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Europe With Kids – Top 10 Places for an Amazing European Family Vacation

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Best Places To Visit On Your European Family Holidays

So you want to visit Europe with kids?   But where on earth do you go-with such a huge continent and hundreds of interesting cities to travel to?   Well look no further-choose from these 10 best places for your European family holidays.

Europe is quite easy to explore. There are budget airlines like Easyjet and Ryanair that offer heavily discounted flights between cities.  You can also travel by Eurorail and get multi city passes with discounts for children.

Top 10 Places To Visit In Europe With Children



Barcelona, Spain

Teeanger at Guell Park in Barcelona

Barcelona is one of the best places to visit in Europe with kids.  This city has whimsical architecture from the famous Spanish artist Gaudi. Kids can play in Guell Park and see the mosaic lizard! Football fans will have a great time touring Camp Nou stadium (home to FC Barcelona).  Toddlers will be entertained by the Magic Fountain.


Crete, Greece

Little Boy in Crete Harbour

Crete is one of the beautiful Greek islands. With gorgeous bright blue waters and sandy beaches this is a great place to travel to on your Europe family holidays.  Teenagers will enjoy a cooking class to learn to make tasty Greek food! Visiting an olive oil farm, a glass bottom boat ride and riding a horse through the olive groves are some of the fun family friendly activities.


Rome, Italy

Family at Colloseum in Rome

Rome is a must do on your Europe family travel. This city has great food, a fascinating history and great boutique shopping.  Babies and toddlers will love the yummy gelato (Italian ice cream), children will enjoy riding an electric bike in Borghese park and teenagers will like exploring the Colosseum, a Wonder of the World! 


Istanbul, Turkey

Boy in Mosque in Istanbul

Istanbul is one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in the world and a great place to visit in Europe with kids. East meets West here as the city straddles both Asia and Europe. Your teenagers will love exploring the exotic Grand Bazaar and children will like the eerie Basilica Cistern. You can have a family hamam (Turkish bath).


London, United Kingdom

Father and Daughter in London

London is a great city to visit on your Europe family trip. Babies and toddlers will love seeing the changing of the guard, children will enjoy the scary London Dungeons and your teenagers will have a blast riding the London Eye. Don’t forget to stop at a sweet shop for some yummy chocolate and candy!


Prague, Czech Republic

Child in Prague

Prague is a historic town with fairytale castles. Babies and toddlers will have fun chasing the peacocks in the royal gardens, children will be enchanted by a horse and carriage ride through the cobblestone streets.  Teenagers will have a great time riding a bobsleigh down the hill! Don’t miss out on Prague on your family travels to Europe


Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

Tenerife

Tenerife is one of the sunny Canary Islands. Enjoy a beach family holiday in Europe with a Spanish twist.  Your teenagers can learn to surf, babies and toddlers will adore the animal parks and children will have a great time at the water parks! Finish your day with some tasty tapas!


Amsterdam, Netherlands

Family Bike Ride In Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a great city to visit in Europe with kids. There are lots of quirky museums and you can explore the canals on a pedal boat. Teenagers will be fascinated by Anne Frank’s house after reading her diary in school. Children will like the treasure hunt at the Van Gogh museum. Babies and toddlers will enjoy the flower market.


Paris, France

teenager in paris

Paris is one of the most popular places to visit in Europe with kids. Kids love seeing the gargoyles on the Notre Dame church, climbing the Eiffel tower and riding a carousel in one of the beautiful Paris parks.  Stop by a bakery to pick out one of the yummy mini cakes or chocolate croissant.


Venice, Italy

little girl in venice

Venice is a unique town with canals instead of streets! Children will love a gondola ride. You can stay on nearby Lido island and enjoy the beaches and bike rides through the villages. Don’t miss the tour of the Murano glass factory and feeding pigeons in the square. Great place to travel to in Europe with kids.

Enjoy your European family vacation! Be sure to come back and share your photos and memories!

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12 Best Family Destinations in Europe – Where to Go with Kids

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Home > Europe with Kids
Updated: September 1, 2020

Hotels in Europe for Families

The best things to do in Europe with children.The best things to do in Europe with children.

My boys doing a cooking class in Florence, Italy.

The Best Kid-Friendly Destinations in Europe

  • Best for History and Culture: Italy
  • Best for First Timers: UK & Ireland
  • Best for Beach Vacation: Greece
  • Best Value: Portugal
  • Best for Outdoor Activities: Switzerland & Germany
  • Best for Train Trips: France
  • Best for River and Canal Cruises: Germany & France
  • Best for Fun and Relaxation: Greece
  • Best for Idyllic Evening Dinners: Spain & Greece
  • Best for Kid-Friendly Bike Tours: Netherlands
  • Best City for Kid-Friendly Attractions: London

London With Kids

London Eye ferris wheel with kids

London Eye ferris wheel with kids

London Highlights

Book in Advance

Further Reading on London

Edinburgh With Kids

Castle in Edinburgh.

Castle in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Highlights

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Further Reading

Dublin With Kids

Light Rail in Dublin.

Light Rail in Dublin.

Dublin Highlights

  • 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.

Book in Advance

Further Reading

Amsterdam With Kids

Canal in Amsterdam

Canal in Amsterdam

Amsterdam Highlights

  • 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 RijksmuseumStedelijk Museum and Van Gogh Museum) are great parks that could keep the kids busy for hours.

Book in Advance

Further Reading

Paris With Kids

Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

Paris Highlights

  • 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. The Skip the Line Guided Tour is worth the expense.
  • 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.

Book in Advance

Further Reading

Prague With Kids

Prague with Kids – Things To Do and Best Prague Tours for Families

Prague with Kids – Things To Do and Best Prague Tours for Families

Prague Highlights

  • Petřín Hill has a funicular that goes up to the top you’ll have great views, a mirror maze for kids, pony rides on the weekends, and a sizeable rose garden. For an even better view, climb up to the top of Lookout Tower or visit the observatory to take in the stars through their collection of telescopes.
  • Nostalgic Tram No. 91 is a unique way to see the city. Vintage tram cars from the early 1900s travel along a special route that runs throughout Prague and past many of the city’s best sights. Not well known among tourists and for an affordable $1.50, it’s popular with both young and old.
  • Theater and Puppet Shows – There are several kid friendly theater options unique to Prague including the Black Light Theater which combines elements of dance, animation, mimes and illusions. Puppet shows also have a strong tradition in the Czech Republic and the National Marionette Theater does puppet versions of Mozart’s Don Giovanni and the Magic Flute.
  • Kid-Friendly Museums – At the Art Gallery for Children (Galerie umění pro děti) children are encouraged to interact in this multimedia space by touching, creating or even altering the art installations. Workshops are available for kids 5-12 and it’s a great way to introduce them to art. Or visit the Lego Museum – the largest in Europe. You’ll get to see lego versions of classic Prague landmarks like the 5 meter tall Charles Bridge.
  • Children’s Island – Though there are numerous outdoor playgrounds around Prague, this one is devoted entirely to kids. It features a full range of swings, slides, climbing nets, sandpits, open space to run around. Most importantly it offers a great place for parents to sit and relax on the bank of the Vltava River with a nearby café for coffee and refreshments.

Book in Advance

Further Reading

Barcelona With Kids

Church in Barcelona.

Church in Barcelona.

Barcelona Highlights

Book in Advance

Further Reading

Rome With Kids

Trevi Fountain in Rome.

Trevi Fountain in Rome.

Rome Highlights

  • 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 day’s activities.
  • Explora: Rome’s top notch kids’ museum has lots of hands-on fun, an outdoor play area, and an 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 makes it worthwhile for the kids as well. (Hydromania is another water park closer to Rome.)
  • Visiting the Vatican and the Vatican Museum probably won’t be at the top of your children’s to do list. If you decide to go anyway, a private tour will allow you to skip the long entrance lines and pick out the highlights of the museum’s extensive works.

Book in Advance

Further Reading

Cornwall & Devon Counties With Kids

Long Beach in Cornwall.

Long Beach in Cornwall.

Cornwall & Devon Highlights

  • 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.

Book in Advance

Further Reading on Cornwall & Devon

Provence & the Cote d’Azur With Kids

Avignon in the south of France.

Avignon in the south of France.

Provence & the Cote d’Azur Highlights

  • 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.

Book in Advance

Further Reading

Agriturismo With Kids

Tuscany and Umbria Agriturismo with swimming pool for Family

Tuscany and Umbria Agriturismo with swimming pool for Family

This is so much fun for families. Stay at one of the Best Agriturismo in Tuscany or Best Agriturismo in Umbria. These are working farms typically with a beautiful setting and a rustic atmosphere (though accommodations can range from spartan to luxurious). Getting a villa that has a swimming pool is a good idea when traveling with kids. Meals are often included (and delicious). Getting a rental car is close to mandatory as agriturismos are off the usual bus and train routes.

Best Agriturismo for Families in Italy

  • Salvadonica – Family rooms sleep family of five. Nice swimming pool.
  • Castello Vicchiomaggio – Two-bedroom apartments and family junior suites sleep families of four and five. Nice swimming pool.

Book in Advance

Further Reading

The Greek Islands with Kids

Cruise ship docked off Santorini.

Cruise ship docked off Santorini.
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.

Greece Highlights

  • 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.

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Further Reading

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22 Best May destinations in Europe for 2020

Alps

BarcelonaThose looking for ideal destinations in Europe for the month of May have nearly endless choices. The May weather is warm enough to be nearly perfect in all but the most northern cities, and yet tourist crowds are still small since many people can’t get away until June or later.

Even though it’s “warm” in most of Europe in May, the only places warm enough for sunbathing are in the far south and the Mediterranean. Those looking for a hot-weather destination in May should be thinking about Asia or the Caribbean.

Contents

Important May holidays for Europe in 2020

  • May 1 – International Workers’ Day/Labour Day/May Day: A public holiday all over Europe
  • May 12 to 23 – Cannes Film Festival (France)
  • May 21 – Ascension Day (Germany, France, Italy, Spain etc)
  • May 25 – Spring Bank Holiday (United Kingdom)

Europe’s best May beach destinations

Costa del Sol/Malaga, Spain

  • May avg high: 75F/24C
  • May avg low: 56F/13C
  • May avg precip: 0.9″/2.3cm

cable carMay is the first month of the year that southern Spain has reliable enough warm days that you can book a beach trip for sunbathing. Most people have at least heard of Spain’s famous Costa del Sol, which is a group of beach towns just west of Malaga and the Malaga Airport. Each town has its own vibe and style, with Marbella being the most famous and most upscale of them.

Since the season doesn’t really begin until June, hotel and apartment rental prices in this area can be very good in May. And cheap flights into Malaga are easy to find on various discount airlines all over Europe in May. If you are coming from North America it’s probably cheaper to fly into Madrid or Barcelona and then book a separate flight from there to Malaga. On the other hand, if you are coming from North America it might not be worth stopping in this area at all. It’s a place most people visit simply to relax and sit in the sun.

  • Good 3-star hotels in May from €61 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in May from €92 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in May from €13 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Costa del Sol
>>>Costa del Sol/Malaga prices and travel tips

Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

  • May avg high: 75F/24C
  • May avg low: 64F/18C
  • May avg precip: 0.2″/0.5cm

Canary IslandsThe Canary Islands are warm pretty much all year round, and May is one of the better months because it’s warm enough for sunbathing but still not so warm that it can get uncomfortable. Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands, and the most popular island for English speaking tourists, but you could get similar weather in any of them.

Hotels and apartment rentals are good deals in Tenerife all year round. The best area that usually has the best weather in Tenerife is along the southwest corner of the island, in Los Cristianos and up the coast from there. Flights into either Tenerife airport are pretty cheap from the European continent. Often the flights into the North Airport are cheaper, and there is a public bus that connects it with the South Airport in one hour. Air+hotel package deals from major cities in Europe can be great deals as well.

  • Good 3-star hotels in May from €47 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in May from €70 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in May from €12 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Tenerife
>>>Tenerife prices and travel tips

Antalya, Turkey

  • May avg high: 79F/26C
  • May avg low: 58F/14C
  • May avg precip: 1.3″/3.3cm

central ItalyAntalya isn’t technically in Europe, but nearly all the guests who come here are European and it’s a fairly short flight from many large European cities. This is a historic city with interesting sights and ruins on display in the Old Town center, but most people who come here head straight to one of the larger beach hotels in either direction from the city center.

The value at hotels here is excellent, especially as the value of the Turkish Lira has struggled recently. Some areas in greater Antalya are popular with certain nationalities, so that’s worth looking into if you prefer to fit in. There are beaches where Germans or Brits or Russians or Swedes dominate, particularly at all-inclusive resorts. Many Europeans are skipping all of Turkey in the current political climate, which has helped bring room rates down even more. There have been no reports of any problems for tourists in Antalya, though it never hurts to check the news before you book.

  • Good 3-star hotels in May from €15 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in May from €26 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in May from €9 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Antalya
>>>Antalya prices and travel tips

Non-beach destinations that are nice in May

Rome, Italy

  • May avg high: 72F/22C
  • May avg low: 53F/12C
  • May avg precip: 1.3″/3.3cm

Croatian coastThe warmest summer days in Rome can be brutal, but May is pretty much lovely from start to finish so it’s the ideal time to come. Many of the famous sights here are outdoors, so being able to see them in pleasant and dry weather is a huge plus, and you get that all month long in May.

The busy tourist season in Italy starts in June, so May is really the perfect month to visit as you’ll get cheaper flights, cheaper hotels, and smaller crowds even though the weather is perfect. If you have extra days you might consider taking a train down to Sorrento for a few days along the Amalfi Coast nearby, which is also wonderful this time of year. It’s worth noting that Rome can be a rather hectic place to visit, so many savvy travelers prefer to stay only a few days and move on to someplace more relaxing.

  • Good 3-star hotels in May from €61 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in May from €68 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in May from €11 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Rome
>>>Rome prices and travel tips

Florence, Italy

  • May avg high: 74F/23C
  • May avg low: 52F/11C
  • May avg precip: 2.9″/7.3cm

GermanyFor most people who start their first Italy visit in Rome, the wonderful Tuscan city of Florence is their next stop. You get a bit more rainfall in this area, but it’s still dry most of the time here, and most of the sights here are indoors anyway.

Since Rome can feel a bit chaotic, it’s nice to linger in Florence if you have extra days. You can do a day trip to Pisa or Siena from here, as well as the Cinque Terre. There are also some very nice hill towns just a short train ride away, so Florence is an ideal hub for sightseeing in the central Italy region.

  • Good 3-star hotels in May from €72 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in May from €103 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in May from €23 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Florence
>>>Florence prices and travel tips

Venice, Italy

  • May avg high: 70F/21C
  • May avg low: 54F/12C
  • May avg precip: 2.7″/6.8cm

Greek IslandsIf you are going to Rome and Florence then you should head next to Venice. The May temperatures are very pleasant, which will help you deal with the crowds here. The key to a good Venice visit is to stay for one or two nights on the main island so you can do most of your sightseeing in the early morning and evenings, before or after the day-trippers are here.

Hotels on the main island are understandably more expensive than those on the mainland, but they are worth it at least for one night to avoid the crowds. The main sights can be seen in less than a day, and it’s so crowded that you really won’t want to linger for more than two days, although Venice is so unforgettable that no one regrets a visit.

  • Good 3-star hotels in May from €97 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in May from €177 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in May from €36 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Venice
>>>Venice prices and travel tips

Split, Croatia

  • May avg high: 72F/22C
  • May avg low: 59F/15C
  • May avg precip: 2.2″/5.5cm

IstanbulAs far as Croatian cities are concerned, Dubrovnik, is far better known, but Split is really the better choice for most visitors. Dubrovnik is a popular cruise port with a small (and stunning) walled city at its core, so it’s far more crowded and expensive than Split, which is actually a bit older with more interesting sights.

Split is also the main travel hub along the Croatian coast, as the train comes here but doesn’t reach Dubrovnik. There are also ferries in Split that can take you to the various nearby islands. The May weather may not be warm enough for sunbathing every day, but on some days it will be. And since the main tourist season doesn’t start until June, hotel prices and apartment rentals (called ‘sobes’ here) are very reasonable.

  • Good 3-star hotels in May from €36 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in May from €52 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in May from €11 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Split
>>>Split prices and travel tips

Paris, France

  • May avg high: 68F/20C
  • May avg low: 53F/12C
  • May avg precip: 2.4″/6.0cm

ItalyParis is farther north than you might realize, so it’s cooler in May than most of Europe, but it’s still pretty much a perfect month to visit. This city is popular all year with tourists from all over the world, but the May crowds are lighter than the June crowds, so it’s easier to hit the main sights in less time. Speaking of that, if you want to see the famous sights in a few days you should consider a Paris Pass.

Hotel prices are moderate in May, but this is also a major business capital so many of the 4-star hotels in the city center will be full for most of the month. You should be able to stay reasonably in non-business neighborhoods such as the glorious Rue Cler or the more edgy Montmartre.

  • Good 3-star hotels in May from €96 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in May from €121 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in May from €32 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Paris
>>>Paris prices and travel tips

Nice, France

  • May avg high: 68F/20C
  • May avg low: 56F/13C
  • May avg precip: 1.9″/4.8cm

MadridVisitors who fly into Paris and want to see something else in France will often end up in Nice. This Mediterranean city is packed all summer with French people on their annual holidays, but that doesn’t start until late June, so May is a perfect time to visit.

The city of Nice itself is a very worthwhile destination, but it’s also a great stop because it’s a 20-minute train ride from Cannes to the west and from Monaco to the east. Both of those cities are fascinating day trips, yet the hotels in both are quite expensive so Nice is the ideal base. The Cannes Film Festival is held in May so some people come to see the stars and that can fill up some hotels in Nice since it’s so close.

  • Good 3-star hotels in May from €74 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in May from €116 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in May from €30 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Nice
>>>Nice prices and travel tips

London, England

  • May avg high: 63F/17C
  • May avg low: 48F/9C
  • May avg precip: 2.0″/5.0cm

Malaga AirportLondon is famous for having only a few good weeks of weather each year, so the best you can hope for is to avoid the coldest and rainiest months. May is a very good month to visit because the crowds are smaller than they are in summer, and yet the weather is still warm enough and the days are long enough to do whatever you like.

Flights into London are particularly cheap for Americans these days, so it’s an ideal first stop for a European vacation. You can easily take the Eurostar train from here to Paris in a bit over two hours, and then be in Amsterdam in a bit over 3 hours from there. London hotels are expensive all year round, but you should have a better chance of finding a decent deal in May compared to July or August. The London Pass can be a good choice for those who want to do a lot of sightseeing in a short time.

  • Good 3-star hotels in May from €66 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in May from €128 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in May from €23 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for London
>>>London prices and travel tips

Barcelona, Spain

  • May avg high: 72F/21C
  • May avg low: 61F/12C
  • May avg precip: 2.3″/5.8cm

mykonosYou might expect Barcelona to be warmer in May than the temperatures listed above, but it’s farther north than you might expect, even though it’s on the Mediterranean. This city has become so popular with tourists that visiting in a mild-weather month is best because it’s easier to deal with the crowds at Sagrada Familia and along the Rambla than in summer.

Flights into Barcelona can be cheap, especially from within Europe, but even from the US and Canada the fares are reasonable. If you are visiting Barcelona you should really also visit Madrid (see below) and get there on the high-speed train in only 3 hours. Both cities are huge and quite different from one another.

  • Good 3-star hotels in May from €74 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in May from €96 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in May from €13 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Barcelona
>>>Barcelona prices and travel tips

Madrid, Spain

  • May avg high: 71F/22C
  • May avg low: 51F/11C
  • May avg precip: 2.0″/5.0cm

North AirportIn recent years it’s Barcelona (above) that has taken most of the spotlight in Spain, but Madrid is still a gorgeous and fascinating capital city. You should absolutely plan on spending about 3 days in each of them because they are so different and both so filled with worthwhile sights.

The May weather is pleasant enough for sightseeing in the day, and the evenings are mild enough that staying out late is still comfortable if you bring a jacket or sweater. You can get to nearby Toledo on a short train ride so it’s a popular day trip, and connections to Seville and Granada are also good so Madrid is an ideal hub for a full visit to Spain.

  • Good 3-star hotels in May from €45 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in May from €126 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in May from €23 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Madrid
>>>Madrid prices and travel tips

Lisbon, Portugal

  • May avg high: 71F/22C
  • May avg low: 56F/13C
  • May avg precip: 2.2″/5.5cm

SwitzerlandSpeaking of the Iberian Peninsula, Lisbon might be the most underrated capital in Europe. The remote location makes it difficult to combine with other cities unless you fly in or take the night train from Madrid. But those who do make the trip are rewarded with a lovely and interesting city that is also an unusual bargain.

Hotels and hostels in Lisbon are known for high quality at moderate prices, and May is one of the better month for deals before summer begins. The warm but not hot weather is also ideal for sightseeing in this hilly town. This is a good city to start a Europe tour in this month, because temperatures will get warmer as you move north and east as June approaches.

  • Good 3-star hotels in May from €51 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in May from €85 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in May from €27 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Lisbon
>>>Lisbon prices and travel tips

Berlin, Germany

  • May avg high: 66F/19C
  • May avg low: 48F/9C
  • May avg precip: 2.1″/5.3cm

AlpsBerlin is another huge tourism success story for Europe, as it’s now one of the continent’s most popular cities for holidays. The May weather might look a bit chilly, but it is pleasant enough and very nice as you avoid the even larger crowds starting in June.

There are a lot of outdoor attractions in Berlin, but at least May is a fairly dry month so you should be able to spend all day outside and be comfortable. One of Berlin’s many charms is that it’s one of the cheapest capital cities in western Europe. Hotel deals here are still quite good, especially in the areas of the former East.

  • Good 3-star hotels in May from €46 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in May from €79 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in May from €13 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Berlin
>>>Berlin prices and travel tips

Amsterdam, Netherlands

  • May avg high: 61F/16C
  • May avg low: 46F/8C
  • May avg precip: 2.0″/5.0cm

BarcelonaThose temperatures above might not look too appealing, but Amsterdam is another city that is so crowded from June through August that it can feel unbearable at times. May is a perfect month to come for decent temperatures and moderate rainfall. This is mostly an indoor city, but of course you’ll want to do a canal tour and perhaps a walking tour, so you can schedule those on the best weather days of your stay.

Flights into Amsterdam can be reasonable from all over the world. And if you are already in Europe you’ll find that trains here are wonderful. The high-speed train from Paris takes only a bit over 3 hours, and Berlin is only a bit over 5 hours away. A new hotel tax that launched in 2020 has made it even more expensive than it already was, but Amsterdam is amazing enough that it doesn’t sting as much as it might elsewhere.

  • Good 3-star hotels in May from €125 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in May from €162 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in May from €42 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Amsterdam
>>>Amsterdam prices and travel tips

Krakow, Poland

  • May avg high: 68F/20C
  • May avg low: 48F/9C
  • May avg precip: 2.2″/5.5cm

cable carWe consider Krakow to be Europe’s best big city travel bargain, and May is a great month to visit before the larger summer crowds descend on the place. There are a few cheaper large big cities in Europe, but none of them are this nice or interesting. Krakow has also become popular with the party crowd who fly in for weekend breaks to enjoy the cheap hotels, food, and drinks.

One of the reasons that Krakow isn’t even more crowded is that the trains are still fairly slow in this part of Europe, and the closest other large cities are Prague and Budapest. For that reason you might want to fly into Krakow, but you can also consider buses because they are usually cheaper and often just as fast as trains around here.

  • Good 3-star hotels in May from €39 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in May from €63 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in May from €12 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Krakow
>>>Krakow prices and travel tips

Istanbul, Turkey

  • May avg high: 71F/22C
  • May avg low: 54F/12C
  • May avg precip: 1.3″/3.3cm

Canary IslandsMany of us grew up with an image of Istanbul being surrounded by desert, but it’s actually on a similar latitude to Chicago, Rome, and Barcelona, so the May temperatures here are still mild. Easily one of the most fascinating and historic cities in the world, Istanbul had become somewhat expensive for a few years, but a fall in the currency here and drop in visits due to a few political protests have put it back into the bargain category.

Hotel prices in Istanbul in 2020 are now shockingly low, and restaurant prices are very reasonable as well. You’ll be amazed at how far your tourism fund goes in Turkey, as every other place is even cheaper than Istanbul. Consider a visit to the stunning Cappadocia area if you’ve got 2 or 3 extra days.

  • Good 3-star hotels in May from €24 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in May from €35 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in May from €10 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Istanbul
>>>Istanbul prices and travel tips

Prague, Czech Republic

  • May avg high: 66F/19C
  • May avg low: 47F/8C
  • May avg precip: 3.0″/7.5cm

central ItalyThe May temperatures in Prague don’t look great, and it does rain a bit this month. Still, the crowds in Prague have gotten so out of hand in summer that you’ll be far better off visiting before the main crush begins in June. The main sightseeing corridor in Prague is now almost like Venice in that it can be exhausting during peak season, so May is more enjoyable.

While Prague hotel prices have gone up in recent years, it’s still possible to get a well located hotel with good rates. And food here is still cheap as long as you avoid the most touristy places with the big English-language menus out front. If you have 2 or 3 more days in your trip you should consider a side trip to the wonderful small town of Cesky Krumlov, which is 3 hours away on a scenic bus ride or train.

  • Good 3-star hotels in May from €36 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in May from €47 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in May from €12 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Prague
>>>Prague prices and travel tips

Budapest, Hungary

  • May avg high: 71F/22C
  • May avg low: 51F/11C
  • May avg precip: 2.5″/6.3cm

Croatian coastIf Krakow is our best big-city bargain in Europe, Budapest is probably right behind it. The May temperatures are warm enough for sightseeing and the hotel rates here this month are still very modest. As long as you stay a bit away from the river, you can get excellent bargains in both accommodation and food.

The nightlife in Budapest is also a highlight, even for those who speak no Hungarian. The famous “ruin pubs” are like nothing you’ve seen before, with several forms of entertainment going on at all times, along with cheap drink prices.

  • Good 3-star hotels in May from €45 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in May from €64 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in May from €11 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Budapest
>>>Budapest prices and travel tips

Athens, Greece

  • May avg high: 79F/26C
  • May avg low: 57F/14C
  • May avg precip: 0.9″/2.3cm

GermanyThe month of May is perfect in Athens as it’s plenty warm enough to enjoy the outdoor sights such as the Acropolis, but not yet so hot and crowded that it can get miserable. May is also the first month of the year that visiting the Greek Islands is worthwhile, so many people will spend 2 or 3 days in Athens and then take a ferry or flight to an island for some serious relaxation.

Greece has hundreds of islands with hotels and tourism, spread over a large area. There are a few within a short ferry ride to Athens, but the most famous ones are farther out. If this is your first visit to Greece you should consider Santorini, Mykonos, or Rhodes. They are the most popular and can be reached by ferry or air.

  • Good 3-star hotels in May from €49 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in May from €60 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in May from €11 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Athens
>>>Athens prices and travel tips

Valletta, Malta

  • May avg high: 72F/22C
  • May avg low: 59F/15C
  • May avg precip: 0.5″/1.3cm

Greek IslandsIf you aren’t British or Maltese, you might not know much about this former British possession. This small group of islands is located just south of Sicily, and it has some of Europe’s best year-round weather. There aren’t many sandy beaches on these islands, but there is plenty of sunshine and places to enjoy it.

The value in Malta is also very good, as you can get hotels and meals even in the tourist-friendly areas such as Sliema at very appealing prices. Valletta itself is the small historic capital district with only a few hotels, so most people stay elsewhere on the coast and visit Valletta for a few hours here and there.

  • Good 3-star hotels in May from €82 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in May from €87 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in May from €22 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Valletta
>>>Valletta prices and travel tips

Interlaken, Switzerland

  • May avg high: 66F/19C
  • May avg low: 46F/8C
  • May avg precip: 4.8″/12.0cm

IstanbulMany people know they want to visit somewhere in Switzerland, but they aren’t sure where. That’s the main reason I wrote an article called where to go in Switzerland on a short visit. If you are thinking about Switzerland I hope you read it, but the short version is that you should probably head to the Interlaken area, and also Lucerne if you have more than 3 days or so.

Interlaken is Switzerland’s top outdoor sports capital, with skiing and snowboarding for almost half the year, as well as hiking and paragliding among other things for the rest of the year. May is usually too late to ski, but a perfect time for the non-snow adventure activities. The Alps views here are the best in Europe, particularly the Schilthorn cable car and observation deck, and the Jungfraujoch railway.

  • Good 3-star hotels in May from €78 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in May from €156 for two people

>>>Check hotel deals for Interlaken
>>>Interlaken prices and travel tips

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