Europe offers so many wonderful places for a city break with kids. From popular capital cities such as Paris and Berlin to less traditional – but equally rewarding – destinations such as Helsinki or Tallinn.
It’s also really easy to travel both to and around Europe. From the UK, low cost airlines mean that a weekend in Lisbon is possible – and usually cheaper than a weekend in London! Or, you can drive onto the Eurotunnel, jump on the Eurostar or sail across the Channel. Similarly, regular flight deals from the USA open Europe up to families travelling from America.
To help you choose where to go, I’ve asked some of my favourite family travel bloggers to share what they think are the best European cities for kids.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure policy.
The Best Cities in Europe for Kids. Photo Credit Minjoo Son on Unsplash
Once you’re on the continent then getting around Europe is very easy, particularly if you’re driving. Europe is very well-suited to road trips; we’ve enjoyed road trips around France as well as a two-week round trip around Southern Finland. Hiring a car in Europe gives you the freedom to explore more places on your family vacation.
In light of Covid-19, make sure to check all current travel restrictions when planning your travel to Europe.
Best cities in Italy for kids
Rome. Photo Credit Learning Escapes
As a family, we have no doubts that the best city in Europe for kids is Rome! In fact, it’s our favourite city in the world. You may say we are biased, Rome is after all the city I grew up in. But I do believe the Eternal City is special for visitors and particularly impressive for little ones and their parents.
Rome’s long history means endless opportunities for sightseeing. The colosseum, with its immense size and gladiator stories, never fails to impress children and adults alike. St Peter’s square it is often mentioned by our kids as a highlight: crossing an international border on foot is not something they do every day!
As well as important historical landmarks, Rome offers to its visitors large green spaces and cool play areas such as Explora children museum. Plus, there’s pizza and gelato at every corner!
To fully enjoy Rome, I recommend you choose accommodation in the city centre and explore on foot. A good address is the Indigo hotel St George where you can book interconnecting rooms and baby sitting services.
Chosen by Marta, Learning Escapes
Vienna. Photo Credit Family Travel Times
Vienna is one of the best cities to visit with kids – at any time of year. In the winter, they (and you) will love the Christmas markets, and in the spring, autumn or summer, it is wonderful to just walk around and enjoy all the delights on offer. Plus, the hot chocolate (a Viennese speciality) and cakes are great at any time!
Vienna is easy to walk around as it’s not too big, but is full of things to see. If you’re with kids, don’t miss a trip to the big wheel at the Prater, which is a large theme park with a range of rides for everyone. It is most famous for the Wiener Riesenrad Ferris wheel, which is like the London Eye, and a must-do in this city.
For some culture, take in an audio tour at the Schönbrunn Palace, and marvel at the treasures on offers at the Schatzkammer (or Treasury). Follow this with a horse and carriage trip around the city. And whatever you do, don’t miss the wonderful Haus der Musik, a brilliant museum, all about sound, where you can conduct an orchestra yourself.
Chosen by Sarah, Family Travel Times
Verona. Photo Credit Globalmouse Travels
Verona is often over-shadowed by it’s more glamorous neighbour Venice but for me it’s one of the best cities in Europe with kids. It’s so much nicer, much more genuine and down to earth and more beautiful because of it.
Verona is a city made for walking and perfect to explore with kids, with gelato stops on every street there’s always a good excuse to break the journey up. You can climb the Torre die Lamberti and look down on all the terracotta coloured rooftops, listening to distant bells ring. Stand on Juliet’s balcony and read about the history of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, set here in fair Verona. Wander across countless historic bridges in a city that is so welcoming and beautiful.
Our favourite Verona sight has to be the Roman Arena in the centre of Piazza Bra. Unlike its famous counterpart in Rome this is older and much more fun to explore with children. They are free to run through the dark corridors underneath and, without the crowds the Colosseum attracts, their imaginations can also run wild.
Chosen by Nichola, Globalmouse Travels
Our LivItaly tour in Florence
Like much of Italy, the city of Florence is bursting with things to see and do. The birthplace of the Renaissance is home to phenomenal museums and incredible architecture from the fabled Duomo, clad in pink, white and green marble, to large, austere palaces built in local stone.
Tackling all the history and culture that Firenze has to offer might seem like a daunting task with kids in tow. But this city really is one of the country’s most interesting places to visit with kids. We visited on a multi-generational trip and discovered that the best way to keep everyone happy was to organise a tour with LivItaly.
Our half-day tour with Raffaella, an artist and historian, ended up being the best start to our time in Florence and a great introduction to this incredible city. Once we had learned about Florence’s artistic past – and how to spot the best gelato in town – we tackled the rest of the city on our own. We visited the Uffizi Gallery, walked over the famed Ponte Vecchio and scaled the Palazzo Vecchio.
Next time we hope to visit the family-friendly Museo Galileo, a state-of-the-art science museum, and the Museo Stibbert, to see knights in shining armour. If you’re looking to explore more of the country then this post has some great ideas on the best places to visit in Italy.
Chosen by Katja, globetotting
Venice. Photo credit Map & Family
Venice, in northern Italy, is a magical place that captures your imagination whatever your age. This is why I think it’s one of the best family holiday destinations in Europe.
The minute you step into its world of Renaissance palaces and canals you know it’ll be a city break like no other. Although it’s famous for its art treasures and ancient buildings, it’s the canals that set Venice apart. There are no roads or underground trains, instead a network of waterways thread through the city and the best way to get around is on foot or by waterbus.
The absence of cars means that Venice is very walkable for families and this is what makes it unique. You haven’t visited Venice properly if you haven’t got lost in its maze of ancient streets and bridges, courtyards and alleyways.
There’s plenty to see and do as you explore. Look out for the shops that make masks for Carnevale or the beautiful glassware from nearby Murano. Drop by the Rialto market in the morning to spot mysterious fish caught in the Venice lagoon and catch the lift to the top of the Campanile for classic rooftop views.
A vaporetto journey along the Grand Canal is essential to appreciate the splendour of Venice. Or splash out on your own private tour in a gondola. If you hop off at St Mark’s Square you can have coffee in its stately piazza and visit the Doges Palace.
Last time we were in Venice we caught a train to Verona for the day. Other day trip options include taking the boat to the island of Murano or Burano or hiring bikes to cycle along the Lido. We’ll do that next time!
Chosen by Nancy, Map and Family
Milan. Photo Credit Dish Our Town
My favorite city for a European family holiday is Milan, Italy. It always provides me the backdrop to share with my daughter my story of life as a fashion professional.
We window shop the latest looks in the boutiques on Montenapoleone and spend hours at the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. I also like to take her to one of my favorite cafe’s for a drink (a macchiato for me, a steamed milk for her). My daughter is a musician, so I love to be able to show her the famous opera hall, La Scala.
We love our food, so we always search out to find the best Vitello Milanese and look for cool places to have a snack; our favorite being a place called, Princi.
Last time we were in Milan, we stayed a family-friendly hotel named, Hotel Gran Duca di York. From here, we were able to walk the Duomo to say our prayers every morning before the start of a new day. I always feel that it’s the city in which we got to know each other better.
Chosen by Brenda, Dish Our Town
Family-friendly cities in the U.K.
Surely one of the most beautiful cities in the world and one of the best places for a city break with kids has to be Edinburgh.
Scotland’s capital is divided into two parts: the medieval Old Town and the genteel Georgian New Town. Overlooking it all is Edinburgh Castle.
There is a lot to do in Edinburgh for kids including excellent museums such as the National Museum and Dynamic Earth. Visit during the summer months and witness the amazing Edinburgh Fringe when the city comes alive with art, theatre, comedy, music and more.
The landscape surrounding the city centre also offers travelling families plenty of things to do. The south of the city is the gateway to the Braids, Blackford and Pentland Hills – miles and miles of rolling hills speckled with golf courses and woodland.
Another favourite day out is to nearby Gullane Beach, a strip of dunes, rocky outcrops and blustery headland that makes for one of the the best day trips from Edinburgh. The large sweep of beach is great for making sandcastles, rolling down the dunes, investigating rock pools and flying kites.
Chosen by Philippa, globetotting
The beautiful town of York in Yorkshire is a great destination with kids.
One of my favourite city breaks with children is York. Located in Yorkshire, this Roman city is best known for the magnificent York Minster which towers above the city.
The good thing about York is that it is fairly compact so it is easy for children to get around. Children will love going to the world famous National Railway Museum and seeing famous trains like the Mallard, or learning about York’s chocolate making past at the York Chocolate Story.
In the summer, the Museums Gardens are perfect for a picnic. Follow this up with a walk along the river to find the Ice Cream Boat (the salted caramel flavour is to die for!). My children also love visiting DIG where children can practice being a mini archaeologist and have a go at digging for treasure.
There are so many family friendly places to eat and drink in York, but for a treat, we love having afternoon tea at The Grand. This is a not to be missed experience for anyone thinking of visiting York!
Chosen by Jo, Kiddie Holidays
Surely one of the best cities in all of Europe for families has to be London. The capital of the United Kingdom is packed full of sights, museums, activities, theatres, shops and plenty more to keep your days and evenings busy.
Deciding what to do will be your biggest hurdle. If it’s your first time in London then jump on one of the hop-on-hop-off buses that will take you past some of the city’s star attractions including the Tower of London. Take a trip up the London Eye for far-reaching cityscape scenes. Or, for a cheaper bird’s-eye view of the city, visit the Sky Garden for free (this post has more details on free things to do in London).
Make sure to visit London’s incredible museums (and maybe sleepover in one if you can), see a play or two and spend some time in one of the city’s many glorious parks. You’ll soon discover that every London neighbourhood has something to offer. From Bear Grylls adventure weekends and arthouse theatre performances to street food fairs and kid-friendly workshops.
If you’re in town for longer then you can venture further afield. Take a day trip down the river to Greenwich and the Cutty Sark or a visit to Hampton Court Palace, once home to King Henry VIII. Wizarding fans can walk in the footsteps of Harry Potter at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour.
Chosen by Katja, globetotting.com
Best cities in Denmark for kids
Copenhagen. Photo credit Jenny, Travelynn Family
The Danes are consistently praised for their approach to parenting so it’s no surprise that Copenhagen is one of the best places in Europe for kids.
Indeed, as you wander around the compact city, you’d be forgiven for assuming it was planned with the younger generation in mind. You’ll find dedicated pram sections on buses, wonderfully imaginative playgrounds and green open spaces. The National Museum has an entire section for kids to touch, interact and climb over the exhibits and the National Gallery with a regular weekend craft session for kids of all ages.
There are also a fantastic array of landmarks, including fairy-land castles (Rosenborg Castle), brightly coloured streets (Nyhavn) and a little bronze mermaid statue to fire the imagination of little minds. But the prize attraction for kids must be the bright lights and thrilling rides of Tivoli Gardens.
Copenhagen can get busy during the summer months and the city is renowned for being pricey. So, we’d suggest donning the thermals and visiting during the winter when there are fewer tourists, crisp clear days and cheaper accommodation options.
We recommend staying at The Savoy which is located on the No26 bus route (which drops you at the majority of the sights) – you’ll also find a handy Lidl supermarket opposite.
Chosen by Jenny, TraveLynn Family
Best cities in Portugal for kids
Lisbon. Photo Credit Wyld Family Travel
I love Lisbon, I love everything about it and so do my kids. They love that it feels like home, they are welcomed and they feel safe. They can wander around know they will be ok, we won’t be far away.
You can go sight seeing around the city or take a day trip to Sintra or Evora. Have a paddle in the water right off Rua Augusta or out at Belem while enjoying the views. The museums are brilliant, especially the maritime museum, the aquarium has to be one of the very best in the world and don’t even get us started on the little custard tarts!
The girls love the little city squares where we enjoyed dinner. Musicians and jugglers entertained while the waiters told them stories. People smiled at them and waved or said hello as we walked.
But the best part was that there is a tour made just for them…Little Lisbon Tours! They loved it. If you ask them where they want to go back to it is Lisbon and I love that as I want to go too! Lisbon really is one of the best european cities for families.
Chosen by Bec, Wyld Family Travel
Best cities in Estonia for kids
Tallinn in Estonia is a great destination for families
One of the most beautiful cities in Europe is also a great destination for a family holiday. The capital of Estonia, Tallinn, is a city of fairy tales; its Medieval old town is filled with cobbled roads, pastel-coloured houses and witch hat turrets.
But there’s more to this city than simply good looks, there are also lots of things to do in Tallinn with kids.
Start your visit by getting lost in the Old Town. Walk along the city walls, climb the tower in the Town Hall Square and then discover the hole-in-the-wall pancake joint hidden at the back of the building. These small, fluffy pancakes are the best in town.
Don’t miss the NUKU Puppet Museum or Telliskivi Creative City. This old industrial complex is today the creative heart of Tallinn. The colourful neighbourhood is home to studios, creative companies and offices, as well as some of the Tallinn’s best shopping.
You’ll eat very well in Tallinn too – make sure you book at table at Leib. Located in the Old Town this is one of the best restaurants in town.
Best cities in Belgium for kids
Durbuy in Belgium is the smallest city in the world
If you’ve ever wanted to walk through the pages of a storybook, take a trip to Durbuy. Located in Belgium’s Wallonia region, this pretty city is one of our favourite family friendly cities in Europe. It’s a place to wander medieval streets, discover mysterious stones, embark on outdoor adventures and eat like a king.
But there’s more to Durbuy (pronounced Dur-bwee) than its fairytale looks, this medieval village is in fact “la plus petit ville du monde” (the smallest city in the world).
Despite its small size, however, there’s lots to do for families. Start your visit with a trip on the tourist train that takes you up to a watchtower were you can see just how small the city really is. Back in town, have a picnic by the ‘Roche de la Falize’, that dates back some 360 million years and then wander around the topiary gardens, the largest of their kind in Europe.
There are also goat farms to visit, ancient monoliths to discover, underground caves to explore and lots of waffles to eat. One of the things that kids will love most about Durbuy is the Adventure Valley. Located on the outskirts of town, this enormous adventure park is the biggest in Belgium.
Chosen by Katja, globetotting
Best cities in Spain for kids
Madrid. Photo Credit Milanas Travels
Madrid has been our favorite city to visit in Europe with kids so far. My daughter was 5 when we visited in March and she had a blast! We stayed at the Westin Palace Madrid, which was in a great location and walkable to a lot of the attractions in the city, including the famous Plaza Mayor.
The food options in Madrid are amazing and having a little foodie meant she was able to sample a little bit of everything thanks to all the tapas restaurants. There are also playgrounds scattered all over the city, making it super easy to stop for a quick play break. The Spanish people really seem to enjoy kids and many people stopped to talk to her and one lady even hugged her on the street!
Madrid is also a very walkable city, which is perfect if you want to take an afternoon stroll. If you’re venturing to Europe, I highly recommend not missing Madrid. We will definitely be back!
Chosen by Maggie, Milanas Travels
Best cities in Norway for kids
Colourful Bergen is the gateway to Norway’s fjord region but before you head to the wilderness spend some fun family time exploring the city.
Stroll around the pretty harbour Bryggen and check out the fish market where you will find the biggest crabs you ever saw. Next take the funicular to Mount Floyen overlooking the city. Apart from the amazing views there are some fantastic playgrounds catering for kids of all ages and a special garden in the forest dedicated to the famous (and friendly) Norwegian trolls.
Hungry children are easy to feed in Bergen. The city is famous for pølsen (hotdogs) and cinnamon buns, and you can find them on every corner. If it is raining (and it probably will in Bergen) you can visit the fun Fisheries Museum and local aquarium.
Bergen might not be an obvious entry on the list of best places to visit in Europe with kids but I highly recommend it!
Chosen by Katy, Untold Morsels
Oslo. Photo Credit The Pigeon Pair and Me
Oslo has gone through a transformation in recent years. It’s still the same relaxed, outdoorsy place, but now there’s a host of new, hip ways to relax and enjoy yourself, making it one of the best cities to visit in Europe.
Mathallen, a new food market based in a revamped, bright, warehouse space, sells delectable international cuisine. A stroll along the harbour will give you the opportunity to take a dip at one of the city beaches, or sample caramelised goat’s cheese ice cream.
Oslo’s high concentration of houses with gable ends has offered canvases to the best international street artists. That’s not to mention the slew of world-class museums, including exclusive collections of works by Edvard Munch, and Viking ships that were buried for almost a millennium.
Oslo’s location makes it ideal for a range of holidaymakers and city trippers. If the remarkable fjordside harbour, with its iconic Opera House and lively restaurant area doesn’t grab you, there’s also the Nordmarka forest.
Just a short twenty-minute ride on the t-bane Metro will bring you to the edge of 430 km of deep pine forest. Walking and ski tails are clearly marked, but the forest is wild enough to make elk sightings a distinct possibility.
Chosen by Nell, The Pigeon Pair and Me
Best cities in Holland for kids
Amsterdam. Photo Credit 5 Lost Together
We were completely surprised at how family friendly Amsterdam was and quickly decided that it really is one of the best places for kids in Europe.
Amsterdam old town is so picturesque and we loved the delicious Dutch sweets and bicycle culture. We stayed on a houseboat on a canal, which was a huge highlight for all of us. The kids would wake up in the morning and look out the houseboat windows and see swans and ducks and boats going by.
The city has so many great activities to do with kids from enjoying green Vondelpark to canal cruises to the amazing NEMO Science Centre. Our kids learned a lot about the history of Amsterdam and the Holocaust and visiting the Anne Frank Museum was a somber, but important sight to see.
We absolutely loved our day trip outside of the city to Zaanse Shans to see working windmills and learn about traditional Dutch culture and history. Amsterdam is a beautiful city to explore with kids and it is definitely a city we will return to.
Chosen by Dawn, 5 Lost Together
Best cities in France for kids
Bordeaux. Photo Credit Dais Like These
We travel in France most years and we always seem to be drawn back to the wonderful city of Bordeaux, one of the best European cities with kids.
With so much to offer for young and old alike, we simply love Bordeaux. Bordeaux has more preserved historical buildings than any other French city other than Paris. It’s a real treat to glance upwards when walking along the streets and alleyways to be greeted with some of the most beautiful and ornate buildings. That coupled with a big regeneration of the river frontage over the last say 20 years creates a truly wonderful traditional French city with a real family friendly twist.
From an interactive fountain, traditional carousels, family-friendly wine chateaux and beautiful squares for delicious long lunches; there really is something for everyone in Bordeaux. Our children love visiting the city and ask to return every year, and we certainly find it hard to refuse!
Chosen by Daisy, Dais Like These
Paris. Photo Credit Pint Size Pilot
“When can we go back to Paris, mom?” This is a question I am asked almost weekly by my 10-year-old daughter. It’s true that we have had some marvelous times riding carousels in the gorgeous parks and savouring gelato on Île Saint Louis, with Notre Dame as our backdrop. We have climbed the stairs of the Eiffel Tower, ridden the funicular at Sacre-Coeur and enjoyed an incredible view of The Louvre and beyond from the top of the Tuileries Fairground ferris wheel.
In Paris, however, we have found that sometimes just getting around is half the adventure and that’s why we think it’s one of the best places to visit with kids.
My kids delight in navigating the Metro, and taking the trains even further afar— visiting the golden splendour of the Palace of Versailles, or the quintessentially french amusement park, Jardin D’Acclimation.
When tired legs finally prevail, we have enjoyed nothing more than cruising along the river back to our temporary home by Bateau Mouche admiring the beautiful bridges and buildings of Paris along the way. For more ideas on things to do in Paris, take a look at this post.
Chosen by Tara, Pint Size Pilot
Nantes. Photo Credit Travel Loving Family
We have just returned from Nantes in Brittany and had an incredible time. The vibrant city has so much to offer families including The Machines de l’île (Machines on the Island) and Castle of the Dukes of Brittany. I really think that it’s one of the best places to visit in Europe with kids.
Nantes, is the 6th largest city in France, located on the Loire River in the Upper Brittany region of western France. It’s a very green city with over 100 parks and gardens. It’s also a historical and cultural hub with its own national theatre, 36 theatres and concert venues, 14 museums and a dozen annual family friendly festivals.
As first timers to Nantes our initial and lasting impressions of the city were how clean it was and how energetic it felt with street buskers, friendly locals and lots of people exploring by bike.
Chosen by Lisa, Travel Loving Family
Nice. Photo Credit Side Street Style
The French Riviera is not only for the rich and famous but also makes the perfect base for a family city break in Europe. Nice is an exciting and welcoming city to explore with children.
The first stop would have to be along the beautiful seven mile Promenade des Anglais with it’s white sand and clear blue water you can set up camp here for a whole day. You can also rent bikes, roller-blades, listen to musicians or hire some deck chairs.
You can then stroll over to Castle Hill and either take the elevator to the top or challenge yourself to the walk. At the summit you are rewarded with some fantastic views across the city.
If you’re hungry head into the wonderful maze that is old town, taking in all the smells from the food and flower markets. Make sure to try some traditional Socca which will be a hit with kids.
The Museum of Modern Art is also popular with kids with it’s colourful pop art on display. There are also plenty of outdoor spaces and a very cool playground at Promenade de Paillon. A trip to the Cimiez neighbourhood to see some Roman ruins and explore the Matisse Museum is also worthwhile.
Chosen by Laura, Side Street Style
La Grand Place, Lille
The pretty city of Lille is the capital of the Hauts-de-France region. It’s a fun weekend break for families and is so easy to reach from London, it can even be visited on a day trip from London by train.
It’s the old part of town – Vieux Lille – that deserves the most time. Explore the original part of the city on a tour in an open-top 2CV. Elsewhere, Lille offers world-class museums, the largest flea market in Europe (held annually in September) and the month-long Christmas market. This is the largest in Northern France and takes over Place Rihour.
Don’t leave without trying the Les Petits Merveilleux, delicious gooey meringues in a variety of flavours filled with whipped cream.
Best cities in Hungary for kids
One of the most kid friendly European cities has to be Budapest. Often referred to as the Pearl of the Danube or Paris of the East, it is a stunning city that warmly welcomes children and offers them plenty to do.
Start your family holiday to Budapest with a chimney cake. These Hungarian specialities are a little like doughnuts. Bakers will roll raw dough around a wooden spit, coat it in butter and sugar and then bake it over glowing coals until the surface is a golden brown.
For an extra treat, grab a cone of fagyi, or ice cream. During the summer months, everyone in Budapest eats fagyi.
But there’s more to Budapest than sweet treats, the city is home to some excellent attractions including a train line run by children (yes, really!), a friendly zoo and some great views. Once you’ve seen the city from up high, you can float down the Danube and admire this European jewel from the water. Follow this with a ride on one of the oldest subway lines in the world.
Best cities in Germany for kids
Munich. Photo Credit Bavarian Sojourn
Munich is one of the best cities to visit in Europe with family.
For a whirlwind tour with kids, try and cram in some of the following: Start at the Marienplatz to watch the jousting knights at midday. Across the square here you can find the small but perfectly formed Toy Museum. The nearby Viktualienmarkt is a great place for a bite to eat, and if you are feeling energetic afterwards climb the 300 steps of the Alter Peter church!
Munich’s giant green lung – the Englischer Gartens is a must see. If the weather’s good, let your children run wild in one of the biergarten playgrounds, then visit the surfers on the Eisbach (all year round).
There are plenty of city pools for outdoor summer swimming, and it’s also a brilliant city for cycling if you fancy hiring bikes. Try and make it to Olympia Park, home to BMW Welt, the Olympia Tower (with amazing views!) and the Aquarium.
If you visit during winter, Munich is the perfect place for sledging, and you should absolutely head to Schloss Nympenburg to skate the frozen canals. Munich Mealtimes are usually a pleasure, there are few places that children aren’t welcome (even in the bier halls). Click here for a more in depth Munich guide.
Chosen by Emma, Bavarian Sojourn
Berlin. Photo Credit Sleeps 5
In Berlin, traveling families can feel comfortable, and not just because of the mild climate. In this cosmopolitan city, we saw families everywhere with strollers, older kids and teens. Overall, we sensed a kind acceptance of children from the general public, restaurant waitstaff, and attraction attendants.
Besides the feeling of ease, the city offers activities for everyone! There are many types of museums: art, science, government, world history, natural history, transportation, just to name a few. Some have interactive features that kids love, or special audio or booklets just for youngsters.
For younger kids, there are lots of creative outdoor playgrounds, a good zoo and the indoor Legoland Discovery Centre provide run-around time.
It’s easy to find food kids will like in Berlin. Simple breaded schnitzel, roasted chicken, and potatoes are on most German-style menus. But here, families can find any cuisine from around the world. For inexpensive eating, try the KaDeWe department store’s giant food court or the main train station’s casual restaurants.
In the city center, we enjoyed our stay in the family room of the highly-rated, budget-friendly Hotel-Pension Bregenz. The proprietors were friendly and the breakfast was yummy.
Chosen by Sandy, Sleeps 5
Leipzig. Photo Credit Stuart Wickes at Family Adventure Project
Modern Leipzig is all about creativity. Once a relatively uninteresting city in East Germany, it’s now a both a cultural hub and a hive for the hip. But unlike some other German cities, it’s good value for a family and not too tourist heavy.
Start in the centre, with a music themed walking tour. Leipzig was home to Felix Mendelssohn and Johann Bach and you can find your feet with its musical history by downloading and following the Leipzig music trail app. Wind up at the end of the day at the concert hall. The Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra is about to celebrate its 25th year and has hooked up with the celebrated conductor Andris Nelsons from the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
If you are there in the winter, be sure to visit the huge Christmas market that mixes traditional food and gifts with entertainment. Our kids loved the beautiful old Market Square with nativity scene, ferris wheel and stalls from around Europe including the singing Finnish Santa.
If visiting in summer, hire a canoe from nearby Stadthafen and take turns paddling yourselves along a river that winds through the city to Lake Cospuden. If you’ve time (sadly we didn’t!) you can always hire a bike and ride back along the riverside. Stop off at a festival on the way; there’s no escaping the music in this tuneful city.
Chosen by Kirstie, Family Adventure Project
Stuttgart. Photo Credit Extraordinary Chaos
The city and surrounding regions hide many attractions and museums. The Mercedes Museum tracks the history of the automobile and you can not fail to be impressed by the grand scale of Ludwigsburg Palace. Not only is it a historical work of art, but the team at the palace work hard to engage all ages of visitors. There are dressing up opportunities and a fairy garden to keep children happy.
If you are wowed by German architecture then a visit to Esslingen is essential. With its cobbled streets and beautiful buildings you won’t want to leave.
If you’re looking for a place to stay in Stuttagart then the Park Inn by Raddison is located a couple of minutes walk from Stuttgart City Centre train station. It’s great value with clean lines and very modern décor making it the perfect base for exploring.
Getting around Stuttgart is easy as the transport network is efficient and organized. With the choice of buses, trains or traditional tour busses which are the perfect way to get your bearings.
Chosen by Sarah, Extraordinary Chaos
Best cities in Finland for kids
Helsinki. Photo Credit Side Street Style
This northern European city might not top your list of best city breaks for families but when it comes to kids and travel, the Finnish Capital has plenty to see and do.
There is a great mix of city sights and plenty of outdoor spaces to discover including over 300 islands off the coast of Helsinki. Make sure you take the ferry over to Suomenlinna Fortress Island and spend some time exploring the old garrison buildings and fortifications.
A few other suggestions are the Natural History Museum which has some fantastic interactive displays, Helsinki Zoo which is located on an island and in summer you can take a ferry there. If you’re looking for the best views over the harbour then take a ride on the Sky Wheel. Or, be in awe of Temppeliaukio Church otherwise known as The Rock church, a must see for all ages built right into the side of a natural rock wall.
A walk around Toolonlathi Bay past some of the original wooden houses is a wonderful way to relax and there is a great play park here too. A trip to Finland wouldn’t be complete without visiting the Moomins Store near the central station.
Chosen by Laura, Side Street Style
Turku is the oldest city in Finland and home to Moominworld!
Turku is the oldest city in Finland and undoubtedly the coolest. Located in the country’s southwest, on the river Aura, the city is laid-back, compact and filled with lively cafés and restaurants.
Some of the best things to do in Turku include the 700-year-old Turku Castle. The castle has a fascinating history and a visit today is filled with stories of daring escapes, treacherous families and romantic promises. There’s also a great dressing up room for kids.
The Luostarinmäki Handicraft Museum is a great way to learn more about Turku’s history. Regular fires tore through Turku over the centuries, destroying many of the wooden buildings. The Great Fire of 1827 destroyed nearly the entire city. One old neighbourhood survived and is today the Luostarinmäki museum.
Other highlights include the Turku Market Hall, for sampling local specialities, and cruising along the Aura river in an electric boat. The city also boasts a shopping scene filled with independent stores and brands.
And, of course, you can’t Visit Turku without taking a trip to Moominworld, one of the best theme parks in Europe. The land of the Moons sits in neighbouring Naantali and is a magical island that celebrates Tove Jansson’s loveable characters.
Best cities in Sweden for kids
Stockholm. Photo Credit Wandermust Family
Stockholm is one of the most family friendly European cities and the perfect place to visit with children with a great mix of indoor and outdoor activities.
The city has some lovely green spaces for kids to run around in while the outdoor living history museum with nordic zoo is a great place to learn more about Sweden’s rich heritage. On rainy days, the Vasa museum can’t be missed. The ship, brought up from the depths after it was wrecked seventeenth century is the sight to behold! And next door there is a fantastic children’s museum which is sure to keep your little ones amused.
While gamla stad, the historic centre of Stockholm is great to walk around and do a bit of shopping. On nicer days, touring the archipelago by boat is a definite must do!
Chosen by Leona, Wandermust Family
Gothenburg. Photo Credit Wander Mum
Sweden is well known for its welcoming attitude to families and its second city, Gothenburg, is no exception. We spent just one day in the compact port city and wished we’d stayed longer. It really is one of the best places in Europe with kids and there is so much for families to do!
Top of the list is surely Scandinavia’s largest theme park, Liseberg, which has been open since 1923 and has the biggest wooden rollercoaster in the world.
If you prefer to be outdoors, there’s plenty of green spaces to explore. Its largest park, Slottsskogen, has a small zoo with Swedish elks and Gotland ponies as well as seals and penguins.
When you feel a bit hungry, head to Gothenburg’s oldest suburb, Haga district. It’s filled with quaint wooden buildings and cafes serving giant cinnamon buns. While you’re there head up to the fortress Skansen Kronan for incredible views across the city.
Gothenburg also has a large interactive science museum, Universeum, with seven floors filled with aquariums, a rainforest, life-sized dinosaurs and space travel.
Gothenburg is a compact city and easy to navigate with children. As well as its museums and open spaces, the tram network provides an extra child-friendly activity.
Chosen by Elizabeth, Wander Mum
Best cities in the Czech Republic for kids
Prague. Photo Credit Family Off Duty
This stunning city, regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, is a perfect place for a family trip to Europe.
With historical sights and stunning architecture as well as contemporary art, culture and entertainment activities, Prague is an excellent destination for a family city break.
For starters it looks like a place out of a fairytale. With many castles, cathedrals and fortresses it’s sure to sparkle the fantasy in your kids’ minds. It is also very convenient for parents. You can enjoy the whole city with public transport system which is easy to understand and also reasonably priced.
There are plenty of parks and outdoor areas for kids, many child friendly restaurants and cafés, interesting monuments and museums for the kids to enjoy. This city will definitely make a fun and unforgettable holidays for families with children of all ages.
Chosen by Thassia, Family Off Duty
Best cities in Iceland for kids
Reykyavik. Photo Credit My Travel Monkey
When we first told people we were taking a four-year-old to Iceland in the dead of winter, most looked at us as if we were mad. Reykyavik is known as a cultural and hip city – there’s music, literature, art, and Viking history, as well as shopping and a lively nightlife.
Kids are welcome everywhere, as demonstrated by the the pushchairs lined up outside cafes and restaurants downtown. Meanwhile, in nearly all cases, kids under 12 get into most attractions for free – and this includes transport, too. Reykjavik really is one of the best winter city breaks in Europe.
There may not be specific activities and attractions aimed solely at youngsters but Reykyavik is a natural playground that will keep even the most active child occupied. Enjoy walks, visit museums, and swim in one of the many hot pools – and that’s just for starters.
My son was so enamoured with the thick, powdery snow, it took us double the time to walk anywhere because he just wanted to play in it and make snow angels! Staying in Iceland’s capital also puts us in prime position to go whale watching, see spouting geysers, stand on top of waterfalls, swim in The Blue Lagoon and catch the Northern Lights. It was an unforgettable experience for all of us. It’s not a case of if we’ll go back, just a matter of when…
Chosen by Ting, My Travel Monkey
Best cities in Greece for kids
Athens. Photo Credit Five Adventurers
Athens, one of the world’s most historic cities is a treasure trove for family adventures and one of our favourite european city breaks with children.
The city is history brought to life. You wander through the streets of Plaka and the quaint houses, cobbled streets will take you back thousands of years. You can take your children and let them run around the oldest athletics stadium in the world, following in the footsteps of some of the world’s greatest athletes.
No visit to Athens is compete without a mention of the Parthenon. Adults may love to admire the structure but kids will undoubtedly love climbing the huge stones opposite the entrance. From here you get incredible views of the city.
We took along Greek myths and read the stories in the feet of the buildings which inspired so many of the tales. You cannot help but be in awe.
The underground network coupled with trams has much of the city covered but we loved walking around the city taking in the smells, sounds and vibe of the place.
The food in Greece is ideal for families. You’ll find that lots of the street food involves breads and rolls, which make an easy quick snack. Plenty of Greek and Turkish food places serve cheap and healthy food options, that’ll satisfy even for the fussiest eater. Families are welcome open armed everywhere and the locals had a lovely way of making us all feel welcome from the hotel, to museums to restaurants.
Chosen by Nisbah, Five Adventurers
Katja is a travel writer, mum of three and the founder of globetotting, a family travel blog dedicated to discovering the world with kids. Katja has also written guidebooks for Lonely Planet, tried and tested boutique hotels for Mr & Mrs Smith and written for publications including Lonely Planet online, BBC Food, Angels & Urchins and The Australian among others.
She’s a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers and is also the European Editor of Twist Travel Magazine. She spent 12 years living overseas with her family in Australia, India and Mexico and is now based in London, U.K. She’s a firm believer that you can – and should! – travel with kids everywhere. Follow her family’s travels on Instagram.