Europe is a large playground for travelers of all ages. For the parents, this continent has stunning old cities and fascinating history museums, while the children can revel in parks, zoos, and munch on local specialties.
Thanks to its relatively compact size and smooth border crossings, Europe can be explored with ease. This gives you the chance to experience lots of different cultures, cuisines, and architecture.
The 10 Best Cities for Families in Europe
So read our guide to 10 of the most family-friendly cities in Europe, pack your suitcase and start discovering the ancient and vibrant cities on this continent.
1. Amsterdam, the Netherlands
The century-old Dutch capital has transformed itself from a traditional trading hub into an attractive holiday destination for travelers from across the world.
One of the most fun – and most Dutch – things to do in Amsterdam is merely hopping on a bicycle and explore magnificent architecture in the inner city. You can either join a bike tour or plan your own route over the meandering, cobbled streets. Another exciting way to get introduced to Amsterdam is by boat tour through the canals, for example, on a Pancake Cruise.
Amsterdam has numerous museums to keep all family members entertained for weeks. Art lovers shouldn’t skip the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum, with exhibitions dedicated to the grand Dutch painters. More modern yet equally fascinating is the NEMO Science Museum, where kids can do scientific experiments in the laboratory and learn everything about our universe. Furthermore, the Anne Frank House is a must-visit for any traveler coming to Amsterdam.
To sample some Dutch delicacies, head for street stalls selling raw herring, stroopwafels (caramel-filled waffles), or poffertjes (fluffy miniature pancakes).
Park Plaza Vondelpark has family rooms, an outstanding on-site Italian restaurant, and is located right beside the fun Vondelpark.
2. Barcelona, Spain
This cultural hotspot on the Mediterranean coast offers something for every taste, from fantastic architecture to food markets and expansive parks.
If you and your kids are into architecture, Casa Batllo should be included in your travel itinerary. This intricately designed building was created by Antoni Gaudi, a famous architect who left his mark on Barcelona’s urban landscape.
Another masterpiece of Gaudi’s hands is Parc Guell, an elevated park with the typical fairy-tale architecture Gaudi has gained fame for.
Exploring makes the traveler hungry, and you can satisfy your culinary cravings in Mercado de la Boqueria. This enormous indoor food market has a great selection of stalls with fresh produce, as well as tapas spots and seafood restaurants.
If you stay in Catalonia Ramblas, you’re in the heart of Barcelona, close to Mercado de la Boqueria and many museums. This 4-star hotel has an indoor pool, and a rooftop terrace as well.
3. Berlin, Germany
With its intriguing recent history and diverse attractions, Berlin is, without a doubt Germany’s most vibrant city and an excellent city trip destination in Europe.
When traveling with youngsters, planning a visit to the Zoo Berlin will make for joyful smiles. This is the oldest animal garden in Germany, and Zoo Berlin has a massive aquarium complex and is home to many extraordinary species, such as a pair of pandas. Continue to the Museum of Natural History, which has exhibitions on dinosaurs and colossal skeletons of actual dinosaurs. This is an excellent spot for animal lovers and those interested in the life of the mighty dinosaurs, that spark many kids’ imagination.
Dive into the history of the Berlin Wall, the Soviet Union, and spying in the DDR Museum. In this interactive museum, you get a sense of the everyday life in former Eastern Germany, including a simulated ride in an old Trabant car. Spend some time in a Stasi secret police cell, and watch documentaries about the secret life behind the Iron Curtain.
Radisson Blu Hotel sits next to the famous Berliner Dom. This fine establishment has a pool, suites with views of the Spree River, and a buffet breakfast included in the room rates.
4. Budapest, Hungary
Budapest is Hungary’s dreamy capital, sandwiched between lush hills and split in two by the meandering Danube River. The city is known for its majestic palaces, bridges, and cathedrals, but there’s more to Budapest than what meets the eye.
Admire the precisely constructed world of the Miniversum, a model of Hungary with well-known landmarks and a railway system on a 1:100 scale. Especially with children, the Miniversum provides enough fun for several hours.
Join a cruise on the Danube River, visit the stunning Buda Castle, or take an unwinding bath in the Széchenyi Thermal Baths. The City Park is a favorite among every kind of traveler; the youngsters can delight in the playgrounds, while the entire family can enjoy paddle boating on one of the lakes.
Hilton Garden Inn Budapest City Centre is close to highlights such as the State Opera House and Saint Stephen’s Basilica. Also, there’s an on-site restaurant and bar for guests to enjoy.
5. Copenhagen, Denmark
Its picture-perfect harbor, mysterious castle, and recognized canals draw plenty of explorers to Copenhagen.
Even kids will admire the architecture of the Danish capital. A sweet way to get to know the city is taking a canal cruise, during which you’ll see the colorful harbor buildings and the hypermodern Copenhagen Opera House. Rosenborg Castle seems to have sneaked out of a fairy-tale book and is certainly worth hopping by as well. For a leisurely time in the city, take a stroll through the Tivoli Gardens, visit the famous Little Mermaid statue, or let your jaw drop in the beautiful National Aquarium Denmark.
Copenhagen has 17 Michelin-crowned restaurants, as well as countless budget-friendly dining options with kids menus.
Hotel Kong Arthur lies very close to the Rosenborg Castle and Natural History Museum of Denmark. This classy hotel offers rooms with a hot tub, a buffet breakfast, and a wellness center.
6. Lisbon, Portugal
This coastal city is praised among adults for its fine cuisine and monumental architecture, but there’s at least as much to explore for minor explorers in the Portuguese capital.
Dip yourself in the atmosphere of Lisbon with a historic tram ride on line 28 that leads through the old heart of town. For a bird’ s-eye perspective of Lisbon, a trip on the Telecabine Lisboa surely is an exhilarating experience. This gondola crosses the Tagus River on a height of 30 meters, providing excellent views of Lisbon.
Dive deep into the past on the Fragata D. Fernando II e Glória, an old rebuilt ship that has an amusing maritime museum onboard.
A prime location, easy access to the metro, and spacious family rooms, Vincci Liberdade really is one of the best bets in Lisbon.
7. Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is yet another European metropolis with ancient roots, including stellar architecture, culinary traditions, and art expositions.
Make sure not to miss the hourly show “The Walk of the Apostles” at the astronomical clock of the Old Town Hall, and cross the scenic Charles Bridge at least once during your visit. Another highlight is the Zizkov TV Tower, an odd-looking that offers marvelous vistas from its viewing platform.
Are you in for a bite in a unique setting? Výtopna Restaurant is a pleasant eatery to go to with your brood, as the food here gets delivered with a train that drives on the tracks besides your table.
Hotel Leon D’Oro is located in a superb spot in the Old Town. Guests are pampered with a sumptuous breakfast and comfy rooms. Even pets are welcome to join the holiday fun.
8. Reykjavik, Iceland
In a country of sagas, a bathing culture, and astounding nature, you can’t really go wrong with touring the Icelandic capital with children.
From June to August, it’s the top season for whale watching. Jump on a cruise in Reykjavik’s harbor and keep an eye on for harbor porpoises, white-beaked dolphins, and massive humpback whales. A more year-round kind of entertainment is climbing the viewpoint of the modern Hallgrimskirkja cathedral in the heart of Reykjavik.
If you have brave souls in your company, plunge into the ocean at Nautolsvik Geothermal Beach, just south of the city center. Even though the water here is heated by hot spring water, it takes a bit of courage, given Iceland’s usual outside temperatures.
With its apartment-style suites, Kvosin Downtown Hotel provides guests with a snuggly home away from home. The property is near Lake Tjörnin, the National Gallery of Iceland, and the whale cruise departure point.
9. Tbilisi, Georgia
With its long-established cathedrals, quaint art scene, and unique cuisine, the capital of Georgia is an appealing travel target for all vagabonds in the family.
Watch the angel strike the bell in the leaning tower of Tbilisi, or go inside to watch a marionette show about historical topics, performed by puppet master Rezo Gabriadze.
For awesome family fun, ride a funicular or old-fashioned city bus to Mtatsminda Mountain and explore the Soviet-style Mtatsminda Theme Park. Here, you can visit the 7D cinema, hop on board of the Ferris wheel, and feel the wind blow in your face in the rollercoaster.
Ascend to the gorgeous Narikala Fortress to get a sense of Tbilisi’s past and to scratch the surface of the city’s impressive architecture.
Log Inn Boutique Hotel combines family rooms with a convenient location near metro station Avlabari.
10. Warsaw, Poland
Despite the dark times Warsaw experienced in the 20th century, the largest city in Poland got back to its feet and now is a refreshing holiday destination within Europe.
For serious travelers, the Warsaw Rising Museum is absolutely recommended. The exhibitions show the life of Warsaw’s inhabitants during World War II, and the rising against Nazi Germany through photographs, documentaries, and real weaponry.
The Heavens of Copernicus Planetarium is an attraction the young explorers will be fond of; from your reclining chair, you’ll be indulged in a spectacular show of the universe above your head.
The Old Town is full of eateries and classical buildings; make sure to enter the Royal Castle, the former residence of rulers that has splendid interiors and furniture.
Hotel Metropol has a very central location, a restaurant and bar, and easy access to public transportation.