I’ve often been asked, “What’s the best European country for traveling with kids?” While each country has its pros and cons, I would say they’re all great for traveling with kids. Here’s something to remember: wherever you travel, there are more than likely going to be kids living there, and if there are kids, then that makes that place a kid-friendly destination.
There are many destination options when it comes to Europe, with many being hotspots for tourists. While we’ve focused on other countries in the past when it came to our best places to travel with kids, this time we want to mainly focus on Europe. These countries are great for families, especially families with kids. You really can’t go wrong with planning and booking a vacation to any of them.
Here are the ten best European countries to travel to with kids in tow.
1. THE UNITED KINGDOM
The UK would always be my number-one spot. We’ve been traveling to London since Madison was a toddler, and we still have yet to see everything. What we love about London, besides there being tons to do with kids is how friendly the locals are and how efficient their transportation system is. Bonus: English is the native language.
Many of the museums are free, and besides the sites such as Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, there are also amusement parks that the kids can enjoy. For Harry Potter fans, there’s the Harry Potter Tour, many local markets, and even playgrounds, including the famous Princess Diana’s Playground. And just outside of London is Stonehenge.
There will be so much to do and see in and around London, and the UK in general, that there just won’t be enough time to see and do it all. So a return trip may be in your future.
Denmark is very family-friendly and not to be underestimated. The majority of the population once again speaks English, and their transportation is just as efficient as in the United Kingdom, making it easy to take in the sights. Copenhagen is bustling with activity, and the must-sees are Tivoli Gardens and the Little Mermaid. But just outside of Copenhagen, about 30 minutes away, is Bakken, the world’s oldest amusement park. Or maybe take a day trip to Billund and visit the official Legoland. There are many ways to have fun with kids in Denmark. Whatever you do, add Denmark to your list of places to visit.
Norway is highly underrated as a travel destination with kids, but even during the colder months, we had an amazing time in Oslo, Norway. You can check out our 3-day travel guide to Oslo with kids, although we spent a fantastic week there. The kids can pay a visit to the Nobel Peace Prize Center, where they can learn about the process of nominations. Pay a visit to the International Children’s Art Museum, then go bowling at the Oslo Bar and Bowling. Despite the word “bar” being in its name, it’s very kid-friendly. Learn about the Vikings and go “skiing” at the Holmenkollen Ski Jump & Museum. There is so much to see and do in Norway that it’s highly recommended.
There is no surprise that France made it on our list. We’ve visited three times, and each time we’ve been entranced by France. Kids will love Paris and all that it has to offer. Take a ride on the Seine River, climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower, enjoy the exhibits at the many museums, go shopping, and then fill up on macarons at the world-famous Ladurée along the Champs-Élysées. For even more excitement and fun, spend a day or two at Disneyland Paris, just a short train ride from Paris.
Luxembourg is the least popular European country on our list. I remember that when I was in London before leaving to visit Luxembourg, I mentioned to my family that we were taking a trip there, and their response was, “Who goes there?” However, if you’re looking for a great country to visit with kids, it’s hard to beat Luxembourg. Kids will have a blast at Parc Merveilleux, which is both a playground and a zoo, and, for an even more unique adventure, spend a night or two in an actual tree hotel.
6. THE NETHERLANDS
Everyone, including your little ones, will appreciate the beauty that is the Netherlands. Finding someone who speaks English when in need of assistance is also never a problem. While the most popular attractions in Amsterdam are walkable, public transportation is also very efficient, though many people get around on bicycles.
Be sure to purchase the Museumkaart (the Museum Card), which will allow you to maximize your time in the Netherlands and give you free entrance to about 400 museums in the country. You’ll also be able to skip the lines at many of the more popular museums, such as the Van Gogh Museum, take a one-hour canal cruise and airport transfer tickets by train, and even get discounts at other attractions.
Known for their delicious pastries, how could families and kids in general not love Portugal? Portugal is a small country, but what it lacks in size, it truly makes up for in food and culture. Lisbon is a walkable city, but you can take day trips outside the city to immerse yourself fully in Portuguese culture. Pay a visit to Belém, just a short 30-minute bus ride from Lisbon, and indulge in Pastéis de Belém custard tarts, a must-eat. And don’t forget dinner and music with Fado, the music of Portugal.
How could we forget Spain? We spent five glorious days in Barcelona, and Madison didn’t want to leave. While many may think that Spain is more for adults, there is so much to do with kids here as well, especially in Barcelona. You can pay a visit to the zoo, the aquarium, or, for chocolate lovers, the chocolate museum. There are many museums to keep you occupied, but there are also lots of parks and beaches for those who want a little relaxation. Thanks to their efficient train and bus systems, you can get to many destinations within a short time.
Germany, especially Munich, stole my heart, although for my son, it was Berlin. Once again, transportation in both cities is efficient but also very affordable. English is widely spoken, and there is a ton to do with kids in each city. There are museums galore, but if you’re visiting in the winter months, there are also the Christmas markets. Germany is filled with a rich history and plenty of places to explore; everyone will have a great time here.
I had a tough choice to make when deciding if I should add Sweden instead of Italy. While we LOVED Sweden, Italy beat them by just a tiny margin. However, that was because we didn’t visit Stockholm and instead visited Malmö, Sweden.
Kids will enjoy eating gelato in many delicious flavors and pizza (which is all that Madison wanted to eat while there). If in Rome, be sure to visit the Colosseum and climb the Spanish Steps. Also, visit the animals at the Bioparaco di Roma, home to over 1,000 animals.
No matter which of these European countries you decide to visit, each has a variety of ways to keep children and families, on the whole, entertained. So please choose your favorite and make it your next favorite place in Europe to take your kids.