Having kids doesn’t have to stop you from fulfilling your dreams of a European adventure. There are tons of places that are perfect for the entire family, where you can get the full experience of soaking up the city’s history and charm while enjoying kid-friendly perks like parks, playgrounds and easy transportation. From seaside towns to historic havens, here are the best European vacations to take with toddlers.
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Home to Harry Potter and Paddington Bear, London is a fantastic location for families with toddlers. There is a long list of kid-friendly attractions that can fill your itinerary, from the London Zoo and London Dungeon to Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross Station. Spend an afternoon at St. James Park or watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, then take a spin on the London Eye and marvel at the views of Big Ben.
A charming city dotted with historic monuments, cultural museums and thermal baths, Budapest has a variety of options for families. The budget-friendly destination is a great place to explore outdoor markets and enjoy picnics in Városliget Park, while you can also take the funicular up to Castle Hill and Fisherman’s Bastion for a pleasant walk. Cruise on the Danube past the Hungarian Parliament Building and indulge in chimney cakes rolled in cinnamon sugar.
More than just its culinary delights, Florence is a great place for the kids with its walkable streets and variety of beautiful art and architecture. When the kids get weary after exploring the gems in the Uffizi Gallery, you can take a scenic stroll along Ponte Vecchio or satisfy your sweet tooth with a scoop of gelato. Take a break in the colorful gardens at Boboli Gardens or admire the view from the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore.
A toddler-friendly hidden gem, Copenhagen boasts quaint cafes that feature open play spaces so parents can enjoy a meal. Often referred to as some of the happiest people on earth, Danes embrace the “hygge” phenomenon (a concept all about comfort) that will appeal to families. Visit Tivoli Gardens for kid-friendly rides, take a river cruise past the famous Little Mermaid statue, or wander down Strøget, one of the longest pedestrian walkways in Europe.
Dublin is one of the most walkable cities in Europe, where you’ll find plenty of places to take a respite from the city’s bustle. Pack a picnic and feed the ducks at St. Stephen’s Green, then visit the exotic animals at Dublin Zoo in Phoenix Park. Explore one of the city’s museums, such as the Natural History Museum, or take a day trip to Bray to visit the aquarium and stroll along the sea, while County Wicklow features colorful gardens at Powerscourt.
Home to world-class opera, beautiful architecture and delicious Sacher torte, Vienna is dotted with cozy cafes that serve warm croissants for hungry tots. There are children’s operas at the Vienna State Opera, while Schonbrunn Palace is the former summer residence of the imperial Habsburg family and features a children’s museum and the world’s oldest zoo. For the best view of the city, take the elevator to the top of the North Tower of St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
Disney-loving families will delight in the attractions surrounding Munich, as exploring Neuschwanstein Castle is like stepping into a real-life fairytale. Even the beer gardens that dot the city are family-friendly, while Englischer Garten is the city’s central park and is a great place to stretch out in its grassy expanse. Stroll the open-air Auer Dult Munich market and stop for a spin on the carousel, or visit the Munich Zoo, Tierpark Hellabrunn, to enjoy camel rides and penguin parades.
Home to famous chocolatiers and towering mountain vistas, Zurich is a great place to take pleasant strolls along ancient cobblestone streets and admire the medieval architecture. It’s a lovely destination for families to visit in summer when you can picnic, swim and go boating in Lake Zurich and hike in Uetliberg Mountain, while all year you can enjoy animal encounters at Zoo Zurich, which features an elephant park, a petting zoo and a miniature rainforest.
Have a family adventure in Amsterdam, where you can spend your days visiting toddler-friendly attractions such as Vondelpark, Artis Zoo and Zandvoort Beach. Learn something new at the Anne Frank House and Van Gogh Museum, or hop aboard a canal tour for a scenic way to tour the city. You’ll find hands-on activities such as a chemistry lab and bubble display at the Science Center NEMO, while Amsterdamse Bos boasts cheese farms, water sports and horseback riding. Take a day trip to nearby Keukenhof to see the tulips blooming in spring.
Prague, Czech Republic
An ideal destination for budget-conscious families, Prague boasts a fairytale setting. Start by watching the Astronomical Clock chime, then visit the Prague Castle to learn about its history. Take the funicular up to Petřín Hill for mesmerizing views of the city in addition to a mirror maze, pony rides and rose garden, or cruise the streets on the nostalgic Tram No. 91 to see the city’s best sights. Watch a puppet show, visit the Art Gallery for Children or let the kids loose at Children’s Island outdoor playground.
Visitors of all ages will be lured in by Edinburgh’s charm, where an exploration of the Edinburgh Castle or National Museum of Scotland will appeal to the entire family. Enjoy four floors of games at the Museum of Childhood, engage with interactive exhibits at Dynamic Earth and have oodles of fun at Doodles, Edinburgh’s first “do it yourself” ceramic workshop. Watch animals roaming free and play on go-karts at East Links Family Park, where you’ll also find a train safari, indoor animal barn and trampolines.
A great spot for outdoor-loving families, Reykjavik is full to the brim with impressive natural wonders. You’ll find pools fed by thermal hot springs, mesmerizing waterfalls and a chance to spot the Northern Lights. Take a dip in the thermal pools that have shallow kiddie pools for the tots, hop on a whale watching cruise off the coast, or ride an Icelandic horse, who are considered national treasures. You can also visit the Volcano House to learn about volcanic rocks and minerals through interactive exhibits.