camping In Europe
- 10 Must See Destinations in Europe
- Highlights of a Trip Through Europe
- Top 5 Beaches In Europe
- 25 of the Best Christmas Markets in Europe
- Do Eurail Passes Actually Save You Money?
- 10 Train Travel Tips for Europe
- Europe by Camper
- 10 of the Most Beautiful Countries in Eastern Europe